West Virginia Legal Overview
The highest court in West Virginia is the Supreme Court of Appeals, comprised of five justices elected for 12-year terms. There is no intermediate appellate court in West Virginia; therefore, all appeals are handled by the Supreme Court of Appeals. The main trial courts with general jurisdiction are the circuit courts. The 55 counties in the state have 70 circuit court judges over 31 circuits. The circuit courts also take up appeals from the lower courts, including magistrate, family and municipal courts. Family court appeals can be taken directly to the Supreme Court of Appeals if both parties agree.
Top metro West Virginia areas for Legal Issues:
1. West Virginia abolished capital punishment in 1965. Cases originating from the West Virginia courts have produced landmark judgments about racial discrimination and free speech. In Strauder v. West Virginia (1880), the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a state court criminal conviction on the basis of racial discrimination caused by all-white juries. They did not remove states’ rights to bar women from juries. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943), the court prohibited states from forcing students to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance, citing the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment.
2. A verdict regarding a nursing home case in West Virginia worth more than $90 million is being reconsidered in as a result of a verdict-form mistake.
3. A West Virginia man claims that he is a victim of police brutality.
Trending West Virginia Legal Topics: West Virginia has two bar associations. The West Virginia Bar Association was established in 1886 as a voluntary organization. The unified West Virginia State Bar (WVSB) was established in 1947. Membership in the WVSB is compulsory for the 4,750 lawyers licensed to practice law in the state of West Virginia. The WVSB now has more than 8,700 members. The seven member West Virginia Board of Law Examiners (WVBLE) manages lawyer admission applications and administers bar exams. The WVSB, WVBLE, Supreme Court of Appeals and all the administrative offices and agencies of the judiciary are based in Charleston, WV.