(b) Any 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 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.
(c) Any 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 municipal court judge shall, additionally, be required to attend a course, on an annual basis for the purpose of continuing education: Provided, That the forgoing 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 members.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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