Senate Bill No. 46
(By Senator Barnes)
[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the Committee on the
Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §8-10-2 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to decreasing the number of jurors
on a municipal jury in criminal matters from twelve to six.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §8-10-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 10. POWERS AND DUTIES OF CERTAIN OFFICERS.
§8-10-2. Municipal court for municipalities.
(a) Notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary,
a city may provide by charter provision and any a municipality may
provide by ordinance for the creation and maintenance of a
municipal court, for the appointment or election of an officer to
be known as municipal court judge and for his or her compensation,
and authorize the exercise by the court or judge of the jurisdiction and the judicial powers, authority and duties set
forth in section one of this article and similar or related
judicial powers, authority and duties enumerated in any applicable
charter provisions, as set forth in the charter or ordinance.
Additionally, any a city may provide by charter provision and any
a municipality may provide by ordinance, that in the absence of or
in the case of the inability of the municipal court judge to
perform his or her duties, the municipal court clerk or other
official designated by charter or ordinance may act as municipal
court judge: Provided, That the municipal court clerk or other
official designated by charter or ordinance to act as municipal
court judge shall comply with the requirements set forth in
subsections (b) and (c) of this section, as well as any other
requirements that the city by charter provision or the municipality
by ordinance may require.
Any A person who makes application for appointment to or
who files to become a candidate in any election for municipal
judge, shall first submit to a criminal background check to be
conducted by the State Police. The cost of the criminal background
check shall be is paid by the applicant or candidate. The result
of each background check conducted in accordance with this section
shall be forwarded to the municipal court clerk or recorder whose
duty it is to review the results and confirm the eligibility of the applicant or candidate to serve as a municipal judge. No person
convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor crime set forth in
articles eight, eight-a, eight-b, eight-c or eight-d, chapter
sixty-one, of this code is eligible to become a municipal judge.
Any A person who assumes the duties of municipal court
judge who has not been admitted to practice law in this state shall
attend and complete the next available course of instruction in
rudimentary principles of law and procedure. The course shall be
conducted by the municipal league or a like association whose
members include more than one half of the chartered cities and
municipalities of this state. The instruction must be performed by
or with the services of an attorney licensed to practice law in
this state for at least three years. Any A municipal court judge
shall, additionally, be is required to attend a course on an annual
basis for the purpose of continuing education. Provided, That the
forgoing This additional education requirement does not apply to
municipal judges who are attorneys admitted to practice in this
state. The cost of any course referred to in this section shall be
paid by the municipality that employs the municipal judge.
(d) Only a defendant who has been charged with an offense for
which a period of confinement in jail may be imposed is entitled to
a trial by jury. If a municipal court judge determines, upon demand
of a defendant, to conduct a trial by jury in a criminal matter, it shall follow the procedures set forth in the rules of criminal
procedure for magistrate courts promulgated by the Supreme Court of
Appeals, except that the jury in municipal court shall consist of
twelve six members.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to decrease the number of
jurors on a municipal jury in criminal matters from twelve to six.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would