CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - After months of work, the West Virginia Supreme Court is ready to release its Revised Rules of Appellate Procedure on May 17.
The updated rules will be posted on the Supreme Court Web site, and will be open for public comment for 60 days.
"The public and the legal community are invited and encouraged to comment," Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis said.
In January, Gov. Joe Manchin announced during his State of the State address that the Supreme Court would revise the appellate procedure.
Davis said these revised rules "modernize and comprehensively change the appellate process to provide a decision on the merits in every appeal and to ensure greater transparency at every step.
"The revisions indicate the court's acknowledgement that we understand the public has a reason to know why we decide to hear arguments in one case and why we don't in another," she said Wednesday . "I think it's going to make the public understand more clearly the process that we go through."
Davis said the rules originally were written in 1864 just after West Virginia gained statehood, and that they last were updated more than 35 years ago. Of the 41 rules, only two are unchanged and 18 of them are brand new. The others were rewritten, most being redone substantially.
"They simply needed to be fixed," Davis said during a Wednesday press conference, noting that new new rules are more than 100 pages. "I welcome the public's interest in our court process.
"The Court has spent months formally and informally discussing these revised rules."
Comments on the revised rules must be in writing and received by state Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry by July 19. E-mail comments are permissible but not preferred.
At the conclusion of the public comment period, the Court will review all the written comments before voting whether to approve the revised rules.
In addition, Perry will conduct 10 free 90-minute Continuing Legal Education and public education seminars about the rules in locations across the state. The public is invited to attend and ask questions at the conclusion of each seminar. Printed copies of the rules will be distributed to each person who attends.
Attorneys who attend a seminar are eligible to receive 1.8 CLEs in office management/ethics.
The seminars will be:
* 10:30 a.m. to noon on Monday, May 17, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in
* 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, at the Ohio County Public Library Auditorium, 52 16th St., in Wheeling;
* 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19, at the Fayette County Courthouse in Fayetteville;
* 10:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 20, at the Judge Black Judicial Annex, Fort Boreman Room, in Parkersburg;
* 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 21, at the Upshur County Courthouse, in Buckhannon;
* 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday, May 24, at the Chief Logan State Park Conference Center in Logan;
* 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at the West Virginia University College of Law, Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, in Morgantown;
* 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, at the South Branch Inn in Moorefield;
* 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, at the Dunn Building, County Commission Hearing Room, in Martinsburg. (This meeting will be webcast, the details of which will be announced later.)
* 10:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, June 3, at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington.