Circuit Clerk’s Role
Office of the Circuit Clerk 23rd Judicial Circuit
Melanie Shambaugh – Circuit Clerk
77 Fairfax Street, Room 302
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Phone: 304-258-8554 Fax: 304-258-7319
Jury Call In Line: 304-258-7310
Hours: Mon – Fri 9:00am – 5:00pm
The Morgan County Circuit Clerk’s Role in the Court System
The circuit Clerk is responsible for the Administration and management of the jury system in both Circuit Court and Magistrate Court.
There are two types of juries:
The Grand Jury:
which issues Indictments for Criminal offenses. The Grand Jury only finds probable cause (the probability that a crime was committed). It does not find guilt or innocence. The Grand Jury meets at the beginning of each term of court, which is three times per year (January, April, and September). It has 16 members.
The Petit Jury:
In criminal cases the jury determines guilt or innocence. A guilty finding must be a unanimous vote. 12 persons sit on a criminal jury.
In Civil cases the jury decides between a plaintiff and defendant as to disagreements that have arisen between the parties. Six persons sit on a civil jury. They must also be unanimous in their decision.
WV Code mandates that every two years, the WV Driver’s License list and the Registered Voter List for Morgan County be combined by an approved state software company.
In Morgan County we use Software Systems Inc. of Morgantown, WV. These lists are used to allow the Circuit Clerk to make a pool, computer random drawing, of at least 3,500 persons from which to draw juries. Two hundred and fifty (+/-) are drawn each term of court for Petit jury.
Terms of court run as follows:
January – March
April – August
September – December
These terms are set by WV Code. (Note: the April term of court is split into two Petit Jury pulls because the term of court is 6 months).
30 persons are drawn each year for the Grand Jury. Persons on the Grand Jury usually serve one full year. Grand jury dates are set by WV Code and for Morgan County are as follows:
The first Tuesday following the first Monday in the months of January, April and September.
All jurors will contact the jury line at 304-258-7310 during their term of service to see if their number has been selected.
In addition to this role as the official record keeper of the court, the circuit clerk is also the fee officer. The circuit clerk is authorized by statute to collect various fees, fines, and costs associated with cases and hold and disburse other types of payments and deposits, such as bonds and restitution. with the exception of the portion of fees and costs that are sent directly to the state under various statutory provisions, all such moneys are either deposited into the county treasury for subsequent disbursement to the appropriate county or state agency or, as in the case of bonds or restitution, disbursed directly to the appropriate individual.
Filing of Forms
The circuit clerk is responsible for all papers filed in the office. This means the clerk is the registrar, recorder and custodian of all pleadings, documents and funds pertaining to cases or appeals filed in the circuit court.
Various forms are available to assist in filing of some court cases. The following is a short list of some forms available.
Affidavits of Indigency
Capias (for court’s use only)
Pro Se Divorce Packets
Pro Se Divorce Answer Packets
Pro Se Modification Packets
Abstract of Execution
Affidavits of Suggestee Execution
Release of Suggestee Execution
Summons and Subpoenas
Various Forms and Pleas
Types of Cases Handled
The Circuit Clerk is responsible for setting up and maintaining various types of cases, those include civil actions, civil appeals, domestic relations, adoptions, mental hygiene cases, guardianships, juvenile cases, appeals from magistrate or municipal courts, criminal cases, criminal appeals, and miscellaneous cases. Many cases are public records, however, others are confidential; these include adoptions, mental hygiene cases, guardianships, juvenile cases, and any appeals of these cases. Domestic relations cases are also restricted in some ways. Circuit Court cases are numbered according to the year opened, they type of case, and the number in which that case was filed in that category for this year. for example: 10-F-15 means that this is the 15th Felony case filed in the year 2010. Each case type is given a letter code. The codes are as follows.
C = General Civil (includes, but is not limited to torts, contract case, extraordinary writs, condemnation cases, removals from magistrate court, and foreign judgments)
D = Domestic Relations (includes, but is not limited to, divorces, paternity suits; annulments; separate maintenance action, URESA cases, and original petitions for establishment of child or spousal support)
DV = Domestic Violence
A = Adoption
MH = Mental Hygiene
G = Guardianship / Conservatorship
FIG = Family Court Infant Guardian
CIG = Circuit Court Infant Guardian
C-AP = Civil Appeal from Magistrate Court (Includes appeals in family violence cases)
A-AP = Administrative Appeal; these are appeals from decisions made by the County Commission or a State agency such as the Dept. of Health and Human Resources
P = Miscellaneous Proceedings (includes miscellaneous civil proceedings which do not involve a money judgment, generally require only one hearing, and usually are presented by petition rather than complaint. also includes petitions ancillary to criminal proceedings in magistrate court)
JA = Juvenile Proceeding – Child Abuse/Neglect
JD = Juvenile Proceeding – Delinquency
JS = Juvenile Status – Status offense
B = Felony Charge Bound Over to Circuit Court from Magistrate Court
M = Misdemeanor
F = Felony
I = Information
M-AP = Criminal Appeal from Magistrate Court
Civil cases are all situations involving individuals or corporations against other individuals or corporations over non-criminal issues. (i.e. car wrecks, property boundaries, malpractice, etc.)
Domestic cases normally refer to those dealing with family matters, divorce, paternity, and support.
Any act of threatening violence to your person that causes you to fear for your immediate safety by a member of your family or significant other.
Adoptions cases deal with adoption of infants and children.
When someone is a danger to himself/herself or others these cases are necessary.
Guardian and Conservator
These cases are situations of individuals who must have others care for their person and/or finances.
Family/Circuit Infant Guardian Cases
Situations involving a person under the age of 18 years old, that require care of their person or finances. (These are most commonly done when a child is awarded a settlement from an accident or inheritance)
Civil appeals are cases that have been heard in lower courts that the individual involved is not satisfied with the results and appeal the decision to a higher court.
There are three types:
JD = Involves anyone under the age of 18 who commits a crime that for an adult would be a misdemeanor or felony offense
JS = a status offense, i.e. skipping school
JA = Involves situation of abuse of a child
Criminal cases are those that involve violations of the Criminal Laws of the State of West Virginia.
There are two types:
Felony: A crime punishable by more than one year in the State Penitentiary. (Offenses such as murder, robbery, embezzlement, and 3rd offense DUI)
Misdemeanors: A crime punishable by less than one year in the Regional Jail. (Offenses such as 1st and 2nd offense DUI, speeding and lesser forms of major crimes.