CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As with most states, West Virginia has a local Circuit Court system, and then a Supreme Court to hear appeals. But most states also have an intermediate Court of Appeals, to help deal with caseloads.
Some estimates say adding a new court level in West Virginia could cost from $4 to $10 million per year, but advocates say there will be efficiencies.
“Well because the Supreme Court is so limited on the cases they can take. This will kind of free them up and be able to take the more important cases, and still litigate things that need to be done at a lower level,” said State Sen. Rollan Roberts, (R) Raleigh.
“An intermediate Court of Appeals is not only a waste of money, but it’s another block in front of any type of appeal that’s been done in West Virginia. It’s just going to cost more money and time,” said State Sen. Mike Romano, (D) Harrison.
The idea of an intermediate Appeals Court was recommended way back when Joe Manchin was Governor and is not a backlash against the more recent Supreme Court spending scandal. Those supporting it doubt it will really cost 10 million dollars.
“I think the numbers will probably be somewhat less. We’re still working on what that composition is going to be, and where we’re going to structure it,” said State Sen. Greg Boso, (R) Nicholas.
While the state currently has a 185-million dollar budget surplus, some wonder if the money is better spent elsewhere.
“You know I supported the intermediate Court of Appeals last session, but I’m on the fence this time for one reason. I really don’t know that we can afford that as a priority,” said State Sen. Mike Woelfel, (D) Cabell.
Only nine states, including West Virginia, have no intermediate Appeals Court.
Last year a bill to create an intermediate Court of Appeals did pass the State Senate, but it never came up for a vote in the House of Delegates. Right now it’s going through the committee process.