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Introducing the West Virginia Law Review Online

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 Damned in a Flashover State: Arson and the Use of Scientific Methods and Expert Testimony in West Virginia

The fire moved quickly through the house as Cameron Todd Willingham screamed for his children from the front porch. 1 Inside the blaze were his three children. 2 Firefighters arrived, uncoiled hoses, and aimed water at the raging fire. 3 However, all three Willingham children died that night from smoke inhalation. 4

News of the December 23, 1991, tragedy spread throughout Corsicana, Texas. 5 Meanwhile, investigators sought to determine what caused the fire. 6 The investigators “toured the perimeter of the house, taking notes and photographs, like archeologists mapping out a ruin.” 7 In the kitchen, they found smoke and heat damage—signs the fire had not originated there—so they proceeded to other parts of the shambled home. 8

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Preserving Innocence: Biological Evidence Preservation and Systematic Reform


     On the morning of January 14, 1985, a young pregnant woman was assaulted and raped at knifepoint in her bed, while her two-year-old daughter slept beside her. 1 Four months after the rape, the victim spotted her alleged assailant, Kevin Byrd. 2 Her identification of him led to a rape conviction with a life sentence. 3 At the time of Mr. Byrd’s trial, DNA technology, using forensic testing and analysis of biological evidence, was not standard practice. 4 In 1997, while the case was on appeal, a comparison of Mr. Byrd’s DNA with the bodily fluid found in the rape kit established that Mr. Byrd could not have committed the rape. 5 After serving 12 years in prison, Mr. Byrd was exonerated as a result of the scientific advancements in DNA technology. 6

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A Brief History: The West Virginia Bar (1894 - 1901), The Bar (1901 - 1917), West Virginia Law Quarterly and the Bar (1917 - 1949), and West Virginia Law Review (1949 - Present)

For my part, since it was your desire, I thought that the fountains ought to be shown you from which you might draw, and the roads which you might pursue, not so that I should become your guide (which would be an endless and unnecessary task) but so that I might point you out the way, and as the practice is, might hold out my finger toward the spring.

—Cicero 1

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About Volume 123


The West Virginia Law Review Online also invites the submission of unsolicited manuscripts from both practitioners and academics to be considered for publication. The  West Virginia Law Review Online welcomes articles, essays, and book reviews concerning legal issues that are particularly relevant to the state of West Virginia and its surrounding region. Submissions for the Law Review Online should be limited to 5,000 words or less including footnotes. 

The Law Review Online accepts submissions either electronically or in hard copy form. Electronic submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word format to the West Virginia Law Review at wvulawreview@gmail.com .

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