STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Panel votes to impeach state Supreme Court

A West Virginia House panel adopted articles of impeachment Tuesday against all four state Supreme Court justices, escalating a widening scandal in the state's judicial system.

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 11:39 AM
Updated: Aug 10, 2018 11:39 AM

A West Virginia House panel adopted articles of impeachment Tuesday against all four state Supreme Court justices, escalating a widening scandal in the state's judicial system.

The 14 articles of impeachment, adopted by the House Committee on the Judiciary, accuse Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry, Robin Davis and Elizabeth Walker of failing to carry out the court's administrative duties and wasteful spending during office renovations.

Half the articles of impeachment deal solely with Loughry, who was indicted in June on 22 criminal federal charges, including fraud, false statements and witness tampering. Workman and Davis also may face impeachment for wrongfully approving the overpayment of senior judges.

The articles of impeachment -- along with criminal charges faced by Loughry and another, retired justice -- show that the state Supreme Court had a real problem, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, a Republican, told CNN by phone.

"They think that they are superior and don't need to hold restraint over the taxpayer money they are entrusted with," he said.

The articles now go to the full House for a vote on August 13. The accused then could face trial in the state Senate, where two-thirds of members would have to agree to remove them from office.

West Virginia's Supreme Court of Appeals is comprised of five justices, each elected to 12-year terms, though only four positions are currently filled.

CNN's calls to Workman, Loughry, Davis and Walker were not immediately returned.

Criminal charges against justices

The impeachment articles come on top of earlier federal criminal charges against Loughry and Justice Menis E. Ketchum II, who retired from the court in late July, just days before he was charged with federal wire fraud.

Loughry is accused of taking a historically significant desk, called the Cass Gilbert desk, to his private home for personal use. He also is accused of using a government vehicle and submitting mileage claims for reimbursement, as well as using a state vehicle and credit card on personal trips.

Loughry also later was indicted on an obstruction of justice charge related to a pending federal grand jury investigation.

Loughry pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on bond, according to court documents. He is suspended without pay and prohibited from hearing cases during judicial disciplinary proceedings, according to the court's website.

Meanwhile, Ketchum, 75, is accused of using a state-owned vehicle and fuel credit card to travel between his home and a private golf club.

A plea hearing in the case is scheduled for August 23, court documents show. US Attorney Mike Stuart announced last week that Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty, according to CNN affiliate WSAZ.

Shott described his committee's move toward impeachment as "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."

"This committee did not take this effort lightly," he said in a statement. "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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62199

Reported Deaths: 1753
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5329110
DeSoto338727
Madison232460
Harrison222833
Rankin216830
Jackson206338
Jones180457
Forrest165353
Washington152433
Lauderdale135488
Lee127430
Neshoba123288
Lamar114613
Oktibbeha106036
Lowndes99932
Bolivar98732
Warren97630
Scott96219
Panola93611
Sunflower92623
Copiah92426
Lafayette88512
Leflore86660
Holmes85148
Pike84632
Grenada81621
Yazoo79311
Leake77125
Lincoln75641
Pontotoc7527
Wayne73621
Simpson72328
Monroe71650
Coahoma67710
Tate66524
Marion62519
Covington60112
Adams58725
Marshall5858
Winston58415
George5495
Union53814
Newton52611
Attala50224
Pearl River49637
Tallahatchie49610
Walthall46318
Chickasaw44319
Noxubee42611
Claiborne40113
Jasper3859
Smith38513
Calhoun3819
Clay37413
Alcorn3634
Prentiss3516
Hancock34414
Tishomingo3394
Itawamba31710
Tippah31612
Lawrence3155
Yalobusha31310
Clarke31025
Montgomery2973
Tunica2926
Humphreys27411
Carroll24811
Quitman2331
Greene23211
Kemper22715
Perry2267
Jefferson Davis2146
Amite2116
Webster20112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18813
Sharkey1831
Stone1593
Benton1300
Choctaw1294
Franklin1172
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12039228
Mobile9170197
Montgomery6305147
Madison508227
Tuscaloosa398466
Baldwin326323
Shelby307532
Marshall298433
Unassigned281255
Lee251940
Morgan224315
Etowah195728
DeKalb171813
Elmore162637
Calhoun159012
Walker147464
Houston132712
Dallas129423
Russell12471
St. Clair123612
Limestone120813
Franklin120620
Cullman115711
Colbert110712
Lauderdale109512
Autauga103020
Escambia97915
Talladega92713
Jackson8704
Chambers82838
Tallapoosa82278
Dale78722
Butler75135
Blount7413
Chilton7226
Coffee7165
Covington71520
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55824
Marion54724
Marengo52614
Clarke4879
Hale45726
Bullock44111
Winston43211
Perry4314
Wilcox4089
Monroe3954
Randolph39110
Bibb3813
Conecuh37210
Pickens3719
Sumter35918
Lawrence3240
Washington31412
Macon31113
Crenshaw2973
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2477
Henry2463
Greene24511
Geneva2420
Clay2235
Lamar2032
Fayette1765
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Oxford
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather