H. B. 2808
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss, and Delegates
R. M. Thompson, Susman, Mahan and Sumner)
[Introduced March 1, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §50-1-2 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to adding a magistrate to those
serving Raleigh County.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. COURTS AND OFFICERS.
§50-1-2. Number of magistrates.
(a) The number of magistrates to be elected in each county of
this state shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of
(b) The number of magistrates serving in each county of the
state shall comport with the numbers certified by the Supreme Court
of Appeals to the ballot commissioners of each county on or before
the thirty-first day of January, two thousand, for purposes of the primary and general elections to be held in the year two thousand.
(c) (1) The Legislature finds that there exists among the
various counties large and unwarranted disparities of
caseloads between the magistrate courts. The Legislature further
finds that the disparity causes an inequity with regard to
magistrate court resources and the ability of the courts to
effectively meet the needs of the citizens of this state who need
to avail themselves of this judicial resource. The Legislature
further finds that the system currently in place for allocating
magistrate court resources which has been in effect since the year
one thousand nine hundred ninety-one, produces certain anomalies
which cause quadrennial reallocation of magistrate resources based
upon said anomalies which in turn cause a waste of funds,
inequitable workloads, unnecessary shifting of resources and
confusion among the various counties.
(2) The Office of Legislative Services is hereby directed to
undertake a comprehensive study of the magistrate courts of the
various counties to determine, among other things, the work
performed by various personnel in the magistrate court system, how
work time is spent by said employees and to report its findings no
later than the tenth day of December, two thousand one, to the
joint standing committee on the judiciary.
(3) The Division of Criminal Justice and Highway Safety shall,
in conjunction with the Administrative Office of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, compile for consideration by the
Legislature statistical information and documentation regarding
caseloads, cases handled per year per magistrate, cases per county,
cases per circuit and provide to the President of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Delegates no later than the first day
of the regular session of the Legislature, two thousand two, their
recommendations for improving the magistrate process, better
utilization of court resources, including, but not limited to,
categorizing the various types of cases heard in magistrate court
and developing a new weighted formula to evaluate types of cases by
the amount of time necessary to bring said cases to a resolution.
(d) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the
allowable number of magistrates serving the counties of Berkeley
and Nicholas on the first day of March, two thousand one, shall be
increased by one in each county, effective the first day of July,
two thousand one. The initial appointment to the position shall be
made in accordance with the provisions of section six of this
(e) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the
allowable number of magistrates serving Raleigh County on the first
day of March, two thousand five, shall be increased by one,
effective the first day of July, two thousand five. The initial
appointment to the position shall be made in accordance with the
provisions of section six of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to add a magistrate to
those serving Raleigh County.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would