Senate Bill No. 54
(By Senator Jenkins)
[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the Committee on the
A BILL to amend and reenact §50-1-4 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to requirements to serve as a
magistrate; requiring an associate's degree or greater to serve;
providing exceptions to education requirements; providing
internal operative date; clarifying training requirements; and
deleting antiquated provisions.
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
(a) Effective January 1, 2015, a person
is qualified to serve as a magistrate if he or she:
at least twenty-one years of age;
(2) Has any of the following qualifications:
____(A) An associate or higher degree from an accredited college or
____(B) A minimum of four years of experience as a magistrate; or ________(C)
For persons holding the office of magistrate on January 1, 2015,
at least a high school education or its equivalent;
shall not have (D) Has not been convicted of any a felony or any
misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; and
shall reside (E) Resides in the county of his or her election.
No (b) A magistrate shall may not be a member of the immediate
family of any other magistrate in the county. In the event If
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 qualified to
run for the office of magistrate in the county of his residence.
(c) No person
shall may assume the duties of magistrate unless he
shall have first attended and or she has completed a course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure which
shall be is given in accordance with the supervisory rules of the
Supreme Court of Appeals.
(d) All magistrates
shall be are required to attend such other
courses of continuing educational instruction as may be required
by supervisory rule of training as provided by law and the
Supreme Court of Appeals. Failure to attend such courses of
continuing educational instruction without good cause shall
constitute the training without good cause or without the
permission of the Supreme Court Administrator is neglect of duty.
Such courses shall be provided at least once every other year.
Persons attending such courses Magistrates attending training
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.
(e) 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
(f) 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 require magistrates to
possess an associate degree or have at least four years prior
experience as a magistrate.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the
present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be