CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Supreme Court and other courts in West Virginia are getting new technology as court proceedings continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Evan Jenkins said during a House of Delegates Finance Committee meeting last week the court has secured a grant to have video technology in domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in a few counties, as well as funding for e-filing with the state Supreme Court.
Jenkins admitted courts typically resist change regarding procedures, but the pandemic has forced new additions.
“It was this past year we realized we didn’t have to do things exactly the same way,” he said.
Jenkins said the new video technology is part of a pilot project; it will allow domestic violence victims to contact county magistrates without going to magistrate chambers. Jenkins said people will be able to have domestic violence petitions filed and orders issued through the video call.
In regards to filing documents electronically, twenty-six counties are on the same system, which Jenkins said reduces costs and time for lawyers to file information. He added it is now time for the state Supreme Court to adapt, with the first cases involving workers’ compensation.
“We are looking at initiating e-filing just to show that we can do that and reduce time, exposure and expense,” he said.
Jenkins became the Supreme Court’s chief justice in January; he will hold the position until the start of next year.