West Virginia

State/Local Funding

  • The West Virginia Judiciary is primarily state funded.
  • The state pays for the Appellate Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts, for the salaries of trial court judges, judge support staff, and clerical staff, and for trial court technology and operating expenses. 
  • Expenditures for local courthouses and equipment are almost evenly split between state-funded items/services and county-funded items and services.  Just over 50% of local expenditures are provided by local funding bodies.  Local funding pays for courthouse remodeling or updating to meet ADA and other requirements, but not for any court operations.
  • Special initiatives include increases to the number of drug courts and truancy-based probation officers.  The West Virginia courts are also contracting for a number of trainers to assist on the installation of the newly complete unified judicial application information system.

State Revenue and Appropriations

  • West Virginia’s total state and federal grant appropriation declined from from $130.5 million in FY12 to $128.6 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation increased from $120.5 million to $122.3 million in FY13.  The percent of the state general fund appropriation allocated to the Judiciary remained at 3%.
  • Additional funding will pay for longevity pay increases for staff.
  • Over the past four years, technology funding has decreased 24%.
  • The budget situation over the next three years is likely to stay relatively the same.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The judicial branch presents the judiciary’s budget request directly to the legislative body without prior approval by the executive branch
  • The judicial branch has budget authority to manage and administer appropriated funds without restrictions of detailed budget line items.
  • The FY13 budget has some funds to provide for technology necessary to meet the demand of the public.  They are enhancing on-line access for the public in the unified system.  As on-line access rolls out, access will be more robust.
  • The introduction of technologies has enabled the courts and others to implement their ten year plan to provide and enhance court services.  
  • The introduction of technologies has enabled the courts and others in state government to provide or receive enhanced court services.  Though the unified system is in its infancy, it has already received high marks in the pilot counties for enhancing access for all parties who desire it.

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses:  Over the past four years, the number of judges has increased 1%.  The number of trial court staff has increased 1%.  The number of central office staff has increased 4%.   Funding for trial court operating expenses has increased 1%.  In FY13, the number of judges and staff will remain the same.  Trial court operating expenses will increase 3%.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the West Virginia courts have not taken any steps that have resulted in salary freezes or reductions.

Service Reductions:  Over the past four years, the West Virginia courts have not taken any steps that have resulted in service reductions.

Efficiency Measures: 

  • The West Virginia courts have implemented E-filing, an electronic document management system and an enhanced case management system.  They have implemented E-citation by law enforcement agencies. 
  • The West Virginia courts have instituted a very limited e-filing system for mass litigation cases only. They are almost finished developing a unified case management system. E-citations are brand-new; they are only now being used in a few pilot counties.

Business Processes: 

  • Over the past four years, the West Virginia courts have implemented and will be implementing an enhanced caseflow management program.
  • Prior to 2007, the West Virginia courts have created a statewide fine schedule for petty misdemeanors, implemented in-court updating for docket entries and sentencing orders, started videoconferencing of arraignments of incarcerated defendants and detained juveniles, and have done remote videoconferencing of interpreters for persons with limited English proficiency.

Outsourcing:

  • The West Virginia courts outsource the provision of language access services. 

The West Virginia courts are in a better position than four years ago to provide access and timely justice.  The roll-out of the unified case management information system is beginning to enable the courts to provide better access and timely justice.

Reports and Articles

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