Loughry’s legacy will live on in the (Steve) Canterbury Tales

By The West Virginia Record | Feb 19, 2019

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Allen Loughry once jokingly threatened to blame former Court Administrator Steve Canterbury for Loughry’s own purchase of a now-notorious blue suede office couch if the public ever got wind of its exorbitant cost.

It may not have been Loughry’s funniest joke ever, and Canterbury might not have been the best person to tell it to. He who laughs last, and all that jazz.

Loughry’s headed to prison now, and he’s not laughing anymore. Canterbury, on the other hand, is free to tell lots of tales about the excesses of self-obsessed justices.

Loughry was convicted on 11 counts of mail and wire fraud, witness tampering, and lying to federal agents. He also was the justice with the most articles of impeachment directed against him personally. Canterbury testified during impeachment hearings about Loughry’s abuse of state vehicles, courthouse furniture that wound up at Loughry’s home, and the $32,000 couch Loughry purchased for his chambers.

“I think he’s dishonest. I don’t think he has the temperament to be a justice,” Canterbury said of Loughry at the time. 

But that’s nothing compared to what he’s saying now.

“So often, evildoers are convicted of crimes that are not nearly as bad as other things they’ve done,” Canterbury observed recently. “The most obvious example is Al Capone. Tax evasion was the least of his criminal activities.

“What Allen Loughry did to children of divorce by denying 90 percent of the guardians ad litem, what he did to potential victims of sexual assault by firing the probation officers who were specially trained to supervise sex offenders, what he did to the people who were seeking access to the courts by eliminating the Access To Justice Commission. … 

“On top of that, he ran off scores of Supreme Court employees who were top-notch. ... All of that is actually far worse than what he was found guilty of.”

Maybe so. Still, he’s going to prison – and he won’t be lounging on a $32,000 blue suede couch in his cell.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Charleston Division West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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