West Virginia

I. STATUTE -- BASIC APPLICATION

The Freedom of Information Act's declaration of policy, which is quoted in the Foreword, is the only indication of the legislative intent underlying the statute. There is no recorded legislative history relating to either the statute's original enactment in 1977 or its subsequent amendments. However, the state Supreme Court of Appeals has quoted the FOIA policy declaration repeatedly in its opinions. Daily Gazette v. W. Va. Development Office, supra; Ogden Newspapers v. City of Charleston, 192 W. Va. 648, 453 S.E.2d 631 (1994).

e. Requirement to state statutory authority for closing meetings before closure.

The presiding officer of a governing body must publicly state the authority under the Act for requesting the governing body go into executive session. Id.

d. Other elements

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.

b. Court and litigation costs.

Court costs may be awarded to successful FOIA plaintiffs. Smith v. Bradley, 223 W.Va. 286, at 293, 673 S.E.2d 500, at 507 (2007).

N. Police records.

The scope of the FOIA exemption for records of law enforcement agencies is discussed in the preceding section. In general, the exemption applies only to (1) "information compiled as part of an inquiry into specific suspected violations of the law" and (2) internal records which reveal "confidential investigative techniques and procedures." Hechler, supra at 802, Syllabus pts. 11, 12. Items such as mug shots, police blotters and 911 tapes normally would not meet these prerequisites for confidentiality, and thus should be subject to disclosure.

7. Others.

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

1. Deliberations closed, but not fact-finding.

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