West Virginia

b. State attorney general.

The Open Meetings Act does not provide for any appeal to the state Attorney General, and that office generally will issue a written opinion only upon the request of state department heads, prosecuting attorneys, or certain other public officials. In the case of an impending egregious violation of the Open Meetings Act, it might be possible to obtain an informal ruling from the Attorney General's office or from the public agency's other legal advisor, thereby averting such action.

The 1999 amendments added a new subsection 12 to W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4 that provides:

E. Discovery materials

Overview

West Virginia

c. Minutes.

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

c. Timing

The filing of a motion to quash effectively stays the requirements of the subpoena. Although there is no specific time frame within which a motion to quash must be filed, in the case of a discovery subpoena, it is preferable to file the motion far enough in advance of the time of compliance directed by the subpoena so that the subpoenaing party does not suffer undue expense as a result.

3. Is delay recognized as a denial for appeal purposes?

The FOIA does not specify the consequences of a public body's failure to respond within the five-day limit. The courts routinely have treated such lack of response, for appeal purposes, as a denial of the request.

I. How are fees for electronic records asessed?

Fees for electronic record request should be consistent with the fees that may be charged for reproducing records in a paper format. Thus, the limit on fees charged by public bodies should be the “actual cost of reproduction” of records in an electronic format. If the record is transmitted to the requester on a computer readable DVD or CD the charge should be no more than the cost of that medium to the government body.

7. What court.

A petition under the Open Meetings Act must be filed in "the circuit court in the county where the public agency regularly meets." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. In extraordinary cases, a petition could be filed in the state Supreme Court, seeking a writ of mandamus or prohibition. See the preceding section, on the Freedom of Information Act, for a more detailed discussion of the availability of this remedy.

a. Definition.

An executive session is "any meeting or part of a meeting of a governing body which is closed to the public." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-2(2). The Act specifies twelve topics that may be considered in such a closed session, and these are discussed later in this outline. No decision may be made in an executive session. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4 (a).

c. Source is an eyewitness to a crime

The situation where a member of the media has a source who is an eyewitness or participant in a crime, and the source's information is unobtainable from other available sources, is not a circumstance that has been addressed specifically by West Virginia courts. However, in Hudok v. Henry, the West Virginia Supreme Court did analyze the United States Supreme Court's holding in Branzburg, stating that the identity of such sources generally could be compelled in grand jury proceedings: