Crime

UPDATE: Gov. Justice Calls For Special Session for Impeachment of Justice Loughry

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - UPDATE (6/25/18 5:35 PM):

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has issued a special session call to allow the Legislature to consider matters relating to the removal of one or more Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

The proclamation calls for the West Virginia Legislature to convene in special session at 12 PM on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018.

The special session call allows the Legislature to consider matters relating to the removal of one or more Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, and legislation authorizing and appropriating the expenditure of public funds to pay the expenses for the Extraordinary Session.  


UPDATE (6/22/18 4:30 PM):

West Virginia Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael are calling on the Joint Judiciary Committee to begin considering impeachment proceedings. 

The legislative leaders are requesting the Joiint Judiciary Committee, as part of its June 2018 interim meetings, initiate a process of reviewing all available information for the purpose of evaluating impeachment proceedings which may be necessary for any member or members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

"Investigations regarding the troubling allegations at the West Virginia Supreme Court have been ongoing, including by legislative auditors. There is an ample and sufficient body of evidence available for your Committee to begin a review of these matters. We require that the committee and staff immediately review all available evidence, including the Legislative Audit reports produced this year by the Legislative Auditor regarding the Supreme Court, the Judicial Investigation Committee complaint filed against Justice Loughry, and the Federal indictment which has been returned against Justice Loughry and any related materials," Armstead and Carmichael said in a letter to Senator Charles Trump and Delegate John Shott.

The leadership said the most efficient and time-effective manner of considering impeachment proceedings is for a subcommittee of the Joint Judiciary committee to undertake an immediate review of this matter as part of the open and public interim process. This review would allow the committee to reach a determination of whether it wishes to introduce and consider articles of impeachment against one or more members of the Supreme Court of Appeals as well as to consider and recommend to the leadership additional action deemed appropriate in relation to the current matters relating to the court.

If impeachment proceedings become necessary, leaders say they will work with Governor Justice to request a special session. 


UPDATE (6/22/18 3:30 PM):

Justice Allen Loughry has plead not-guilty to the 22 federal charges brought by a grand jury earlier this week. Loughry will be back in court August 7th for a pretrial hearing.


UPDATE (6/20/18 10:00 AM):

Former Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court Allen Loughry has been indicted on federal charges.

The U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia held a news conference at 10 announcing a 22 count federal indictment against Justice Loughry.

“This is a solemn day for all West Virginians.  On this day—West Virginia Day—the people of our great state deserve better.  They have worked too hard and too long to tolerate misconduct that strikes at the heart of the public’s trust by their elected officials.  I intend to do all that I can to ensure that our people have the honest government they deserve," said U.S. Attorney Stuart

Among the charges filed against Justice Loughry are counts of lying to a federal law enforcement officer as well as more than a dozen charges of wire fraud and mail fraud.  

U.S. Attorney Stuart credited the media on their handling of the case and the story.  He did stress that Justice Loughry is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Justice Loughry was arrested at around 7:30 AM on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018.

The 22-count Indictment charges Loughry with sixteen counts of mail fraud, which carry a penalty of up to 20 years for each count; two counts of wire fraud, which carry a penalty of up to 20 years for each count; three counts of making false statements to a federal agent, which carry a penalty of up to 5 years for each count; and one count of witness tampering, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years.  If convicted on all counts in the Indictment, Loughry faces a possible sentence of up to 395 years in prison, a fine of $5.5 million, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.
 


UPDATE (6/8/18 11:40 AM):

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has suspended Justice Allen Loughry without pay after a 32-count statement of charges was filed against Loughry Wednesday morning.

Loughry is also prohibited from hearing any further civil or criminal matters or performing any other judicial function during these judicial disciplinary proceedings.

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia says the request to suspend Loughry's license to practice law during these judicial disciplinary proceedings has been deferred at this time.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.


UPDATE (6/6/18 5:30 PM):

The West Virginia Supreme Court Justices have recused themselves in hearing the Loughry case brought forth from the Judicial Investigation Commission. Chief Justice Margaret Workman has appointed Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit to hear the case instead.

Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is accused of lying, misleading and keeping secrets. It's part of a 32-count statement of charges filed by the state Judicial Investigation Commission.

"It's troubling anytime that we have a Supreme Court Justice or the court as itself as an institution called into question about their viability or their transparency," Senate President Mitch Carmichael told 13 News.

Several complaints were filed with the JIC after reports that Loughry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations to his office and other rooms in the court. One complaint was filed by Delegate Mike Pushkin.

"I did that only after the legislature failed to act. During the session we filed a resolution that would have started the process for investigating whether or not we had enough to impeach- but the legislature failed to act on that," Del. Pushkin explained.

The JIC has also filed a motion for Loughry's suspension without pay.

Lawmakers are calling for his resignation.

"Most important is the public's trust in the judiciary and we've got a long way to go to return the public's trust in the judiciary." Del. Pushkin explained.

The remaining Supreme Court Justice have recused themselves, appointing Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit to hear Loughry's case.

"I think we need to find out what happened leading up to this and we need to get the answers that the people want answers to," Del. Pushkin told 13 News.

"We want to have absolute transparency and confidence in the court that they're doing their job in a proper manner and spending the taxpayer dollars wisely," Sen. Carmichael added.

In the wake of the court's controversial spending, the state legislature passed a constitutional amendment to allow lawmakers to control the court's budget. The amendment goes before West Virginia voters in November.


UPDATE (6/6/18 3:00 PM):

The Judicial Investigation Commission has filed a motion for Justice Loughry to be suspended without pay after a 32-count statement of charges was filed against Loughry Wednesday morning.

More details are expected in the coming hours.


Original

The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission has found there is probable cause exists to formally charge Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Code of Conduct.

Loughry is facing dozens of charges regarding his conduct as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The JIC found Loughry lied, with the intent to harm, about renovations to Supreme Court property.

This is a developing story.

Keep clicking for the latest.

 


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