08 February 2010

The Right of Appeal in West Virginia

The Associated Press delves into the back-and-forth between West Virginia's Supreme Court and some of its critics, including the state Chamber of Commerce.

"Chief Justice Robin Davis touched off the exchange when she stood by her court's handling of civil and criminal appeals," the article said. "The dispute may boil down to whether the 'right to appeal' is the same as an 'appeal of right.'

Davis' remarks to lawmakers spurred an "open letter" from the chamber, which in turn prompted an open reply from the court's clerk on Davis' behalf.

"The chamber, and other critics of West Virginia' judiciary, contend that an 'appeal of right' means more than the ability to file an appeal petition," AP reported. "Such outside observers as the National Center of State Courts and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics appear to side with the chamber on that question. So does the recent judicial study commissioned by Gov. Joe Manchin. And even Davis herself seemed to concede that a fuller review of criminal convictions may be warranted."

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