Judicial Emergency Declared by West Virginia Supreme Court to Reduce In-Person Proceedings

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued an administrative order declaring a judicial emergency related to activities of the courts in all 55 counties. According to a March 22, 2020 press release and attached administrative order, as of March 23, 2020 until April 10, 2020, only emergency proceedings required to protect the immediate health or safety of the party or community will be held, with preference given to video or telephone conferencing (rather than in-person appearances, where possible). The emergency matters listed that will not be delayed include matters or hearings on:

  • Domestic violence;
  • Child abuse and neglect upon initial removal of a child or where there is an imminent threat to the health or safety of a child;
  • Infant guardianship;
  • Physical custody cases involving an imminent threat to the health or safety of a child;
  • Juvenile detention or placement in state custody;
  • Criminal initial appearances;
  • Bond hearings;
  • Search warrants;
  • Criminal preliminary hearings;
  • Mental hygiene; and
  • Matters initiated by public health officials to enforce orders related to the COVID-19 crisis.

All other matters previously scheduled and not falling into one of the above categories will be stayed through April 10, 2020 and rescheduled after that date. For more information and to read the official press release and administrative order, click here.

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