On February 9, 2021, attorney Jared T. Moore argued a case before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia at the State’s Capitol in Charleston. Many attorneys go their entire legal career without having argued before the highest court in their state. This marked Jared’s third oral argument before the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The argument before the high Court involved two certified questions from Monongalia County concerning the constitutionality of a criminal statute. W. Va. Code § 60A-4-416(b), titled “Failure to Render Aid” was enacted during the 2017 legislative session and reads:
Any person who, while engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance with another, knowingly fails to seek medical assistance for such other person when the other person suffers an overdose of the controlled substance or suffers a significant adverse physical reaction to the controlled substance and the overdose or adverse physical reaction proximately causes the death of the other person, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than five years.
The two certified questions from Monongalia County were:
1. Whether the following phrase in West Virginia Code § 60A-4-416(b) is unconstitutionally vague: “Any person who, while engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance with another”?
2. Whether the undefined phrase “seek medical assistance” in the context of West Virginia Code § 60A-4-416(b) provides an adequate standard for adjudication?
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Appeals are recorded. You can watch Jared’s argument here.