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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 50- CHAPTER 50. MAGISTRATE COURTS.

WVC 50-1- ARTICLE 1. COURTS AND OFFICERS.


WVC 50-1-1 §50-1-1. Magistrate court created.
There is hereby created in each county of this state a magistrate court with such numbers of magistrates for each court as are hereafter provided. There shall be elected by the voters of each county, at the general election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred seventy-six, and in every fourth year thereafter, such number of magistrates as is provided in section two of this article. The filing fee for the office of magistrate shall be one percent of the annual salary. The term of magistrates shall be for four years and shall begin on the first day of January of the year following the year of election.

In counties where voting machines or electronic voting systems are used, the procedures of section eleven, article four, chapter three and section twelve, article four-a of said chapter three of this code shall apply respectively to the election of magistrates in the same manner as they apply to the election of members of the House of Delegates.

Notwithstanding the provisions of section seven, article five, chapter three of this code, for purposes of the primary election to be held in the year one thousand nine hundred seventy- six, the last day for filing certificates of candidacy for the office of magistrate shall be extended to the twenty-seventh day of February of that year.


WVC 50 - 1 - 2 §50-1-2. Number of magistrates.
(a) The number of magistrates to be elected in each county of this state shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(b) The number of magistrates serving in each county of the state shall comport with the numbers certified by the supreme court of appeals to the ballot commissioners of each county on or before the thirty-first day of January, two thousand, for purposes of the primary and general elections to be held in the year two thousand.

(c)(1) The Legislature finds that there exists among the various counties large and unwarranted disparities of caseload between the magistrate courts. The Legislature further finds that the disparity causes an inequity with regard to magistrate court resources and the ability of the courts to effectively meet the needs of the citizens of this state who need to avail themselves of this judicial resource. The Legislature further finds that the system currently in place for allocating magistrate court resources which has been in effect since the year one thousand nine hundred ninety-one produces certain anomalies which cause quadrennial reallocation of magistrate resources based upon said anomalies which in turn cause a waste of funds, inequitable workloads, unnecessary shifting of resources and confusion among the various counties.

(2) The office of legislative services is hereby directed to undertake a comprehensive study of the magistrate courts of the various counties to determine, among other things, the work performed by various personnel in the magistrate court system, how work time is spent by said employees and to report its findings no later than the tenth day of December, two thousand one, to the joint standing committee on the judiciary.

(3) The division of criminal justice and highway safety shall, in conjunction with the administrative office of the West Virginia supreme court of appeals, compile for consideration by the Legislature statistical information and documentation regarding caseloads, cases handled per year per magistrate, cases per county, cases per circuit and provide to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates no later than the first day of the regular session of the Legislature, two thousand two, their recommendations for improving the magistrate process, better utilization of court resources, including, but not limited to, categorizing the various types of cases heard in magistrate court and developing a new weighted formula to evaluate types of cases by the amount of time necessary to bring said cases to a resolution.

(d) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the allowable number of magistrates serving the counties of Berkeley and Nicholas on the first day of March, two thousand one, shall be increased by one in each county, effective the first day of July, two thousand one. The initial appointment to the position shall be made in accordance with the provisions of section six of this article.


WVC 50 - 1 - 3 §50-1-3. Salaries of magistrates.

     (a) The Legislature finds and declares that:

     (1) The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has held that a salary system for magistrates which is based upon the population that each magistrate serves does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution of the United States;

     (2) The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has held that a salary system for magistrates which is based upon the population that each magistrate serves does not violate section thirty-nine, article VI of the Constitution of West Virginia;

     (3) The Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has stated that the utilization of a two-tiered salary schedule for magistrates is no longer an equitable and rational manner by which magistrates should be compensated for work performed;

     (4) Organizing the two tiers of the salary schedule into one tier for magistrates serving less than seven thousand three hundred in population and a second tier for magistrates serving seven thousand three hundred or more in population is no longer rational and equitable given current statistical information relating to population and caseload; and

     (5) That, by January 1, 2017, all magistrates should be compensated equally.

     (b) The salary of each magistrate shall be paid by the state. Magistrates who serve fewer than seven thousand three hundred in population shall be paid annual salaries of $51,125 and magistrates who serve seven thousand three hundred or more in population shall be paid annual salaries of $57,500.

     (c) For the purpose of determining the population served by each magistrate, the number of magistrates authorized for each county shall be divided into the population of each county. For the purpose of this article, the population of each county is the population as determined by the last preceding decennial census taken under the authority of the United States government.

     (d) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the amendments made to this section during the 2013 First Extraordinary Session are effective upon passage and are retroactive to January 1, 2013.

     (e) On or before July 1, 2013, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance shall request a study by the National Center for State Courts, working in conjunction with the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, to review the weighted case loads in each of the magistrate courts in this state, and present recommendations as to how the present resources and personnel in the magistrate court system could be better apportioned to equitably and timely meet the collective needs of the magistrate court system in West Virginia. Based on the findings and data generated by that study, the National Center for State Courts shall make recommendations as to the equitable redistribution of personnel and resources, by temporary or permanent reassignment, to better meet the needs and weighted loads that are demonstrated to exist in the various magistrate courts in this state. This study shall be presented to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance no later than December 1, 2014, and shall include recommendations and proposed legislation resulting from such study and shall also include a plan to continue the efficient delivery of justice by the magistrate court system and the justification for equalization of pay for all magistrates. As a part of the submitted study, the plan shall consider the reassignment of magistrates or the extension of their duties and jurisdiction to include holding court or delivering services to adjacent counties with higher caseloads, as part of their regular duties, or being on call as needed to serve other needs in other adjacent counties or within the same judicial circuit.

     On or before January 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia shall present its recommendations to the Legislature regarding how to allocate or assign a maximum of one hundred fifty- eight magistrates throughout this state to improve the magistrate process, and more equitably distribute the magistrate court resources to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the citizens of this state.

     (f) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, beginning January 1, 2017, all magistrates shall be compensated equally and the annual salary of all magistrates shall be $57,500.
WVC 50-1-4 §50-1-4. Qualifications of magistrates; training; oath; continuing education; time devoted to public duties.
Each magistrate shall be at least twenty-one years of age, shall have a high school education or its equivalent, shall not have been convicted of any felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and shall reside in the county of his election. No magistrate shall be a member of the immediate family of any other magistrate in the county. In the event more than one member of an immediate family shall be elected in a county, only the member receiving the highest number of votes shall be 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 the fifth day of November, one thousand nine hundred seventy-four, 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.

No person shall assume the duties of magistrate unless he shall have first attended and completed a course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure which shall be given in accordance with the supervisory rules of the supreme court of appeals.

All magistrates shall be required to attend such other courses of continuing educational instruction as may be required by supervisory rule of the supreme court of appeals. Failure to attend such courses of continuing educational instruction without good cause shall constitute neglect of duty. Such courses shall be provided at least once every other year. Persons attending such courses 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.

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. 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 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 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.


WVC 50-1-5 §50-1-5. Removal from office; disciplinary procedures.
A magistrate may be removed from office in the manner provided in section seven, article six, chapter six of this code. In addition to the grounds for removal enumerated in section three, article six, chapter six of this code, a magistrate may be removed from office for conviction of a felony, for conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or a duty of the office, or for willful violation of this chapter or any rule, regulation or order provided for in this chapter. In addition to other methods provided by law, removal proceedings may be initiated upon the motion of a judge of the circuit court of the county.

A magistrate may be censured or temporarily suspended in accordance with the rules of the supreme court of appeals.


WVC 50 - 1 - 6 §50-1-6. Vacancy in office of magistrate.

     Subject to the provisions of section one, article ten, chapter three of this code, when a vacancy occurs in the office of magistrate, the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, shall fill the same by appointment of a person of the same political party as the officeholder vacating the office.

     At a general election in which a magistrate is elected for an unexpired term, the circuit judge, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, shall cause a notice of such election to be published prior to such election as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county involved. If the vacancy occurs before the primary election held to nominate candidates to be voted for at the general election, at which any such vacancy is to be filled, candidates to fill such vacancy shall be nominated at such primary election in accordance with the time requirements and the provisions and procedures prescribed in article five, chapter three of this code. Otherwise, they shall be nominated by the county executive committee in the manner provided in section nineteen, article five, chapter three of this code, as in the case of filling vacancies in nominations, and the names of the persons so nominated and certified to the clerk of the circuit court of such county shall be placed upon the ballot to be voted at such next general election.
WVC 50-1-6A §50-1-6a. Temporary appointment of retired magistrates.
The West Virginia supreme court of appeals is authorized and empowered to create a panel of senior magistrates to consist of, and to utilize the talent and experience of, retired magistrates of this state. The supreme court of appeals shall promulgate rules providing for such senior magistrates to be assigned duties as needed and as feasible toward the objective of reducing caseloads and providing for replacement of magistrates who are unavailable: Provided, That reasonable payment shall be made to said senior magistrates on a per diem basis: Provided, however, That the per diem and retirement compensation of a senior magistrate shall not exceed the salary of a sitting magistrate and allowances shall also be made for necessary expenses pursuant to the travel regulations of the supreme court of appeals.


WVC 50-1-7 §50-1-7. Chief magistrates; administrative responsibility; additional duties.
The judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, may appoint one of the magistrates, to serve at the will and pleasure of such circuit court judge, as the chief magistrate of the county. The chief magistrate, if there is one, shall be responsible for all of the administrative functions required of the magistrate court in each county by this code and as required by rules and regulations of the supreme court of appeals. These functions shall include, but not be limited to, supervising the circuit clerk or magistrate court clerk in the establishment and maintenance of a centralized docketing system, submitting all reports required by law and promptly notifying such circuit court judge that additional magistrates are required to handle the cases then pending in the magistrate court of said county. Chief magistrates shall have the additional duties of acting as liaison between the magistrate court and the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, and such other additional duties as may be assigned by such judge.


WVC 50 - 1 - 8 .§50-1-8. Magistrate court clerks; salaries; duties; duties of circuit clerk.

  (a) In each county having three or more magistrates the judge of the circuit court or the chief judge of the circuit court, if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, shall appoint a magistrate court clerk. In all other counties the judge may appoint a magistrate court clerk or may by rule require the duties of the magistrate court clerk to be performed by the clerk of the circuit court, in which event the circuit court clerk is entitled to additional compensation in the amount of $2,500 per year. The magistrate court clerk serves at the will and pleasure of the circuit judge.

  (b) Magistrate court clerks shall be paid a monthly salary by the state. Magistrate court clerks serving magistrates who serve less than seven thousand three hundred in population shall be paid up to $39,552 per year and magistrate court clerks serving magistrates who serve seven thousand three hundred or more in population shall be paid up to $44,712 per year: Provided, That after the effective date of this section, any general salary increase granted to all state employees, whose salaries are not set by statute, expressed as a percentage increase or an across-the-board increase, may also be granted to magistrate court clerks. For the purpose of determining the population served by each magistrate, the number of magistrates authorized for each county shall be divided into the population of each county. The salary of the magistrate court clerk shall be established by the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge of the circuit court if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, within the limits set forth in this section.

  (c) In addition to other duties that may be imposed by the provisions of this chapter or by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals or the judge of the circuit court or the chief judge of the circuit court if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, it is the duty of the magistrate court clerk to establish and maintain appropriate dockets and records in a centralized system for the magistrate court, to assist in the preparation of the reports required of the court and to carry out on behalf of the magistrates or chief magistrate if a chief magistrate is appointed, the administrative duties of the court.

  (d) The magistrate court clerk, or if there is no magistrate court clerk in the county, the clerk of the circuit court, may issue all manner of civil process and require the enforcement of subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum in magistrate court.

  (e) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the amendments made to this section during the 2013 First Extraordinary Session are effective upon passage and are retroactive to January 1, 2013.

  (f) Beginning January 1, 2017, the annual salary of all magistrate court clerks is $44,720. After the effective date of this section, a general salary increase granted to state employees, whose salaries are not set by statute, expressed as a percentage increase or an across-the-board increase, may also be granted to magistrate court clerks.
WVC 50 - 1 - 9 §50-1-9. Magistrate assistants; salary; duties.

     (a) In each county there shall be one magistrate assistant for each magistrate. Each magistrate assistant shall be appointed by the magistrate under whose authority and supervision and at whose will and pleasure he or she shall serve. The assistant shall not be a member of the immediate family of any magistrate and shall not have been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and shall reside in the State of West Virginia. For the purpose of this section, "immediate family" means the relationships of mother, father, sister, brother, child or spouse.

     (b) A magistrate assistant shall have the duties, clerical or otherwise, assigned by the magistrate and prescribed by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals or the judge of the circuit court or the chief judge of the circuit court if there is more than one judge of the circuit court. In addition to these duties, magistrate assistants shall perform and are accountable to the magistrate court clerks with respect to the following duties:

     (1) The preparation of summons in civil actions;

     (2) The assignment of civil actions to the various magistrates;

     (3) The collection of all costs, fees, fines, forfeitures and penalties which are payable to the court;

     (4) The submission of moneys, along with an accounting of the moneys, to appropriate authorities as provided by law;

     (5) The daily disposition of closed files which are to be located in the magistrate clerk's office;

     (6) All duties related to the gathering of information and documents necessary for the preparation of administrative reports and documents required by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals or the judge of the circuit court or the chief judge of the circuit court if there is more than one judge of the circuit court;

     (7) All duties relating to the notification, certification and payment of jurors serving pursuant to the terms of this chapter; and

     (8) All other duties or responsibilities whereby the magistrate assistant is accountable to the magistrate court clerk as determined by the magistrate.

     (c) Magistrate assistants shall be paid a monthly salary by the state. Magistrate assistants serving magistrates who serve less than seven thousand three hundred in population shall be paid up to $36,048 per year and magistrate assistants serving magistrates who serve seven thousand three hundred or more in population shall be paid up to $39,348 per year: Provided, That after the effective date of this section, any general salary increase granted to all state employees, whose salaries are not set by statute, expressed as a percentage increase or an across-the-board increase, may also be granted to magistrate assistants. For the purpose of determining the population served by each magistrate, the number of magistrates authorized for each county shall be divided into the population of each county. The salary of the magistrate assistant shall be established by the magistrate within the limits set forth in this section.

     (d) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the amendments made to this section during the 2013 First Extraordinary Session are effective upon passage and are retroactive to January 1, 2013.

     (e) Beginning January 1, 2017, the annual salary of all magistrate assistants is $39,348. After the effective date of this section, a general salary increase granted to state employees, whose salaries are not set by statute, expressed as a percentage increase or an across-the-board increase, may also be granted to magistrate assistants.
WVC 50 - 1 - 9 A §50-1-9a. Magistrate court deputy clerks; duties; salary.

     (a) Whenever required by workload and upon the recommendation of the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge of the circuit court if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, the Supreme Court of Appeals may, by rule, provide for the appointment of magistrate court deputy clerks, not to exceed seventy-two in number. The magistrate court deputy clerks shall be appointed by the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, to serve at his or her will and pleasure under the immediate supervision of the magistrate court clerk.

     (b) Magistrate court deputy clerks shall have the duties, clerical or otherwise, as may be assigned by the magistrate court clerk and as may be prescribed by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals or the judge of the circuit court or the chief judge if there is more than one judge of the circuit court. Magistrate court deputy clerks may also exercise the power and perform the duties of the magistrate court clerk as may be delegated or assigned by the magistrate court clerk.

     (c) A magistrate court deputy clerk may not be an immediate family member of any magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate assistant or judge of the circuit court within the same county, may not have been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and must reside in this state. For purposes of this subsection, "immediate family member" means a mother, father, sister, brother, child or spouse.

     (d) Magistrate court deputy clerks shall be paid an annual salary by the state on the same basis and in the same amounts established for magistrate assistants in each county, as provided in section nine of this article.

     (e) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the amendments made to section nine of this article during the 2013 First Extraordinary Session, and the effects of those amendments on subsection (d) of this section, are effective upon passage and are retroactive to January 1, 2013.

     (f) Beginning January 1, 2017, the annual salary of all magistrate court deputy clerks is $39,348. After the effective date of this section, a general salary increase granted to state employees, whose salaries are not set by statute, expressed as a percentage increase or an across-the-board increase, may also be granted to magistrate court deputy clerks.
WVC 50 - 1 - 9 B §50-1-9b. Appointment of senior magistrate court clerks.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is authorized to create a panel of senior magistrate court clerks to utilize the talent and experience of former magistrate court clerks of this state. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall promulgate rules providing for senior magistrate court clerks to be assigned duties as needed to serve: (1) In the place of magistrate court clerks who are on authorized leave or are otherwise unavailable; or (2) while there is a vacancy in a magistrate court clerk's office. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall further promulgate rules to provide for: (1) Reimbursement of travel and other necessary expenses actually incurred while the senior clerk is serving outside the county of his or her residence; and (2) reasonable compensation on a per diem basis: Provided, That the per diem and retirement compensation of a senior magistrate court clerk may not exceed the salary of the magistrate court clerk in whose place the senior clerk is serving.


WVC 50-1-10 §50-1-10. Clerks, deputy clerks and magistrate assistants to take oath and post bond.
Each magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk, and magistrate assistant, shall take an oath of office and shall post a bond in the penalty of twenty-five thousand dollars with sufficient surety approved by the administrative director of the supreme court of appeals or the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, which bond shall be conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of the office. The state shall pay the cost of such bond and the administrative director of the supreme court of appeals may obtain, in lieu of individual bonds, a bond including more than one magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk or magistrate assistant.


WVC 50-1-11 §50-1-11. Offices for magistrates; location; expenses; copy of state code.
Subject to the rules of the supreme court of appeals, the location of offices for magistrates shall be determined by order of the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court. When required by geography or population dispersion and in order to make such offices accessible to the public, an order may require more than one location for each magistrate. As near as practicable within a county, all office accommodations shall be comparable. All expenses of acquiring or renting offices and utility and telephone expenses shall be paid by the county. All other expenses, including, but not limited to, expenses for furniture, equipment and supplies, shall be paid by the state. The administrative director of the supreme court of appeals shall supply each magistrate with a current copy of the West Virginia code which shall remain the property of the state.

Magistrates who serve at more than one location within the county, whether on a regular or temporary basis, shall be reimbursed travel expenses for travel between locations at a rate per mile equal to that allowed for reimbursement of travel expenses of officers in the judicial branch of state government.


WVC 50-1-12 §50-1-12. Conduct of office; penalty.
Magistrates shall be subject to and shall abide by the code of judicial ethics as adopted and amended by the supreme court of appeals. In addition to such conduct as may be regulated by the rules of the supreme court of appeals, no magistrate, magistrate court clerk or magistrate court deputy clerk or magistrate assistant shall:

(a) Acquire or hold any interest in any matter which is before the magistrate court;

(b) Purchase, either directly or indirectly, any property being sold upon execution issued by the magistrate court;

(c) Act as agent or attorney for any party in any proceeding in any magistrate court in the state; or

(d) Engage in, or assist in, any remunerative endeavor, except the duties of his office, while on the premises of the magistrate court office.

Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of official misconduct and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

Nothing contained in this section shall preclude a magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant from being a party to an action in the magistrate court: Provided, That any action in which the magistrate court clerk is a party shall not be assigned to the chief magistrate nor shall any action in which a magistrate court deputy clerk or magistrate assistant is a party be assigned or heard by the magistrate for whom such magistrate assistant is employed or to whose court such deputy clerk is assigned.


WVC 50 - 1 - 13 §50-1-13. Temporary service within or outside of county.
(a) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals or judge of the circuit court of the county in which a magistrate is elected, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, may order a magistrate to serve temporarily at locations within the county other than at the regular office or offices of the magistrate.

(b) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals or judge of the circuit court of the county in which a magistrate is elected, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, may by order direct a magistrate to serve temporarily in any other county within the judicial circuit for such purposes as the judge may direct. The magistrate's authority, to the extent ordered by the judge, shall be equal to the jurisdiction and authority of a magistrate elected in the county to which the magistrate is ordered to serve. The temporary assignment may not exceed sixty days in length in any given calendar year, except with the consent of the transferred magistrate.

(c) A magistrate who is temporarily assigned to a county with a higher salary schedule for magistrates than the salary schedule in the county from which the magistrate was elected, shall be reimbursed for the difference of the salary in the assigned county and the lower salary which the magistrate received in the county of election, prorated for the number of days of the temporary assignment. An assigned magistrate may not be reimbursed on a pro rata basis for less than the salary received in the county of that magistrate's election.

(d) A magistrate shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in service outside of the county, as provided by rule of the Supreme Court of Appeals.


WVC 50 - 1 - 14 §50-1-14. Duties of sheriff; service of process; bailiff.
(a) It shall be the duty of each sheriff to execute all civil and criminal process from any magistrate court which may be directed to such sheriff. Process shall be served in the same manner as provided by law for process from circuit courts.

Subject to the supervision of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals or of the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, it shall be the duty of the sheriff, or his or her designated deputy, to serve as bailiff of a magistrate court upon the request of the magistrate. Such service shall also be subject to such administrative rules as may be promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals. A writ of mandamus shall lie on behalf of a magistrate to enforce the provisions of this section.

(b) The sheriff of any county may employ, by and with the consent of the county commission, one or more persons whose sole duties shall be the service of civil process and the service of subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum. Any such person shall not be considered a deputy or deputy sheriff within the meaning of subdivision (2), subsection (a), section two, article fourteen, chapter seven of this code, nor shall any such person be authorized to carry deadly weapons in the performance of his or her duties: Provided, That the sheriff may authorize an employee whose sole duties involve service of civil process to carry a firearm if the employee completes all training requirements otherwise applicable to deputy sheriffs for the use and handling of firearms: Provided, however, That the sheriff may authorize previously certified West Virginia law-enforcement officers to carry a deadly weapon in the performance of the duties of the officers under the provisions of this section: Provided further, That these officers and employees maintain yearly weapons qualifications and are bonded through the office of the sheriff.


WVC 50-1-15 §50-1-15. Transitional provisions.
Except as the same may be otherwise amended by act of the Legislature, and except for the provisions of article twenty of this chapter, all of the provisions of chapter fifty of this code existing immediately prior to the effective date of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect until the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred seventy-seven.

Immediately after the expiration of his term of office and in no event later than thirty days thereafter each justice of the peace shall pay over to appropriate authorities or persons such moneys as may be held by him and submit such reports to such authorities or persons as are required by law.

Every justice of the peace, upon the expiration of his term of office, shall forthwith deliver his official docket, together with such dockets of his predecessors as he may have, to the magistrate court clerk or, if there is no magistrate court clerk, to the clerk of the circuit court, who shall maintain such dockets as directed by the supreme court of appeals or by the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court.

No act done by a justice of the peace prior to the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred seventy-seven, shall be affected by virtue of the abolition of the office of justice of the peace. Matters pending before a justice of the peace prior to such date or which might otherwise require further action by a justice of the peace shall be handled by the magistrate to whom such matter is assigned or in such other manner as may be ordered by the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court.


WVC 50-1-16 §50-1-16. Supervisory rules.
The supreme court of appeals is hereby authorized to promulgate rules to carry out the intent of this chapter and to exercise rule-making authority granted by article VIII of the constitution of West Virginia. Rules promulgated by the judge of a circuit court, or the chief judge thereof, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be subordinate and subject to the rules of the supreme court of appeals or the orders of the chief justice thereof. Rules promulgated by the judge of a circuit court, or the chief judge thereof, shall be made by order entered upon the order book of the circuit court, as hereinafter provided, and shall be effective when filed with the clerk of the supreme court of appeals and the magistrate court clerk for the magistrate court in which such rules apply. All rules promulgated under this section by the supreme court of appeals, or by the judge of a circuit court, or the chief judge thereof, shall be entered upon an order book designated for the purpose of magistrate court rules by the clerk of the circuit court.


WVC 50-1-17 §50-1-17. Reference to justice of the peace; abolition of the office of constable.
On and after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred seventy-seven, the phrase "justice of the peace" and the word "justice," when used in a context meaning "justice of the peace," shall be construed to mean magistrate as created by the provisions of this chapter. At such time the office of constable shall be abolished, and the duties previously performed by constables shall be assumed by deputy sheriffs or by such other persons as elsewhere provided in this code.


WVC -2- ARTICLE 2. JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY.


WVC 50-2-1 §50-2-1. Civil jurisdiction.
Except as limited herein and in addition to jurisdiction granted elsewhere to magistrate courts, such courts shall have jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the value or amount in controversy or the value of property sought, exclusive of interest and cost, is not more than five thousand dollars. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of all matters involving unlawful entry or detainer of real property or involving wrongful occupation of residential rental property, so long as the title to such property is not in dispute. Except as the same may be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-five of this code, regarding unlawful entry and detainer, shall apply to such actions in magistrate court. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of actions on bonds given pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Magistrate courts shall have continuing jurisdiction to entertain motions in regard to post-judgment process issued from magistrate court and decisions thereon may be appealed in the same manner as judgments.

Magistrate courts shall not have jurisdiction of actions in equity, of matters in eminent domain, of matters in which the title to real estate is in issue, of proceedings seeking satisfaction of liens through the sale of real estate, of actions for false imprisonment, of actions for malicious prosecution or of actions for slander or libel or of any of the extraordinary remedies set forth in chapter fifty-three of this code.

Magistrates, magistrate court clerks, magistrate court deputy clerks, and magistrate assistants shall have the authority to administer any oath or affirmation, to take any affidavit or deposition, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, and to take, under such regulations as are prescribed by law, the acknowledgment of deeds and other writings.


WVC 50-2-2 50-2-2. Venue; change of venue.
(a) The provisions of article one, chapter fifty-six of this code, relating to venue of actions in circuit courts, shall apply to venue of actions in magistrate courts as if the same were set forth fully herein.

(b) The circuit court may, on the petition of the accused and for good cause shown, order the venue of the trial of a criminal case in magistrate court to be removed to some other county. Upon the filing of the petition, the proceedings in magistrate court shall be stayed until disposition by the circuit court. When the venue is so changed, the court making the order shall determine the county to which the case is to be removed and order the defendant to appear on some certain day before the court to which the case is removed. Where the defendant is in custody, the court may, if appropriate, order the defendant confined in a jail convenient to the court to which the case is removed. Upon receipt of the order changing venue, the magistrate court shall certify copies of its file of the case to the court to which the case is removed, and such court shall proceed with the case as if the prosecution had been originally therein, and for that purpose the certified copies aforesaid shall be sufficient.


WVC 50-2-3 §50-2-3. Criminal jurisdiction; limitations on bail.
In addition to jurisdiction granted elsewhere to magistrate courts, magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of all misdemeanor offenses committed in the county and to conduct preliminary examinations on warrants charging felonies committed within the county and, upon order of referral from the circuit courts, to conduct preliminary examinations on probation violations, which examinations shall be conducted without delay and in all events not later than thirty days from the date any probation violation petition or motion has been filed in circuit court. A magistrate shall have the authority to issue arrest warrants in all criminal matters, to issue warrants for search and seizure and, except in cases involving capital offenses, to set and admit to bail: Provided, That in cases punishable only by the fine such bail or recognizance shall not exceed the maximum amount of the fine and applicable court costs permitted or authorized by statute to be imposed in the event of conviction.


WVC 50 - 2 - 3 A §50-2-3a. Sentencing; probation.
(a) In addition to sentencing authority granted in other provisions of this code to magistrate courts, magistrate courts have authority to suspend sentences and impose periods of unsupervised probation for a period not to exceed two years, except for offenses for which the penalty includes mandatory incarceration and offenses defined in sections eight and nine, article eight-b, chapter sixty-one of this code and subsection (c), section five, article eight-d of said chapter.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, magistrate courts have the authority to impose periods of supervision or participation in a community corrections program created pursuant to article eleven-c, chapter sixty-two of this code. Periods of supervision or participation in community corrections programs imposed pursuant to this subsection are not to exceed two years.

(c) Release on probation is subject to the following conditions:

(1) That the probationer may not, during the term of his or her probation, violate any criminal law of this state, any other state of the United States or the United States;

(2) That he or she may not, during the term of his or her probation, leave the state without the consent of the court which placed him or her on probation;

(3) That he or she shall comply with the rules or terms prescribed by the court;

(4) That he or she shall make reasonable restitution if financially able to do so, in whole or in any part, immediately or within the period of probation: Provided, That the magistrate conducts a hearing prior to imposition of probation and makes a determination on the record that the offender is able to pay restitution without undue hardship; and

(5) That he or she shall pay any fine and the costs assessed as the court may direct: Provided, That the magistrate conducts a hearing prior to imposition of probation and makes a determination on the record that the offender is able to pay the costs without undue hardship.

(d) On motion by the prosecuting attorney, and upon a hearing and a finding that reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation of any condition of probation has occurred, the magistrate may revoke probation and order execution of the sentence originally imposed.


WVC -3- ARTICLE 3. COSTS, FINES AND RECORDS.


WVC 50 - 3 - 1 §50-3-1. Costs in civil actions.
The following costs shall be charged in magistrate courts in civil actions and shall be collected in advance:

(a) For filing and trying any civil action and for all services connected therewith, but excluding services regarding enforcement of judgment, the following amounts dependent upon the amount of damages sought in the complaint:

Where the action is for five hundred dollars

or less$30.00

Where the action is for more than five hundred

dollars but not more than one thousand dollars $35.00

Where the action is for more than one thousand

dollars but not more than two thousand dollars$40.00

Where the action is for more than two thousand

dollars$50.00

Where the action seeks relief other than money

damage$30.00

Five dollars from each of the filing fees listed above shall be deposited in the Court Security Fund created by the provisions of section fourteen, article three, chapter fifty-one of this code.

Five dollars from each of the filing fees listed above shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

(b) For each service regarding enforcement of

a judgment including execution, suggestion,

garnishment and suggestee execution$5.00

(c) For each bond filed in a case$1.00

(d) For taking deposition of witness

for each hour or portion thereof$1.00

(e) For taking and certifying acknowledgment

of a deed or other writing or taking oath

upon an affidavit$ .50

(f) For mailing any matter required or

provided by law to be mailed by certified or

registered mail with return receipt$1.00

(g) For filing and trying any civil action$20.00

Costs incurred in a civil action shall be reflected in any judgment rendered thereon. The provisions of section one, article two, chapter fifty-nine of this code, relating to the payment of costs by poor persons, shall be applicable to all costs in civil actions.


WVC 50 - 3 - 1 A §50-3-1a. Costs assessed against losing party.

Except as otherwise provided by law, costs shall be assessed against the losing party or parties.


WVC 50 - 3 - 2 §50-3-2. Costs in criminal proceedings.
(a) In each criminal case before a magistrate court in which the defendant is convicted, whether by plea or at trial, there is imposed, in addition to other costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties as may be allowed by law: (1) Costs in the amount of sixty dollars, of which five dollars of that amount shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code; (2) an amount equal to the one-day per diem provided for in subsection (h), section ten, article twenty, chapter thirty-one of this code; and (3) costs in the amount of thirty dollars to be deposited in the Regional Jail Operations Partial Reimbursement Fund created by section ten-b of said article. A magistrate may not collect costs in advance. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a person liable for fines and court costs in a criminal proceeding in which the defendant is confined in a jail or prison and not participating in a work release program shall not be held liable for the fines and court costs until one hundred eighty days after completion of the term in jail or prison. A magistrate court shall deposit five dollars from each of the criminal proceedings fees collected pursuant to this section in the Court Security Fund created in section fourteen, article three, chapter fifty-one of this code. A magistrate court shall, on or before the tenth day of the month following the month in which the fees imposed in this section were collected, remit an amount equal to the one-day per diem provided for in subsection (h), section ten, article twenty, chapter thirty-one of this code from each of the criminal proceedings in which the fees specified in this section were collected to the magistrate court clerk, or if there is no magistrate court clerk to the clerk of the circuit, together with information as may be required by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the rules of the Office of Chief Inspector. These moneys are paid to the sheriff who shall distribute the moneys solely in accordance with the provisions of section fifteen, article five, chapter seven of this code. Amendments made to this section during the regular session of the Legislature, two thousand one, are effective after the thirtieth day of June, two thousand one.

(b) A magistrate shall assess costs in the amount of two dollars and fifty cents for issuing a sheep warrant and the appointment and swearing appraisers and docketing the proceedings.

(c) In each criminal case which must be tried by the circuit court but in which a magistrate renders some service, costs in the amount of ten dollars shall be imposed by the magistrate court and is certified to the clerk of the circuit court in accordance with the provisions of section six, article five, chapter sixty-two of this code.


WVC 50 - 3 - 2 A §50-3-2a. Payment by credit card or payment plan; suspension of licenses for failure to make payments or appear or respond; restitution; liens.

     (a) A magistrate court may accept credit cards in payment of all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties in accordance with rules promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Any charges made by the credit company shall be paid by the person responsible for paying the cost, fine, forfeiture or penalty.

     (b) Unless otherwise required by law, a magistrate court may collect a portion of any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties at the time the amount is imposed by the court so long as the court requires the balance to be paid in accordance with a payment plan which specifies: (1) The number of payments to be made; (2) the dates on which the payments are due; and (3) the amounts due for each payment. The written agreement represents the minimum payments and the last date those payments may be made. The obligor or the obligor's agent may accelerate the payment schedule at any time by paying any additional portion of any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties.

     (c) (1) If any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by the magistrate court in a criminal case are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the magistrate court clerk or, upon judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to pay: Provided, That in a criminal case in which a nonresident of this state is convicted of a motor vehicle violation defined in section three-a, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code, the appropriate clerk shall notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the failure to pay within eighty days from the date of judgment and expiration of any stay of execution. Upon notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend any privilege the person defaulting on payment may have to operate a motor vehicle in this state, including any driver's license issued to the person by the Division of Motor Vehicles, until all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties are paid in full. The suspension shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of section six, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code: Provided, That any person who has had his or her license to operate a motor vehicle in this state suspended pursuant to this subsection and his or her failure to pay is based upon inability to pay, may, if he or she is employed on a full- or part-time basis, petition to the circuit court for an order authorizing him or her to operate a motor vehicle solely for employment purposes. Upon a showing satisfactory to the court of inability to pay, employment and compliance with other applicable motor vehicle laws, the court shall issue an order granting relief.

     (2) In addition to the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed or ordered by the magistrate court for a hunting violation described in chapter twenty of this code are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the magistrate court clerk or, upon a judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Director of the Division of Natural Resources of the failure to pay. Upon notice, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall suspend any privilege the person failing to appear or otherwise respond may have to hunt in this state, including any hunting license issued to the person by the Division of Natural Resources, until all the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties are paid in full.

     (3) In addition to the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed or ordered by the magistrate court for a fishing violation described in chapter twenty of this code are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the magistrate court clerk or, upon a judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Director of the Division of Natural Resources of the failure to pay. Upon notice, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall suspend any privilege the person failing to appear or otherwise respond may have to fish in this state, including any fishing license issued to the person by the Division of Natural Resources, until all the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties are paid in full.

     (d) (1) If a person charged with any criminal violation of this code fails to appear or otherwise respond in court, the magistrate court shall notify the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles thereof within ninety days of the scheduled date to appear unless the person sooner appears or otherwise responds in court to the satisfaction of the magistrate. Upon notice, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall suspend any privilege the person failing to appear or otherwise respond may have to operate a motor vehicle in this state, including any driver's license issued to the person by the Division of Motor Vehicles, until final judgment in the case and, if a judgment of guilty, until all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed are paid in full. The suspension shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of section six, article three, chapter seventeen-b of this code.

     (2) In addition to the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if a person charged with any hunting violation described in chapter twenty of this code fails to appear or otherwise respond in court, the magistrate court shall notify the Director of the Division of Natural Resources of the failure thereof within fifteen days of the scheduled date to appear unless the person sooner appears or otherwise responds in court to the satisfaction of the magistrate. Upon notice, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall suspend any privilege the person failing to appear or otherwise respond may have to hunt in this state, including any hunting license issued to the person by the Division of Natural Resources, until final judgment in the case and, if a judgment of guilty, until all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed are paid in full.

     (3) In addition to the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, if a person charged with any fishing violation described in chapter twenty of this code fails to appear or otherwise respond in court, the magistrate court shall notify the Director of the Division of Natural Resources of the failure thereof within fifteen days of the scheduled date to appear unless the person sooner appears or otherwise responds in court to the satisfaction of the magistrate. Upon notice, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources shall suspend any privilege the person failing to appear or otherwise respond may have to fish in this state, including any fishing license issued to the person by the Division of Natural Resources, until final judgment in the case and, if a judgment of guilty, until all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed are paid in full.

     (e) In every criminal case which involves a misdemeanor violation, a magistrate may order restitution where appropriate when rendering judgment.

     (f) (1) If all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by a magistrate court and ordered to be paid are not paid within one hundred eighty days from the date of judgment and the expiration of any stay of execution, the clerk of the magistrate court shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the county of nonpayment and provide the prosecuting attorney with an abstract of judgment. The prosecuting attorney shall file the abstract of judgment in the office of the clerk of the county commission in the county where the defendant was convicted and in any county wherein the defendant resides or owns property. The clerks of the county commissions shall record and index the abstracts of judgment without charge or fee to the prosecuting attorney and when so recorded, the amount stated to be owing in the abstract shall constitute a lien against all property of the defendant.

     (2) When all the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties described in subdivision (1) of this subsection for which an abstract of judgment has been recorded are paid in full, the clerk of the magistrate court shall notify the prosecuting attorney of the county of payment and provide the prosecuting attorney with a release of judgment, prepared in accordance with the provisions of section one, article twelve, chapter thirty-eight of this code, for filing and recordation pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision. Upon receipt from the clerk, the prosecuting attorney shall file the release of judgment in the office of the clerk of the county commission in each county where an abstract of the judgment was recorded. The clerks of the county commissions shall record and index the release of judgment without charge or fee to the prosecuting attorney.

     (g) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, except as authorized by this section, payments of all costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by the magistrate court in civil or criminal matters shall be made in full. Partial payments of costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties made pursuant to this section shall be credited to amounts due in the following order:

     (1) Regional Jail Fund;

     (2) Worthless Check Payee;

     (3) Restitution;

     (4) Magistrate Court Fund;

     (5) Worthless Check Fund;

     (6) Per Diem Regional Jail Fee;

     (7) Community Corrections Fund;

     (8) Regional Jail Operational Fund;

     (9) Law Enforcement Training Fund;

     (10) Crime Victims Compensation Fund;

     (11) Court Security Fund;

     (12) Courthouse Improvement Fund;

     (13) Litter Control Fund;

     (14) Sheriff arrest fee;

     (15) Teen Court Fund;

     (16) Other costs, if any;

     (17) Fine.
WVC 50 - 3 - 2 B §50-3-2b. Additional costs in certain criminal proceedings.
In each criminal case before a magistrate court in which the defendant is convicted, whether by plea or at trial, under the provisions of section two, article five, chapter seventeen-c of this code or section eighteen-b, article seven, chapter twenty of this code, there shall be imposed, in addition to other costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties as may be allowed by law, costs in the amount of fifty-five dollars. A magistrate court shall, on or before the tenth day of the month following the month in which the costs imposed in this section were collected, remit an amount equal to the amount from each of the criminal proceedings in which the costs specified in this section were collected to the magistrate court clerk or, if there is no magistrate court clerk, to the clerk of the circuit, together with information as may be required by the rules of the supreme court of appeals and the rules of the office of chief inspector. At the end of each month, for purposes of further defraying the cost to the county of enforcing the provisions of section two, article five, chapter seventeen-c of this code or section eighteen-b, article seven, chapter twenty of this code and related provisions, these moneys shall be paid to the sheriff of the county and deposited in the general revenue fund of the county. The provisions of this section shall be effective after the thirtieth day of June, two thousand four.


WVC 50 - 3 - 2 C 3§50-3-2c. Withholding from personal income tax refunds for unpaid fines and costs in magistrate criminal actions, in magistrate criminal appeals to circuit court and for failure to appear in court.

     (a) If costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties imposed by the magistrate court upon conviction of a person for a criminal offense as defined by this code, imposed by the circuit court upon judgment on an appeal to circuit court of that conviction, or imposed by either court for failure to appear are not paid in full within one year of the judgment, the magistrate court clerk or, upon a judgment rendered on appeal, the circuit clerk shall notify the Tax Commissioner that the defendant has failed to pay the costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties assessed by the court. The notice provided by the magistrate clerk or the circuit clerk to the Tax Commissioner must include the defendant's Social Security number. The Tax Commissioner, or his or her designee, shall withhold from any personal income tax refund due and owing to a defendant the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties due, the Tax Commissioner's administration fee for the withholding and any and all fees or other amounts that the magistrate court and the circuit court would have collected had the defendant appeared: Provided, That no withholding shall be made under this section if there is an unsatisfied withholding request made pursuant to section two-b, article ten, chapter eight of this code. The Tax Commissioner's administration fee shall not exceed $25, unless this maximum amount is increased by legislative rule promulgated in accordance with article three, chapter twenty- nine-a of this code. The administrative fees deducted shall be deposited in the special revolving fund hereby created in the State Treasury, which shall be designated as the Magistrate Fines and Fees Collection Fund, and the Tax Commissioner shall make such expenditures from the fund as he or she deems appropriate for the administration of this subsection.

     (b) (1) After deduction of the Tax Commissioner's administration fee, the Tax Commissioner shall remit all remaining amounts withheld pursuant to this section to the clerk of the court that notified the Tax Commissioner of the failure to pay under subsection (a) of this section.

     (2) From the amounts received from the Tax Commissioner, the circuit clerk shall distribute the portion thereof that is attributable to costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties owed to magistrate court to the magistrate clerk and distribute the remainder that is attributable to costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties owed to circuit court to the appropriate fund or payee, as applicable and listed in section twenty-eight-a, article one, chapter fifty-nine of this code and as otherwise required by law.

     (3) From the amounts received from the Tax Commissioner, or from the circuit clerk under subdivision (2) of this subsection, the magistrate clerk shall distribute applicable costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties owed to the appropriate fund or payee, as applicable and listed in subsection (g), section two-a of this article and as otherwise required by law.

     (4) After the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties are withheld, the Tax Commissioner shall refund any remaining balance due the defendant.

     (5) If the refund is not sufficient to cover all the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties to be withheld pursuant to this section, the Tax Commissioner's administration fee shall be retained by the Tax Commissioner and the remaining money withheld shall be remitted by the Tax Commissioner to the appropriate clerk. The clerk shall then allocate the money so remitted on a pro rata basis as provided in the applicable provisions of subdivisions (2) or (3) of this subsection.

     (c) In the event the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties exceed the defendant's income tax refund, the Tax Commissioner shall withhold the remaining balance in subsequent years until such time as the costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties owed are paid in full. The Tax Commissioner shall remit the moneys that he or she collects to the appropriate clerk no later than July 1 of each year. If the circuit court or the magistrate court subsequently determines that any costs, fines, fees, forfeitures, restitution or penalties were erroneously imposed, the clerk of the court shall promptly notify the Tax Commissioner. If the amounts due are paid in full to the court from a source other than the Tax Commissioner after the clerk of the court has provided notice of the failure to pay to the tax commissioner, the clerk of the court shall promptly notify the Tax Commissioner of the payment. If the refunds have not been withheld and remitted, the Tax Commissioner may not withhold and remit payment to the appropriate court and shall so inform the clerk of the court. If the refunds have already been withheld and remitted to the court, the Tax Commissioner shall so inform the clerk of the court. In either event, all refunds for erroneously imposed costs, fines, forfeitures or penalties shall be made by the appropriate court and not by the Tax Commissioner.

     (d) Rules. -- The Tax Commissioner may propose for legislative approval such rules as may be useful or necessary to carry out the purpose of this section and to implement the intent of the Legislature. Rules shall be promulgated in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
WVC 50-3-3 §50-3-3. Disposition of fines, forfeitures and penalties.
All fines, forfeitures and penalties collected in magistrate courts in a criminal proceeding shall be submitted on or before the tenth day of the month following the month of their collection to the magistrate court clerk or, if there is no magistrate court clerk, to the clerk of the circuit court together with such information as may be required by the rules of the supreme court and by the rules of the chief inspector of public offices. Such moneys shall thereupon be paid to the sheriff subject to, and to be distributed in accordance with the provisions of section fifteen, article five, chapter seven of this code.


WVC 50 - 3 - 4 §50-3-4. Disposition of costs; magistrate court fund.
(a) All costs collected in magistrate courts in a civil proceeding pursuant to the provisions of section one of this article and all costs collected in magistrate courts in a criminal proceeding pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article shall be submitted on or before the tenth day of the month following the month of their collection to the magistrate court clerk along with any information that may be required by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals and by the rules of the State Auditor.

(b)(1) The special county fund known as the magistrate court fund established in each county by chapter thirty-three, Acts of the Legislature, regular session, one thousand nine hundred seventy-six, as amended and reenacted in subsequent Acts of the Legislature, is hereby continued. The moneys credited to the fund may be used solely for the purposes provided in this section.

(2) The magistrate court clerk of each county shall pay the sum of ten dollars collected in magistrate court for each civil and criminal proceeding into the magistrate court fund during each fiscal year until there is paid a sum equal to fifteen thousand dollars multiplied by the number of magistrates authorized for the county.

(3) A county may, in accordance with the supervisory rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals, appropriate and spend from the fund such sums as are necessary to defray the expenses of providing services to magistrate courts.

(c)(1) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special escrow account designated as the Magistrate Court Surplus Account. The moneys credited to the account may be used solely for the purposes provided in this subsection.

(2) Beginning on the first day of July, two thousand, all costs collected during a fiscal year in excess of the sum specified in subdivision (2), subsection (b) of this section shall be deposited in the Magistrate Court Surplus Account in the State Treasury.

(3) Beginning on the first day of September, two thousand one, and on the first day of September of each year thereafter, in accordance with the supervisory rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals, funds from the Magistrate Court Surplus Account deposited therein as excess costs collected in the prior fiscal year pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be disbursed as a supplement to any county magistrate court fund which generated less than fifteen thousand dollars per magistrate in the prior fiscal year in accordance with the provisions of this subsection.

(4) The amount disbursed to a county magistrate court fund from the Magistrate Court Surplus Account, when combined with the court costs generated by the magistrate court fund of the county in the prior fiscal year, may not exceed fifteen thousand dollars per magistrate.

(5) The disbursements described in subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be made as follows:

(A) There shall be distributed to each county magistrate court fund that generated less than nine thousand dollars in the prior fiscal year the sum of nine thousand dollars less the amount of court costs generated by the county magistrate court fund in the prior fiscal year. To the extent that the funds available for this disbursement are insufficient to fully fund this disbursement, the funds available shall be disbursed to these counties on a pro rata basis.

(B) Any funds that remain available for disbursement after disbursements made pursuant to paragraph (A) of this subdivision shall be disbursed in equal shares to each county magistrate court fund that generated less than fifteen thousand dollars per magistrate in the prior fiscal year. The shares to be disbursed to each county magistrate court fund are to be equal to the number of magistrates in the county. Any disbursement made under this paragraph shall be subject to the limitations specified in subdivision (4) of this subsection.

(6) Any funds that remain available in the Magistrate Court Surplus Account after the disbursements have been made pursuant to the provisions of paragraphs (A) and (B), subdivision (5) of this subsection shall be deposited by the State Treasurer into the General Revenue Fund of the state.


WVC 50 - 3 - 4 A §50-3-4a. Disposition of criminal costs and civil filing fees into State Treasury account for Regional Jail and Prison Development Fund.
(a) The clerk of each magistrate court shall, at the end of each month, pay into the Regional Jail and Prison Development Fund in the State Treasury an amount equal to forty dollars of the costs collected in each criminal proceeding and all but ten dollars of the costs collected for the filing of each civil action.

(b) The clerk of each magistrate court shall, at the end of each month, pay into the Regional Jail Operations Partial Reimbursement Fund established in section ten-a, article twenty, chapter thirty-one of this code the fees collected pursuant to subsection (g), section one and subdivision (3), subsection (a), section two of this article.


WVC 50 - 3 - 5 §50-3-5.
Repealed.

Acts, 2007 Reg. Sess., Ch. 40.


WVC 50-3-6 §50-3-6. Collection of costs and fines.
On motion of the prosecuting attorney, the magistrate court may issue execution or employ other means of enforcing judgment to collect fines and costs imposed in proceedings before the court and tax the cost thereof as a part of the execution or other process. Such execution or other process shall be directed to the sheriff for collection. The sheriff shall collect the fees prescribed for his services from the party from whom the fine or costs are being collected. Money so collected shall be paid by the sheriff to the magistrate court and shall be paid by the magistrate court in the manner provided by law.


WVC 50-3-6a §50-3-6a. Deposits in interest-bearing accounts; payment of interest to general revenue fund of state treasury.
Magistrate court clerks or circuit clerks acting in that capacity, subject to the rules and regulations of the supreme court of appeals, may establish and maintain interest-bearing checking accounts in secure and properly insured financial institutions for the deposit and disbursement of all moneys collected by the magistrate court. In addition to making other remittances as required by law, the clerk of each magistrate court shall, on a monthly basis, remit all interest earned on such accounts to the state treasurer for deposit in the state general revenue fund.


WVC 50 - 3 - 7 §50-3-7. Records of magistrate court; reports.
(a) Records of the judicial transactions of magistrate court shall be kept as required by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals. If, after judgment is rendered in a matter, no appeal is filed within the time allotted, the records of the proceedings shall be forwarded to the magistrate court clerk. The records shall be maintained by the magistrate court clerk in accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Records of the financial dealings of the magistrate court shall be kept as may be required by the rules of the State Auditor, who shall promulgate the rules only after consultation with the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The magistrate court shall prepare and submit the reports as may be required by the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals or by the State Auditor.

(b) (1) Upon receipt of a written request, the magistrate court clerk shall perform a criminal history record search of criminal records in his or her possession. Each request shall be accompanied by a twenty-five dollar fee for each name that is to be the subject of the records search.

(2) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to:

(A) Federal, state, county or municipal officials;

(B) Court-appointed attorneys;

(C) Prosecuting attorneys; and

(D) Persons utilizing court provided public access terminals.

(3) All moneys collected pursuant to this subsection shall be remitted to the general fund in the State Treasury on or before the tenth day of the following month.


WVC 50-3-8 §50-3-8. Audits.
The chief inspector of public offices shall perform an annual financial audit of each magistrate court. In addition to and in conjunction with the financial audit, the chief inspector of public offices shall perform or cause to be performed an audit of the case filings of each magistrate court. The chief inspector shall report the annual number of case filings of each magistrate court to be included in the financial audit report to be made to the supreme court of appeals, circuit court of the county and the legislative auditor. The supreme court of appeals shall make a written finding that it has examined the report and that the annual number of case filings in each magistrate court accurately represents the total number of cases actually brought before that magistrate court. This finding shall be made prior to any redistribution of magistrates which is based upon the increase or decrease of case filings in any magistrate court.


WVC 50-3-9 §50-3-9. Magistrate court officials to issue receipts of collections; deposit of funds.
(a) Any magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate assistant or magistrate deputy clerk who receives a fee, cost, percentage, penalty, commission, allowance, bond, deposit, surety or other cash payment or sum shall issue a receipt to the payor thereof, in duplicate, on a form approved by the chief inspector, in accordance with the provisions of article nine, chapter six of this code. The magistrate court official shall issue the original of such receipt to the payor and shall retain the copy. The chief inspector shall prescribe the minimum information to be included on such receipt forms.

(b) All money collected shall be deposited in accordance with rules promulgated by the supreme court of appeals.


WVC 50-3-10 §50-3-10. Removal of magistrate court official.
If any magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate assistant or magistrate court deputy clerk shall fail to comply with the provisions of this article, the chief inspector may, in addition to any other remedies provided by law, seek the removal from office of such official, in accordance with provisions of section seven, article six, chapter six of this code.


WVC -4- ARTICLE 4. PROCEDURE BEFORE TRIAL.


WVC 50-4-1 §50-4-1. Commencement of civil actions.
There shall be one form of civil action in magistrate court. Civil actions shall be commenced by the payment of the fees required by article three of this chapter and by providing any magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant with a concise statement, either oral or written, of the nature of the cause of action. Where such statement is filed by a commercial creditor, the statement shall include, but not be limited to, a setting forth of the amount of the original obligation, the portion thereof which constitutes principal, the portion thereof which represents interest, the date and amount of payments thereon, the amount, if any, credited for the sale of repossessed collateral, and the amount alleged to be due. The magistrate court clerk, the magistrate court deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant shall immediately prepare a summons in such form and containing such information as may be required by the rules of the supreme court of appeals. The summons shall be dated the same day the request therefor is received and the appropriate fees received, and the action shall be deemed commenced as of that date. The magistrate assistant shall thereupon forward the matter to the magistrate court clerk together with any service of process fees which may have been collected.

Upon receipt of the matter by the magistrate court clerk, such clerk shall docket the same in a central docket, and shall sign the summons and forward it, together with any service of process fees, to the sheriff for service. Such clerk shall assign the action for trial in the manner as shall be prescribed by the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, to promote and secure the convenient and expeditious transaction of the business of the court.


WVC 50-4-2 §50-4-2. Commencement of criminal prosecutions.
Except where the provisions of this code or rule of the supreme court of appeals permit the commencement of a criminal prosecution through the issuance of a citation, a criminal prosecution shall be commenced by the filing of a complaint in accordance with the requirements of rules of the supreme court of appeals.


WVC 50 - 4 - 2 A §50-4-2a. Initial appearance and arraignment by video to be conducted by magistrate court wherein offense is charged; exceptions.
(a) Except as provided by the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, whenever a person already detained in a regional jail facility is served with a criminal complaint, the initial appearance or arraignment, if accomplished by the use of a video imaging system, shall to the extent practicable be before a magistrate of the charging jurisdiction. If such is not practicable, a magistrate of the jurisdiction in which the regional jail facility is located may preside over the proceeding.

(b) An order of the supreme court of appeals authorizing a magistrate or magistrates to conduct pretrial proceedings by use of video imaging shall supercede the requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this section.


WVC 50-4-3 §50-4-3. Appointment of counsel in criminal proceeding.
In any criminal proceeding in a magistrate court in which the applicable statutes authorize a sentence of confinement the magistrate shall at the time of the initial appearance advise a defendant of his right to counsel and his right to have counsel appointed if such defendant cannot afford to retain counsel. In the event a defendant requests that counsel be appointed and executes an affidavit that he is unable to afford counsel, the magistrate shall stay further proceedings and shall request the judge of the circuit court, or the chief judge thereof if there is more than one judge of the circuit court, to appoint counsel. Such judge shall thereupon appoint counsel. If there is no judge sitting in the county at the time of the request, then the clerk of the circuit court shall appoint counsel from a list of attorneys in accordance with the rules established by such judge of the circuit court. Counsel shall be paid for his services and expenses in accordance with the provisions of article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code.


WVC 50-4-4 §50-4-4. Long-arm jurisdiction; manner of service in civil cases.
Magistrate courts shall have long-arm jurisdiction as follows: Over domestic and foreign corporations as provided in section fifteen, article one, chapter thirty-one of this code; over nonresident holders of consumer instruments as provided in section one hundred thirty-seven, article two, chapter forty-six-a of this code; over domestic and foreign limited partnerships as provided in section four, article nine, chapter forty-seven of this code; over voluntary associations and business trusts as provided in section five, article nine-a, chapter forty-seven of this code; over nonresident motorists as provided in section thirty-one, article three, chapter fifty-six of this code; and over nonresidents with certain contacts with this state as provided in section thirty-three, article three, chapter fifty-six of this code.

Service of process in civil actions shall be made in the same manner as is provided for service of process in trial courts of record.


WVC 50-4-4a §50-4-4a. Appearance in civil cases.
Any party to a civil action in a magistrate court may appear and conduct such action in person, by agent or by attorney. Appearance by an agent or attorney shall have the same effect as appearance by the party represented, and the appearance by an agent shall not constitute the unlawful practice of law. No magistrate may act as such agent or attorney.


WVC 50-4-5 §50-4-5. Return date in civil action; setting of trial date; failure to appear or notify.
Except as may otherwise be provided by law, each summons in a civil action shall notify the defendant that he must appear within twenty days after service of the summons upon him or that he must otherwise notify the magistrate court by that time that he wishes to contest the matter.

If the magistrate court is notified by the defendant that he wishes to contest the matter a trial date shall be set in accordance with the supervisory rules of the supreme court of appeals.

If no appearance or other notification is made within twenty days after the service of the summons on the defendant, or within such other time as may be provided by law, judgment by default may be entered in accordance with the provisions of section ten of this article.

At any trial in any matter involving unlawful entry and detainer and in the trial of any case in any way involving the possession, use or control of rental property, it is permissible for a party to plead, prove and obtain judgment for all rent due and owing the party.


WVC 50-4-6 §50-4-6. Return date in criminal proceedings; setting trial date.
When a warrant has been duly executed or when a defendant appears in response to a summons, the defendant shall be notified of the return date set by the court. The defendant shall appear before the magistrate on or before the return date. In the event a trial or preliminary examination is not expressly waived by such defendant, the magistrate shall set a date for such trial or preliminary examination and shall notify all parties.


WVC 50-4-7 §50-4-7. Disqualification of magistrate.
A motion for the disqualification of a magistrate in a magistrate court proceeding shall be filed in accordance with the requirements of the rules of the supreme court of appeals.


WVC 50 - 4 - 8 §50-4-8. Removal to circuit court.
At any time before trial in a civil action involving less than two thousand five hundred dollars the action may be removed to circuit court upon the concurrence of all parties and upon the payment of the circuit court filing fee. At any time before trial in a civil action involving two thousand five hundred dollars or more, any party may, upon payment of the circuit court filing fee, cause such action to be removed to the circuit court. All appropriate documents shall then be forwarded along with such fee to the clerk of the circuit court. The matter shall then be heard by the circuit court.


WVC 50-4-9 §50-4-9. Counterclaim.
A defendant in a civil action may file a counterclaim and if such counterclaim arises from the same transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the initial claim they shall be tried together. The failure to institute a counterclaim permitted by this section shall not preclude the institution of an action on such claim at a later date. The adjudication of the original claim shall not constitute res judicata as to any such permitted counterclaim nor shall it act as an estoppel as to such permitted counterclaim.


WVC 50-4-10 §50-4-10. Default judgment; confession of judgment.
(a) If a defendant in a civil action fails to appear or otherwise notify the magistrate court within the time limits prescribed by section five of this article that he wishes to contest the action, the magistrate may render judgment as justice may require as follows:

(1) The magistrate shall render judgment by default only upon affidavit or sworn testimony reflecting the nature of the claim, whether or not it is for a sum certain or for a sum which can by computation be made certain, the defendant's failure to appear or otherwise notify the court within the time limits prescribed by section five of this article that he wishes to contest the action and supporting the relief sought. In the event the plaintiff's claim is not for a sum certain or for a sum which can by computation be made certain, the court shall require such further proof by affidavit or sworn testimony as is necessary to determine the propriety of the relief sought.

(2)(A) No judgment by default shall be rendered against a person who is an infant, incompetent person or incarcerated convict unless such person is represented in the action by a guardian ad litem, guardian, committee, curator or other like fiduciary.

(B) No judgment by default may be rendered against a person in active military service of the United States who has not made an appearance unless the provisions of 50 App. U.S.C. §520 have been followed, including the appointment of an attorney upon motion of a plaintiff.

(b) Upon motion made by the defendant within twenty days after the date of such judgment, or, in the case of a person in the military service, within the time provided by 50 App. U.S.C. §520, the magistrate may, for good cause shown, set aside the judgment and set the matter for trial.

(c) If a defendant offers to confess judgment at any time, the magistrate shall take the same in writing and render judgment for the amount confessed plus costs. In the event the amount claimed by the plaintiff exceeds the amount confessed by the defendant the plaintiff may request that the matter be set for trial. If the plaintiff's recovery therein does not exceed the amount confessed, costs shall be assessed against the plaintiff.


WVC 50-4-11 §50-4-11. Dismissal of actions for lack of jurisdiction.
If at any time a magistrate determines that an action involves a matter outside of or an amount in excess of the jurisdiction of the magistrate court, the action shall be dismissed without prejudice. Judgment shall be awarded against the plaintiff in such event for any costs incurred by defendant. A plaintiff may, at any time before such dismissal, forgive in writing any amounts which may be in excess of the monetary limitation of the court's jurisdiction and confer jurisdiction thereby.


WVC 50-4-12 §50-4-12. Dismissal of actions for failure to appear, testify, etc.
A magistrate may render judgment against the plaintiff dismissing his action with prejudice to a new action and awarding costs to the defendant when (a) the plaintiff fails to appear and prosecute his action at the proper time for appearance; (b) the plaintiff fails or refuses to testify when properly required to do so; or (c) the plaintiff fails to give security for costs when properly required to do so. In cases (a) and (b) if the plaintiff shows cause why his action should not have been dismissed, the magistrate may set aside such judgment and continue the matter before him or may dismiss the action without prejudice.

A magistrate shall dismiss a claim without prejudice if the summons is defective or erroneous and cannot properly be amended.

A magistrate shall dismiss a claim without prejudice if the plaintiff requests such dismissal before trial.

The dismissal of a claim shall not affect the right of any party to proceed to trial upon a counterclaim.


WVC 50-4-13 §50-4-13. Intercounty institution of civil actions.
A civil action may be instituted before a magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant in any county when the matter should be heard in another county. The clerk, deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant before whom such matter is instituted shall, in such event, forward all fees collected together with an appropriate statement of the matter to the magistrate court of the appropriate county. The clerk, deputy clerk, or magistrate assistant receiving such information and fees shall proceed with the matter as if it were actually instituted before him.


WVC -5- ARTICLE 5. TRIALS, HEARINGS AND APPEALS.


WVC 50-5-1 §50-5-1. General rules of procedure.
Except as the same may be inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or with rules adopted by the supreme court of appeals, the provisions of law relating to trials and admissibility of evidence in circuit courts shall apply to trials in magistrate courts.


WVC 50-5-2 §50-5-2. Continuances.
A magistrate may continue the holding of a trial or hearing as provided in the supervisory rules of the supreme court of appeals. In criminal proceedings when the defendant is in custody, the state shall not have the right to a continuance but may be granted a continuance for no more than five days if good cause is shown. In criminal proceedings when the defendant is in custody, the magistrate may continue the matter no more than once on his own motion over the objection of the defendant and such continuance over the objection of the defendant shall not be for more than two days.


WVC 50-5-3 §50-5-3. Appointment of guardian ad litem.
No infant, incompetent person or incarcerated convict shall proceed or be proceeded against in a civil action in magistrate court unless the provisions of this section are complied with.

Whenever an infant, incompetent person or incarcerated convict has a duly qualified representative, such as a guardian, curator, committee or other like fiduciary, such representative may sue or defend on behalf of the infant, incompetent person or convict. If a person under any disability does not have a duly qualified representative he may sue by his next friend. The magistrate shall appoint some suitable person who shall not be required to be an attorney-at-law as guardian ad litem for an infant, incompetent person or incarcerated convict not otherwise represented in an action.


WVC 50-5-4 §50-5-4. Subpoenas.
A magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk or magistrate assistant shall, upon the request of any party, issue a subpoena compelling the attendance and testimony of a witness or a subpoena duces tecum compelling the production of some writing or other object. The court shall require the sheriff to enforce such subpoena or subpoena duces tecum and may punish the willful disregard thereof by finding such person in contempt in accordance with the provisions of section eleven of this article. Witness fees and mileage shall be calculated and paid as in the circuit court.


WVC 50-5-5 §50-5-5. Privileged communications; persons incompetent to testify.
No person shall be compelled to testify at any proceeding in magistrate court as to any communication privileged by law. No person shall be compelled to testify as to any matter as to which he is incompetent by law to testify.


WVC 50-5-6 §50-5-6. Evidentiary depositions.
In a civil action the evidentiary deposition of any witness residing out of the county or unable to attend court may be taken for use at the trial by any party upon reasonable notice to all other parties.


WVC 50-5-7 §50-5-7. Right to trial in criminal cases.
Every defendant charged in a magistrate court in a criminal proceeding which is within the jurisdiction of the court shall have the right to a trial on the merits in the magistrate court.


WVC 50-5-8 §50-5-8. Trial by jury; trial to the court.
(a) A party to a civil action in magistrate court has the right to elect that the matter be tried with a jury when the amount in controversy exceeds twenty dollars or involves possession of real estate. The election must be made in writing at any time after the commencement of the action and not later than twenty days after the service of any first timely filed answer to the complaint. Failure to elect within such time constitutes a waiver of the right to trial by jury.

(b) A defendant in any criminal trial for a misdemeanor offense triable before a magistrate has the right to demand that the matter be tried with a jury, and the defendant shall be advised of the right to trial by jury in writing. A demand by the defendant for a jury trial must be made in writing not later than twenty days after the defendant's initial appearance before the magistrate: Provided, That in the case of an indigent for whom counsel is to be appointed, the twenty-day period shall not commence to run until counsel is appointed. Failure to demand within such time constitutes a waiver of the right to trial by jury.

(c) If a jury trial is elected or demanded to determine the issues of fact, the election or demand may not be withdrawn over the objection of any party appearing at the trial, and the magistrate shall cause a jury to be selected, empaneled and sworn which will hear the parties and their evidence, receive the instructions of the court relative to the law involved, and, after deliberation, deliver a verdict: Provided, That in a criminal proceeding, any such verdict must be unanimous.

(d) A magistrate court jury shall consist of six persons, to be selected from a panel of ten persons. The selection and summoning of jurors shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of article one, chapter fifty-two of this code and the supervisory rules of the supreme court of appeals. Jurors shall be paid by the state in accordance with such rules.

(e) For purposes of appeal, when a jury trial is had in magistrate court, the magistrate court shall be a court of limited record. Trials before a magistrate when a jury is empaneled shall be recorded electronically. A magnetic tape or other electronic recording medium on which a trial is recorded shall be indexed and securely preserved by the magistrate court clerk. When requested by either of the parties in a civil action, by the state or the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or by any interested person, the magistrate court clerk shall provide a duplicate copy of the tape or other electronic recording medium of each trial held. For evidentiary purposes, a duplicate of such electronic recording prepared by the magistrate court clerk shall be a "writing" or "recording" as those terms are defined in rule 1001 of the West Virginia rules of evidence, and unless the duplicate is shown not to reflect the contents accurately, it shall be treated as an original in the same manner that data stored in a computer or similar data is regarded as an "original" under such rule. Unless a party requesting the copy has been permitted to proceed in a civil action without prepayment in accordance with the provisions of section one, article two, chapter fifty-nine of this code, or in a criminal proceeding as an indigent, the party shall pay to the magistrate court an amount equal to the actual cost of the tape or other medium or the sum of five dollars, whichever is greater.

(f) If neither party to a civil action demands a jury trial, or if the defendant in a criminal proceeding waives the right to trial by jury, the matter shall be tried by the magistrate sitting without a jury. For purposes of appeal, when a nonjury trial is had in magistrate court, the magistrate court shall not be a court of limited record and the magistrate shall not electronically record the action or proceeding.

(g) The designation in this section of magistrate courts as "courts of limited record" shall not be construed to give standing or eligibility to magistrates to participate or be included in the retirement system for judges of courts of record established under the provisions of article nine, chapter fifty-one of this code.


WVC 50-5-9 §50-5-9. Verdict and sentence.
(a) In every criminal case in which the defendant is in custody, a magistrate shall render a finding of guilty or not guilty immediately upon the conclusion of the trial or hearing. In all other proceedings, a magistrate shall render a finding of guilty or not guilty no later than the next succeeding day after the conclusion of the trial or hearing, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.

(b)(1) Sentence shall be imposed in open court within sixty days from the date of the finding of guilt except where sentence is required to be imposed within a lesser period under the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) Sentence shall be imposed in open court upon a defendant in custody on or before the date of the expiration of the time equivalent to the maximum sentence that may be imposed for the offense. In determining the date, the magistrate shall include in the computation any credit to which the defendant is entitled for the time of confinement spent by the defendant in jail awaiting trial and sentencing.


WVC 50-5-10 §50-5-10. Setting aside judgment.
Upon motion made within twenty days after judgment by any party in a civil action or by the defendant in a criminal action, the magistrate who heard the matter or his successor or designee may, upon good cause shown, set aside judgment and order a new trial. All parties shall be given notice of such motion and an opportunity to be heard.


WVC 50-5-11 §50-5-11. Contempt.
A magistrate may punish for contempt of court a person guilty of any of the following acts:

(a) Contemptuous or insolent behavior toward such magistrate while engaged in the trial of a case or in any other judicial proceeding;

(b) Any breach of the peace, willful disturbance, or indecent conduct in the presence of such magistrate while so engaged, or so near as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings;

(c) Violence or threats of violence to such magistrate, or any officer, juror, witness, or party going to, attending, or returning from, any judicial proceeding before the court with respect to anything done or to be done in the course of such proceeding;

(d) Flagrant misbehavior of any officer of the county acting in his official capacity with respect to any action or judicial proceeding had or pending before the court, or any process, judgment, order or notice therein; or

(e) Willful resistance by an officer of the court, juror, witness, party or other person to any lawful process or order of the court.

A magistrate may, if necessary, issue a warrant of arrest for such person, who shall be given an opportunity to be heard. In the event such person is adjudged guilty of contempt, the person may be fined not more than fifty dollars for the first offense. For a second offense pertaining to the same matter the person may be fined not more than one hundred dollars. For the third or any subsequent offense pertaining to the same matter the person may be fined not more than one hundred dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than ten days, or both fined and imprisoned.

An appeal to the circuit court of such conviction shall lie as in criminal cases.


WVC 50-5-12 §50-5-12. Appeals in civil cases.
(a) Any person may appeal the judgment of a magistrate court to the circuit court as a matter of right by requesting such appeal not later than twenty days after such judgment is rendered or not later than twenty days after a decision is rendered upon a motion to set aside such judgment. Such person shall be required to post a bond with good security in a reasonable amount not less than the reasonable court costs of the appeal nor more than the sum of the judgment and the reasonable court costs of the appeal, upon the condition that such person will satisfy the judgment and any court costs which may be rendered against him on any such appeal. The bond and the circuit court filing fee shall be collected by the magistrate court clerk or deputy clerk at the time the appeal is filed, and be forwarded to the clerk of the circuit court along with other appropriate documents regarding the appeal. No bond shall be required of any governmental agency or authority or of a person who has been permitted to proceed without prepayment in accordance with the provisions of section one, article two, chapter fifty-nine of this code. If an appeal is not perfected within such twenty-day period, the circuit court of the county may, not later than ninety days after the date of judgment, grant an appeal upon a showing of good cause why such appeal was not perfected within such twenty-day period. The filing or granting of an appeal shall automatically stay further proceedings to enforce the judgment.

(b) In the case of an appeal of a civil action tried before a jury, the hearing on the appeal before the circuit court shall be a hearing on the record. In the case of an appeal of a civil action tried before the magistrate without a jury, the hearing on the appeal before the circuit court shall be a trial de novo, triable to the court, without a jury.

(c) In the case of an appeal of a civil action tried before a jury, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) To prepare the record for appeal, the party seeking the appeal shall file with the circuit court a petition setting forth the grounds relied upon, and designating those portions of the testimony or other matters reflected in the recording, if any, which he or she will rely upon in prosecuting the appeal. The responding party or parties may designate additional portions of the recording. Unless otherwise ordered by the circuit court, the preparation of a transcript of the designated portions of the recording and the payment of the cost thereof shall be the responsibility of the party requesting the transcript: Provided, That a party may be permitted to proceed without prepayment in accordance with the provisions of section one, article two, chapter fifty-nine of this code. The circuit court may, by general order or by order entered in a specific case, dispense with preparation of a transcript and review the designated portions of the recording aurally.

(2) The designated portions of the recording or the transcript thereof, as the case may be, and the exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitute the exclusive record for appeal and shall be made available to the parties.

(3) After the record for appeal is filed in the office of the circuit clerk, the court may, in its discretion, schedule the matter for oral argument or require the parties to submit written memoranda of law. The circuit court shall consider whether the judgment or order of the magistrate is:

(A) Arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in conformance with the law;

(B) Contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege or immunity;

(C) In excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority or limitations or short of statutory right;

(D) Without observance of procedure required by law;

(E) Unsupported by substantial evidence; or

(F) Unwarranted by the facts.

(4) The circuit court may take any of the following actions which may be necessary to dispose of the questions presented on appeal, with justice to the parties:

(A) Dismiss the appeal;

(B) Reverse, affirm, or modify the judgment or order being appealed;

(C) Remand the case for further proceedings, with instructions to the magistrate;

(D) Finally dispose of the action by entering judgment on appeal; or

(E) Retain the matter and retry the issues of fact, or some part or portions thereof, as may be required by the provisions of subdivision (5) of this subsection.

(5) If the circuit court finds that a record for appeal is deficient as to matters which might be affected by evidence not considered or inadequately developed, the court may proceed to take such evidence and make independent findings of fact to the extent that questions of fact and law may merge in determining whether the evidence was such, as a matter of law, as to require a particular finding. If the party appealing the judgment is also a party who elected to try the action before a jury in the magistrate court, and if the circuit court finds that the proceedings below were subject to error to the extent that the party was effectively denied a jury trial, the circuit court may, upon motion of the party, empanel a jury to re-examine the issues of fact, or some part or portions thereof.

(6) The review by the court and a decision on the appeal shall be completed within ninety days after the appeal is regularly placed upon the docket of the circuit court.

(d) In the case of an appeal of a civil action tried without a jury, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) The party seeking the appeal shall file with the circuit court a petition for appeal and trial de novo. The exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitute the exclusive record for appeal and shall be made available to the parties.

(2) If, after the appeal is regularly placed upon the docket of the circuit court, neither party brings the matter on to hearing before the end of the second term thereafter at which it is called for trial, unless good cause for a continuance is shown, the appeal shall be considered as abandoned and shall be dismissed at the cost of the appellant unless sufficient cause is shown for a further continuance and the judgment of the magistrate court shall stand. No appeal which shall have been so dismissed by the circuit court shall be reinstated after the close of the next regular term after such dismissal.


WVC 50-5-13 §50-5-13. Appeals in criminal cases.
(a) Any person convicted of an offense in a magistrate court may appeal such conviction to circuit court as a matter of right by requesting such appeal within twenty days after the sentencing for such conviction. The magistrate may require the posting of bond with good security conditioned upon the appearance of the defendant as required in circuit court, but such bond may not exceed the maximum amount of any fine which could be imposed for the offense. The bond may be upon the defendant's own recognizance. If no appeal is perfected within such twenty-day period, the circuit court may, not later than ninety days after the sentencing, grant an appeal upon a showing of good cause why such appeal was not filed within the twenty-day period. The filing or granting of an appeal shall automatically stay the sentence of the magistrate.

(b) In the case of an appeal of a criminal proceeding tried before a jury, the hearing on the appeal before the circuit court shall be a hearing on the record. In the case of an appeal of a criminal proceeding tried before the magistrate without a jury, the hearing on the appeal before the circuit court shall be a trial de novo, triable to the court, without a jury.

(c) In the case of an appeal of a criminal proceeding tried before a jury, the following provisions shall apply:

(1) To prepare the record for appeal, the defendant shall file with the circuit court a petition setting forth the grounds relied upon, and designating those portions of the testimony or other matters reflected in the recording, if any, which he or she will rely upon in prosecuting the appeal. The prosecuting attorney may designate additional portions of the recording. Unless otherwise ordered by the circuit court, the preparation of a transcript of the portions of the recording designated by the defendant, and the payment of the cost thereof shall be the responsibility of the defendant: Provided, That such costs may be waived due to the defendant's indigency. The circuit court may, by general order or by order entered in a specific case, dispense with preparation of a transcript and review the designated portions of the recording aurally.

(2) The designated portions of the recording or the transcript thereof, as the case may be, and the exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitute the exclusive record for appeal, and shall be made available to the defendant and the prosecuting attorney.

(3) After the record for appeal is filed in the office of the circuit clerk, the court may, in its discretion, schedule the matter for oral argument or require the parties to submit written memoranda of law. The circuit court shall consider whether the judgment or order of the magistrate is:

(A) Arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in conformance with the law;

(B) Contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege or immunity;

(C) In excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority or limitations or short of statutory right;

(D) Without observance of procedure required by law;

(E) Unsupported by substantial evidence; or

(F) Unwarranted by the facts.

(4) The circuit court may take any of the following actions which may be necessary to dispose of the questions presented on appeal, with justice to the defendant and the state:

(A) Dismiss the appeal;

(B) Reverse, affirm, or modify the judgment or order being appealed;

(C) Remand the case for further proceedings, with instructions to the magistrate;

(D) Finally dispose of the action by entering judgment on appeal; or

(E) Retain the matter and retry the issues of fact, or some part or portions thereof, as may be required by the provisions of subdivision (5) of this subsection.

(5) If the circuit court finds that a record for appeal is deficient as to matters which might be affected by evidence not considered or inadequately developed, the court may proceed to take such evidence and make independent findings of fact to the extent that questions of fact and law may merge in determining whether the evidence was such, as a matter of law, as to require a particular finding. If the party appealing the judgment is also a party who elected to try the action before a jury in the magistrate court, and if the circuit court finds that the proceedings below were subject to error to the extent that the party was effectively denied a jury trial, the circuit court may, upon motion of the party, empanel a jury to re-examine the issues of fact, or some part or portions thereof.

(6) The review by the court and a decision on the appeal shall be completed within ninety days after the appeal is regularly placed upon the docket of the circuit court.

(d) In the case of an appeal of a criminal proceeding tried without a jury, the party seeking the appeal shall file with the circuit court a petition for appeal and trial de novo. The exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitute the exclusive record for appeal and shall be made available to the parties.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, there shall be no appeal from a plea of guilty where the defendant was represented by counsel at the time the plea was entered: Provided, That the defendant shall have an appeal from a plea of guilty where an extraordinary remedy would lie or where the magistrate court lacked jurisdiction.


WVC 50-5-14 §50-5-14. Pleas in certain cases.
Except for violations of section one or two, article five, chapter seventeen-c of this code, and except for violations of any of the provisions of chapter twenty of this code which may subject the person charged therewith to confinement, any person charged with a violation of said chapter seventeen-c or said chapter twenty may plead guilty or nolo contendere thereto by appearing before a magistrate, magistrate court clerk, magistrate court deputy clerk or magistrate assistant in a county other than the county in which he is charged and pay an appropriate fine and costs as advised by such magistrate clerk or deputy clerk. The clerk, deputy clerk or magistrate assistant shall immediately forward the same to the appropriate magistrate court. The magistrate court may either accept or reject the same. In the event the same is rejected the plea shall be considered withdrawn and all moneys paid shall be returned and the matter shall proceed as if no such offer of plea had been made.


WVC 50 - 5 - 14 A §50-5-14a. Disposition without court appearance.
Tender of payment by a person charged by citation of the assessed fine and costs shall constitute a plea of no contest to such citation and signing of the citation by the person charged shall not be required for entry of a judgment of conviction.


WVC 50-5-15 §50-5-15. Failure of defendant to appear at criminal trial or other criminal hearing; compulsion of appearance.
Whenever any defendant, properly notified, fails to appear for a criminal trial or other criminal hearing before a magistrate, the magistrate may issue a capias to compel that person to appear.


WVC -6- ARTICLE 6. ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL JUDGMENTS.


WVC 50-6-1 §50-6-1. Enforcement of judgments.

(a) The provisions of articles three, four, five, five-a, five-b and six, chapter thirty-eight of this code, except as the same are in conflict with the provisions of this chapter or are clearly applicable only to courts of record, shall apply to the enforcement of judgments rendered in magistrate court and process therefor shall issue from magistrate court. Process issued in violation of such provisions shall be void. The form of such process shall be in accord with the rules of the supreme court of appeals. No such process shall issue until after twenty days after the judgment is rendered or, if a motion to set aside such judgment is then pending, until after twenty days after the determination of such motion.

(b) A magistrate court clerk, deputy clerk or magistrate assistant before whom a suggestion of salary and wages is instituted pursuant to the provisions of articles five-a and five-b, chapter thirty-eight of this code shall forward all post judgment process directly to the sheriff of any county in the same manner and with the same authority as has been given to circuit clerks, pursuant to section five, article three, chapter fifty-six.


WVC 50-6-2 §50-6-2. Filing of transcript in office of circuit clerk; entry on lien docket.
A certified transcript of judgment rendered by a magistrate court may be filed in the office of the circuit court upon payment of a fee of one dollar. The circuit clerk shall keep such records and indices as may be required by the rules of the supreme court of appeals. Such judgments may also be docketed in the judgment lien book kept in the office of the clerk of the county commission in the same manner and with the same effect as circuit court judgments.


WVC 50-6-3 §50-6-3. Attachment.
Except as the same may be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of article seven, chapter thirty-eight of this code, regarding attachment shall apply to actions in magistrate court.


ARTICLE 08 - PERSONAL SAFETY ORDERS ARTICLE 8. PERSONAL SAFETY ORDERS.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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