CHARLESTON – A House of Delegates board of managers handling the impeachment trials against four state Supreme Court justices has filed responses to Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s effort to have her case dismissed, saying the process is different than a typical judicial case.
On Oct. 5, House Judiciary Chairman John Shott filed the board’s responses to 12 motions filed Sept. 24 by Workman seeking dismissal of the articles of impeachment against her.
Shott (R-Mercer) said the House of Delegates didn’t deny Workman due process or act wrongly. He also said Workman needs to stand trial before the state Senate. Her trial is scheduled to start Oct. 15.
The House board of managers acts in a manner similar to a prosecuting attorney in a criminal case.
“We confess ourselves stunned by the invective and hostility displayed toward the legislative branch and by the aspersions cast upon us as members of the bar of this state, as representatives elected by the people of this state, and as individuals bound by oaths to obey the Constitution and laws of our state,” Shott wrote in one of the board responses. “We are shocked to find ourselves accused in the harshest terms as lawbreakers.”
Shott also explains that impeachment is a political process and not judicial, so there are different standards. He said lawmakers are handing the matter in a proper and legal manner, saying Workman’s position “is simply an attempt to evade responsibility for having allegedly failed to comply with the duties of her office.”
Workman filed 15 motions, 12 seeking to have the articles of impeachment against her dismissed. Another motion seeks to have Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell, who is acting as a Supreme Court justice and presiding over the impeachment trial, delay the trial until after the Nov. 6 general election. She also sought to have the board of managers define a “catch-all” article accusing her, former Justice Robin Jean Davis, suspended Justice Allen Loughry and Justice Beth Walker (who already has been acquitted by the state Senate) of maladministration. The final Workman motion focused on scheduling and hearings.
Farrell issued an order scheduling a hearing on Workman’s motions at the start of Oct. 15 trial.