Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Decisions

The highest court in West Virginia is known as the Supreme Court of Appeals. West Virginia does not have a lower appellate court, so the Supreme Court must review decisions in trial courts directly. It holds the authority to interpret the West Virginia Constitution and settle matters of state law. The Court holds original jurisdiction over writs of mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus, and certiorari.

Five justices sit on the Supreme Court, each of them serving a 12-year term. A candidate for this position must have practiced law for at least 10 years. West Virginia uses a system of non-partisan elections to choose justices. This means that voters elect a justice without being informed of their political affiliation on the ballot. If a vacancy arises, the Governor of West Virginia has the authority to appoint an interim justice. If they seek to retain their seat, that justice must run in the next general election after their appointment. The justices of the Supreme Court elect the Chief Justice to serve a four-year term. After a justice retires, they may seek senior status, which allows them to receive a temporary assignment as a justice. In the event that a justice cannot perform their duties, the Chief Justice may assign a circuit court judge as a substitute.

Controversy clouded the Supreme Court in 2018, when Governor Jim Justice started impeachment proceedings based on the alleged misuse of state funds by the justices. The charges against them related to renovations of the courthouse office, their use of state vehicles, and payments made to senior judges. However, none of the justices ultimately was impeached. One justice was censured, and three other justices resigned. An additional justice faced the threat of an impeachment trial, but this never occurred.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Holley v. Feagley (Signed Opinion)  
Date: October 21, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0702

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court granting Plaintiff's writ of prohibition to stay further hearing on the revocation of his driver's license, holding that the circuit court lacked subject matter ju...

State v. Benny W. (Signed Opinion)  
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0349

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court convicting Petitioner of six counts of sexual assault in the second degree, seven counts of sexual abuse by a custodian, and one count of sexual abuse in the firs...

Barbara Dean as Administratix of the Estate of M.M. vs. J. Jorge Gordinho, M.D., et al. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0642
Elizabeth P. vs. Gid M. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Number: 18-1048
In re J.A. (Signed Opinion)  
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Numbers: 18-1082, 18-1084

Justia Opinion Summary: In this termination of parental rights proceeding the Supreme Court vacated the verbal ruling of the circuit court regarding Parents' rights to A.A. and affirmed the portions of the court's order terminating the parental...

Donny B. vs. Bureau of Child Support Enforcement of WV and Marcella W. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Number: 19-0149
State ex rel. Municipal Water Works v. Honorable Derek C. Swope (Signed Opinion)  
Date: October 18, 2019
Docket Number: 19-0404

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition sought by Municipal Water Works to challenge an order issued by the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for class certification, holding that the circuit court failed...

In Re: E.E. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 17, 2019
Docket Number: 19-0106
Bruce C. vs. Michelle C. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0462
Derek Caldwell vs. Karen Pszczolkowski, Superintendent (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0622
State of West Virginia ex rel. vs. Robin Miller, Superintendent (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0714
State of West Virginia vs. Gerald R. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0814
State of West Virginia vs. Casey Ryan Moles (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0903
State of West Virginia vs. Christopher Wade Rebish (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0904
State of West Virginia vs. John H.B. (Memorandum Decision)
Date: October 11, 2019
Docket Number: 18-0905
The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.