Justice signs intermediate court bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation establishing an intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia.

The issue has been pushed for years; a 2009 judicial reform panel recommended having such court in the state. The governor pushed the court during his State of the State address in February.

The state Senate has passed measures creating the intermediate court in multiple legislative sessions, but the House of Delegates only approved the proposal during this year’s session.

The Senate last week agreed to changes made by the House, including cutting the number of districts from two to one. The three judges would be elected to 10-year terms and receive a $142,000 annual salary.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Evan Jenkins applauded the governor and state Legislature in a statement on Thursday.

“The West Virginia Supreme Court is prepared and committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure the new court operates in a way that ensures the public’s trust and confidence,” he said. “That is what our citizens deserve and the constitution requires.”

The first judges will be appointed to the court. The first electoral race for the court will be in 2024.

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