SB 275 – Motion to reconsider action on HFA Zukoff RCS# 597
A well-functioning judiciary ensures that every citizen receives equal justice under the law. Sadly, our current judicial system fails at this due to a lack of sufficient conclusiveness in appellate review. West Virginians deserve a compete justice system that is predictable, fair, and conclusive. Despite well-meaning but ultimately ineffective rule changes made by the State Supreme Court in an attempt ensure equal justice for individuals, that fact remains that many rulings by that body are truncated to the point of inadequacy. The lack of signed opinions within the State Supreme Court deprives our citizens of truly equal justice because these opinions do not have authoritative precedential value. This status quo does not achieve the ultimate ends of our judicial system. The right of appeal is meaningless without the assurance of adequately robust decisions. Further, in recent years, it has become apparent that the highly centralized nature of West Virginia’s judicial system has put our state and its citizens at a disadvantage. Anecdotal examples show us circuit courts operating as activists rather than unbiased jurors in a system where our citizens’ court cases never reach a conclusive end. Poor decisions are made by lower courts inside the context that those rulings may never be given a fair amount of scrutiny. The impeachment of our previous State Supreme Court due to that court’s abuses of taxpayer dollars provides unequivocal evidence that the legislature has a compelling interest in instituting improved checks and balances within the judicial branch. An intermediate appellate court—as outlined in our state’s constitution—would provide much needed checks and balances on the status quo.This new appellate court will alleviate these concerns by providing much needed accountability and balance within our judicial branch of government.