In a move that could upset West Virginia’s appellate court system for a period of time, a house committee in the state’s legislature has voted to impeach the entire West Virginia Supreme Court. The justices now face a full vote of the state house, followed by a vote in the state’s senate.
And if you’re wondering just what could prompt such a move by the house committee, you may have missed some big, recent (and wacky) headlines. In June of this year, former state supreme court judge Allen Loughry was charged with multiple criminal counts, including fraud for misusing the government Buick, wasting money, and stealing a historic desk. Given the recent vote, it looks like he didn’t act alone.
Who Did What?
As the many reports indicate, the judges are basically facing charges of using the state’s coffers to fund their “lavish lifestyles.” Officially, they’re facing charges stemming from maladministration, corruption, and neglect of duty.
Between the four judges, Judges Allen Loughry, Robin Davis, Beth Walker, and Margaret Workman, over a million dollars was spent just on remodeling judicial chambers. Curiously, Davis spent over half a million, and Loughry spent nearly $400K. Another curious fact, the committee’s impeachment vote spans partisanship as the four justices are evenly split, politically. However, it is worth noting that if the justices are impeached, the state governor is tasked with appointing interim justices that serve until the next election.
Additionally, it is noted that three of the judges would deliberately overpay the judges on senior status. It’s also worth noting that the West Virginia High Court’s fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, just recently resigned after state lawmakers began the discussion of impeaching him and he accepted a plea deal for wire fraud.