West Virginia

D. Interviewing judges

Overview

West Virginia

5. Addressing mootness questions

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address "mootness" as an issue when a trial or grand jury session for which a reporter was subpoenaed has concluded.

b. Deliberations toward decisions.

The Open Meetings Act does not mention deliberations toward decisions. Before McComas, supra, the West Virginia Supreme Court had held that deliberations toward decisions constitute an adjudicatory session, exempt from the Act under W. Va. Code § 6-9A-2(4) (Appalachian Power, supra) and deliberations seemed to be exempt from the public's constitutional right of access to adjudicatory proceedings under the State Bar and Board of Medicine decisions.

3. Grand jury

Although there are no West Virginia cases directly on point addressing a reporter's privilege in the grand jury context, nevertheless, the Hudok court acknowledged that a reporter's privilege "will yield in proceedings before a grand jury where the reporter has personal knowledge or is aware of confidential sources that bear on the criminal investigation[.]" The Hudok court cited with approval the United States Supreme Court's decision in Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 92 S.Ct.

V. PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING RECORDS

This section addresses the most frequently asked question under the Freedom of Information Act: "How do I file an FOIA request?"

D. How is e-mail treated?

In Canterbury, the Court held that “[a] trial court's determination of whether personal e-mail communication by a public official or employee is a public record, subject to disclosure under the [FOIA] . . . is restricted to an analysis of the content of the e-mail and does not extend to a context-driven analysis because of public interest in the record.”

(2). Commission or independent agency.

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

(6). Penalties and remedies for failure to give adequate notice.

Although the Open Meetings Act does not spell out the notice requirements for most public bodies, it does include a very specific penalty for the failure to provide adequate notice in accordance with the statute. Where an "adversely affected party" files a petition challenging the public agency's action, any court of competent jurisdiction "may invalidate any action taken at any meeting for which notice did not comply" with the notice requirements of the Act. W. Va. Code §  6-9A-3.