H. B. 2321
(By Delegates Prezioso, Prunty and Fantasia)
[Introduced February 1, 1995; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section five, article three, chapter
fifty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to courts; creating
court bailiffs as possible replacements for sheriffs as
attending officers at circuit court and for family law
masters by the first day of January, one thousand nine
hundred ninety-six; providing that the court bailiff be
selected by the circuit court and supervised by the county
sheriff; providing court bailiffs be paid by the county
commission; and requiring court bailiffs to be certified as
law-enforcement officers or certified by the supreme court of appeals.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section five, article three, chapter fifty-one of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. COURTS IN GENERAL.
§51-3-5. Attending officer; court bailiffs.
(a) The supreme court of appeals shall not be attended by
any sheriff, but every circuit court, county
court commission and
other court of record of any county shall be attended by the
sheriff of the county in which it is held, who shall act as the
officer thereof: Provided, That on or before the first day of
January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, the county
commission of every county of this state shall ensure that every
session of the circuit court and the family law master shall be
attended by a deputy sheriff or court bailiff, as defined by this
section, unless such attendance is specifically waived by the
circuit judge or family law master.
(b) In order to maximize the availability of law-enforcement
officers in the counties of this state, the position of court bailiff is hereby created. Any person employed as a court
bailiff shall have been, prior to their employment as a court
bailiff, certified as a law-enforcement officer as provided in
article twenty-nine, chapter thirty of this code, or meet
qualifications established by the supreme court of appeals.
(c) Any county commission which chooses to employ court
bailiffs for security purposes shall be responsible for the
payment of wages and provision of benefits for such personnel.
Court bailiffs shall be selected by the circuit court and
supervised by the county sheriff of the county in which they are
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow for replacement
of sheriffs, or their deputies, as attending officers in courts
of record and to replace them with court bailiffs by January 1,
1996. The court bailiffs are to be hired and supervised by the
circuit courts and must be certified as law-enforcement officers
or certified by the supreme court.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.