On Monday, June 10, 2024, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued a memorandum decision regarding a petition brought by Jay Folse against Wheeling Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Miller and other court officials.

The case stemmed from Mr. Folse being found guilty of violating two local parking ordinances in Wheeling Municipal Court. Wanting to appeal the convictions, Folse claimed he attempted to work with Judge Miller and court staff on setting an appeal bond and properly filing paperwork, but faced confusion and delays. Ultimately, Folse filed for mandamus in Ohio County Circuit Court, seeking an order to compel Judge Miller and Clerk of the Municipal Court Judy Bickmeyer to process the appeal.

In his response to the mandamus petition, Judge Miller argued through attorneys that Folse refused to follow proper appeal procedures, citing email exchanges where requirements were allegedly discussed. Judge Miller filed a motion to dismiss, asserting neither he nor Clerk Bickmeyer have authority over determining court costs or formally docketing appeals at the circuit level.

The circuit court granted Judge Miller’s motion, finding Folse did not adequately plead his case and that the judge and clerk lacked duties in relation to the appeal process requested. However, the Supreme Court concluded the lower court’s dismissal was premature, as the petition’s claims were not fully explored and Miller did not demonstrate appeal requirements were clearly communicated or met.

While not ruling on the underlying merits, the memorandum decision from the highest court reversed the dismissal and remanded the case back to the circuit court for further proceedings. The five-justice panel found Judge Miller and the other respondents were not given sufficient chance to prove their stances, and the allegations in Folse’s initial filing were sufficient to proceed beyond the early pleading stage.

Judge Miller‘s courtroom is located at 1500 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV 26003, and can be reached at (304) 234-3617.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.