West Virginia

4. Infectious disease and health epidemics.

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

3. Agreement to partially testify act as waiver?

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.

3. Courts.

Court records are open to public inspection under the Freedom of Information Act. Associated Press v. Canterbury, 224 W.Va. 708, 688 S.E.2d 317 (2009). Access to court records is also guaranteed by the open courts provision of the state constitution (W. Va. Constitution, Article III, §  17) (see Daily Gazette v. W. Va. State Bar, 326 S.E.2d 705, Syllabus pt. 4) and by W. Va. Code §  51-4-2 (1981), which the Supreme Court applied in Richardson v. Town of Kimball, supra.

(1). Agency procedure for challenge.

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

(5). Other information required in notice.

The contents of the notice are left up to the governing body to determine when it promulgates its notice regulations. At a minimum, the Act requires the notice to state the date, time, place and agenda of regular meetings, and the time, place and purpose of special meetings. Every notice given by the governing bodies of the executive branch of the state must include the time, place and purpose of the meeting.

1. Statutory, regulatory or court-set time limits for agency response.

W. Va. Code § 29B-1-3(4), mandates that each "custodian, upon demand for records made under this statute, shall as soon as practicable but within a maximum of five days not including Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays:

(a) Furnish copies of the requested information;

(b) Advise the person making the request of the time and place at which he may inspect and copy the materials; or

(c) Deny the request stating in writing the reasons for such denial."

1. To whom is the appeal made?

Appeals are made from the circuit court level directly to the state Supreme Court. There is no intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia. Although it unlikely that a reporter subpoena would be issued in a magistrate court proceeding in West Virginia, appeals from Magistrate Court go first to the circuit court, and then to the state Supreme Court, with the circuit court acting as an intermediate appellate court.

c. Other.

(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.