Third West Virginia justice impeached
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Lawmakers have impeached a third West Virginia Supreme Court justice in a scandal over spending and office renovations.
The West Virginia House of Delegates approved an impeachment article Monday against Chief Justice Margaret Workman.
The article says Workman and Justice Robin Davis signed documents in their roles as chief justices allowing for senior status judges to be paid higher than allowed wages. Lawmakers say the overpayments violated state law and stopped when they were challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.
Separate impeachment articles were approved earlier against Davis and suspended Justice Allen Loughry for lavish spending on their office renovations. Loughry also was impeached by lawmakers for moving an expensive, antique desk owned by the state to his home.
Other articles are under consideration. Justice Beth Walker is the only current justice who has not been impeached. A fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, retired last month.
Indicted West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry has been impeached on a second charge.
The House of Delegates voted unanimously Monday to send to the state Senate for trial an impeachment article that says Loughry took home a $42,000 antique desk owned by the state.
The article passed with little debate. Loughry still faces six other impeachment articles. Earlier Monday, the House impeached Loughry over $363,000 in spending on his office renvations and impeached Justice Robin Davis for spending more than $500,000 on office renovations. Lawmakers are considering articles of impeachment against all four justices currently on the court. A fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, retired last month. He’s agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.
Loughry has pleaded not guilty to a 23-count federal indictment.
West Virginia lawmakers have impeached a second state Supreme Court justice accused in a spending scandal.
The House of Delegates voted Monday to send an impeachment article against Justice Robin Davis to the state Senate for trial after earlier impeaching indicted Justice Allen Loughry. The charges against both were related to office renovations. Davis spent more than $500,000 on her office and Loughry spent more than $363,000 on his.
Republican Delegate Tom Fast of Fayette County says he’s seen the work done in Davis’ office, including track lighting on the floor.
He says the work was “over the top” and the impeachment article “is one of the more easy ones” for him to support.
West Virginia’s House of Delegates has impeached suspended Justice Allen Loughry over $363,000 in spending on his office renovations.
The 64-33 vote Monday sends the charge to the state Senate for a trial.
Loughry is under federal indictment and named in eight impeachment articles, including allegations he lied about taking home a $42,000 antique desk and a $32,000 suede leather couch. Other articles involve upgrades of the offices of Chief Justice Margaret Workman and justices Robin Davis and Beth Walker.
Some legislators said they didn’t support impeaching any justice for wasteful spending, only for articles pertaining to lying, cheating or stealing. But Republican Delegate John Shott of Mercer County asked whether here is public confidence in the court, and if not, “we need to take action to try to rebuild that trust.”
Several lawmakers noted that the Supreme Court has a separate budget and is currently allowed to spend as it sees fit. A proposed constitutional amendment this fall would bring the state courts’ budget partly under legislative control.
The West Virginia House of Delegates is taking the extraordinary step of considering impeachment articles against all four remaining state Supreme Court justices.
The House plans to meet Monday to discuss 14 articles and make recommendations. If any of the articles are approved, a trial would be held in the state Senate.
Suspended Justice Allen Loughry, who was indicted in federal court in June, is named in eight impeachment articles. Others have been approved against justices Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker.
Justice Menis Ketchum retired last month. He’s agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.
In 1989, the House impeached state Treasurer A. James Manchin, who resigned before his Senate trial.