CHARLESTON -- Published every year, by the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the West Virginia Court System 2011 Annual Report is a wealth of information about the current state of the West Virginia Court System and the cases that came before it in 2011.
A readymade reference book, each West Virginia Supreme Court Justice has a brief biography listing the history of service.
Taylor County judicial representatives are Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats, Family Court Judge Beth Longo, Magistrate Rick R. Reese, Magistrate James L. Lucas, Circuit Clerk Vonda M. Reneman, Magistrate Clerk Brenda L. Vance and Chief Probation Officer Bonnie Viani.
There were 414 cases filed in Taylor County Circuit Court in 2011. Of those, 42.8% were civil cases, 33.3% were criminal cases, and 23.9% were juvenile cases. Court filings increased 13.1% compared to 2010.
During 2011, 212 new cases were filed in Taylor County Family Court. There were also 85 modification and 45 contempt proceedings in cases reopened during the year, which were not counted as new cases filed. Court filings increased 22.1% compared to 2010.
In 2011, there were 1,782 cases filed in Taylor County Magistrate Court, a decrease of 15.9% from 2010. Of those, 68.2% were criminal cases, 12.9% were special proceedings, and 18.9% were civil cases.
Court expenditures in Taylor County: Circuit Court, $940.911; Magistrate Court, $425,672; Family Court, $15,764; making the grand total for Taylor County, $1,382,346.
Along with Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Robin Jean Davis, Judge Moats held a series of regional meetings across the state to bring awareness to the growing problem in West Virginia.
The goal of the regional meetings was to demonstrate the seriousness of truancy and its potential consequences. Justice Davis and Judge Moats also encouraged the creation of community programs to reduce truancy that include judicial involvement.
As a result of their collective efforts, several other circuit court judges have established truancy programs.
This initiative got started after an eye-opening forum held at Grafton High School on Aug. 25, 2010. At that time, Taylor County had the highest dropout rate in the state.
Within five years, Taylor County went from the lowest dropout rate to the highest, and Judge Moats wanted a change in that statistic.
According to the presentation, statistics show that 80% of all high school dropouts end up in prison. Among the prison population, 75% are high school dropouts, and of those prisoners, 80% are illiterate.
Taylor County took notice, and through collaborative efforts in every Taylor County school, that dropout rate is turning around.
For the complete article see the 12-03-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-03-2012 paper.