CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nearly three years since its implementation, the new process for appeals to the state Supreme Court is coming to fruition, Court Clerk Rory Perry told legislators Monday.
"We believe this process is thorough. It's fair. It takes into account all due processes for appeals," Perry said of the appeals process.
Adopted in December 2010 in the face of calls for the state to create an intermediate appeals court, the new system requires the court to provide written decisions on all cases filed, including cases it decides not to hear.
Perry said that prior to the change, all appeals to the court were thoroughly reviewed, even those that were refused without comment.
"This was a massive undertaking in some respects, and not in some respects," he said. "We were already doing the work to review all the cases."
Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, said he believes the rule changes are working.
"My personal feeling is that they are a significant improvement in the appellate process," said Palumbo, who questioned why some national business groups continue to rate the state as a "judicial hellhole."
"I'm not sure what the national perspective is really based on," Perry responded. "I think they're making it up as they go along."
He added, "You don't set out to have fixed courts. You set out to have fair courts, and I strongly believe that's what we've got here."