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W.Va. Supreme Court to hear Arguments at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia will
hear arguments in three cases at Marshall University beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11.

The public is invited to attend the Court session at the Joan C. Edwards
Performing Arts Center.

Marshall University is named for former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, who served on that Court from 1801 to 1835 and was the longest serving Chief Justice in United States history. He died two years before Marshall Academy was formed in 1837.

“We are delighted to join the Marshall University community in celebrating
Constitution Week by bringing our Court to Huntington. We look forward to speaking with the students and faculty about the importance of the work we do in the West Virginia judiciary,” said Chief Justice Beth Walker.

“As a proud Huntington resident, I am pleased to welcome the Supreme Court to my hometown,” said Justice Evan Jenkins. “It’s a great opportunity for high school and college students to see the work of the judicial branch in person, and it’s a unique opportunity for Justices to meet and talk to the people we serve around the state.”

The three cases are Rule 20 cases. According to the West Virginia Rules of Appellate Procedure, “Cases suitable for Rule 20 Argument include, but are not limited to: (1) cases involving issues of first impression; (2) cases involving issues of fundamental public importance; (3) cases involving constitutional questions regarding the validity of a statute, municipal ordinance, or court ruling; and (4) cases involving inconsistencies or conflicts among the decisions of lower tribunals.”

The cases are: Division of Justice and Community Service et al. vs. Fairmont State University, No. 18-0429. The Division of Justice and Community Service appeals the April 12, 2018, order of the Circuit Court of Marion County. The order reversed the division’s denial of Fairmont State University’s application to provide a semester-long law enforcement training academy for its students majoring in criminal justice. The division wants the Supreme Court reinstate the division’s denial of the application. The division’s Law Enforcement Professional Standards Subcommittee is statutorily charged with reviewing, administering, providing funding for and establishing governing standards for the training of law enforcement officers in West Virginia.

West Virginia Fraternal Order of Police and West Virginia Deputy Sheriff’s Association State of West Virginia v. Ryan Hubbs, No. 18-0438. The state appeals a Marion County Circuit Court order that granted Ryan Ashley Hubbs’ motion to dismiss his Marion County indictments on two counts of murder in the first degree under the theory of felony murder. Felony murder is any death that results from the commission or attempted commission of a felony. Hubbs previously had pleaded guilty in Lewis County to second-degree robbery, the underlying crime for the felony murder indictments.

The Marion Circuit Court granted Hubbs’ motion, saying the felony murder indictment was barred under double jeopardy because the Lewis County Circuit Court had already sentenced Hubbs on the sole crime from which the felony murder charges arose. Double jeopardy – being prosecuted or sentenced twice for substantially the same crime – is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The state argues that double jeopardy does not apply in this case because the robbery and felony murder have separate victims.

The state wants the Supreme Court to send the case back to Marion County Circuit Court for a trial on the felony murder charges.

Arthur Patton v. County of Berkeley, et al., No. 18-0375. Arthur Patton appeals the Berkeley County Circuit Court’s denial of his motion to alter or amend its decision to grant Berkeley County’s motion to dismiss Patton’s lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged the county violated his constitutional rights, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed battery during his June 2, 2015, arrest. The Circuit Court dismissed the lawsuit because it was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. Patton disagrees and wants the Supreme Court to send the case back to Circuit Court for more proceedings.

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