West Virginia

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Overview

West Virginia

C. Administrative appeal.

Unlike the federal FOIA, West Virginia's Freedom of Information Act has no provisions for administrative appeals. Since the request for records must be made to the agency's chief executive — "the elected or appointed official charged with administering a public body," W. Va. Code § 29B-1-3(2) — there usually is no practical avenue for informal administrative appeals.

IV. Who is covered

No West Virginia case directly addresses to whom the reporter's privilege applies. In the Hudok case, however, the court observed in a footnote that "The question of what type of activities make a person a journalist and what type of material is covered as news gathering is discussed in Von Bulow by Auersperg v. Von Bulow, 811 F.2d 136 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1015, 107 S.Ct. 1891, 95 L.Ed.2d 498 (1987)." The Von Bulow court explained the foregoing criteria for determining who is covered by a reporter's privilege:

3. Pro se possibility, advisability.

It is possible for such a petition to be filed pro se (without the assistance of a lawyer), although the Act does not address this situation in particular. Whether filing a petition pro se is advisable depends upon the complexity of the facts involved and the knowledge of the person filing the petition. The advisability of proceeding without a lawyer is discussed in more detail in the section above on the Freedom of Information Act.

1. Revenue

Significant information relating to West Virginia State Government is available without charge through the State’s general website found at http://www.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx ,  Additional state information and public records are available via the Office of the Secretary of State of West Virginia: http://www.sos.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx . Fee are charged by the Secretary of State for some searches and for some requested documents.

(1). Time limit for giving notice.

The Open Meetings Act does not require any formal written notice be given before a public agency may go into executive session. Before a regular, special or emergency meeting can be closed, the presiding officer of the governing body must first identify the authorization under the statute for holding an executive session and present the issue to the governing body and to the general public. The governing body must approve of the closure by majority vote. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4.

4. Issues the court will address:

The FOIA confers on the court "jurisdiction to enjoin the custodian or public body from withholding records and to order the production of any records improperly withheld from the person seeking disclosure." W. Va. Code § 29B-1-5(2). The statute also authorizes the court to enter a declaratory judgment that establishes patterns for future access.

5. Service of police or other administrative subpoenas

Although there are no cases directly discussing special criteria for issuance of an administrative subpoena to a journalist, generally speaking, there are special rules regarding the use and service of other administrative subpoenas. Regarding the use of such subpoenas, the subject or target of an administrative subpoena has an opportunity to challenge the subpoena before yielding that information. In the course of that resistance, privileges, privacy rights and the unreasonableness of an administrative subpoena are available defenses against enforcement of the subpoena. State ex rel.

V. ASSERTING A RIGHT TO COMMENT.

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