Secretary, Janet Caulkins
PO Box 648
Union, WV 24983
Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Summers County Courthouse
120 Ballengee Street, Suite 107
Hinton, WV 25951
(304) 466-7124 fax
The circuit courts are West Virginia’s only general jurisdiction trial courts of record. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over all civil cases at law over $2,500 with limited exceptions; all civil cases in equity; proceedings in habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition, and certiorari; and all felonies and misdemeanors. The circuit courts receive appeals from magistrate courts, municipal courts, and administrative agencies, excluding workers’ compensation appeals. The circuit courts also hear appeals of family court decisions unless both parties agree to appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Appeals. The circuit courts receive recommended orders from judicial officers who hear mental hygiene and juvenile matters. The Supreme Court of Appeals receives appeals of circuit court decisions.
West Virginia’s fifty-five counties are divided into thirty-one circuits with seventy circuit judges. A map of West Virginia’s judicial circuits can be found here. The circuits range in size from one with seven judges to nine with one judge. Although as few as one or as many as four counties comprise a circuit, each county has a courthouse where the circuit judge presides.
Circuit judges are elected in nonpartisan elections to eight-year terms. They must have practiced law for at least five years. The governor appoints circuit judges to fill vacancies. An appointee who wishes to remain in office must run in the next election.
Circuit Clerks are elected for a period of six years and their duties, responsibilities, and compensation are set by statute. The Circuit Clerk is an officer within the judicial system and plays a pivotal role in that system. The clerk is an independently elected official with autonomy to establish procedures and policies necessary to carry out statutory responsibilities. The Circuit Clerk works under the supervision of the chief circuit judge and with all the entities and agencies that comprise the justice system. The Circuit Clerk is the official record keeper and fee officer for circuit court, family court, and the mental hygiene office.
The clerk’s duties are ministerial; that is, the duties are prescribed by statute, order, rule, or other directive. As the official record keeper, the circuit clerk is responsible for recording and maintaining all records filed in the office including, but not limited to, civil, criminal, divorce, child custody and neglect, and adult and appeals from magistrate court. The circuit clerk also prepares cases appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from the Circuit Court. The clerk is custodian of all computer records, pertaining to cases filed in the circuit and family courts and manages the court’s computerized case docketing system. The Circuit Clerk also serves as the jury administrator for the court and is responsible for the management of the petit and grand jury systems in the county. Jury selection is processed by a program with The Supreme Court which includes qualified West Virginia drivers licensee and voters registration. Under the direction of the court, the clerk creates the master list of prospective jurors, randomly select panels for attendance, qualifies and summons the jurors, participates in jury orientation, and monitor attendance and mileage for reimbursement purposes. The circuit clerk is required to provide jury panels for both the magistrate and circuit courts. The Circuit Clerk serves as the court’s statistician preparing monthly statistical reports which are submitted to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and other state agencies. The Circuit Clerk’s office serves as an acceptance agent for Passport Services.
The Circuit Clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
For more information contact the Summers County Circuit Clerk
Office: (304) 466-7103
Fax: (304) 466-7124
Jury Information: (304) 466-1624 or 1-800-813-5453
Passport Information: (304) 466-7103