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West Virginia Police Internal Affairs Investigation Reports are Conditionally Discoverable in Civil Actions

Donald McClay, a West Virginia state prisoner, was assaulted by an unidentified state trooper while under arrest for illegally registering to vote. He filed a complaint which was investigated by the state police Internal Affairs. McClay filed a civil action and requested copies of the investigation reports. The trial judge denied McClay’s discovery motion, finding the reports to be privileged, and McClay sought review in the state Supreme Court.

On review, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that the investigation reports were discoverable if, upon in camera review by the trial judge, McClay’s need for them outweighed the public interest in keeping the information confidential. See: McClay v. Jones, 208 W.Va. 569; 542 S.E.2d 83 (2000).

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Related legal case

McClay v. Jones