HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 13
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss)
[Introduced February 4, 2003; referred to the
Committee on Constitutional Revision then the Judiciary.]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West
Virginia, amending section ten, article eight thereof,
relating to increasing the term of office of magistrates from
four to six years; numbering and designating such proposed
amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose
of such proposed amendment.
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of
the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment
to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to
the voters of the State at the next general election to be held in
the year two thousand four, which proposed amendment is that
section ten, article eight thereof be amended, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. Judiciary.
§10. Magistrate Courts.
The Legislature shall establish in each county a magistrate
court or courts with the right of appeal as prescribed by law.
Such Magistrate courts shall be are courts of record if so
prescribed by law.
The Legislature shall determine the qualifications and the
number of magistrates for each
such court to be elected by the
voters of the county, and the Legislature may prescribe by law
whether the election of such magistrates is to be on a partisan or
nonpartisan basis: Provided, That any person in office as a
justice of the peace of this State on the effective date of this
article and who has served as a justice of the peace of this State
for at least one year prior to such effective date shall, insofar
as any qualifications established by the Legislature for the office
of magistrate are concerned and notwithstanding the same, be deemed
considered qualified for life to run for election as a magistrate
of any such court: And provided further Provided, however, That
the Legislature shall not have the power to require that a
magistrate be a person licensed to practice the profession of law,
nor shall any justice or judge of any higher court establish any
rules which by their nature would dictate or mandate that a
magistrate be a person licensed to practice the profession of law.
The Magistrates of such courts shall hold their offices for the
term of four six years unless sooner removed or retired as
authorized in this article. The Legislature shall also determine
the number of officers to be selected for each such court and the
manner of their selection. During his or her continuance in office
a magistrate or officer of such a court shall reside in the county
for which he or she is elected or selected. The Legislature shall prescribe by law for the filling of any vacancy in the office of a
magistrate or officer of such court.
The jurisdiction of a magistrate court shall extend throughout
the county for which it is established, shall be uniform for all
counties of the State and shall be subject to
such regulations as
to venue of actions and the counties in which process may be
executed or served on parties or witnesses as may be prescribed by
law. The times and places for holding such these courts shall be
designated or determined in such the manner as shall be prescribed
Magistrate courts shall have
such original jurisdiction in
criminal matters as may be prescribed by law, but no person shall
be convicted or sentenced for a felony in such courts. In criminal
cases, the procedure may be by information or warrant of arrest,
without presentment or indictment by a grand jury. Such Magistrate
courts shall have original jurisdiction in all civil cases at law
wherein the value or amount in controversy, exclusive of interest
and costs, shall not exceed fifteen hundred dollars, unless such
amount and value shall be increased by the Legislature, except such
civil matters as may be excluded from their jurisdiction by law;
and, to the extent provided by law, in proceedings involving real
estate when the title thereto is not in controversy. No judgment
of a magistrate in any proceeding involving real estate or any
right pertaining thereto shall bar the title of any party or any remedy therefor.
The division of the business of a magistrate court in any
county in which there
shall be is more than one magistrate of such
for the court shall be divided between the magistrates thereof so
as to promote and secure the convenient and expeditious transaction
of such business and shall be determined in such the manner or by
such the method as shall be prescribed by the judge of the circuit
court of such the county, or the chief judge thereof, if there be
are more than one judge of such the circuit court.
In a trial by jury in a magistrate court, the jury shall
consist of six jurors who are qualified as prescribed by law.
No magistrate or any officer of a magistrate court shall be
compensated for his or her services on a fee basis or receive to
his or her own use for his or her services any pecuniary
compensation, reward or benefit other than the salary prescribed by
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of
article eleven, chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, such proposed
amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as
the "Increase the term of office of magistrates amendment," and the
purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "To
increase the term of office of magistrates from four to six years."
NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to propose an
amendment to the State Constitution that would increase the term of
office of magistrates from four to six years.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.