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As the only law review in our state, the West Virginia Law Review takes seriously its obligation to serve both academia and our state’s legal community. We serve those interests by publishing articles that are nationally relevant along with articles that address issues in West Virginia. Historically, this Law Review has published special issues such as the National Coal Issue and the Energy and Sustainability Issue, reflecting the unquestioned importance of those areas of law to our state. However, we recognize that our state’s legal community is well-served by academic analysis of all areas of law. We also recognize that research specific to West Virginia can be difficult to find through major commercial avenues. As such, Volume 117 of the West Virginia Law Review is proud to launch the West Virginia Law Review Online.

The Tape Never Lies: Recording Police Interrogations to Reduce False Confessions in West Virginia

– The Honorable O.C. “Hobby” Spaulding, Putnam County, West Virginia, Circuit Court Judge 1

Twenty-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, sits alone in an Italian police station interrogation room. Days earlier, on November 2, 2007, her roommate Meredith Kercher, a British exchange student, was found brutally murdered—Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are the prime suspects. 2 Over the next few days, Knox is heavily interrogated by several Italian police officers when suddenly, on November 5th, the case breaks. 3 Alone, without an attorney, without food or sleep, and speaking in a language she is not entirely fluent in, Amanda Knox confesses—at 1:45 am and 5:45 am—to murdering her roommate. 4 Her confession, despite an Italian law mandating it, is not recorded. 5 As Amanda Knox vehemently maintained her innocence throughout her ordeal, 6 it begs the question—why confess to a crime you never committed?

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Arbitration, Incorporation, and Forum Selection: Recent Developments in West Virginia Common Law on Contracts

West Virginia’s economy is growing, and faster than the national rate. 1 To support the increased business activity and encourage additional commerce, West Virginia’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, has been proactively improving the state’s common law regarding contracts. In the past couple of years, the court has clarified its position on arbitration clauses, incorporation by reference of auxiliary documents, and forum selection clauses. Further, these decrees have conformed to federal authority and helped establish “a predictable, uniform, and reasonable set of legal standards under which individuals and businesses may commercially flourish.” 2 West Virginia’s common law on contracts is now more predictable, equitable, and valuable. 

This Essay explores three areas of contract law that have been recently developed by the West Virginia Supreme Court. Part II surveys the current jurisprudence on arbitration clauses in West Virginia following the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown. 3 Part III analyzes State ex rel. U-Haul Co. of West Virginia v. Zakaib, 4 which announced the requirements for an accessory document to be incorporated by reference into a contract. Part IV reviews Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. 5 and the West Virginia Supreme Court’s adoption of an intricate four-part test for enforceability of a forum selection clause. Each section concludes with practical advice on how to achieve a desired outcome—whether judicial enforcement of an arbitration clause, incorporation of an auxiliary document, or enforcement of a forum selection clause—through contract drafting and contemporaneous behavior.

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What the Frack Are My Rights? Private Mineral Estate Owner Rights Within National Forests and Monuments in West Virginia

Generally, the public misunderstands the relationship between individual property rights and government owned national forests and monuments. This is the result of a confusing area of law, combined with an increasing number of national forest proclamations and national monument designations. For example, President Obama has designated eleven national monuments during his term of office and enlarged two. 1 Out of all the national monuments, twelve have been converted from national forests. 2 National forests are a great source of recreation as well as resources. Therefore, it is common to designate areas within national forests as national monuments to immortalize the recreational and resource capacity.

Due to West Virginia’s mountainous terrain and geography, it is no wonder that over one million acres of the state lie within national forests. 3 However, no national monuments currently exist within the state’s vast quantities of national forest land. Currently, a proposal to create the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument is in the works. The proposed monument area consists of over 120,000 acres in the southern Monongahela National Forest, but the boundary has yet to be finalized. 4 As to be expected, the proposed monument has met some resistance from local residents. 5 One common concern West Virginia residents share, as well as those outside the state with interest in national monument property, is the continued use of their property rights.

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