Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

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Petitioner Erik Patrick Wells, a registered Democrat, filed a “Candidate’s Certificate of Announcement for 2016 Partisan Elections” but left blank his party affiliation. Petitioner indicated on a subsequently filed “Minor Party or Independent Candidate Nomination Petition” that he was running for the office of Kanawha County Clerk as an “independent.” Respondent, the State of West Virginia, filed an amended petition for writ of quo warranto. The circuit court granted Respondent’s petition and disallowed Petitioner’s candidacy in the November 8, 2016 general election. The circuit court found that, as a registered member of the Democratic Party, Petitioner’s candidacy was governed by the provisions of W. Va. Code 3-5-7 and that Petitioner had failed to comply with its requirements, thus disqualifying him as a candidate for the office of county clerk. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 3-5-7 applies to any person who seeks to hold an office or political party position to be filled by primary or general election; and (2) the circuit court properly granted the petition for writ of quo warranto because Petitioner failed to comply with the requirements of the statute. View "Wells v. State ex rel. Miller" on Justia Law

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Petitioner was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and a candidate seeking re-election to the Court. Petitioner began his election campaign as a “traditional candidate” - a candidate financed by contributions from supporters - but subsequently decided to enter the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program (the Act) and became a “participating candidate” under the Act. The West Virginia State Elections Commission certified Petitioner’s campaign for public funding under the Act. Respondent, a traditional candidate seeking election to the Court, appealed the Commission’s decision. The circuit court ruled in favor of Respondent, concluding that the Commission’s certification of Petitioner was clearly erroneous and violated Petitioner’s constitutional rights to free speech and substantive due process. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and reinstated the decision of the Commission, holding that the Commission correctly concluded that Petitioner satisfied all statutory requirements to be certified for public funding under the Act. View "Benjamin v. Walker" on Justia Law

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Petitioner was a candidate seeking election to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and was a “participating candidate” under the west Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program. In his application to the West Virginia State Elections Commission to be certified to receive public financing, Petitioner timely filed his final report and all required substantive information but filed his sworn statement one day late. The Commission certified Petitioner’s campaign for public financing. Respondent, a non-participating candidate seeking election to the Court, challenged Petitioner’s certification. The circuit court concluded that the Commissioner’s certification of Petitioner for public financing of his candidacy under West Virginia Code 3-12-1 was not valid. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Commission has discretion to certify a participating candidate for public financing notwithstanding the candidate’s failure to meet the time deadlines set forth in the West Virginia Code of State Rules where the candidate has substantially complied with all requirements set forth in the Act and the Rules and where there is no showing of prejudice. View "Wooten v. Walker" on Justia Law

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The Judicial Investigation Commission (JIC) requested the Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus against the Putnam County Board of Ballot Commissioners (Board) to remove Troy Sexton from the May 2016 ballot as a candidate for the office of magistrate in Putnam County. The JIC based is request upon its determination that Sexton had been convicted of a "misdemeanor involving moral turpitude". The Supreme Court granted the requested writ of mandamus and directed the Board to remove Sexton as a magisterial candidate from the election ballot, holding that Sexton’s misdemeanor conviction of reporting a false emergency constituted a conviction of a “misdemeanor involving moral turpitude” such that he was not qualified to serve as a magistrate pursuant to the requirements for that office set forth in W. Va. Code 50-1-4. View "State ex rel. Judicial Investigation Comm’n v. Board of Ballot Comm’rs" on Justia Law

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Petitioners, chair of the state Democratic Executive Committee and the members of the state Democratic Executive Committee for the Ninth Senatorial District, requested the issuance of a writ of mandamus against Respondents, the Governor and members of the state Republic Executive Committee for the Ninth Senatorial District, seeking to compel the Governor to fill a vacancy in the West Virginia Senate from a list of three candidates to be selected by Petitioners. The Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause and ordered Respondents to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not be awarded as requested by Petitioners. After an oral hearing, the Supreme Court denied the requested writ, holding that the vacancy is to be filled from a list of three candidates to be selected by the Republic Executive Committee for the Ninth Senatorial District based upon the outgoing senator’s most recent affiliation with the Republican Party. View "State ex rel. Biafore v. Tomblin" on Justia Law