Mr. Canterbury Can’t Seem to Tell the Truth

Since our opposition to the closing of public law libraries, which was restricted by West Virginia Code to begin with, Mr. Canterbury has been less than truthful with the public.  It now appears that in trying to change the statute that he already violated, he is now being less than truthful with our Legislators as well.

Most recently, Mr. Canterbury is quoted as stating that while he has received over a thousand opposition emails, “out of the 1,300 I received, only six were from within West Virginia”.  See the State Journal article, Bill to determine law libraries’ future advances to WV Senate.  (

This is odd, because the petition, Stop the Closing of West Virginia’s Public Law Libraries, alone, has twenty (20) signers from West Virginia.  (

As the originator of that petition, I know that it is set up to send those signatures to Mr. Canterbury.  So, why can’t he come up with the accurate count?

Add that to the other online initiatives, such as Thousand Kites campaign, Save Public Law Libraries (, which only allows signers from within West Virginia, and it seems Mr. Canterbury’s numbers are way off.

It also seems that Mr. Canterbury is indicating that all things in these closing law libraries can be easily obtained online.  This is untrue.  At first he claimed that they were online free.  This is completely untrue.  But now, he is telling us that they are available free or at a monthly fee.  Well, the truth is that subscriptions to legal research materials come at a very high price to the general public, and Mr. Canterbury’s continued false statements are unacceptable from someone in such a highly regarded position within our Supreme Court of Appeals.


He claims in The State Journal article, “The libraries originally were established so that the smaller firms could compete against larger firms,” but what about meaningful access to the general public, our citizens?


Then to top it off is the last quote, “Three of those were from the same family, but there is no law library in their county.”          Perhaps that is the precise point!


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TAKE ACTION – New ACTION Page from Thousand Kites

Thousand Kites has set up an ACTION page for writing the Members of the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee asking them to protect our public law libraries.


Thousand Kites





The West Virginia Legislature is fast-tracking two bills trying to give the Supreme Court Administrator the ability to close law libraries.  This would reduce folks across the state from access to legal resources.  Take Action today.

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Changing the Law After It Has Been Violated HB 4291 & SB 473


They are fast-tracking two bills through the West Virginia Legislature trying to give the Supreme Court Administrator the ability to close law libraries, which he has already done without this authority and in violation of current law.

Now, they want to correct the law to justify the actions they have already taken.

Don’t let it happen! Contact your legislators!!

HB 4291 – Relating to county law libraries established by the Supreme Court of Appeals

SB 473 – Authorizing Supreme Court determine continuation of county law libraries

Contact your Legislator!

Contact all the Members of the Judiciary Committee!

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Public Hearing in Martinsburg

The West Virginia Access to Justice Commission will hold a public hearing in Martinsburg on Monday, August 29, 2011. The forum will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. It will be held at the Dunn Building, Commission Chambers, Room 205, 400 W. Stephens Street, Martinsburg.;layout=standard


Further information for the Commission and Member’s contacts an posted here in our blog:

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WV Access to Justice Commission held their first public hearing in Beckley

Last night, the WV Access to Justice Commission held their first public hearing in Beckley.

While the Commissioners did not seem very interested in comments about maintaining our public access law libraries, it does seem that numerous issues regarding access to legal aid, better (and more modern) notification methods, encouraging increased pro bono services, and better assistance for victims, veterans and children are on the radar for the Commission.

I was actually very impressed by Justice Benjamin’s passion for drug courts and diversionary programs in criminal matters.  After all, if more diversionary options were utilized, the courts, court personnel, and even attorneys would have more time and resources for helping to increase meaningful access in the area of civil matters.

The one part that I just cannot understand is how the Commission can be so seemingly dedicated to more “meaningful access” to the courts while NOT recognizing the need for (and even right to) public access law libraries and well trained law librarians to guide you with research.

Well, one gentleman was there to testify that the problem may be that all the Commissioners (as well as ethics committees and boards for attorneys) are all lawyers or legal professionals.  I guess his point was that we seem to leave the ‘fox guarding the henhouse’.  In fact, he asked the panel why they did not have an average citizen on the Commission, like a “truckdriver”.

This really hit home for me, even though some of the testimony seemed unrelated to the Commission’s objective.  It does seem that this is geared toward increasing the assistance from attorneys or other legal professionals rather than just giving the pro se litigant and average citizen the tools they need to help themselves.

As impressed as I was with many of the ideas presented and the Commission’s responses, especially regarding victims’ and veterans’ access issues, I hold firm in the idea that “meaningful access” to the courts MUST start with access to legal materials and legal research with assistance from someone who can direct your questions, i.e. public access law libraries with a good librarian.

Pro bono attorneys can be great, but if you can’t even access legal materials to know if what they are doing is good, bad, indifferent, correct, or in your best interest, then how can you really have confidence in our judicial system?  And, what if you just aren’t getting good assistance and you need to help yourself?

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Public Hearings for the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission

The public hearings for the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission will be holding public hearings across the state.  This is a great place to speak out against the closing of our public law libraries.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Six public hearings are planned around the state this year concerning helping low-income residents and those with modest means overcame barriers within the civil legal system.

The West Virginia Access to Justice Commission will hold the forums on Aug. 16 in Beckley, Aug. 29 in Martinsburg, Sept. 12 in Huntington, Sept. 26 in Wheeling, Nov. 1 in Morgantown, and Nov. 15 in Charleston.

The state Supreme Court established the commission in 2009.

The hearing panel will consist of commission members. The commission wants to hear from speakers who can address issues such as language barriers, attorney fees and court costs, and lack of transportation to courthouses.

Local legislators, judges and city and county representatives have been invited to attend.–Civil-Legal-Barriers/



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Morgan. Co. man fights to keep state law libraries open

Morgan. Co. man fights to keep state law libraries open

8/5/2011 7:35 AM By Kyla Asbury  -Statehouse Bureau


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