UPDATE: W.Va. lawmakers won't meet for special session after Loughry resigns

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 11/11/18 8:30 P.M.

An upcoming special session of the West Virginia Legislature to consider removing suspended and convicted Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry has been canceled.

Both the state Senate and House of Delegates posted a proclamation on Twitter by Gov. Jim Justice rescinding Tuesday's special session.

Justice on Friday called for the special session. On Saturday the governor's office announced that Loughry would resign Monday.

Loughry was convicted in federal court last month of 11 criminal charges including wire fraud involving his personal use of state vehicles and fuel cards.

Loughry's attorney, John A. Carr, said Sunday in an email that he would have no comment on the resignation.

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UPDATE: 11/10/18 9:00 P.M.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R- Jackson County) released a statement regarding the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

He said, “We appreciate that Justice Loughry has decided to do the right thing and step down from the Court. With his resignation and the overwhelming support of the Judicial Budget Oversight Amendment by voters, I believe we are well on our way to rebuilding the trust of our citizens in the judicial branch.”


UPDATE: 11/10/18 7:10 P.M.

Governor Jim Justice received and accepted a letter from West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry, indicating that he is resigning from the court effective at the close of business on Monday, November 12, 2018.


UPDATE: 11/9/18 03:45 P.M.

West Virginia lawmakers will meet in special session to discuss removing suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry from office.

Gov. Jim Justice called the special session for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Justice’s office said in a news release that lawmakers will also consider legislation authorizing funding for the session.

Lawmakers were already scheduled to be in Charleston this weekend for regularly scheduled interim meetings.

Justice has repeatedly said Loughry should resign.

A federal jury convicted Loughry on last month on 11 counts related to misconduct while in office. He was previously impeached by state lawmakers.

He has filed appeals in both cases.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty..

Allegations included overspending on office renovations, taking home an antique desk belonging to the state, using state vehicles for personal travel, using state computer equipment for personal tasks, lying to the House Finance Committee and circumventing state law to pay senior status circuit judges more than they were entitled to be paid during fill-in stints.


UPDATE: 10/12/2018 4:50 P.M.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal jury has convicted a suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice of some charges at his criminal trial, found him not guilty of others and deadlocked on one count.

The jury announced the verdict Friday for suspended Justice Allen Loughry in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

News outlets report he was found guilty of 11 counts, not guilty of 10. Sentencing is Jan. 16.

Most of the charges involved allegations he used a state vehicle and gas card for personal use.

The 48-year-old Loughry was replaced as chief justice in February and was suspended from his seat earlier this year.

The state House of Delegates impeached Loughry and three other justices in August over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Loughry still faces an impeachment trial.


UPDATE: 10/11/18 5:40 P.M.

Another trial day came and went without a verdict in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.


UPDATE 10/11/18 12:57 p.m.

The jury resumed deliberations Thursday morning in the case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

WSAZ's Jatara McGee is at the federal courthouse awaiting a verdict.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses throughout the trial.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

He previously pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the justice faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.


UPDATE: 10/10/18 5:35 P.M.

Court has adjourned for the day in the federal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Jury deliberations will continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments. The judge then spent an hour giving the jury instructions before they returned to private chambers to deliberate.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry and about two dozen witnesses.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.


UPDATE 10/10/18 3:39 P.M.

The jury is now deliberating in a historic trial for the state of West Virginia. They hold the fate of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry in their hands.

Made up of 10 women and two men, the jury heard testimony from Loughry himself and about two dozen witnesses. On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing arguments. The judge then spent an hour giving the jury instructions before they returned to private chambers to deliberate.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges (prosecutors dropped three of the charges in the indictment) including wire fraud and lying to FBI agents. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

This is Loughry's criminal trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month in the state Senate.


UPDATE: 10/10/18 1:20 P.M.

The fate of suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry is now in the hands of the jurors.

Closing arguments wrapped up just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Loughry is currently facing 22 federal charges, mostly fraud charges. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

After closing arguments, the court went into recess for lunch. When they return, the judge will give final instructions and the jury will deliberate.


UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 11:50 a.m.

Closing arguments are underway in the trial for suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

Wednesday morning, jurors heard from the prosecution representing the United States government in the federal case.

The first statement from the prosecution said Justice Loughry took a position of ‘’significant power’’ when elected as a justice, but with that power also came an "arrogance" and a "sense of entitlement." The prosecution also said that when Loughry’s crimes came to light, he began bullying, creating false narratives, and deflecting attention away from his crimes.

The prosecution painted Loughry as a bully who intimidated people he worked with, later lied to federal investigators, and “when things got hot, he flat out lied.“

The prosecution said Loughry was elected to be a public servant, but wanted to be a master.

‘’The defendant is guilty on every single account and we ask you find him guilty,’’ said Attorney Greg McVey in closing to the jury.

After a short break, the defense will give their closing arguments, followed by a brief response from the prosecution. Then, jury deliberation will begin.


UPDATE 10/10/18 @ 10:31 a.m.

As a historic trial in West Virginia nears its end, the fate of a state Supreme Court justice rests in the jurors' hands.

Closing arguments against suspended Justice Allen Loughry are scheduled for Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Loughry is currently facing 22 federal charges, mostly fraud charges. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use, and lying to cover up his wrongdoing.

After closing arguments, the jury of 10 women and two men is set to begin deliberations.

This is Loughry's criminal trial. He could also be removed from office. Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the state House of Delegates over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

It is now up to the West Virginia Senate to decide whether or not to officially remove the judge from office. Loughry's impeachment trial is set for next month in the state Senate.


UPDATE: 10/4/18 5:45 P.M.

The West Virginia Supreme Court’s top financial officer testified for several hours Thursday at the federal trial of Justice Allen Loughry about how the court keeps track of mileage and gas purchases.

Federal prosecutors are trying to prove not only that Loughry used a state vehicle for his personal travel but that he received reimbursement from out-of-state conferences while actually traveling in a state vehicle and using a state purchasing card for the gas.

Loughry’s attorney, John Carr, tried during cross examination to question whether what might seem like basic records of gasoline purchases might be subject to human error or inconsistencies.

Carr asked about odometer readings that might jump up or down, about whether purchasing cards might be moved from state vehicle to state vehicle without an immediate note in the record keeping, and about how any one would know exactly who made a gasoline purchase.

“There’s no way to tell exactly who swiped the card?” Carr asked.

“That’s correct,” responded. Sue Racer-Troy, the court’s financial officer.

A couple of hours of Racer-Troy’s morning testimony was dedicated to reading off, line-by-line, records of where gasoline was purchased, the amount paid and the date and time.

As testimony resumed today after a mid-morning break, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver jokingly commented on the tedium: “I was really encouraged that you reached page 270.”

Federal prosecutors were up front with the jury during opening statements that some of the evidence they intend to present is dry.

But the prosecutors said the puzzle pieces will fit together over the course of the trial.

Loughry faces 22 federal charges.

Counts one, two and three are false and fraudulent mileage claims. Counts four through 18 are counts of wire fraud over personal use of Supreme Court vehicles and government fuel cards. Yet another count alleges a false statement about using a Supreme Court vehicle.


UPDATE: 10/3/18 4:25 P.M.

Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II is now facing fewer charges in federal court over his alleged misconduct while he was a member of the court.

Loughry faces 22 counts instead of 25 after three charges of mail fraud, obstruction of justice and making a false statement were dropped on Wednesday.

Loughry is accused of using his public office for personal gain. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. He is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

Opening arguments in his trial in U.S. District Court in Charleston wrapped up on Wednesday after jurors heard from both the prosecution and the defense for about 30 minutes each.

Prosecutors warned the jury that some of the evidence in the case is dry, speaking about documents and records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Wright said all of the evidence will piece together a puzzle -- a picture of Loughry's fraud.

Defense Attorney John Carr said the government does not have any solid evidence and cannot prove Loughry's intent. He also said Loughry does not believe he committed any crimes, blaming politics for being a dirty business.

"Not everything is as it first appears," Carr reiterated.

Carr told the jury the case is not about political scores, hearsay, or "fake news." He said the government is alleging federal, felony charges that are very serious. Carr also told members of the jury that they need to question the witnesses' motives and credibility.

The jury is made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates. More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.


UPDATE: 10/02/18 8:15 P.M.

A jury has been selected in the federal criminal case against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II.

It will be made up of 10 women, two men and three alternates.

More than 50 potential jurors were questioned throughout the day on Tuesday.

Loughry is accused of using his public office as judge for personal gain. He previously pleaded not guilty to the other 25 counts he faces. If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol. The justice is also accused of having expensive office furniture at his home, and using a state-owned vehicle and gas card for personal use.

The trial is set to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.


UPDATE: 10/2/18 1:10 P.M.

The federal trial of a suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice was scheduled to begin today, a day after a colleague's impeachment trial began in the state Senate.

Jury selection was set to get underway in U.S. District Court in Charleston for Justice Allen Loughry, who also has a Senate impeachment trial scheduled in November.

Loughry is accused in a 25-count federal indictment of repeatedly lying about using his office for personal gain, making personal use of a state vehicle and credit card and trying to influence an employee's testimony and a federal grand-jury investigation.

The indictment accuses him of "creating a false narrative" about an antique desk and leather couch that he had transferred from the Supreme Court offices to his home and repeating the false narrative to an FBI special agent during a March interview.

The House of Delegates in August impeached him and justices Beth Walker, Margaret Workman and Robin Davis.

The senate began deliberations Tuesday morning in Walker's impeachment trial that began on Monday.

The cases targeted spending, including lavish office renovations, and also raised questions about corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty earlier this decade.

A legislative audit report said the court's chief justices skirted state law concerning pay for senior status judges who are no longer on full-time duty by converting them from employees to independent contractors. The audit also tallied Supreme Court office renovations between 2012 and 2016 at $3.4 million, including $1.9 million for the five justices' chambers.

Loughry has repeatedly denied involvement in his office renovations. One such denial came during an appearance before the House Committee on Finance in January. Loughry was removed as chief justice and suspended without pay earlier this year by the state's high court.

Loughry, whose $353,000 in renovations included a $32,000 blue suede couch and a $7,500 wood-inlay floor map of West Virginia, has blamed former court administrator Steve Canterbury for the spending and fired him in January 2017.

Loughry also had a $42,000 state-owned antique desk moved into his home. He returned the desk after news outlets asked about it.

He also signed for a state car for a total of 212 days from 2013 to 2015 but failed to list a destination for 148 days, including trips to visit family and for signings of his 2006 book chronicling West Virginia political corruption. The indictment says he also sought mileage reimbursements for trips even though he drove a state vehicle and used a government credit card for gas.


UPDATE 8/23/2018, 11:28 a.m.

Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II pleaded not guilty to 25 charges in federal court on Thursday.

Loughry was in court to be arraigned on a superseding indictment that increased the charges against him to 25. Also, 14 previous charges of mail fraud were changed to wire fraud charges.

His attorney said "no comment" to our cameras as Loughry walked into the federal court building in Charleston.

The additional charges in the superseding indictment are related to personal use of a state-owned vehicle and gas card.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the other 23 counts he faces.

Keep checking WTAP.com for the latest updates, and watch WTAP News at 5, 6 and 11 for more details.


UPDATE 8/14/2018, 2:55 p.m.

A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice now faces two additional charges after a grand jury returned a second superseding indictment against him.

Justice Allen Loughry faces two new counts of fraud. That brings the total number of charges against him to 25. Also, 14 previous charges of mail fraud were changed to wire fraud charges.

According to the indictment filed Tuesday, Loughry faces two new counts related to personal use of a state-owned vehicle and gas card.

Loughry previously pleaded not guilty to the other 23 counts he faces.

There's no word on when he will face a judge on the additional counts.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 7/25/2018, 10:25 p.m.

A suspended West Virginia Supreme Court justice has pleaded not guilty to a new indictment in federal court.
The State Journal reports Allen Loughry appeared in court Wednesday in Charleston. Loughry is free on bond.

A June indictment charged Loughry with 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, three counts of lying to federal law enforcement and one count of witness tampering. Last week, the grand jury issued a new indictment adding an obstruction of justice charge. Loughry's trial was set for Oct. 2.

Loughry is accused of making personal use of a state vehicle and credit card and trying to influence an employee's testimony and the federal investigation.

A legislative committee is considering whether to recommend impeachment proceedings against Loughry. He was suspended last month.


UPDATE 7/17/2018, 5:00 p.m.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II is facing an additional charge.
The federal grand jury that indicted Loughry in June returned a superseding indictment Tuesday. (It replaces the old indictment.)

In addition to the original 22 counts, Loughry is also now charged with obstruction of justice. The original indictment included charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, the justice now faces a sentence of up to 405 years in prison, a fine of $5.75 million, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart's office announced the 23-count indictment Tuesday.

The indictment states that the obstruction of justice happened between Dec. 4, 2017 and May 24, 2018. "Loughry knowingly and corruptly endeavored to influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice—a pending federal grand jury investigation the existence of which Loughry was well aware, according to the superseding indictment," the press release from Stuart's office states.

Loughry allegedly deflected attention away from his own misconduct and blamed others for improperly using court funds and property. The press release states Loughry created a "false narrative" about a Cass Gilbert desk that was allegedly moved to his home. The indictment states Loughry lied about when the desk was moved and who directed it to be moved.

He is also accused of using invoices that were not related to the transfer of the desk, or a leather couch, "to buttress the false narrative he created."

Finally, the new indictment states that Loughry repeated that "false narrative" to an FBI Special Agent in an interview on March 2, 2018.

“Today, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry,” Attorney Stuart said. “The new indictment adds another very serious charge -- obstruction of justice -- which, in addition to the charges included in the original indictment, expose Loughry to a possible sentence of 405 years in prison. It’s very disappointing that a former Chief Justice of the highest court in the State of West Virginia would engage in such egregious conduct. Obstruction of justice is one of the most serious of offenses and for that conduct to be conducted by a Supreme Court Justice is, frankly, just plain stupefying.”

At the state level, the West Virginia Judicial Commission filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in early June before the federal indictment. According to an order entered by the Supreme Court, Justice Loughry is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.


UPDATE 6/22/2018, 4:30 p.m.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry appeared Friday in federal court in Charleston for arraignment. He pleaded not guilty to the 22 counts he was indicted on.

The case heads to trial Aug. 28 in Charleston.

Loughry, who has yet to resign, appeared stoic and emotionless in court Friday.

The prosecuting attorney did not object to Loughry's bond stipulations, so he will remain out on a $10,000 unsecured bond. The conditions of his release are unclear.

Loughry faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces 395 years in prison.


UPDATE 6/20/2018, 4:52 p.m.

Lawmakers and state leaders are reacting Wednesday to the news of the indictment against West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

Loughry is facing 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of up to 395 years in prison and up to $5.5 million in fines.

Loughry was previously suspended from the bench without pay after being accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

Governor Jim Justice reacted to the news. The governor previously asked Loughry to resign if the allegations are true. Justice says he stands by that statement.

“The news from United States Attorney Mike Stuart this morning regarding Justice Loughry is very troubling," West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) said. "As citizens review the facts and case against Justice Loughry we must all remember that, until proven guilty, the American system of justice presumes the innocence of those accused of crimes. There is an established system in place to adjudicate and fairly resolve this matter. Nevertheless, the confidence and workmanship in the judicial branch of government must be held to the highest standards of propriety and respect. Therefore, Justice Loughry should immediately resign his position as Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The opportunity to defend himself against these serious allegations should not be conducted from his current role as Justice. Furthermore, the Court must work diligently to rebuild the public’s trust that citizens deserve from the highest court in our state. May we all pray for a fair, judicious, prompt resolution to this unfortunate event.”

"I'm saddened and disappointed to read these very serious allegations of corruption by a member of our state's highest court contained in today’s indictment," House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) said. "I am deeply troubled by these allegations and believe my fellow West Virginians are as well. Under the legal process in our nation and state, Justice Loughry will be afforded due process as the case against him is prosecuted. While he has been suspended from sitting on the court and is not receiving pay, I would reiterate my belief that it is in our state's best interest for Justice Loughry to resign so we can begin the long process of restoring our citizens' trust in their judicial system. Regardless of what course Justice Loughry may choose to take, the Legislature will continue its work to get to the bottom of what has occurred, to evaluate the evidence and assess how best to proceed to ensure that our judges and all public officials are held to the highest legal and ethical standards."

“Today’s charges against Justice Loughry are very troubling," said Melody Potter, Chairwoman of the WVGOP. "If proven true, the allegations against him are unacceptable misconduct and abuse by an elected official of any political party. As our U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said, Justice Loughry maintains a presumption of innocence until otherwise found guilty by our legal system. The Constitution of West Virginia provides our Legislature, the elected voice of the people, the authority to address elected officials who engage in misconduct, misappropriation of public funds, or inappropriate activity. I urge our elected leaders in the Legislature to appropriately evaluate these developments and determine what actions, if any, are warranted. As the people’s elected leaders, this is their obligation to our Constitution and to the people of our great state."

"The West Virginia Association for Justice is very disappointed and concerned about the alleged criminal conduct of Justice Loughry. While he is presumed innocent until proven guilty, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to federal agents are serious corruption charges," said Stephen P. New, president of the West Virginia Association for Justice. "No individual is above the law. Those in public office, especially our judges, should be held to the highest standards of ethics and professional conduct. West Virginia voters put their confidence in Justice Loughry when they elected him to our state’s highest court. If these allegations are found to be true, it’s not just his criminal conduct that’s troubling. It is his total disrespect and disregard for the people who elected him. Restoring full public confidence in West Virginia’s highest court and its justices must be a priority. The West Virginia Supreme Court must resume its critical role and serious work with no further distractions. WVAJ believes that Justice Loughry should resign immediately. In addition, federal officers should continue their thorough investigation to ensure that there are no further issues.”

The indictment is attached to this web story.


UPDATE 6/20/2018, 10:15 a.m.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II has been indicted on 22 counts.

U.S. Attorney Michael Stuart from the Southern District of West Virginia announced the federal charges in a news conference Wednesday.

Stuart says, at approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the FBI arrested Loughry. However, Stuart says they do not expect the justice to be detained pending trial.

He is charged with 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering, and three counts of making false statements to a federal agent.

If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of up to 395 years in prison and up to $5.5 million in fines.

Stuart said "no comment" when asked if any other members of the West Virginia Supreme Court would face charges.

Loughry was previously suspended from the bench without pay after being accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct. The investigation stems from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.


UPDATE 6/8/2018, 11:00 p.m.

The Senate and House Democratic Caucuses have released statements on the West Virginia Supreme Court justice who is facing serious accusations of wrongdoing.

According to an order entered by the Supreme Court of Appeals Friday, Justice Allen H. Loughry II is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.

The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel is also requesting that the Court suspend Loughry's license to practice law in West Virginia, according to court documents. In the order entered Friday, the decision about his license "is deferred at this time."

The order states that Loughry has the right to request a hearing about his suspension. A request for a hearing must be submitted in writing and filed with the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the order that was entered June 8.

Loughry is accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The 32 formal charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.

Senate and House Democratic Caucuses released a statement urging legislative action in response to Justice Loughry’s corruption scandal.

"On behalf of the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses, Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D-Marion) and House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) sent the attached letter to Governor Jim Justice, Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead today to urge the leaders to demand the immediate resignation and/or impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry. "

Senate President Mich Carmichael says, “In light of both reports from the Legislative Auditor’s Post Audit Division and the statement of charges from the Judicial Investigation Commission, it is time for Justice Loughry to do the right and honorable thing and resign. Our citizens must have faith in their judicial system, and this situation is untenable. To repair the public’s trust, there must be a fundamental change and that starts with Justice Loughry stepping down and allowing the Court to move forward without him.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, released this statement:

"While all of us are innocent until proven guilty, the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Loughry are extremely troubling. At the very least, this has cast a very negative shadow on the state of West Virginia.

"Obviously, the Supreme Court understood the seriousness of this situation and suspended him without pay.

"If the charges are accurate, I would urge Justice Loughry to resign and spare the court and state any further embarrassment.

"As the impeachment process is the domain of the Legislature, I will continue to have a dialog with the leadership to determine the desire to initiate impeachment proceedings. In the event of sufficient interest, I would be open to calling a special session."


UPDATE 6/8/2018, 11:55 a.m.

A West Virginia Supreme Court justice who is facing serious accusations of wrongdoing and 32 charges has been officially suspended from the bench.

According to an order entered by the Supreme Court of Appeals Friday, Justice Allen H. Loughry II is suspended without pay and cannot hear any civil or criminal matter or perform any other judicial functions as his disciplinary proceedings play out.

The Judicial Disciplinary Counsel is also requesting that the Court suspend Loughry's license to practice law in West Virginia, according to court documents. In the order entered Friday, the decision about his license "is deferred at this time."

The order states that Loughry has the right to request a hearing about his suspension. A request for a hearing must be submitted in writing and filed with the Clerk of Court within 30 days of the order that was entered June 8.

Loughry is accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The 32 formal charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol.


UPDATE 6/7/2018, 1:50 p.m.

Acting Chief Justice Joanna Tabit has appointed four justices to hear the case involving W.Va. Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

This comes after West Virginia Judicial Commission filed 32 formal charges against Justice Allen H. Loughry II on Wednesday.

The 32 charges were filed at the Supreme Court after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

According to the filing, the commission found there is probable cause to “believe Justice Loughry engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain…” The statement of charges goes on to say Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of improperly using Court employees to pursue agendas of personal gain and the cover-up thereof as set forth in multiple charges…”

According to an administrative order, Honorable Robert A Burnside, Jr., Honorable James J. Rowe, Honorable Russell M. Clawges Jr., and Honorable Jennifer P. Dent will all now hear the case.

Honorable Joanna Tabit was appointed acting chief when Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, Justice Menis Ketchum, Justice Allen Loughry II and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker all voluntarily recused themselves from participating in the case.


ORIGINAL STORY 6/6/2018:

The West Virginia Judicial Commission has filed 32 formal charges against W.Va. Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

The 32 charges were filed at the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the commission “determined that probable cause does exist to formally charge Justice Loughry with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” A second motion was filed to suspend Loughry without pay, according to court records.

According to the filing, the commission found there is probable cause to “believe Justice Loughry engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain…” The statement of charges goes on to say Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of improperly using Court employees to pursue agendas of personal gain and the cover-up thereof as set forth in multiple charges…”

The charges stem from $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the W.Va. State Capitol. The renovations included a $32,000 couch, $1,700 throw pillows and $7,500 for a custom-made wooden medallion of the State of West Virginia built into the floor with each county cut from a different colored piece of wood and his home county of Tucker is in blue granite.

The charges state “a multitude of State Supreme Court records demonstrate that he was heavily involved in the design and renovation of his office.” However, the commission says Loughry lied several times about his level of involvement and knowledge of the design and renovation of his office.

The charges also accuse Loughry of moving a used Court-owned Cass Gilbert executive desk from his law clerk office to his home in Charleston. According to the filing, the move clearly violated West Virginia code. The commission states in the filing that the desk was at his home office from December 2012 to November 2017 until it was moved from his house to the Court warehouse.

According to the filing, the “Respondent and three court employees surreptitiously moved the desk from his house to the Court warehouse. The plan called for Respondent’s wife to call him at work after the neighbors across the street left their house so no one would see the desk being moved out of his house. Once he received the call, Respondent rounded up the Court employees – all of whom were already at work. The four then went to his house and moved the desk into the Court van. They then took the item directly to the warehouse and unloaded it there before returning to work.”

The filing also alleges evidence shows Loughry used a state vehicle for improper use. The incidents stated in the filing date from Aug. 23, 2013 to Dec. 24, 2016.

According to the document, Justice Loughry signed a state-owned car out for a combined total of 212 days. One hundred forty-eight of those occasions listed no destination. Through court calendars, Loughry's personal calendar, and other vehicle-related logging systems the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel was able to determine the vehicle was used for personal business. Those trips include: over the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday when no valid business destination could be determined from the reservation system, "book signings" at the Greenbrier on multiple locations, his personal calendar listed 12/22 WVU v. Perdue 1 p.m., appointments for his mother, a court hearing in Tucker County for his father, and more.

In the summer of 2016. Justice Robin Davis started gathering information about the general usage of the cars available to the Supreme Court members. During her request for information the person she asked responded that if someone failed to list a destination for the vehicle they were using they would generally just ask the person. He stated that the only person "we can recall that failed to provide a destination when asked was Justice Loughry."

According to the Commission's report in response to Justice Davis' concerns, the respondent attempted to exempt justices from providing information on a fleet request form. The proposed policy was eventually tabled and Loughry stopped using fleet reservations altogether in or around mid-September 2016.

The document also alleges that in addition to the desktop computer and tablet in Loughry's office, the Justice had two desktop computers, a laptop and a printer installed at his home.

According to the paperwork, a Supreme Court network engineer set-up local computer accounts for the Loughry's wife and son on at least one of the computers. The document reveals that the belief was that one of the desktop computers, off the kitchen area, was used for personal reasons specifically for the storage of family photographs and to play games.

"A network engineer also went to the Respondent's house on several occasions to service the computer," the document states. Testimony quoted in the paperwork says that there were more than 10 games on the computer, mostly free, but the main game on the computer was Minecraft.

According to the paperwork the other justices have just one Supreme Court desktop computer at their home and/or used a laptop or tablet which they carried to and from work. Additionally, none of the other justices had family member accounts on their work computers.

According to the findings, JIC states that Loughry violated the code of conduct while he was Chief Justice in December 2017, when a federal subpoena was served on the State Supreme Court and he “never informed the other Justices of the subpoena, even though it may have sought items specific to one of more of the members of the Court.”

The finding also states “the Court received another federal subpoena in February 2018. Once again, Respondent knew of the subpoena. On February 16, 2018 the other justices were made aware of the second federal subpoena.” During a conversation, the other justices learned of the previous subpoena.

“Because of this important development the other justices lost trust in Respondent as Chief Justice and removed him from office later that day by a vote of four to one. The sole vote for retention came from Respondent,” according to the filing.

In February 2018, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Margaret L. Workman was named Chief Justice to replace Justice Allen Loughry.

At the time, Workman released the following statement:

“It's time to begin what will be a very long process of restoring public respect for the Supreme Court.”

We reached out to Loughry’s attorney for a statement Wednesday night. John Carr responded via text saying “We have no comment.”

We also reached out to the other Supreme Court Justices for comment. At the time of publication none had responded. If any do we will post it here.

However, an administrative order was filed Wednesday afternoon by the Supreme Court of Appeals of W.Va.

Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, Justice Menis Ketchum, Justice Allen Loughry II and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker have all voluntarily recused themselves from participating in the case.

Chief Justice Workman has appointed the Honorable Joanna Tabit to be the Chief Justice on this case. She will now appoint four other acting justices to preside with her on this case.

According to the filing, Loughry has the right to file responsive pleadings to the charges made against him within 30 days.

Wednesday night, a spokesperson for the West Virginia House of Delegates released the following statement:

"The allegations contained in the Judicial Investigation Commission's complaint, particularly those concerning the assertion that a public official may have failed to testify truthfully under oath to the Legislature, raise very serious concerns."

Spokesman Jared Hunt went on to say, "The public must have confidence in the integrity of the state's judicial system. The Legislature will continue to review these charges, as the Supreme Court of Appeals moves forward with its consideration of the complaint, and the Legislature will determine what steps it might take to restore confidence in our court system."

Loughry took office in January 2013. His term is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2024.



 
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