CHARLESTON – Convicted and suspended state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry wants his impending impeachment trial in the state Senate to be stopped.
Loughry's legal time filed a motion Oct. 19 to have his trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 12, in the case Chief Justice Margaret Workman successfully won earlier this month with the state Supreme Court.
Last week, a federal jury found Loughry guilty on 11 of 22 counts during his criminal trial. He was accused of mail and wire fraud, witness tampering and lying to federal agents. His sentencing is scheduled for January.
“Justice Allen H. Loughry II was impeached following the same procedures and on many of the grounds returned against Justice Workman,” according to Loughry's motion filed with the state Supreme Court. “Justice Allen H. Loughry II respectfully moves the court to expand the writ issued in the Workman decision to prohibit the impeachment of Justice Loughry.”
Loughry was suspended earlier this year by the state Supreme Court based on 32 similar charges brought against him by the state Judicial Investigation Commission. He also was impeached – along with Workman, Justice Beth Walker and retired Justice Robin Jean Davis. Walker already had her trial in the state Senate and was acquitted. Davis filed a motion similar to Loughry and had her impending trial stopped by Cabell Circuit Judge Paul Farrell, who is overseeing the impeachment trials.
Two weeks ago, an acting Supreme Court ruled in Workman’s favor to stop her impeachment trial on constitutional and procedural grounds, saying the House of Delegate did not follow proper procedures. That included not passing a full resolution adopting the articles of impeachment and not having the findings of fact in the articles.
Earlier this week, House Democrats issued a press release saying Loughry is the only justice who should have been part of the impeachment process, blaming Republican lawmakers for creating chaos.
House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) said Republicans still fail to admit they made mistakes in the process.
“I am disappointed that Republican legislative leaders did not prioritize the impeachment of Justice Allen Loughry earlier this year during the legislative session and have now caused the entire impeachment process to be turned into chaos,” Miley said. “Part of what has caused this chaos was the Republican leadership’s failure to follow its own rules of impeachment, even after several Democratic members brought these issues to their attention throughout the process.
“To this day, Republican leadership refuses to acknowledge that they made any mistakes at all in the impeachment process. The Legislature has wasted a lot of time and taxpayer dollars on these failed impeachment proceedings.”
Delegate Mike Pushkin noted that he introduced a resolution in February to impeach Loughry, but he says the GOP leadership refused to take the matter up.
“When public pressure finally pushed them to take up impeachment, they failed to follow proper procedure during the proceedings,” Pushkin (D-Kanawha) said. “Then, pride and arrogance prevented leadership from fixing these mistakes back in August when the House of Delegates was still in session.
“Now, unless the Governor calls the House back in to session for yet another special session, we will not be able to fix this and the impeachment charges against former Justice Allen Loughry, who just last week was convicted on federal charges, could be null and void.
“Republican legislative leaders have botched this impeachment by first refusing to investigate and by not following the rules when they finally decided to look into former Justice Loughry’s unethical and illegal behavior.”
House Minority Whip Mike Caputo said "chaos continues to reign at the Legislature."
“The Republicans in the statehouse were so focused on handpicking a court for their rich corporate cronies that they failed to follow the rules of the Legislature,” Caputo (D-Marion) said. “The removal from office of an elected official should be a serious undertaking, and it is a shame that the impeachment proceedings were handled in such a poor way.”
Delegate Isaac Sponaugle agreed.
“The West Virginia House of Delegates impeached the entire Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia for maladministration,” Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) said. “House Republican leadership did not follow the Rules of the House of Delegates and proceeded to commit maladministration themselves.
“The irony of the current state of affairs in West Virginia speaks for itself – what a mess! The House should impeach itself for maladministration, but the odds are that would get botched too with this leadership.”