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West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals on track for early July | News, Sports, Jobs

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice John Hutchison welcomed members of the Intermediate Court of Appeals Advisory Council Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of WV Supreme Court of Appeals)

CHARLESTON — Planning continues for West Virginia’s new Intermediate Court of Appeals, with the goal of a July 1 start.

“We will be operational. There’s no doubt about it,” said John Hutchison, chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court, which administers the state’s entire court system.

Hutchison hosted members of the Intermediate Court of Appeals Advisory Council Friday morning at the court’s future headquarters in the City Center East building in the city of Kanawha in Charleston.

The CIA Advisory Council, established by former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Evan Jenkins last fall, includes judges, attorneys, and representatives of the legislative and executive branches. The council is providing input to the state Supreme Court as it establishes rules of procedure for the new court.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to do exactly what we are doing, to tell everyone where we are now, and then to have this committee come together…to tell us what which we miss, Hutchison said. “We can’t think of everything that’s going to happen, and the people who are going to come in through the front door – the lawyers and the parties – can tell us what we’re missing.”

The West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals Advisory Board office Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of WV Supreme Court of Appeals)

The CIA Advisory Board has heard of new advancements for both the CIA and the Supreme Court, including the ability to file documents electronically with the court, which saves lawyers time and money. The Office of the Clerk of the Court is also developing new appellate procedural rules for the ICA, but Hutchison said court staff discovered that much of the current appellate procedural rules used by the Court supreme can be used for ICA with some tweaks.

“It was really amazing” Hutchison said. “It was clear that a lot of the rules originally written had contemplated this for some time. And it really helped us because it told us where we really need to go.

The Supreme Court purchased City Center East for the CIA’s new and first headquarters in early March for $7.5 million. The court already leases half of the office space in the 12-story building for other court system functions, such as child and youth services administrative office divisions, court services, information technology, grant services, trial court services and probation services.

Hutchison said the purchase of the building will pay for itself by 2030 due to the $800,000 a year the court spends renting space in the building.

“Once the ICA Bill was passed and we started looking at it, it made sense,” Hutchison said. “We currently occupy about 60% of this building. When the ICA arrives, we will occupy about 75% of it.”

The CIA is expected to hire up to 40 staff for the new offices and have its own courtroom in the building.

Governor Jim Justice appointed the three judges to the court at the end of 2021, although future judges will be elected in a staggered and nonpartisan manner. The justice appointed Huntington attorney Thomas Scarr for a term ending in 2024, former Kanawha County Circuit Court judge Dan Greear for a term ending in 2026, and attorney of Wheeling and Ohio County Commissioner Donald Nickerson Jr., for a term ending in 2028.

Beginning in July, the ICA will hear non-criminal appeals of circuit court cases, family court cases, and guardianships and wardships, appeals from decisions of administrative law judges, and final court orders and decisions. state health authority. The Intermediate Court also replaces the Workers’ Compensation Board of Administrative Judges with a Workers’ Compensation Review Board from which decisions can be appealed to the Intermediate Court.

The Legislature created the court with Senate Bill 275 in April after years of trying. The new court is meant to help lighten the load on the Supreme Court and allow judges to focus on court cases that set precedents. The Supreme Court will still have the ability to seek jurisdiction over civil cases appealed to the Intermediate Court. Parties to cases could also appeal to the Supreme Court, which could hear cases at its discretion.

While the tribunal will be staffed and ready by July, the CIA will likely begin hearing its first cases in September.

Steven Allen Adams can be contacted at [email protected]

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