CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Latest on an impeachment hearing in the West Virginia House of Delegates concerning members of the state Supreme Court (all times local):
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 there 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.