HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 25
(By Delegate Hunt)
[Introduced February 14, 2013; referred to the Committee on
Constitutional Revision then the Judiciary.]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West
Virginia, amending section five, article eight thereof,
relating to eliminating individual terms of circuit courts;
numbering and designating such proposed amendment; and
providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such
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 2014, which proposed amendment is that section five,
article eight thereof be amended, to read as follows:
ARTICLE VIII. JUDICIAL POWER.
§5. Circuit courts.
The judge or judges of each circuit court shall be elected by
the voters of the circuit for a term of eight years, unless sooner
removed or retired as authorized in this article. The Legislature
may prescribe by law whether the election of such judges is to be
on a partisan or nonpartisan basis. Upon the effective date of
this article, each statutory court of record of limited
jurisdiction existing in the state immediately prior to such
effective date shall become part of the circuit court for the
circuit in which it presently exists, and each such judge of such
statutory court of record of limited jurisdiction shall thereupon
become a judge of such circuit court. During his or her
continuance in office, a judge of a circuit court shall reside in
the circuit of which he or she is a judge.
The Legislature may increase, or other than during term of
office decrease, the number of circuit judges within any circuit.
The judicial circuits in existence on the effective date of this
article shall remain as so constituted until changed by law, and
the Legislature, at any session thereof held in the odd-numbered
year next preceding the time for the full-term election of the
judges thereof, may rearrange the circuits and may increase or
diminish the number of circuits. A judge of a circuit court in
office at the time of any such change shall continue as a judge of
the circuit in which he or she shall continue to reside after such change until his or her term shall expire, unless sooner removed or
retired as authorized in this article.
There shall be at least one judge for each circuit court and
as many more as may be necessary to transact the business of such
court. If there be two or more judges of a circuit court,
provision shall be made by rules of such circuit court for the
selection of one of such judges to serve as chief judge thereof.
If the chief judge is temporarily disqualified or unable to serve,
one of the judges of the circuit court designated in accordance
with the rules of such court shall serve temporarily in his or her
The Supreme Court of Appeals shall provide for dividing the
business of those circuits in which there shall be more than one
judge between the judges thereof so as to promote and secure the
convenient and expeditious transaction of such business.
In every county in the state the circuit court for such county
at least three times in each year. The supreme court of
appeals shall designate the times at which each circuit court shall
sit, but until this action is taken by the supreme court of
appeals, each circuit court shall sit at the times prescribed by
law continuously. If there be two or more judges of a circuit
court, such judges may hold court in the same county or in
different counties within the circuit at the same time. or at
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of
article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931,
as amended, such proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment
No. 1" and designated as the "Elimination of Individual Terms of
Circuit Courts Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment
is summarized as follows: "The purpose of this amendment is to
eliminate individual terms of circuit courts so that those courts
shall sit continuously during the year."
NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to eliminate the
three individual terms of circuit courts so that those courts shall
sit continuously during the year. The counties may, like Kanawha
County, use a grand jury, thus making individual terms unnecessary.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.