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Oral Arguments

Students, faculty and staff at West Virginia State University (WVSU) had the opportunity to witness the workings of the state’s highest court first-hand on Wednesday, April 24, when the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard arguments on campus.

The visit was the first by the Supreme Court to WVSU and featured arguments in four cases. The event was free and open to the public.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students or for anyone interested in the judicial process, to see the workings of the Court for themselves.” said Thomas R. Bennett II, assistant vice president for University & Legislative Relations at WVSU. “The Supreme Court of Appeals is the highest court in West Virginia, and its rulings have a far reaching impact.”

The Court typically hears arguments in the Supreme Court Chamber at the State Capitol building in Charleston, but it has held sessions outside of Charleston in the past. West Virginia University and Marshall University have both previously hosted a visit by the Supreme Court.

“The Justices look forward to being in the community, hearing cases outside the Court Chamber in the State Capitol. We are happy to visit the campus of West Virginia State and to be in the company of students, faculty, administrators, and neighbors,” said Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin.

Arguments in the following four cases will take place on April 24:

  • SER Olen L. York v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel and West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board, No. 12-1410. Milton attorney Olen L. York seeks a writ of prohibition presenting the question of whether the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board are without jurisdiction under federal preemption principles to prosecute an alleged violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility against a patent lawyer who is not of member of the West Virginia State Bar.
  • State of West Virginia v. Charles Edward Bruffey, No. 12-0189. Petitioner Charles Edward Bruffey appeals his Mineral County conviction for robbery on evidentiary grounds.
  • State of West Virginia v. Clayton Rogers, No. 11-0621. Petitioner appeals his Kanawha County conviction for first-degree murder with a sentence of life without parole. He asks the Court to reverse his conviction and order that his statement be suppressed and to reverse his conviction and remand the case for a new trial.
  • State of West Virginia v. Ronald Whetzel, Jr., No. 12-0254. Petitioner appeals his transfer to adult jurisdiction in Berkeley County and his sentence of 40 years for first-degree robbery.
Documents filed in each case can be found online at the Supreme Court’s website at


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