House Judiciary Committee Adopts Articles of Impeachment Against All Four W.Va. Supreme Court Justices

Updated 6 weeks ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegate Committee on the Judiciary today adopted 14 articles of impeachment alleging various counts of corruption, maladministration, incompetency, neglect of duty, and potential criminal behavior among the current four state Supreme Court justices.

The articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry, Robin Davis and Elizabeth Walker will now go before the full House of Delegates for approval before the justices may face trial in the state Senate.

“This is truly a sad day for West Virginia, but it is an important step forward if we are going to restore the public’s confidence in the judiciary,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer. “This committee did not take this effort lightly. After reviewing all the evidence available to us, it became clear that a culture of entitlement and disregard for both the law and taxpayer funds have damaged the reputation of our judicial system – and that all justices had a part in violating the public’s trust.”

The articles of impeachment contain accusations ranging from the creation of a potentially unlawful scheme to pay retired senior status judges more than the law would allow, wasteful spending of taxpayer funds on lavish office renovations, the use of public vehicles for personal gain, the illegal removal of historic property from the state Capitol, and the neglect of duty to create policies that prevent improper use of state resources and property.

Should the full House approve the various articles of impeachment, the accused justices would stand trial in the Senate. The state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to remove them from office.

Following the committee’s approval of the articles, House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, R-Berkeley – who is presiding over these proceedings – issued a letter calling the full House of Delegates back into session at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13, to consider approval of the articles.

The approved articles of impeachment will be available on the Judiciary Committee’s website once they are edited and proofread to fully account for changes made during today’s meeting.

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Here is a summary of the 16 articles considered today (14 were adopted, 2 were rejected):

  1. Accusing Chief Justice Workman and Justice Davis of wrongfully approving the of overpayment of Senior Status Judges during their tenure as Chief Justice. 
  2. Accusing Chief Justice Workman and Justices Loughry, Davis and Walker of failure to properly carry out the administrative duties of the court.
  3. Accusing Justice Loughry of illegally possessing a historic "Cass Gilbert" desk at his private residence.
  4. Accusing Justice Loughry of improperly using state government computer equipment and hardware for personal use at home.
  5. Accusing Justice Loughry of using state vehicles and a fuel purchase card for personal use.
  6. Accusing Justice Loughry of issuing an administrative order wrongfully approving the of overpayment of Senior Status Judges during his tenure as Chief Justice. 
  7. Accusing Justice Loughry of wasteful spending with regard to office renovations.
  8. Accusing Justice Walker of wasteful spending with regard to office renovations.
  9. Accusing Justice Walker of wasteful spending by hiring outside counsel to craft a legal opinion of the court.  – REJECTED
  10. Accusing Justice Davis of wasteful spending with regard to office renovations.
  11. Accusing Justice Davis of signing forms to wrongfully approve the of overpayment of Senior Status Judges. 
  12. Accusing Chief Justice Workman of wasteful spending with regard to office renovations.
  13. Accusing Chief Justice Workman of unnecessarily hiring or retaining individuals who worked for her political campaigns to work for the court.– REJECTED
  14. Accusing Chief Justice Workman of signing forms to wrongfully approve the of overpayment of Senior Status Judges. 
  15. Accusing Justice Loughry of deceiving the House Finance Committee while under oath.
  16. Accusing Justice Loughry of wasteful spending by using state funds for framing of personal items.
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