Senate Bill No. 412
(By Senators Foster, Kessler (Acting President), Plymale and McCabe)
[Introduced February 3, 2011; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §50-1-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to increasing educational requirements for magistrates.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §50-1-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. COURTS AND OFFICERS.
§50-1-4. Qualifications of magistrates; training; oath; continuing education; time devoted to public duties.
Each magistrate shall be at least twenty-one years of age
shall have: and have:
(A) A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college; or
(B) An associate’s degree in criminal justice from an accredited college; or
(C) A minimum of four years of experience as a magistrate; or
(D) A minimum of ten years of certified experience as a law enforcement officer; or
(D) (E) shall have At least a high school education or its equivalent for persons holding the office of magistrate on the effective date of this amendment.
A magistrate shall not have been convicted of any felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and shall reside in the county of his or her election. No magistrate shall be a member of the immediate family of any other magistrate in the county. In the event more than one member of an immediate family shall be is elected in a county, only the member receiving the highest number of votes shall be is eligible to serve. For purposes of this section, immediate family means the relationship of mother, father, sister, brother, child or spouse. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, each person who held the office of justice of the peace on November 5, 1974, and who served in or performed the functions of such office for at least one year immediately prior thereto shall be deemed is qualified to run for the office of magistrate in the county of his or her residence.
No person shall assume the duties of magistrate unless he or she shall have has first attended and completed a course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure which shall be given in accordance with the supervisory rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
All magistrates shall be required to attend such other courses of continuing educational instruction as may be required by supervisory rule of the Supreme Court of Appeals. Failure to attend such courses of continuing educational instruction without good cause shall constitute constitutes neglect of duty. Such courses shall be provided at least once every other year. Persons attending such courses outside of the county of their residence shall be reimbursed by the state for expenses actually incurred in accordance with the supervisory rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Each magistrate shall, before assuming the duties of office, take an oath of office to be administered by the circuit judge of the county, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court. Each magistrate shall maintain the qualifications for office at all times.
Each magistrate who serves five thousand or less in population shall devote such time to his or her public duties as shall be required by rule or regulation of the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court. Each magistrate who serves more than five thousand in population shall devote full time to his or her public duties. As nearly as practicable, the workload and the total number of hours required shall be divided evenly among the magistrates in a county by such judge.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase the educational requirements for magistrates.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.