“We were kind of busy being judges and not paying attention to administrative things,” said West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman in response to the latest uproar over the most recent exposure of two justices' abuse of public funds to accommodate themselves in the extravagant style to which they wanted to become accustomed.
Picture the bank runs of the Depression. Financial institutions could accommodate the small number of nervous customers wanting to withdraw their savings and close their accounts, at first. As the number of withdrawals increased and panic set in, cash reserves rapidly dwindled until one by one the banks were shuttered.
A dozen roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, dinner at a fancy restaurant – those are some of the more common gifts given and received on Valentine's Day. Joshua Sheets of Danville might have settled for a cute little card signed in crayon by a secret admirer asking him to “Be Mine.” That would have been preferable to the unique Valentine's present that the Boone County attorney did receive this year.
Have you ever been invited to dine at Justice Robin Davis' home? No? Neither have we. We hear she lays out a sumptuous spread, though, as exemplified by the dinner she hosted for circuit court judges at her home in the fall of 2013. Among the many delectable buffet items to nosh on were asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, artichoke tartlets, seared tuna on sesame crackers, pork tenderloin with apricot chutney, roasted red pepper and mushroom and artichoke pasta, and leek and pancetta and mushroom panzanella.
How can you not like something that's inherently appealing? Like an appeals court. Not the state Supreme Court we already have, but an intermediate appellate court in-between our state's supreme and circuit courts. Like the appeals courts that exist in our federal judicial system and in all state judicial systems but those of West Virginia and eight other outliers.
One rule for thee, another for me. We all know people who think and act that way. Many are politicians and public officials. They have exacting standards for everyone outside their circle of power (and hold us to them), but the standards they set for themselves are lower, and they allow themselves a lot of leeway for infractions.
Having a sexual relationship with a client can cloud an attorney's judgment, making the presentation of a rational, dispassionate argument in that client's behalf all but impossible. Plus, it puts undue pressure on the client to acquiesce to one's advances, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase, “How would like to pay for that, cash or credit?”