West Virginia

E. Homeland Security Measures.

In 2003 the West Virginia Legislature amended FOIA by adding eight new exemptions related to homeland security and anti-terrorism planning. See, W. Va. Code § 29B-1-4(9) - (16). No judicial decisions have been reported which have involved any of the new exemptions. See supra., II A (2).

4. Any other recourse to encourage a response.

Typical approaches to encourage a response would include seeking the assistance of the press or an influential person whether within or without the public body. Another, and often more promising, method of informally encouraging a response is through the agency's legal advisor. The state Attorney General's office represents most state agencies; counties and political subdivisions usually obtain legal advice from the county prosecuting attorney or city attorney.

3. Contents of request for ruling.

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

G. Settlement records


West Virginia

5. Threat to human life

There are no cases in West Virginia where the courts have discussed the issue of a matter subpoenaed involving a threat to human life.

b. Notice requirements.

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

5. Private matter message on private hardware.

There have been no court decisions indicating how private matter messages on private hardware should be treated. However, based upon the West Virginia Court’s holding in Associated Press v. Canterbury, supra. it is likely that records of discussion of private matters on private e-mail will fall outside the law’s disclosure requirements because they fail to fall within the definition of West Virginia FOIA’s definition of “public record.”

3. Pro se.

There is no requirement that an attorney file a FOIA suit. In fact, two of the court decisions ordering public bodies to provide access to records were the result of suits filed by individuals pro se, representing themselves. Veltri v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, supra; Hark v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, supra. However, seeking relief in court without the aid of an attorney is problematic and should be the subject of careful consideration of the temperament of the court toward the press and the identity and expertise of possible opposing counsel.

10. Fines.

Section 7 of the Open Meetings Act provides that a knowing and willful violation of the Open Meetings Act by a member of a public or governmental body constitutes a misdemeanor. The Act provides for a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500. For second and subsequent offenses a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1000 may be levied. W. Va. Code §  6-9A-7.

E. Minor testimony


West Virginia