Introduced Version House Bill 2227 History

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H. B. 2227

(By Delegates Boggs, Swartzmiller and Hrutkay)
[Introduced February 11, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §8-10-2 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to prescribing minimum standards for municipal judges; requiring criminal background checks of persons applying for municipal judgeships; and requiring municipal judges receive continuing legal training.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §8-10-2 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§8-10-2. Municipal court for municipalities.
(a) Notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary, any city may provide by charter provision and any municipality may provide by ordinance for the creation and maintenance of a municipal court, for the appointment or election of an officer to be known as municipal court judge and for his or her compensation, and authorize the exercise by the court or judge of the jurisdiction and the judicial powers, authority and duties set forth in section one of this article and similar or related judicial powers, authority and duties enumerated in any applicable charter provisions, as set forth in the charter or ordinance. Additionally, any city may provide by charter provision and any municipality may provide by ordinance, that in the absence of or in the case of the inability of the municipal court judge to perform his or her duties, the municipal court clerk or other official designated by charter or ordinance may act as municipal court judge: Provided, That the municipal court clerk or other official designated by charter or ordinance to act as municipal court judge shall comply with the requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this section, as well as any other requirements that the city by charter provision or the municipality by ordinance may require.
(b) Any person who makes application for appointment to, or who files to become a candidate in any election for municipal judge, shall first submit to a criminal background check, to be conducted by the state police. No person convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor involving a crime of moral turpitude is eligible to become a municipal judge.
(b) (c) Any person who assumes the duties of municipal court judge who has not been admitted to practice law in this state shall attend and complete the next available course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure. The course shall be conducted by the municipal league or a like association whose members include more than one half of the chartered cities and municipalities of this state. The instruction must be performed by or with the services of an attorney licensed to practice law in this state for at least three years. Any municipal court judge may shall, additionally, be required to attend a course, at least twice during his or her term in office for the purpose of continuing education: Provided, That municipal judges may attend any authorized training session or seminar for county magistrates, which shall be credited toward the continuing education requirement contained in this subsection. The cost of any course referred to in this section shall be paid by the municipality that employs the municipal judge.
(c) (d) Only a defendant who has been charged with an offense for which a period of confinement in jail may be imposed is entitled to a trial by jury. If a municipal court judge determines, upon demand of a defendant, to conduct a trial by jury in a criminal matter, it shall follow the procedures set forth in the rules of criminal procedure for magistrate courts promulgated by the supreme court of appeals, except that the jury in municipal court shall consist of twelve members.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prescribe minimum standards for municipal judges and to, additionally require criminal background checks of persons applying for municipal judgeships. The bill also requires municipal judges to receive continuing legal training.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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