West Virginia

d. Other elements

There is no West Virginia caselaw or statute addressing whether a journalist may be deemed to have waived the privilege. Because the privilege is constitutional in nature, it is likely the privilege may never be deemed to have been waived.

10. Fines.

A "willful" violation of the Freedom of Information Act by a custodian of public records is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of "not less than two hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars. W. Va. Code § 29B-1-6.

1. Accident reports.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

3. Contents of request for ruling.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

C. What records are and are not subject to the act?

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

B. Probate


West Virginia

b. Are certain executive functions covered?

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

B. Absolute or qualified privilege

The reporters' privilege is a qualified one in West Virginia. However, West Virginia treats all information acquired by the reporter in the news-gathering process in the same, qualified manner. Thus, whether the information sought from a reporter is the identity of a confidential source, or unpublished, non-confidential notes or observations, the qualified privilege is the same. Unfortunately, although the qualified protection afforded such information in civil cases is quite good, there is at present no absolute privilege in West Virginia for confidential source identities.

Q. Real estate appraisals, negotiations.

The only specific state FOIA exemption for real estate appraisals or negotiation material is the provision of FOIA Exemption 6 that protects the "location of undeveloped historic, prehistoric, archaeological, paleontological and battlefield sites." W. Va. Code § 29b-1-4(6).

In Veltri v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, supra, the Kanawha County Circuit Court ordered the Authority to release all appraisals it had obtained on a parcel of real estate it had purchased.