Number of court cases up in state, down locally

PARKERSBURG – West Vriginia’s court system saw the number of cases for 2012 rise in circuit courts but decreases in the family and magistrate court, according to the annual report from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

In Wood County the high court’s annual report shows the number of cases filed decreased in all courts from 2011 to 2012, except in the magistrate court.

In West Virginia’s circuit courts the number of cases continued to increase. Between 2003 and 2012 the number of cases filed has been as low as 46,890 in 2004 and as high as 51,766 for 2012.

In 2012 there were 12,160 criminal cases filed in circuit courts, broken down into 7,604 felony cases, 458 magistrate appeals, 981 misdemeanors and 3,117 miscellaneous cases.

There were 30,858 civil cases filings in 2012. They were broken down into 221 administrative agency appeals, 1,161 adoptions, 73 divorces, 16,388 general civil cases, 885 guardianship cases, 596 magistrate appeals, 7,480 mental health cases, 3,892 other cases, 122 other domestic relations cases and 40 personal safety appeals.

Juvenile cases filed in circuit court totaled 8,748. Of those, 3,561 were child abuse and neglect cases, 2,876 delinquency cases and 2,311 status offense cases.

Wood County Circuit Court had 2,089 cases filed in 2012 down from the 2,152 from 2011. That number for 2012 included 260 criminal cases, 1,502 civil cases and 327 juvenile cases.

In the criminal courts there were 240 felony cases, eight magistrate appeals and 12 misdemeanors.Civil cases were broken down into six administrative agency appeals, 40 adoptions, no divorces, 616 general civil cases, 36 guardianship cases, 24 magistrate appeals, 628 mental health cases, 152 other cases and no other domestic relations cases or personal safety appeals. Wood County recorded 327 juvenile cases in 2012, broken down 182 were child abuse and neglect cases, 51 delinquency cases and 94 status offense cases.

Family courts saw 35,617 cases which were down from the 37,325 cases filed in 2011. According to court records, the number of cases filed in family court in 2012 is the third lowest total, only 2008 with 35,366 cases and 2003 with 35,118 cases, were lower.

In 2005 the highest number of cases were filed in family court with 39,180 filings.

Wood County’s family court had 18,908 cases filed in 2012. Those included 592 divorces cases, 894 domestic violence cases and 403 other domestic relations cases.

Magistrate courts in the state handled 324,281 cases, down from 325,430 in 2011.

Since 2003 the magistrates courts have handled as few as 318,260 cases in 2010 and the highest number was 374,922 cases in 2004.

Statewide the magistrate courts handled 43,607 civil cases, 5,212 cases from the division of natural resources, 132.100 motor vehicle cases, 81,219 other misdemeanors, and 12,246 worthless check cases. There were 49,897 special proceedings heard in magistrate courts in 2012.

They were broken down into 137 abuse and neglect cases, 15,789 domestic violence cases, 29,739 felony cases, 2,406 juvenile cases, 303 mental health cases, 742 personal safety petitions and 882 temporary protective orders.

In Wood County Magistrate Court, 12,355 cases were filed in 2012, an increase of 2.4 percent from 2011.

For the year they had 1,839 civil cases, 227 cases from the division of natural resources, 5,073 motor vehicle cases, 3,458 other misdemeanors, and 173 worthless check cases. There were 1,585 special proceedings heard in Wood County Magistrate Court in 2012.

They were broken down into four abuse and neglect cases, 979 domestic violence cases, 528 felony cases, six juvenile cases, no mental health cases, 68 personal safety petitions and no temporary protective orders.