PARKERSBURG – I have practiced both criminal and civil law in the West Virginia court system at both the trial and appellate level for more than 40 years. I have served as president of the West Virginia State Bar and the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association.
With that background, I must respectfully ask why in the world do some of our West Virginia legislators again want to waste taxpayer dollars by creating an intermediate court of appeals, particularly when every litigant on either side already has the right to appeal from every circuit court ruling directly to the West Virginia Supreme Court in every case?
We have an excellent Supreme Court that hears every appeal. There is no backlog. An intermediate court would serve no purpose.
The only reason any other state has an intermediate court is because there are too many cases appealed in that state for their Supreme Court to hear. We have never had that problem in West Virginia.
There are three primary effects of adding an intermediate court:
1. It will cost a lot of taxpayer dollars.
2. It will add six months to a year to each case.
3. It will increase costs to all litigants and defendants.
Nobody has yet identified any tangible benefit for anyone if an intermediate court is added to our West Virginia judicial system. The proposed creation of an intermediate court is not fair to clients who have to pay the increased bills or the taxpayers whose money is wasted by adding an unnecessary step (plus expense) to the process.
Deitzler, who live in Parkersburg, is attorney with the Charleston law firm of Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Deitzler.