CHARLESTON — The state Supreme Court agrees with recommended sanctions for former state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.
The court order, dated May 16 and released May 17, annulled Loughry’s law license, barred him from seeking public office again in West Virginia.
Also as part of an agreement signed Jan. 31 by Loughry, the state Judicial Disciplinary Counsel recommended censure, a $3,000 fine and payment of $5,871.12 for the cost of the proceedings against Loughry.
“It was a tough case, and I’m glad it finally has been resolved,” Judicial Disciplinary Counsel Teresa Tarr told The West Virginia Record.
In February, the state Judicial Hearing Board agreed with the Judicial Investigation Commission’s recommendation. But, the state Supreme Court is the final arbiter. It could have followed the recommendations or hand out its own decision, either less harsh or more severe.
Four of the current sitting justices didn't consider the order. Chief Justice Beth Walker and Justice Margaret Workman served with Loughry on the Supreme Court. Justice Tim Armstead was Speaker of the House during impeachment proceedings last year, and Justice John Hutchison was appointed to Loughry's seat and unexpired term in December.
Justice Evan Jenkins served as acting Chief Justice and signed the order as well as Circuit Judges Joanna Tabit, Robert Burnside and Jennifer Dent. Senior Status Judge Jim Rowe also signed the order.
Also as part of the agreement, Loughry also did not admit guilt to any of the findings by the state panel. But, the agreement states that Loughry admitted there was enough evidence to prove the allegations of two charges of lying to the public, one charge of using a state computer at his home for personal use, four charges of using a state vehicle for personal travel (including trips to The Greenbrier to sell copies of his book “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay For A Landslide: The Sordid and Continuing History of Political Corruption in West Virginia”) and one charge of being convicted on 10 federal felony counts in October.
“We dismiss the remaining (24) charges with prejudice,” Tarr said during a Feb. 20 Judicial Hearing Board hearing in Wayne. “We think it’s a fair agreement and the most severe punishment we can obtain given his resignation in November (from the state Supreme Court).
“I believe the conduct of the respondent (Loughry) engaged in is reprehensible. Our system of justice is grounded in truth. We’re told the truth will set you free. Under oath, we’re told to tell the truth. And, if you tell the truth, it will benefit you in some way.”
Tarr said Loughry expected to be told the truth when he served as a justice.
“I would rather hear the truth even if I don’t like the answer rather than hear the opposite,” Tarr said, quoting an email from Loughry regarding renovations to his state Supreme Court office.”
Loughry spoke briefly during the Feb. 20 hearing.
“I believe it (the agreement) is in the best interest of myself and the judicial branch at this time,” he said.
Earlier in February, Loughry was sentenced to two years in prison in U.S. District Court in Charleston on 10 federal counts after being found guilty on 11 during his trial in the fall before Judge John Copenhaver.
In the federal case, Loughry also was ordered to pay fines and restitution in the amount of $11,273. He also will serve three years of supervised probation. He reported to a federal prison in South Carolina to begin his sentence in April.