10 February 2010

No New Appeals Court for W.Va. This Session, Lawmakers Say (Updated)

Lawmakers are citing the estimated costs and the ongoing effort to revamp West Virginia's appeals process while telling The Associated Press not to expect them to create a new intermediate court of appeals.

"A study commissioned by Gov. Joe Manchin recently recommended such a court, following criticism of the state’s appeals process by the state Chamber of Commerce and other business groups," the article said.

Besides the views of lawmakers, AP also notes that "Manchin did not propose a new court this year, but his legislative agenda instead embraces two other recommendations from the judicial study."

Chief Justice Robin Davis came out personally against an intermediate court while addressing legislators last week. Her remarks also touched off a debate over appeal rights in West Virginia.

Justice Menis Ketchum sought to quell the back-and-forth during a Tuesday appearance before the House Finance Committee. "Why do we keep talking about what we’re doing now, or what we used to do?” AP quotes him as saying. “Give us a chance to do our rules. We’re doing what everybody said they want.”

Ketchum also weighed in on the appeals court question.

“With the five justices now, we can take every appeal, we can study them and we can do it standing on our heads,” he told the committee. “You watched the Super Bowl. Hell, I read briefs.”

The Charleston Gazette, MetroNews (with audio) and Public Broadcasting (updated to add link and audio and video) also have coverage.

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