INVESTIGATION UPDATES: Chief Justice Workman asks for delay in impeachment proceedings

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV/WSAZ/AP) -- UPDATE 9/21/18
The West Virginia Supreme Court's chief justice is asking the court to delay impeachment proceedings against her by the state Senate.

Courtesy: West Virginia Judicial System

Chief Justice Margaret Workman filed a petition Friday morning arguing the state Senate's articles of impeachment are not constitutional.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Workman is asking to delay impeachment proceedings in the Senate until the case is resolved.

She argues in the filing that the articles of impeachment violate the separation of powers in government and that her due process has been denied in the proceedings. She filed a separate motion disqualifying herself from presiding in the case.

Workman is one of four current and former Supreme Court justices to be the subject of articles of impeachment that were adopted in the House of Delegates on Aug. 13.

UPDATE 9/11/18
The West Virginia Senate met today to discuss impeachment proceedings against four justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals.

During the session, the Senate turned down an agreement passed by the House to dismiss impeachment articles against Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Beth Walker.

The Senate also chose to keep the impeachment trial for Justice Robin Davis, though she stepped down shortly after the impeachment articles were passed.

Also, discussed were the dates for impeachment trials. Walker will be the first tried. That trial will begin on October 1.

The Senate has adjourned until then.

UPDATE 9/11/18 11:30 AM
The House of Delegates has introduced a stipulation and agreement of parties that would dismiss articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Beth Walker.

According to the agreement made with the justices, both Workman and Walker acknowledge "indefensible" spending by the court, accept responsibility, and are working to implement reforms to improve the court and prevent inappropriate spending and make sure all laws and regulations are followed.

If the agreement is passed by the Senate, the impeachment charges against the two justices will be dropped. The vote is expected to occure this afternoon.

To read the full agreement, you can visit the Related Document (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).

UPDATE 8/23/18 12:17PM
Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II pleaded not guilty in federal court 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.

UPDATE 8/21/18 10:00PM
The West Virginia Senate has set a date for the first appearance by the state Supreme Court justices who were impeached by the House last week.

The Senate will convene Sept. 11, and the justices or their lawyers are to appear then. A news release from the Senate said the pretrial conference phase is expected to begin then, with trial dates possibly set as well.

Newly sworn Supreme Court Justice Paul T. Farrell will be the presiding officer, and senators will serve as jurors.

The state House voted last week to impeach four justices, one of whom resigned. A fifth justice resigned before the impeachment proceedings began.

The impeachments followed questions about multimillion-dollar renovations to the justices' offices. That expanded into an assortment of accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

UPDATE 8/20/18 5:45PM
The state Senate has agreed upon and established rules for the impeachment trials for the remaining West Virginia Supreme Court justices.

Senate Resolution 203 was passed on Monday. Justices Margaret Workman, Beth Walker and suspend justice, Allen Loughry, will have separate jury trials.

The resolution consists of 34 rules from pre-trial conferences to the floor privileges, down to verdict and judgement.

UPDATE 8/14/18 4:12PM
Justice Beth Walker has released a statement saying she will not be leaving the court before her Senate trial. Walker was the last of the four West Virginia Supreme Court justices to be included in the articles of impeachment adopted by the House of Delegates throughout Monday.

In the statement, Walker admits that her the purchases she made were "ill-advised, excessive and needed greater oversight."

"Even though I disagree with some of the decisions of the House of Delegates, I respect their important constitutional role in this process and I take full responsibility for my actions and decisions. I look forward to explaining those actions and decisions before the State Senate," Walker stated.

You can read Walker's full statement below.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott has also released a statement, in response to the statements made by Walker, former Justice Robin Davis, and Chief Justice Margaret Workman.

Shott says he thanks Davis' for retiring, and repects Walker's and Workman's decisions to remain on the court.

“There were no pre-determined outcomes and nobody involved in the process had any idea where it would ultimately lead – and we certainly had no intention to use it as a tool to usurp the judicial branch of government."

Shott says the impeachments are not a reflection of the justice's ability to make proper rulings, but a matter of public trust.

"...it became clear that the state Supreme Court has been overcome by a culture of entitlement and cavalier indifference with regard to the spending of taxpayer money. This has resulted in the public’s loss of confidence in the state's highest court which must be repaired."

You can read both Walker and Shott's statements below.

STATEMENT BY JUSTICE BETH WALKER
"I remain committed to my oath of office and to serving the citizens of this great state. My focus will be on earning their trust and confidence and restoring integrity to their Supreme Court.

Even though I disagree with some of the decisions of the House of Delegates, I respect their important constitutional role in this process and I take full responsibility for my actions and decisions. I look forward to explaining those actions and decisions before the State Senate.
In my short time as a Justice, I have been committed to greater
transparency and accountability in the judicial branch.
I will continue that commitment as a justice and while before the State Senate.

I agree that expenditures prior to my election were ill-advised, excessive and needed greater oversight. As an important part of our government’s checks and balances, I will work with the legislature and support their oversight of the Court’s budget."

STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN SHOTT
"We thank Justice Davis for her decades of service on the bench, and for her retirement, which will now spare the state the cost of an impeachment trial against her. As we have said many times throughout these proceedings, this is a sad time for the state of West Virginia, and no one takes joy in this process.

“We also respect Chief Justice Workman and Justice Walker’s decisions to remain on the court while they present their case before the Senate.

“An important thing to remember: these articles of impeachment do not accuse the justices of failing in their role as jurists in deciding how to apply the Constitution to the cases before the Court. Rather, these articles charge the justices with a failure to fulfill their duty to properly oversee and administer the operations of the judicial branch of government. As Chief Justice Workman told the Legislature’s Post Audits Committee in April, ‘We were busy being judges and not perhaps paying enough attention to administrative things.’ That failure in administration has led to the articles of impeachment they now face today.

“When we began this proceeding, our committee was asked to look at the entire court and each justice individually, and we followed where the evidence led and tried to pursue it in a nonpartisan way.

“There were no pre-determined outcomes and nobody involved in the process had any idea where it would ultimately lead – and we certainly had no intention to use it as a tool to usurp the judicial branch of government.

“Unfortunately, as we pursued the evidence, it became clear that the state Supreme Court has been overcome by a culture of entitlement and cavalier indifference with regard to the spending of taxpayer money. This has resulted in the public’s loss of confidence in the state's highest court which must be repaired. I believe Justice Davis’s decision to resign, as well as the coming trials in the state Senate, will help move us toward the ultimate goal of restoring our citizens’ trust in the judiciary.”

UPDATE 8/14/18 3:20PM
Chief Justice Margaret Workman says she's not resigning after being impeached Monday evening.

Workman's statement comes hours after Justice Robin Davis (who was also impeached Monday) publicly announced her retirement.

In the statement, Workman says she was "dismayed" at the House of Delegates to impeach her as well as Justices Davis, Walker, and Loughry, and that there is "no basis" for her impeachment. She also states that the court will move forward with the fall term, set the begin September 5th.

Meanwhile, Justice Allen Loughry is facing two new counts of making false statements to the FBI, after a grand jury returned a second superseding indictment.

The counts make raises the number of charges against Loughry to 25.

According to the new indictment, Loughry lied to federal investigators twice when asked about the Cass Gilbert desk he had taken to his home.

Loughry allegedly told investigators that the desk was one he had previously used as a law clerk, and that it was moved to his home at the direction of someone else in December 2012.

Investigators say the desk that was moved to his home was not a desk he used as a law clerk, but a Cass Gilbert desk of historical significance that was in the chambers he inherited as a Supreme Court justice. They also say Loughry was well aware the desk was a Cass Gilbert desk and it was moved to his home in June 2013 at his insistence, not at the direction of someone else.

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

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

Stay with 5 News for the latest.

STATEMENT BY CHIEF JUSTICE MARGARET WORKMAN
I was dismayed by the House of Delegates’ decision yesterday to pursue the mass impeachment of the entire West Virginia Supreme Court. I will miss my colleague and friend, Justice Robin Jean Davis, but respect the reasons she chose to retire.

I am not resigning, either from the Court or from my position as Chief Justice. There is no basis for my impeachment, and I will continue to do the work, both administrative and judicial, that the people of West Virginia elected me to do.

I want the citizens of our state to know that the Court will move forward. The cases set for the fall term, which opens September 5, will be heard and decided as scheduled.

I look forward to putting all the facts before the Senate in the next phase of this process.

UPDATE 8/14/18 1:00AM
Delegates voted down a new article sponsored by Delegate Folk (R - Berkeley) with 26 in favor and 70 opposed.

The new article charged Justice Walker with outsourcing an opinion from an outside counsel. The article also initially failed to pass in committee.

This was the 15th-and-final article of impeachment voted on by the House of Delegates.

UPDATE 8/13/18 11:50PM
Delegates voted 51 ayes, 44 nays, in favor of article 14, which names all four remaining Supreme Court justices.

This move means that all four of the remaining West Virginia Supreme Court Justices have been impeached.

The article focuses on maladministration charges for each justice. An amendment was voted down that would have removed Justice Beth Walker.

The article says that all of the Justices should have held each other accountable for lavish spending of taxpayer dollars, and failed to provide or prepare oversight on the issues that are impeachable.

Here is the language of Article 14:

That the said Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Allen Loughry, Justice Robin Davis, and Justice Elizabeth Walker, being at all times relevant Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, unmindful of the duties of their high offices, and contrary to the oaths taken by them to support the Constitution of the State of West Virginia and faithfully discharge the duties of their offices as such Justices, while in the exercise of the functions of the office of Justices, in violation of their oaths of office, then and there, with regard to the discharge of the duties of their offices, did, in the absence of any policy to prevent or control expenditure, waste state funds with little or no concern for the costs to be borne by the tax payers for unnecessary and lavish spending for various purposes including, but without limitation, to certain examples, such as: to remodel state offices, for large increases in travel budgets-including unaccountable personal use of state vehicles, for unneeded computers for home use, for regular lunches from restaurants, and for framing of personal items and other such wasteful expenditure not necessary for the administration of justice and the execution of the duties of the Court; and, did fail to provide or prepare reasonable and proper supervisory oversight of the operations of the Court and the subordinate courts by failing to carry out one or more of the following necessary and proper administrative activities:

A) To prepare and adopt sufficient and effective travel policies prior to October of 2016, and failed thereafter to properly effectuate such policy by excepting the Justices from said policies, and subjected subordinates and employees to a greater burden than the Justices;

B) To report taxable fringe benefits, such as car use and regular lunches, on Federal W-2s, despite full knowledge of the Internal Revenue Service Regulations, and further subjected subordinates and employees to a greater burden than the Justices, in this regard, and upon notification of such violation, failed to speedily comply with requests to make such reporting consistent with applicable law;

C) To provide proper supervision, control, and auditing of the use of state purchasing cards leading to multiple violations of state statutes and policies regulating the proper use of such cards, including failing to obtain proper prior approval for large purchases;

D) To prepare and adopt sufficient and effective home office policies which would govern the Justices' home computer use, and which led to a lack of oversight which encouraged the conversion of property;

E) To provide effective supervision and control over record keeping with respect to the use of state automobiles, which has already resulted in an executed information upon one former Justice and the indictment of another Justice.

F) To provide effective supervision and control over inventories of state property owned by the Court and subordinate courts, which led directly to the undetected absence of valuable state property, including, but not limited to, a state-owned desk and a state-owned computer;

G) To provide effective supervision and control over purchasing procedures which directly led to inadequate cost containment methods, including the rebidding of the purchases of goods and services utilizing a system of large unsupervised change orders, all of which encouraged waste of taxpayer funds.

The failure by the Justices, individually and collectively, to carry out these necessary and proper administrative activities constitute a violation of the provisions of Canon I and Canon II of the West Virginia Code of Judicial Conduct.

The House is recessing until 12:15 a.m.

UPDATE 8/13/18 10:30PM
Delegates voted 44 ayes, 51 nays against an article that would have impeached Justice Beth Walker over her nearly $131,000 office renovation.

Chairman John Shott then asked to withdraw an article about Workman's spending, saying it is even less than Walker's was.

Shott made a motion to withdraw the article about Justice Workman's spending on her office. 56 ayes, 39 nays, five absences. So the article is withdrawn.

UPDATE 8/13/18 8:30PM
An article of impeachment against Justice Allen Loughry has been withdrawn for lack of documentary evidence.

The article dealt with personal pictures and items being put in customized picture frames paid for with state money. According to Article 11 the items were "removed from his state office and converted to his personal use and benefit, which acts constitute the use of state resources and property for personal gain in violation of the provisions of W.Va. Code §6B-2-5."

Despite Article 11 being dropped the indicted West Virginia Supreme Court justice has been impeached on four more charges, bringing the number of charges to six that he could face at trial in the state Senate.

The House of Delegates on Monday night impeached Justice Allen Loughry on a charge of lying to the House Finance Committee about his involvement in lavish office renovations.

Lawmakers unanimously impeached him on charges of driving state vehicles for personal use and of using state-owned computers at his home.

Loughry, Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Robin Davis also were impeached for their roles in allowing senior status judges to be paid higher than allowed wages.

Another impeachment article was withdrawn dealing with an accusation Loughry used state money to frame personal items at his office.

Lawmakers had three impeachment articles left to consider. Justice Beth Walker is the only current justice who had not been impeached. Like the others, she faces allegations about spending on office renovations.

UPDATE 8/13/18 7:15PM
The house will recess until 8:15 p.m.

The West Virginia House of Delegates has adopted four more articles of impeachment against Justice Allen Loughry.

Article Seven deals with his authorizing the Supreme Court of Appeals to "overpay certain Senior Status Judges in violation of the statutorily limited maximum salary for such Judges."

Article Eight deals with Loughry using a state vehicle and fuel card for personal travel, beginning in or about December 2012. This includes taking the vehicle to the Greenbrier resort where he hosted a signing for his book "Don't Buy Another Vote, I Won't Pay for a Landslide." The book chronicles the history of political corruption in the state of West Virginia.

Article Nine says that Justice Loughry used a state government computer equipment for personal use. Investigators found that Loughry had a state-owned computer in a common area of his home that contained mainly games and family photos.

Article 10 against Loughry states that he lied under oath before the West Virginia House of Delegates Finance Committee. The article goes on to say "with deliberate intent to deceive, regarding renovations and purchases for his office, asserting that he had no knowledge and involvement in these renovations, where evidence presented clearly demonstrated his in-depth knowledge and participation in those renovations, and, his intentional efforts to deceive members of the Legislature about his participation and knowledge of these acts, while under oath."

Other articles are under consideration. Justice Beth Walker is the only current justice who has not been impeached. A fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, retired last month.

UPDATE 8/13/18 6:20PM
The West Virginia House of Delegates has voted to impeach Chief Justice Margaret Workman.

The impeachment was part of Article 4, which was passed with a 62-34 vote.

So far, the first six articles have been adopted and sent to the Senate. The Senate will vote whether to convict the justices that are impeached.

UPDATE 8/13/18 3:35PM
West Virginia lawmakers have impeached a second state Supreme Court justice accused in a spending scandal.

The House of Delegates voted Monday to send an impeachment article against Justice Robin Davis to the state Senate for trial after earlier impeaching indicted Justice Allen Loughry. The charges against both were related to office renovations. Davis spent more than $500,000 on her office and Loughry spent more than $363,000 on his.

Republican Delegate Tom Fast of Fayette County says he's seen the work done in Davis' office, including track lighting on the floor.

He says the work was "over the top" and the impeachment article "is one of the more easy ones" for him to support.

UPDATE 8/13/18 2:00PM
West Virginia's House of Delegates has impeached suspended Justice Allen Loughry over $363,000 in spending on his office renovations.

The 64-33 vote Monday sends the charge to the state Senate for a trial.

Loughry is under federal indictment and named in eight impeachment articles, including allegations he lied about taking home a $42,000 antique desk and a $32,000 suede leather couch. Other articles involve upgrades of the offices of Chief Justice Margaret Workman and justices Robin Davis and Beth Walker.

Some legislators said they didn't support impeaching any justice for wasteful spending, only for articles pertaining to lying, cheating or stealing. But Republican Delegate John Shott of Mercer County asked whether there is public confidence in the court, and if not, "we need to take action to try to rebuild that trust."

Several lawmakers noted that the Supreme Court has a separate budget and is currently allowed to spend as it sees fit. A proposed constitutional amendment this fall would bring the state courts' budget partly under legislative control.

UPDATE 8/13/18 11:35AM
The West Virginia House of Delegates is taking the extraordinary step of considering the impeachment of the entire state Supreme Court in a scandal over $3.2 million in office renovations.

The House plans to meet Monday to discuss 14 articles and make recommendations for the four remaining justices. If it approves any articles, the Senate would put them on trial.

Suspended Justice Allen Loughry is under federal indictment and named in eight impeachment articles, including allegations he lied about taking home a $42,000 antique desk and a $32,000 leather couch. Other articles involve justices Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker.

The fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, retired and agreed to plead guilty to a federal wire fraud count involving the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.

UPDATE 8/9/18 5:25PM
The House of Delegates has released the updated articles impeachment regarding West Virginia Supreme Court justices.

The articles were adopted by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and have been sent to the House of Delegates to be voted on.

You can read the updates articles by visiting the Related Documents (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).

UPDATE 8/7/18 6:52PM
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday cited indicted Justice Allen Loughry and the three other justices in forwarding 14 of 16 proposed articles to the full House of Delegates. Two articles were rejected. Most dealt with spending and lavish office renovations.

The House will meet starting next Monday. If the House approves any of the articles, an impeachment trial would be held in the state Senate.

Loughry was indicted in federal court in June on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders have asked him to resign.

Justice Menis Ketchum retired last month and was not involved in the hearings. Last week prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed to plead guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud stemming from the personal use of state-owned vehicles and fuel cards.

UPDATE 8/7/18 5:40PM
A committee has rejected a proposed article of impeachment involving West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker's payment to an outside counsel to write an opinion for her.

The article was the first to be rejected by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The committee has approved 10 other articles involving all four justices and still has others to debate.

Walker paid current interim court administrator Barbara Allen to write an opinion for her last year. Allen wasn't a court employee at the time. The court also had paid Allen to write a 2016 opinion.

Some lawmakers argued the charge didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

UPDATE 8/7/18 3:45PM
The House Judiciary Committee has added an article of impeachment to the be voted on, making 15 in total being considered involving all four remaining Supreme Court of Appeals justices.

The article accuses Loughry of lying to the House Finance Committee and deceiving them about his knowledge of and involvement in his office renovations at the state Capitol in Charleston.

According to earlier testimony, Loughry was involved in the design of his office, which included a $32,000 custom-made couch and a hardwood and granite-inlay county map in the floor of his office.

Loughry has been indicted on federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, lying to federal law enforcement, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

So far, House Judiciary Committee has adopted 8 of the drafted articles to be passed on to the House of Delegates, which include Chief Justice Workman, Justice Loughry, Justice Davis, and Justice Walker.

Stay with 5 News for the latest.

UPDATE 8/7/18 1:10PM
The West Virginia House of Delegates has released the draft of 14 articles of impeachment, for all remaining justices on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, that was presented by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

The articles reference overpaying Senior Status judges and misusing state funds, among other findings of an investigation into the court.

The motion is historic, and some delegated said they felt blindsided by the proposal.

Drafts of legislation are typically not released before being acted on, but the House says that due to the importance of this draft, they felt it should be shared with the public.

You can read the drafted articles by visiting to Related Document (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).

Stay with 5 News for the latest.

UPDATE 8/7/18 11:25AM
The committee members investigating the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia do not appear to be on the same page Tuesday morning.

After a proposal to impeach all justices on the bench, some delegates said they felt blindsided. The committee previously said it had enough evidence to impeach Justice Allen Loughry II, but this is the first proposal to take action against all of the judges.

There was a somewhat heated exchange between West Virginia House Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio, 3) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott. Fluharty questioned why some lawmakers, including the committee's minority chair, were not aware of the proposal to impeach all of the justices ahead of time.

"I believe in your response to our press release last week you said you were blindsided by a press release," said Fluharty.

"True," Shott responded.

"Do you not believe that presenting articles of impeachment without telling minority members that you were going to do so is not blindsiding them?"

"There's nothing in those articles of impeachment that you haven't heard in this chamber."

"We are proposing something monumental," said Judiciary Committee Minority Chair Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia, 51). The delegate said she was aware the committee was ready to move forward with impeachment against Justice Loughry, but not the others.

Chairman Shott said there will be an amendment period after delegates are done asking questions about the proposed articles.

This unprecedented investigation comes after Justice Allen Loughry II was indicted on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

The West Virginia Judicial Commission also filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in June. The scope of these proceedings, though, covers all the Supreme Court justices.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

Justice Menis E. Ketchum announced on July 11 that he is retiring and resigning from the high court effective July 27.

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

Many of the allegations center around expensive renovations made to the Supreme Court offices. Therefore, the committee took a tour Monday, allowing delegates to walk through the offices and see what they're investigating firsthand.

Below is the cost of each justice's office renovation from most expensive to least expensive:

Justice Robin Jean Davis: $500,000
Justice Allen H. Loughry II: $363,000
Former Justice Brent Benjamin: $264,000
Justice Menis E. Ketchum II: $171,000
Justice Elizabeth D. Walker: $130,000
Chief Justice Margaret C. Workman: $111,000

You can read more in the updates below.

UPDATE 8/7/18 10:10AM
The committee investigating the West Virginia Supreme Court is discussing proposed articles to impeach all of the state justices.

Members of the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee resumed Tuesday with a motion that would be historic.

The motion was to adopt the 14 articles, but some delegates appeared to feel uncomfortable immediately moving forward which led to a debate about whether or not to introduce the articles to the full House.

This unprecedented investigation comes after Justice Allen Loughry II was indicted on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

The West Virginia Judicial Commission also filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in June.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

Justice Menis E. Ketchum announced on July 11 that he is retiring and resigning from the high court effective July 27.

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

"We are proposing something monumental," said Judiciary Committee Minority Chair Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia, 51). The delegate said she was aware the committee was ready to move forward with impeachment against Justice Loughry, but not the others.

Another motion was made to divide the articles into individual articles so lawmakers could discuss them one by one.

As of 10 a.m., delegates were asking legal counsel questions about their authority and how this unprecedented process works.

UPDATE 8/1/18 2:30PM
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say they are ready to move forward with impeachment against suspended West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry II.

The lawmakers released proposed articles of impeachment Wednesday. They are demanding immediate action from Republican leadership.

The committee is investigating possible impeachable offenses against one or more Supreme Court justices. Many of the allegations center around expensive renovations made to the Supreme Court offices.

This historic investigation comes after Loughry was indicted on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice. The West Virginia Judicial Commission also filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in June.

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

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 earlier witness testimony that the desk is valued at $42,500 in current condition.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

In a news release Wednesday, Democrats released the proposed Articles of Impeachment and demanded Republicans "stop dawdling around and bring this to a vote."

“Enough is enough,” said Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia, 51) who is the minority chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “We have been in Special Session looking at this for over five weeks and the evidence we have seen on Justice Loughry just confirms what was already found in three prior investigations. Former Justice Ketchum has not only resigned, but he's agreed to plead guilty to federal charges with the United States Attorney. Despite a 23 count indictment, Justice Loughry doesn’t appear willing to do the same."

The Democrats say they have found enough evidence in the several days of witness testimony, legislative audits presented several months ago, the Judicial Investigation Commission (JIC) report, former Justice Menis E. Ketchum II's resignation/retirement, and the federal grand jury indictments.

“This whole process has become very political and the judicial branch should always operate immune from political shenanigans,” stated Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio, 03) who is the House Judiciary Committee Minority Vice-Chair. “We have eight Articles of Impeachment -- any one is sufficient for Justice Loughry’s removal. The power of choosing our next Supreme Court Justice should belong to the people of West Virginia, not politicians and lobbyists in a back room. Any attempt to take power away from the people and pack the court wreaks of the very corruption we are trying to stop."

Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha, 37) added that he introduced House Resolution 4 to initiate an impeachment inquiry into Justice Loughry back on Feb. 5 during the regular legislative session. “Here we are 6 months after I filed my resolution, more than a month after we convened this impeachment proceeding, and nothing has happened,” Pushkin said. “Our concern always was that the House Republican Leadership would drag their feet, and try to pack the court with appointed Justices, rather than having a Court composed of Justices voted on by our citizens.” It turns out our fears were justified.”

UPDATE 7/27/18 2:30PM
Lawmakers on Friday wrapped up another week of impeachment proceedings involving one or more justices on the Supreme Court.

Lawmakers have been hearing testimony for the past two days at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston.

The House Judiciary heard new evidence Friday morning, as they investigate the state Supreme Court and decide if any Justices should be impeached.

Some of the exhibits presented on Friday dealt more with the renovations costs of the justices' offices, Loughry's work lunches and state vehicle usage.

In fact, for the first time lawmakers got the exact cost of what each justice spent on the office renovations.

Justin Robinson, the acting director of the legislative post audit division, presented lawmakers with the figures during his testimony Friday. According to the testimony, Justice Robin Jean Davis spent the most on renovations with her office makeover costing more than a half million dollars. Chief Justice Margaret C. Workman spent the least amount with $111,000 for her office renovations.

Below is the cost of each office renovation from most expensive to least expensive:
Justice Robin Jean Davis: $500,000
Justice Allen H. Loughry II: $363,000
Former Justice Brent Benjamin: $264,000
Justice Menis E. Ketchum II: $171,000
Justice Elizabeth D. Walker: $130,000
Chief Justice Margaret C. Workman: $111,000

he legislative auditor also presented evidence that taxpayer money remodeled bathrooms for the Supreme Court that totaled the following:
$77,000 women’s bathroom
$38,000 on men’s bathroom
$98,000 on a bathroom behind the Supreme Court’s bench.

Testimony ended Friday with evidence talking about some of the trips where Loughry allegedly took a state vehicle for personal reasons, including to a family member’s court appearance in Tucker County and book signings at the Greenbrier.

The hearings are happening at the same time as a federal investigation of Justice Allen Loughry. He's facing 23 charges, including obstruction of justice.

Lawmakers are still gathering more information and have even subpoenaed Justice Loughry’s wife to testify. Their next meeting hasn’t been scheduled yet, but we’ll update you when they return to the capitol.

UPDATE 7/26/18 9:00PM
Former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Administrator Steve Canterbury took the stand Thursday in the ongoing impeachment hearings involving one or more justices on the Court.

It is part of the House Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into possible impeachable offenses.

The process started weeks ago after former Chief Justice Allen Loughry was federally indicted. He’s now facing 23 criminal charges.

The scope of these proceedings, though, covers all the Supreme Court justices.

Canterbury's all-day testimony is the longest from any witness during the five days of testimony. He is the initial whistleblower who alerted the public and the press that there were questionable purchases happening at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Delegate John Shott, a Republican from Mercer County, asked Canterbury who a Supreme Court Justice is accountable to during their 12-year term. Canterbury replied "no one other than themselves."

The questioning brought into focus the issues of accountability, oversight and checks and balances.

Testimony wrapped up around 7:30 p.m. and is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

UPDATE 7/26/18 6:35PM
Former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Administrator Steve Canterbury has taken the stand Thursday in the ongoing impeachment hearings involving one or more justices on the Court.

It is part of the House Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into possible impeachable offenses.

The process started weeks ago after former Chief Justice Allen Loughry was federally indicted. He’s now facing 23 criminal charges.

The scope of these proceedings, though, covers all the Supreme Court justices.

Canterbury's testimony is the longest from any witness during the five days of testimony. He is the initial whistleblower who alerted the public and the press that there were questionable purchases happening at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Delegate John Shott, a Republican from Mercer County, asked Canterbury who a Supreme Court Justice is accountable to during their 12-year term. Canterbury replied no one other than themselves.

The questioning brought into focus the issues of accountability, oversight and checks and balances.

UPDATE 7/26/18 2:35PM
Former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Administrator Steve Canterbury has taken the stand Thursday in the ongoing impeachment hearings involving one or more justices on the Court.

It is part of the House Judiciary Committee's ongoing investigation into possible impeachable offenses.

The process started weeks ago after former Chief Justice Allen Loughry was federally indicted. He’s now facing 23 criminal charges.

The scope of these proceedings, though, covers all the Supreme Court justices.

The hearing can be watched at http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Stream/housechamber.cfm.

UPDATE 7/25/18 6:50PM
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 7/20/18 12:30PM
The committee investigating the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia wants a closer look than ever at the office under review. Delegates planned to tour the Supreme Court offices Friday morning, but there was a change of plans when delegates found out they could not take photos and videos or bring members of the press along.

After agreeing to allow the delegates to tour the court offices, the Supreme Court issued a news release Friday stating that the court, "will not allow photography or video during the tour, and that if afterward they believe pictures or videos are necessary, Chairman John Shott and the Committee’s photographer will contact Interim Court Administrator Barbara Allen." This decision would prohibit the media from attending the tour. It also prohibits the delegates from taking their own pictures and videos.

The release states the tour is an on-site inspection and not a "meeting" as defined by state code.

Several delegates argued that this violates the freedom of the press as defined by the first amendment of the Constitution. The committee members then debated whether or not it violates the Open Governmental Meetings Act to now allow the press and delegates to take their own photos and videos on the tour.

"Those offices do not belong to the justices," Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha, 37) said. "They belong to the people of West Virginia."

Ultimately, the committee approved a motion to delay the Friday tour and request a tour of the facility next week accompanied by three members of the press: one broadcast journalist, one print journalist and one radio journalist. If allowed, the journalists who attend the tour will share content with the other media outlets. The hope is to reschedule that tour for next Friday, July 27.

Before that debate ensued, the House Judiciary Committee began Friday's hearing with more witness testimony and evidence.

That committee was tasked with investigating to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices.

First, delegates heard an affidavit from Kimberly Ellis, Director of Administrative Services for the Supreme Court. She testified that Loughry threatened her and caused her to fear for her job. Ellis also felt coerced and intimidated.

The affidavit talks about Justice Allen Loughry II being heavily involved in the extravagant renovations of his office, including hand-sketching designs.

This historic investigation comes after Justice Allen Loughry II was indicted on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice. The West Virginia Judicial Commission also filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in June.

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 earlier witness testimony that the desk is valued at $42,500 in current condition.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

Justice Menis E. Ketchum announced on July 11 that he is retiring and resigning from the high court effective July 27.

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

Delegates on the House Judiciary Committee are meeting for a series of hearings to go over evidence and interview witnesses. Friday's hearing is the fourth so far.

After hearing the affidavit from the administrative employee, the committee listened to an audio recording of Justice Loughry speaking at a finance meeting earlier this year.

Loughry identifies himself in the recording then leads a discussion on the past judicial budgets and the future fiscal budget.

"We in the judiciary are painfully aware of the state's financial worries in recent years," Loughry said. "The judicial branch of government takes this issue very seriously."

The Supreme Court's budget for FY 2019 is $139,759,670. Loughry said that is 1.1 percent of the state's budget and it is a $2 million reduction from what the state Supreme Court requested the year before.

He addresses the negative press about extravagant renovations to the court offices, calling them, "isolated, but obviously, inappropriate, expenses."

"Each of us will have to explain ourselves to the voters of West Virginia," Loughry said.

Loughry said one action by a court employee can explode because of social media and cloud the focus of the judiciary system.

"I am reminded every single day there is more work to be done to promote financial accountability and responsibility in our government," Loughry said.

In the audio recording, then Chief Justice Loughry gave an account of past renovations at the Capitol.

He said in 2008, the court began renovating offices on the 4th floor of the Capitol. The original contract was for $876,156 and it covered half of the 4th floor. Loughry said renovations were necessary for safety the ability to work.

Loughry said it was widely reported that the court started with a $876,156 contract and it ballooned out of control to a $3 million + contract. He said that is incorrect and that the original contract was for a specific amount of work. The scope of the work changed, he said, and other renovations were "needed and necessary."

"We have a responsibility to take care of this incredible building," Loughry said, explaining that many of the renovations were for extensive electrical, heating, cooling, plumbing and other maintenance work.

He also spoke about the attempts to reduce spending once he became chief justice in January of 2017.

"I was well aware of the fiscal challenges facing West Virignia," Loughry explained, saying he made transparency his primary mission when he was elected.

The judiciary's budget does not only cover the Supreme Court, but 279 judicial officers at the local level as well. In addition to those officers, Loughry said there are many other people, functions, and responsibilities that fall under the budget. Some of those departments include probation, court reporters, law clerks, administrative staff, IT, HR, accounting, payroll, etc.

90 percent of the spending is non-discretionary, he explained, and it's the legislature, not the court, that sets the salaries for the justices and hundreds of other employees.

Loughry said the court, independent of the pressure from the press, was saving money year to year.

"I made it clear that everything must be on the table and nothing was untouchable," he said about reducing spending.

The justice called 2017 a year of "significant financial improvement," reducing spending by millions of dollars and cutting non-essential positions.

In certain areas, Loughry said significant cuts just can't be made. Some expenditures are required by statute. He made the example that if you cut probation officers, that allows for more non-violent offenders to be incarcerated which costs the taxpayers.

After listening to Loughry's testimony, the committee was scheduled to tour the Supreme Court offices, but as mentioned above the tour was delayed due to concerns of the press ban.

The committee adjourned for the day. Lawmakers will meet again Thursday, July 26.


UPDATE 7/19/18 6:40PM
Around 1 p.m., Supreme Court Public Information Officer Jennifer Bundy took the stand.

As the spokesperson for the court, Bundy explained the process of responding to media inquiries and relaying the justices' messages to the public.

She said she could not recall a time that the justices asked her to respond to the media with an untruthful statement.

Bundy would pass along journalists' questions to the justices and they would tell her what to write back. Eventually, she stopped seeing the responses from the justices and they directly responded to media inquiries themselves.

"I was concerned because they were not consulting me on media issues and that's my job," Bundy said.

For example, she said she did not know the Justices Loughry and Davis were doing television interviews until she saw them air. Like others who testified, Bundy mentioned that she at times feared for the safety of her job.

She spoke about not wanting to be involved in the tense and unfriendly relationship between Justice Loughry and Steve Canterbury. That continued after Loughry became chief justice in January of 2017 and Canterbury was ousted.

"Steve is my friend," Bundy said. "I consider him a personal friend."

Still, she found herself in the middle.

"He [Canterbury] would gripe about him," Bundy said. "He didn't like Justice Loughry. Justice Loughry didn't like him." Canterbury is scheduled to testify next week.

There were renovations to all five justices' offices while Bundy worked there. She recalled the offices being "gutted" down to the concrete, Bundy said. She testified most of the renovations were for electrical work, HVAC, etc.

When she saw the photo of the $32,000 couch on Twitter, Bundy said she was taken by surprise.

Bundy testified she has never been to Loughry's home, doesn't even know where he lives, and doesn't know anything about the moving of furniture. She said she only knows the couch was in Loughry's office when he became a justice, and after the renovations to his office, it was gone.

"I was stunned they had done that," Bundy said. She went to Justice Davis. "I asked her, 'Did you know about this? Why did he do this?'" Bundy said Davis didn't seem to think the couch was important.

When she confronted Justice Loughry about the couch, she said Loughry was adament that the couch was not state property.

She also said Loughry was "very convincing" about there being a home office policy, despite the fact that several witnesses in these hearings have testified that there isn't one.

"He was pretty adament that there was such a policy," Bundy said. "He told me several times there was such a policy."

Loughry pulled a notebook from one of his filing cabinets, she said. It allegedly had notes from a conversation with Canterbury about the justices being allowed to have home offices.

"He was the chief justice," Bundy testified. "He's a lawyer. He's got four law degrees. I didn't have any reason to doubt that that was the case."

The next witness was Supreme Court Security Messenger Paul Mendez.

In regards to moving court-owned furniture, Mendez said there usually wasn't a paper trail. When he was asked to move furniture, it was just by word of mouth.

He said he was one of the court employees who helped move the couch from Loughry's home to a warehouse, and then a few days later, the desk from Loughry's home to the warehouse.

Mendez recalled Loughry explaining that he was allowed to have both the couch and desk in his home, but he just wanted them removed because of the media attention he was getting. Mendez also testified that Loughry said Canterbury told him he could take the furniture from the Supreme Court office.

One of Mendez's other job duties includes picking up lunch for court staff members. He said those lunches became costly once Canterbury was hired.

Mendez wrapped up his testimony around 3 p.m.

The last witness to testify Thursday was West Virginia Supreme Court Director of Security Arthur Angus.

He too testified to helping move the furniture. Angus said he drove a white van to Loughry's home and parked in the driveway.

"I didn't know he had the couch or desk at his house until the day we went," Angus said.

After moving the couch, and being photographed doing so by a neighbor, Angus said he told Loughry it was not a good idea to move the desk. He said Loughry insisted.

A couple days later, a Thursday around 8 a.m. according to Angus, they met again and moved the desk from Loughry's home to his garage.

Angus said he is familiar with Cass Gilbert desks because he has one in his office. There are five Cass Gilbert desks that belong to the Supreme Court, including the one that was at Loughry's home which Angus said is now back in court chambers in another employee's office.

He testified that the group waited until the neighbor was not taking pictures of them to move the desk into the van and then transport it to the warehouse.

Around the time he was asked to help move the desk, Angus said he was worried about losing his job by denying requests. He said that was the vibe working for the Supreme Court: fear of unemployment for disagreeing.

Angus, like other witnesses, said he is not aware of a home office policy. He also said the only person he could imagine would have the power to allow justices to take state property home was Canterbury. He is not aware of someone else who would have granted approval to remove the furniture, but assumes someone must have.

"If somebody removed it without approval and took it to their house, it could possibly be considered larceny of some kind," Angus said. "Somebody knew it was moved up there," he said, referencing that there were invoices for the moving of furniture.

In addition to protecting the court staff and ensuring the safety of the justices as they travel, Angus is charge of the fleet of the 19 state-owned vehicles.

The only justice who would not provide details about where he was going in a state-owned vehicle was Loughry, Angus testified.

He said the only exception would be, "If we were all going to a conference, I knew where he was going."

Angus said, at one point, Canterbury told employees not to ask the justices where they were taking the vehicles.

Confirming testimony that Gundy gave earlier, Angus said the two of them to a memo from Justice Davis asking about the court's vehicle policies. After that, Angus said Loughry stopped talking to them.

For months, Angus said Loughry ignored himself and Gundy. That continued from the fall of 2016 til January of 2017 when Canterbury was fired.

During that time, Angus said he became curious about Loughry's trips using state-owned vehicles. That's when he started checking the mileage on vehicles Loughry used and writing it down in a personal diary.

"I was wanting to see how far he was driving it," Angus said. "He'd drive 400 or 500 miles sometimes." Those trips would be over two, three, or four days sometimes, Angus testified.

After the media attention, Angus said Loughry gave him the keys to the state-owned vehicles and said he didn't want to drive them anymore.

The Supreme Court has since joined the state fleet, Angus testified, to keep better track of the use of the state-owned vehicles. Previously, mileage was not tracked. State officials now require the driver using the vehicle to document the mileage.

Like Mendez, Angus also testified to Supreme Court employees eating expensive lunches purchased for the staff. He said he ate them as well, but felt bad about it.

"I never did feel like it was quite right." Angus said. "It's been going on probably since at least 2013, maybe before that."

He said he stopped getting the lunches after about a year. He said Justice Davis quit receiving the lunches as well.

Just after 5 p.m., the delegates finished quesitoning Angus and the committee adjourned for the day. The hearings will resume at 9:15 Friday morning.

UPDATE 7/19/18 12:45PM
The unprecedented investigation into the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is resuming Thursday. This is the third of many hearings to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices.

The House Judiciary Committee was tasked with interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence. We made an illustrative graphic to quickly get you up to speed on the investigation.

Thursday's hearing began with witness testimony from Jess Gundy, Deputy Director of Security for the state Supreme Court. He has worked for the court since 2007. Previously, Gundy worked for West Virginia State Police for 22 years.

Gundy testified that he helped Loughry move a couch from the justice's home to a court warehouse.

Justice Allen Loughry II 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 earlier witness testimony that the desk is valued at $42,500 in current condition.

The West Virginia Judicial Commission filed 32 formal charges against Loughry in June. A federal grand jury indicted Loughry on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

Justice Menis E. Ketchum announced on July 11 that he is retiring and resigning from the high court effective July 27.

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

Loughry was chief justice at the time that Gundy says he helped move furniture. In a closed-door meeting with a few people, he said Loughry asked for his help to move a couch out of his home. He said Loughry emphasized that he wasn't doing anything improper because justices are allowed to have a home office.

"If I thought it was illegal, I would not have done it," Gundy said.

The deputy security director said Court Security Messenger Paul Mendez got a van and the two of them followed Loughry to his home. He said Loughry showed them a couch and a desk, but said they could move the desk at a later time.

Gundy described driving to the warehouse, unloading the couch, and discussing when they would move the desk with Arthur Angus, Director of Supreme Court Security, and Justice Loughry. The desk was located in a smaller room in Loughry's home, Gundy testified.

"He wanted to move the desk because he said he wanted it out of his house," Gundy said.

A couple days later, they moved the desk.

First, they navigated different doorways in the home and moved the desk to the garage.

"He [Loughry] was waiting for the neighbor taking the photos to leave," Gundy said.

Gundy said they returned to the Capitol. Later, they went back to Loughry's home to move the desk from the garage to the van. From there, they moved the desk to a room inside the court warehouse.

"He did not want me to tell a lot of people about moving these items," Gundy said. "I think he was relieved that it was all out of his house."

He said they returned to the Capitol. Later, they went back to Loughry's home to move the desk from the garage to the van. From there, they moved the desk to a room inside the court warehouse.

"He did not want me to tell a lot of people about moving these items," Gundy said. "I think he was relieved that it was all out of his house."

Gundy testified that he was not aware of any policy for what furniture or office items justice's can have at home.

After discussing the furniture, they moved on to the use of state-owned vehicles. Gundy's job description also includes driving the justices when requested.

However, Gundy said he did not recall ever driving a justice to an event that was not business-related.

He remembered Loughry using state-owned vehicles, not telling the others where he was going, and returning the car with the gas tank nearly empty. Loughry stated several times that the justices didn't need to know where he was going, Gundy testified.

According to Gundy, former Administrative Director of Courts Steve Canterbury also stated the justices did not have to give information about where they were going or a reason for using the vehicles. Gundy said Canterbury did this under the direction of someone else, but he could not recall if Canterbury said who directed him to do that.

A memo from Justice Davis was a piece of evidence. Davis sent the memo on August 25, 2015 to Gundy and Angus, stating there were no formal policies at the time in place for the justices' use of state-owned vehicles.

"There was no written policy that I am aware of," Gundy said.

They did not keep record of the mileage on state-owned vehicles in between trips, he said. Any mileage records would be on inspection stickers, oil change paperwork and maintenance work documents.

In a previous hearing, the delegates questioned witnesses about Justice Davis traveling with a director of court security for personal safety reasons following threats.

Gundy pointed out that it was not necessary for a threat to be made in order for them to request security.

In regards to how the justices interacted in general, Gundy said, "There was some internal strife." After Loughry was elected to chief justice, he said, "There were a lot of folks who were uncomfortable and they feared for their employment." He said there were some people who were fired. Gundy knows this because security officers have to escort those people out.

One firing in particular Gundy spoke about was of Steve Canterbury.

After more than 11 years on the job, Canterbury was ousted from the Supreme Court in January of 2017 by the court's vote of 3-2. Shortly after, Canterbury told our media partner WV MetroNews that his firing was political, "pure and simple."

Canterbury admitted to MetroNews that his relationship with Loughry started to disintegrate some time before his firing, but he chose not to elaborate on what may have caused the problems.

Loughry later blamed Canterbury for all of the expensive renovations at the Supreme Court.

"Mr. Canterbury is a disgruntled, fired employee," Loughry said in a media interview. "He threatened us as he walked out the door and he's trying to set this up for some lawsuit down the road."

Gundy described walking Canterbury out on the day he was terminated. He said Canterbury made comments about deciding whether or not to go to the press "and tell them everything." Gundy did not remember Canterbury specifying what he meant by that.

Over the decade he has worked for the Supreme Court, Gundy said he has witnessed renovations to an outdated conference room, the chamber's ceiling, and justices' offices.

Committee Chairman John Shott (R-Mercer, 27) asked if Gundy ever heard talks of efforts to spend less. Gundy said no.

Jess Gundy finished testifying around noon. The committee took a recess with plans to start back up again at 1 p.m. Shott said they expect to get through four witnesses (including Gundy) before Thursday's hearing ends.

UPDATE 7/19/16 10:55 AM
The unprecedented investigation into the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is resuming Thursday. This is the third of many hearings to determine if lawmakers should move forward with impeachment proceedings against one or more state Supreme Court justices.

The House Judiciary Committee was tasked with interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence.

Thursday's hearing began with witness testimony from Jess Gundy, Deputy Director of Security for the state Supreme Court. He has worked for the court since 2007. Previously, Gundy worked for West Virginia State Police for 22 years.

This historic investigation comes after Justice Allen H. Loughry II was indicted on 23 federal charges. (The original indictment included 22 charges, but a superseding indictment made it 23.) The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

Justice Loughry is currently suspended from the bench without pay.

Justice Menis E. Ketchum announced this week that he is retiring and resigning from the high court effective July 27.

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


UDPATE 7/17/18 6:40PM
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II is facing additional charges.

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


UPDATE 7/13/18 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.