CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis said the cost of the creation of an intermediate appeals court in West Virginia cannot be left out of any discussions about the possibility during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.

Davis estimated that cost, for a court where appeals from circuit courts would first be heard, could add up to millions of dollars each year during a time when state revenues are already stretched thin.

“They (lawmakers) will be very prudent if they look at the results that we’re achieving with our appellate court rules and they took a look at the fiscal responsibility that our judiciary has implemented,” she said.

“I hope they’re more fiscally responsible to the citizens of West Virginia than to make such an irrational decision (in creating another court).”

Currently, all appeals from the circuit courts are filed with the state Supreme Court.

Those critical of West Virginia’s judicial system have continually cited the lack of an intermediate court of appeals as a factor contributing to, what they see as, a lack of fairness in the judiciary.  Supporters of the current system have argued such a middle layer for appeals is not needed in a state of West Virginia’s size.

Davis said changes made to the Supreme Court’s appellate rules, in recent years, have adequately addressed earlier complaints about the appeals process in the Mountain State.

Last year, she said, was a record year for the Supreme Court with a total of 1,315 opinions and decisions issued, a number of opinions that exceeded filings during the 12 month period.

“They’re getting a decision based upon case law that has existed in West Virginia.  We explain why the decision came down the way it did and there’s always a winner and a loser in a court of law,” said Davis.  “Everybody does, in fact, get their day in court.”

The 2014 Regular Legislative Session begins at the State House next Wednesday.  Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will deliver his State of the State Address to members of the state Senate and state House of Delegates on Wednesday night.

Justices will hear the first arguments of 2014 during the week of Jan. 14.  Chief Justice Davis will be serving her sixth term in that role.

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  • Jason412

    "could add up to millions of dollars each year during a time when state revenues are already stretched thin" -Metronews article

    COULD add up to millions, hmm like the $3 million more dollars annually we are giving judges?

    "As a result, justices on the state Supreme Court received a $15,000 increase, Circuit Court judges received a $10,000 increase, Family Court judges received a $12,000 increase, and magistrates received a $7,500 increase."

    These guys get more for a raise then someone who works a full time 40 hour a week job for $7.25 makes in a year. Yeah, that makes sense. But our budget is just stretched soooo thin.

    (Wow I haven't been this censored by metronews since I tried to post the links of Phil Robertson admitting to being a former woman beating criminal)

  • Jason412

    "The judicial pay raises will cost over $3 million annually"

    Regardless of the amount of years in between, it's costing the state $3 mIllion a year

    From westvirginia.watchdog it keeps deleting my post if I try to post the link

  • Jason412

    Why is my post not showing up damn you metronews

  • James

    Power! It's intoxicating.

  • bulldog95

    Where was the argument that it would cost to much when judges and magistrates were being given raises year after year.

    Just be honest and say what is really going on, that you dont want this court created because it takes away their power. If the WV supreme court doesnt want to hear your appeal, you are done.

    • Don

      Year after year pay raises? Stop exaggerating.

      It isn't about 'power' either, it is about having people stay in court even more after a decision has been made no matter if there is any merit. Companies that have a lot of money want to starve poorer companies out by keeping things in the court system longer. It is wrong.

      • Bix Rogers

        Judges have averaged one pay raise every six years since the 1970s. So Don's right and Bulldog95 has proven that he must think in canine years or something.

        Davis is correct too -- the state needs no intermediate appellate court. But if the state had one, it would actually enhance the power of the state's Supreme Court since they would be in charge of it administratively and since everything in that intermediate court would end up appealed to the state Supreme Court anyway.

        The only winners are insurance companies and other large companies because Justice delayed is . . . money in the bank.