UPDATES: More witnesses testify in historic impeachment hearings

Courtesy: Perry Bennett, W.Va. Legislative Photography.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV/WSAZ) -- UPDATE 7/12/18 4:20PM
Hearings have resumed for an unprecedented investigation at the West Virginia State Capitol. Inside the House chambers Friday, the House Judiciary Committee is interviewing witnesses to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices.

This is day two of many meetings the committee will have. This historic investigation comes after Loughry was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice received a letter of retirement and resignation from Supreme Court Justice Menis E. Ketchum. The justice will retire and resign from the court effective Friday, July 27.

Remaining on the bench are Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker.

The first witness called to testify Friday was Scott Harvey, who previously worked for the West Virginia Supreme Court as a database administrator and director of technology.

The charges against Loughry also allege 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. Harvey was the director of technology during Loughry's tenure.

All computers, printers, wiring, routers, etc. are paid for by the state, Harvey testified.

Harvey said he made at least four visits to Loughry's home for site survey, installation of computers, and testing.

His fourth visit was to address a computer issue, which Harvey said he later found to be a virus or malware.

Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor, testified Thursday that if those charges are true, it is his opinion that Loughry having those extra computers for personal use is in violation of the Ethics Act.

When a delegate asked Harvey if he believed the computers in shared living spaces at Loughry's home appeared to be for family members' use and not for Loughry's work, Harvey stated, "Evidence later would suggest that." It was brought to Harvey's attention, he said, that there were games being played on at least one of the computers and a large number of photographs.

One of those computers in a shared living space was not connected to a Supreme Court network, Harvey said, making him uncomfortable. Harvey recalled that Loughry essentially said he would prefer the computer in the family area not be connected to the court network.

"I don't recall it being secret, it was just a mention of this computer shouldn't be connected to the court network," Harvey said.

As the director of technology, Harvey says he likely had concerns about that, but just did it because someone higher up told him to.

"Basically fear tells you to do the job or you suffer the consequences," Harvey said.

While Harvey says he never thought about it being illegal, he said it bothered him morally.

Given he made several visits to Loughry's home, Harvey was asked about the furniture in the justice's house. 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. Allred testified Thursday that the desk was appraised and valued at $42,500. Harvey said he recalled seeing a desk in Loughry's home, but could not say with any certainty it was a Cass Gilbert.

Relying on his memory, Harvey said that he believes the other justices had just one computer in each of their homes.

Harvey testified he has never been to Justice Walker's home. He recalled being at Justice Workman's home at least once, he believes, for a computer connection issue between her home and work computers. Harvey said he has been to Justice Davis' home a few times. The issues at Davis' home were also with the home computer connecting to the computer at the Capitol.

The former technology director said he is not aware of any policy in regards to how many computers the justices may have at their homes.

Harvey also testified about times he felt pressured or threatened to do things he was uncomfortable doing. In one instance, Harvey said he was pressured into hiring a technology consultant who previously worked on a justice's campaign.

Harvey said Justice Ketchum, whose retirement and resignation takes effect July 27, threatened Harvey's job at least twice. Harvey said Ketchum told him if he did not get John Perdue, the West Virginia State Treasurer, to sign off on a cash-flow change document for that project that he would be fired.

"If I didn't get the treasurer to sign off on a document that I would be fired," Harvey said. "Fear of my job from Justice Ketchum."

This came after a meeting with Treasurer Perdue, Harvey said, where Perdue told him "that's not how it's done" and he was pressured to get the treasurer's approval.

He testified that there were no other instances of being threatened by other justices.

On a separate occasion, Harvey said former Supreme Court Administrative Director Gary L. Johnson asked him to use grant-funded video equipment for something other than its intended purposes. Harvey said he refused.

Harvey finished testifying at about 12:20 p.m. Friday. The committee will reconvene around 1:15 p.m. following a lunch break.

Paul Fletcher Adkins, a retired assistant to the administrative director of courts, was the next witness called after lunch. He has degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice and worked for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia for 35 years before retiring in October of 2015.

Delegates questioned Adkins about the policies at the state Supreme Court, how state-owned property is managed, his interactions with the justices, and specific events he may or may not have witnessed. Much of the questioning focused on the justices' office renovations, and specifically, Loughry's.

Justice Loughry is accused of making $363,000 worth of renovations to his Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

Other alleged expensive renovations to his office include 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 also accuse Loughry of moving a used, court-owned Cass Gilbert executive desk from his law clerk office to his home in Charleston. We learned in testimony Thursday that the desk is valued at $42,500 in current condition.

Adkins recalled the moving process of furniture being taken out of Justice Loughry's office to make room for renovations.

He testified that he was present to facilitate and manage the movement of furniture from Loughry's office to a warehouse. Adkins said he was not present for a furniture move to Loughry's home.

"I have not been to Justice Loughry's house in a work situation or a social situation," Adkins said.

He did, however, reference an invoice that states movers dropped something off at a home on the street that Loughry lives on before Adkins joined them for the furniture move to the warehouse.

"I don't remember seeing that with my own eyes and I can't say for sure what was dropped off that day," Adkins said.

When asked if Adkins was aware of any travel policies for the Supreme Court, he said yes, describing the reservation system that witness Justin Robinson discussed on Thursday. He recalled being required to list a purpose and destination for reserving a state-owned vehicle.

Adkins said that policy would have been enforced by then Administrative Director of Courts Steve Canterbury.

Delegate Tom Fast (R-Fayette, 32) asked if Adkins has knowledge of a $500,000 renovation to a justice's office. "From my own personal knowledge I don't know that, but I believe it to be true," Adkins said.

When asked if it was common for a new justice to renovate his or her office, Adkins said, "They would often have certain things done in their office."

"I would say that Justice Davis' office renovation was probably the most expensive and I think Justice Workman's may have been the least expensive and the other ones somewhere in the middle," Adkins stated.

Adkins testified that the items were placed together in the warehouse, but there was no record of what was transferred.

Based on his human resources experience, Adkins said taking state-owned property home could possibly lead to termination. A delegate asked if taking home a $42,500 desk would lead to termination and Adkins responded, "Oh yes."

In his 35 years working for the Supreme Court, Adkins said he can only recall one other time (aside from the allegations of Loughry taking a desk home) that a justice took home a piece of state-owned property. He said Justice Ketchum had a clock moved to his house.

Adkins finished testifying around 3:45 p.m. Friday.

This comes after a full day of testimony Thursday that included two witnesses -- both legislative audit employees. Justin Robinson, acting director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff, was called as the first witness. He primarily testified about the justices' use of state-owned vehicles, but discussed other audit findings. Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor, was also called as a witness Thursday. Allred primarily testified about the Cass Gilbert desk Loughry is accused of moving to his home, state-owned furniture and property, as well as Supreme Court policies. You can read more about their testimonies in our previous updates below.

UPDATE 7/13/18 1:00PM
Hearings have resumed for an unprecedented investigation at the West Virginia State Capitol. Inside the House chambers Friday, the House Judiciary Committee is interviewing witnesses to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices.

This is day two of many meetings the committee will have. This historic investigation comes after Loughry was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice received a letter of retirement and resignation from Supreme Court Justice Menis E. Ketchum. The justice will retire and resign from the court effective Friday, July 27.

Remaining on the bench are Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker.

The first witness called to testify Friday was Scott Harvey who previously worked for the West Virginia Supreme Court as a database administrator and dirrector of technology.

The charges against Loughry also allege 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. Harvey was the director of technology during Loughry's tenure.

All computers, printers, wiring, routers, etc. are paid for by the state, Harvey testified.

Harvey said he made at least four visits to Loughry's home for site survey, installation of computers, and testing.

His fourth visit was to address a computer issue, which Harvey said he later found to be a virus or malware.

Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor, testified Thursday that if those charges are true, it is his opinion that Loughry having those extra computers for personal use is in violation of the Ethics Act.

When a delegate asked Harvey if he believed the computers in shared living spaces at Loughry's home appeared to be for family members' use and not for Loughry's work, Harvey stated, "Evidence later would suggest that." It was brought to Harvey's attention, he said, that there were games being played on at least one of the computers and a large number of photographs.

One of those computers in a shared living space was not connected to a Supreme Court network, Harvey said, making him uncomfortable. Harvey recalled that Loughry essentially said he would prefer the computer in the family area not be connected to the court network.

"I don't recall it being secret, it was just a mention of this computer shouldn't be connected to the court network," Harvey said.

As the director of technology, Harvey says he likely had concerns about that, but just did it because someone higher up told him to.

"Basically fear tells you to do the job or you suffer the consequences," Harvey said.

While Harvey says he never thought about it being illegal, he said it bothered him morally.

Given he made several visits to Loughry's home, Harvey was asked about the furniture in the justice's house. 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. Allred testified Thursday that the desk was appraised and valued at $42,500. Harvey said he recalled seeing a desk in Loughry's home, but could not say with any certainty it was a Cass Gilbert.

Relying on his memory, Harvey said that he believes the other justices had just one computer in each of their homes.

Harvey testified he has never been to Justice Walker's home. He recalled being at Justice Workman's home at least once, he believes, for a computer connection issue between her home and work computers. Harvey said he has been to Justice Davis' home a few times. The issues at Davis' home were also with the home computer connecting to the computer at the Capitol.

The former technology director said he is not aware of any policy in regards to how many computers the justices may have at their homes.

Harvey also testified about times he felt pressured or threatened to do things he was uncomfortable with. In one instance, Harvey said he was pressured into hiring a technology consultant who previously worked on a justice's campaign.

Harvey said Justice Ketchum, whose retirement and resignation takes effect July 27, threatened Harvey's job at least twice. Harvey said Ketchum told him if he did not get John Perdue, the West Virginia State Treasurer, to sign off on a cash-flow change document for that project that he would be fired.

"If I didn't get the treasurer to sign off on a document that I would be fired," Harvey said. "Fear of my job from Justice Ketchum."

This came after a meeting with Treasurer Perdue, Harvey said, where Perdue told him "that's not how it's done" and he was pressured to get the treasurer's approval.

He testified that there were no other instances of being threatened by other justices.

On a separate occasion, Harvey said former Supreme Court Administrative Director Gary L. Johnson asked him to use grant-funded video equipment for something other than its intended purposes. Harvey said he refused.

Harvey finished testifying at about 12:20 p.m. Friday. The committee will reconvene around 1:15 p.m. following a lunch break.

This comes after a full day of testimony Thursday that included two witnesses -- both legislative audit employees. Justin Robinson, acting director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff, was called as the first witness. He primarily testified about the justices' use of state-owned vehicles, but discussed other audit findings. Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor, was also called as a witness Thursday. Allred primarily testified about the Cass Gilbert desk Loughry is accused of moving to his home, state-owned furniture and property, as well as Supreme Court policies. You can read more about their testimonies in our previous updates below.

UPDATE 7/13/18 10:40AM
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia sent a letter Friday to the committee investigating the court.

The letter, addressed to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, outlines concerns with the scope of the investigation and the proceedings.

Hearings began Thursday in House chambers. The committee is interviewing witnesses to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices. This historic investigation comes after Loughry was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

The letter the Supreme Court sent to Delegate Shott Friday says the court has fully cooperated with the committee's investigation as well as the federal investigation that led to charges against Justice Loughry.

"The Court has promptly and fully provided more than 50,000 documents to the United States Attorney and a similar volume of material to the Legislative Auditor, as well as myriad documents to the Legislative Commission on Special Investigations and the Judicial Investigation Commission, and to the media in response to numerous FOIA requests," the letter states. "Additionally, the Court has made its employees available for questioning by state and federal investigators without limitation.

Expressing respect for the legislative proceedings, the court also expressed concerns.

"While the Court acknowledges the Legislature's right to conduct an inquiry where a proper legislative purpose exists, we have significant concerns both as to the scope of these impeachment proceedings and the procedures governing them," the letter states. "The purpose of this letter is to see if we an find common ground that will enable us to assist the Legislature in fulfilling its proper duties while also protecting the judicial branch of government from any improper incursion, interference or interruption in its duties."

UPDATE 7/12/18 11PM

In an unprecedented situation for the West Virginia Legislature, the House Judiciary Committee is calling witnesses and discussing evidence Thursday in their impeachment investigation into the state Supreme Court.

After several hours, testimony wrapped up Thursday night. It will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

Two witnesses have testified so far -- both legislative audit employees. Delegates are asking questions about state Supreme Court policies, audit findings, and what these witnesses know about the allegations.

This is the first of many meetings the committee will have to determine if there is a case for impeachable offenses against the justices.

Discussions so far have centered around the justices' use of state-owned vehicles, the expensive furniture West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II allegedly had in his office and his home, and what records are kept about court property.

This historic investigation comes after Loughry was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice received a letter of retirement and resignation from Supreme Court Justice Menis E. Ketchum. The justice will retire and resign from the court effective Friday, July 27.

Remaining on the bench are Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker.

Over the past week, committee members have been gathering evidence and identifying possible witnesses. Lawmakers voted to have the committee investigate possible wrongdoing or violations by the state's high court. Depending on the outcome, this could lead to the removal of one or more justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Committee Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer, 27) started the meeting Thursday in House chambers by explaining the process and the seriousness of the investigation before them.

A few lawmakers brought into question the rules of the proceedings, and Shott moved forward with the hearing, asking those lawmakers that they discuss the rules during breaks to not waste time.

The first topic was the state's Legislative Auditor investigating the spending habits of the Supreme Court. Specifically, the reports revealed information about the use of state vehicles.

Justin Robinson, acting director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff, was called as the first witness.

Delegates asked Robinson questions about the state travel policies, the auditing process, and findings in the reports.

Robinson said they poured over vehicle reservation logs and Justice Loughry reserved a state vehicle on 212 instances. On 148 of those days (or about 70 percent of the time) Robinson says Loughry did not list a destination. The report says that Loughry is the only person, that the auditing staff can recall, that failed to provide a destination.

In regards to Loughry, Robinson said the report found excessive personal use of state vehicles. Auditors calculated mileage, rental car receipts, hotel receipts, and other documents.

Robinson read from a letter written by Justice Loughry in response to the audit in which Loughry disputed the findings.

The second report discusses Justice Davis' use of state vehicles. Robinson said Davis made 75 reservations, 55 of which she provided a destination. According to Robinson, Davis' lawyer denied wrongdoing, saying just because a vehicle was reserved, doesn't mean it was actually used. Out of the remaining 20 reservations, Robinson said Davis could definitively say she did not actually use the vehicle on 13 of those days. For the remaining seven reservations, auditors could not determine if the cars were used and Robinson said Davis could not recall.

Robinson said their audit also found Davis traveled with a director of court security for personal safety reasons. When a lawmaker later asked about the cost of paying that security official on all of Davis' trips between 2011 and 2018, Robinson said he did not have information about that salary and it was not included in the audits.

A trip in particular that was discussed for some time in the meeting was a business trip Davis took to Wheeling and Parkersburg. Robinson said Davis traveled for an anti-truancy event.

In regards to Justice Elizabeth D. Walker's use of state vehicles, Robinson said there were no issues found.

In regards to Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman's use of state vehicles, Robinson said there were no issues found.

Delegate Mike Caputo (R-Marion, 50) asked Robinson if the state investigation the justices using personal vehicles for business purposes and asking for reimbursement. Robinson said that is indeed an option for travel, but personal vehicles were not included in the audits released in April.

Delegate Charlotte Lane (R-Kanawha, 35) asked Robinson about who oversees and authorizes the justices' large expenses. While Robinson provided answers, he said those were assumptions and he couldn't speak to that definitively.

The committee took a lunch break and resumed around 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

Chairman Shott began the second half of the day addressing a motion by Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha, 36) to make three amendments to the rules of the proceedings. Shott denied the motion, saying the rules were sent out to committee members for input on June 29 with no feedback and this is not the time to discuss changes. He asked that the rules be discussed outside of the committee meeting time.

This led to a back and forth between Chairman Shott and Judiciary Committee Minority Chair Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia, 51) about the decision to disregard the motion and move forward with the rules as is. Shott said the House rules read that 10 delegates must support Robinson's motion to amend the rules and disagree with the chairman's decision to override him. While Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha, 37) spoke in support of Robinson and Fleischauer, 10 delegates did not raise their hands.

The meeting moved on to more questioning of witness Justin Robinson, Acting Director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff.

The discussion quickly re-focused on the court's use of state-owned vehicles and rental vehicles.

Committee members asked Robinson about specific conferences and events the justices attended and the expenses associated with them. Most of the discussion centered around Justice Loughry.

Robinson testified that Loughry's use of a state vehicle did not appear to be for commuting, but rather, personal use.

The committee discussed one instance in which two members of the West Virginia Supreme Court went to the same out-of-town conference and used two separate rental cars.

Just before 4 p.m., a new witness took the stand: Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor.

After a brief introduction, delegates launched into questions about furniture.

Justice Loughry is accused of making expensive renovations to his office including 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 also accuse Loughry of moving a used, court-owned Cass Gilbert executive desk from his law clerk office to his home in Charleston.

With the desk's maker and historical significance, Allred testified that the fair market value of the desk is $42,500 in current condition. Full restoration could increase the value, he said.

According to the charges filed against Loughry, the move clearly violated West Virginia code.

Auditors obtained a receipt that states something was moved from the State Capitol to the street where Loughry lives on June 20, 2013.

The charges the West Virginia Judicial Commission filed against Loughry state that the desk was at his home office from December 2012 to November 2017 until it was moved from his house to the warehouse.

Allred testified that his records do not indicate what was moved. Therefore, he cannot say with certainty that Loughry moved the desk from his office to his home. He also cannot say with certainty that a desk was moved on that June 20 date on the receipt.

However, he said auditors do know from interviews that court employees went to Justice Loughry's houses and moved the desk to the court warehouse.

Allred also testified it is not abnormal for an agency, like the state Supreme Court, to have a designated warehouse.

Delegates asked general counsel if taking a piece of property could be considered larceny, even if it was returned. Counsel said larceny is an intent crime. Was the person's intent to eventually give it back? Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha, 36) argued that Loughry did not return the couch until his taking of it was made public, showing his intent. Counsel said that's one assumption that could be made.

To his knowledge, Allred said there is no policy on record that indicates what can be taken to a justice's home.

The charges against Loughry also allege 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.

Allred said, if those charges are true, it is his opinion that Loughry having those extra computers for personal use is in violation of the Ethics Act.

The conversation also included alleged renovations to Loughry's office.

Allred said he can provide invoices, but he is not sure if those invoices are broken down by justice. There is also no inventory to keep track of state-owned items at the West Virginia Supreme Court, he testified.

When asked by a lawmaker if he recommends legislative change to create an inventory, he said yes, if the statute doesn't already require it.

"I find it unreasonable the Supreme Court did not even have an inventory of what they own on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia," Allred said. ""In my 25 years here, I'm not sure I've ever found an agency of this size that simply had a complete lack of inventory control."

A delegate asked Allred if it bothers him that there are warehouses in the state potentially filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of state property. Allred simply replied, "Yes."

After nearly two hours of testimony, Allred was dismissed and the committee took a dinner break around 5:30 p.m. Thursday with plans to resume discussions about legislative audits afterwards.

That testimony wrapped up later Thursday night. Proceedings will get underway again at 9 a.m. Friday.

UPDATE 7/12/18 6:35PM
The discussion quickly re-focused on the court's use of state-owned vehicles and rental vehicles.

Committee members asked Robinson about specific conferences and events the justices attended and the expenses associated with them. Most of the discussion centered around Justice Loughry.

Robinson testified that Loughry's use of a state vehicle did not appear to be for commuting, but rather, personal use.

The committee discussed one instance in which two members of the West Virginia Supreme Court went to the same out-of-town conference and used two separate rental cars.

Just before 4 p.m., a new witness took the stand: Aaron Allred, the West Virginia Legislative Manager and Legislative Auditor.

After a brief introduction, delegates launched into questions about furniture.

Justice Loughry is accused of making expensive renovations to his office including 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 also accuse Loughry of moving a used, court-owned Cass Gilbert executive desk from his law clerk office to his home in Charleston.

With the desk's maker and historical significance, Allred testified that the fair market value of the desk is $42,500 in current condition. Full restoration could increase the value, he said.

According to the charges filed against Loughry, the move clearly violated West Virginia code.

Auditors obtained a receipt that states something was moved from the State Capitol to the street where Loughry lives on June 20, 2013.

The charges the West Virginia Judicial Commission filed against Loughry state that the desk was at his home office from December 2012 to November 2017 until it was moved from his house to the warehouse.

Allred testified that his records do not indicate what was moved. Therefore, he cannot say with certainty that Loughry moved the desk from his office to his home. He also cannot say with certainty that a desk was moved on that June 20 date on the receipt.

However, he said auditors do know from interviews that court employees went to Justice Loughry's houses and moved the desk to the court warehouse.

Allred also testified it is not abnormal for an agency, like the state Supreme Court, to have a designated warehouse.

Delegates asked general counsel if taking a piece of property could be considered larceny, even if it was returned. Counsel said larceny is an intent crime. Was the person's intent to eventually give it back? Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha, 36) argued that Loughry did not return the couch until his taking of it was made public, showing his intent. Counsel said that's one assumption that could be made.

To his knowledge, Allred said there is no policy on record that indicates what can be taken to a justice's home.

The charges against Loughry also allege 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.

Allred said, if those charges are true, it is his opinion that Loughry having those extra computers for personal use is in violation of the Ethics Act.

The conversation also included alleged renovations to Loughry's office.

Allred said he can provide invoices, but he is not sure if those invoices are broken down by justice. There is also no inventory to keep track of state-owned items at the West Virginia Supreme Court, he testified.

When asked by a lawmaker if he recommends legislative change to create an inventory, he said yes, if the statute doesn't already require it.

"I find it unreasonable the Supreme Court did not even have an inventory of what they own on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia," Allred said. ""In my 25 years here, I'm not sure I've ever found an agency of this size that simply had a complete lack of inventory control."

A delegate asked Allred if it bothers him that there are warehouses in the state potentially filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of state property. Allred simply replied, "Yes."

After nearly two hours of testimony, Allred was dismissed and the committee took a dinner break around 5:30 p.m. Thursday with plans to resume discussions about legislative audits afterward.

UPDATE 7/12/18 3:00PM
Delegate Mike Caputo (R-Marion, 50) asked Robinson if the state investigation the justices using personal vehicles for business purposes and asking for reimbursement. Robinson said that is indeed an option for travel, but personal vehicles were not included in the audits released in April.

Delegate Charlotte Lane (R-Kanawha, 35) asked Robinson about who oversees and authorizes the justices' large expenses. While Robinson provided answers, he said those were assumptions and he couldn't speak to that definitively.

The committee took a lunch break and resumed around 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

Chairman Shott began the second half of the day addressing a motion by Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha, 36) to make three amendments to the rules of the proceedings. Shott denied the motion, saying the rules were sent out to committee members for input on June 29 with no feedback and this is not the time to discuss changes. He asked that the rules be discussed outside of the committee meeting time.

This led to a back and forth between Chairman Shott and Judiciary Committee Minority Chair Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia, 51) about the decision to disregard the motion and move forward with the rules as is. Shott said the House rules read that 10 delegates must support Robinson's motion to amend the rules and disagree with the chairman's decision to override him. While Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha, 37) spoke in support of Robinson and Fleischauer, 10 delegates did not raise their hands.

The meeting moved on to more questioning of witness Justin Robinson, Acting Director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff.

UPDATE 7/12/18 12:05PM
The first topic was the state's Legislative Auditor investigating the spending habits of the Supreme Court. Specifically, the reports revealed information about the use of state vehicles.

Justin Robinson, Acting Director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff, was called as the first witness.

Robinson said they poured over vehicle reservation logs and Justice Loughry reserved a state vehicle on 212 instances. On 148 of those days (or about 70 percent of the time) Robinson says Loughry did not list a destination. The report says that Loughry is the only person, that the auditing staff can recall, that failed to provide a destination.

In regards to Loughry, Robinson said the report found excessive personal use of state vehicles. Auditors calculated mileage, rental car receipts, hotel receipts, and other documents.

Robinson read from a letter written by Justice Loughry in response to the audit in which Loughry disputed the findings.

The second report discusses Justice Davis' use of state vehicles. Robinson said Davis made 75 reservations, 55 of which she did not provide a destination. According to Robinson, Davis' lawyer denied wrongdoing, saying just because a vehicle was reserved, doesn't mean it was actually used.

In regards to Justice Elizabeth D. Walker's use of state vehicles, Robinson said there were no issues found.

In regards to Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman's use of state vehicles, Robinson said there were no issues found.

UPDATE 7/12/18 11:32AM
In an unprecedented situation for the West Virginia legislature, the House Judiciary Committee is calling witnesses and discussing evidence Thursday in their impeachment investigation into the state Supreme Court.

This historic investigation comes after West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

Over the past week, committee members have been gathering evidence and identifying possible witnesses. Lawmakers voted to have the committee investigate possible wrongdoing or violations by the state's high court. Depending on the outcome, this could lead to the removal of one or more justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Committee Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer) started the meeting Thursday in House chambers by explaining the process and the seriousness of the investigation before them.
A few lawmakers brought into question the rules of the proceedings, and Shott moved forward with the hearing, asking those lawmakers that they discuss the rules during breaks to not waste time.

The first topic was the state's Legislative Auditor investigating the spending habits of the Supreme Court. Specifically, the reports revealed information about the use of state vehicles.

Justin Robinson, Acting Director of the Legislative Post Audit Division Staff, was called as the first witness.

Robinson said they poured over vehicle reservation logs and Justice Loughry reserved a state vehicle on 212 instances. On 148 of those days (or about 70 percent of the time) Robinson says Loughry did not list a destination. The report says that Loughry is the only person, that the auditing staff can recall, that failed to provide a destination.

In regards to Loughry, Robinson said the report found excessive personal use of state vehicles. Auditors calculated mileage, rental car receipts, hotel receipts, and other documents.

Robinson read from a letter written by Justice Loughry in response to the audit in which Loughry disputed the findings.

The second report discusses Justice Davis' use of state vehicles. Robinson said Davis made 75 reservations, 55 of which she did not provide a destination. According to Robinson, Davis' lawyer denied wrongdoing, saying just because a vehicle was reserved, doesn't mean it was actually used.

The Legislative Auditor determined that 495 individuals use state-owned vehicles to commute during the six months covered in the analysis.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice received a letter of retirement and resignation from Supreme Court Justice Menis E. Ketchum. The justice will retire and resign from the court effective Friday, July 27.

Remaining on the bench are Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, Justice Robin Jean Davis, and Justice Elizabeth D. Walker.

ORIGINAL STORY 7/11/18
Members of the state House Judiciary Committee set to look deeper into whether or not any state Supreme Court justices did anything that could lead to their possible impeachment, this week.

Here's what we know about how things will run for the next three days. The committee meeting, which will be in the House chambers, will resemble a court hearing. There will be witnesses and a court stenographer. Supreme Court Justice and witness attorneys will be on hand as well. Members of the judiciary committee will be able to ask questions of witnesses during the proceedings. These meetings will last this way through Saturday. it could repeat for the next few weeks.

While Justice Allen Loughry is facing charges, the committee is investigating impeachable offenses against any of the justices.

The public is welcome to attend the meetings. You must sit in the galleries above the chamber.

It will also be streamed on the Legislature's website. You can find a link to that to the right of this article.