UPDATE: House passes resolution for Judiciary Committee to investigate Supreme Court of Appeals members
House Resolution 201 has been passed with an 89-0. 11 delegates did not vote.
The resolution would, in part, give a House Committee of the Judiciary that ability to investigate and hold hearings, if necessary, regarding malpractice and criminal practices of one or all Supreme Court of Appeals justices.
Once that process is complete, the Judiciary Committee will be present their findings to the House regarding the possible impeachment of one or more members in the Supreme Court of Appeals.
No strict deadline is being enforced for this process. According to Judiciary Committee Chair Shott, any meetings will be open to the public, unless an executive session is called. In that case, those present will be selected by the committee.
As the session ended, Judiciary Committee member Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha) stated that the committee will be taking the investigation seriously, and renewed his call for Loughry to resign.
The House Judiciary Commitee will be meeting shortly.
Stay with 5 News for any further updates.
The amendment was rejected by a 32-57 vote. 11 delegates did not vote.
An amendment has been introduced by a group of House Democrats for deadlines to be set for the Judiciary Committee to present their findings to the House and for the House to enact their role in possible impeachment proceedings. That deadline would be July 23, and the deadline for the Senate to do their part would be August 13.
The deadline would allow for the replacement for any justice to be voted on in the November election. If the positions were not on the November ballot, Governor Justice would appoint a justice(s) for a term of two years until the next election.
Republicans have opposed the amendment, stating that the deadlines would not be enough time for the committee to thoroughly conduct their investigation.
"We're dealing with the lives of possibly five justices--their futures," stated Gary Howell (R-Mineral).
Harrison County Delegate Tim Miley spoke for the amendment, stating that the investigative work has already been done.
"An investigation was conducted on behalf of this body," he stated.
The chair of the Judiciary Committee, John Shott (R-Mercer).
House Resolution 201 has been introduced. The resolution would, in part, give a House Committee of the Judiciary that ability to investigate and hold hearings, if necessary, regarding malpractice and criminal practices of one or all Supreme Court of Appeals justices.
Earlier in the session, House Speaker Armstead gave the session over to be led House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, restating that he did not want conflict stemming from his consideration to run for the court.
However, it was determined that precedent required those in the House, including Armstead, that met requirements to run would be required to take part in the vote on the resolution.
You can read the full resolution at the Related Link.
The House of Delegates has convened to consider impeachment proceedings for one or more members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
The special session comes as the fallout continues from Justice Allen Loughry's indictment on 22 federal counts, including on 16 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering, and three counts of making false statements. Loughry has pleaded "not guilty" to all charges.
The session was requested by Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) and House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington (R-Berkeley) after an attempt to create a bipartisan committee to consider impeachment proceedings was met with political backlash. House Speaker Tim Armstead stated he thought is was appropriate that Overington take part in the joint request instead of him, since he had alluded to considering a run for the court.
Stay with 5 News for the latest.
The legislature will be called into special session on Tuesday June 26th in Charleston, to discuss possible impeachment proceedings on one or more members of the state supreme court.
A lot of the focus is on Justice Allen Loughry, who was indicted on a handful of federal charges last week. Among those charges were multiple counts of fraud and witness tampering.
Given the magnitude of the charges, local lawmakers say Loughry's impeachment is a fair request.
"Corruption in West Virginia is unacceptable at any level." Delegate (R) Craig Blair says, "The legislature is just exercising due diligence and taking care of and respecting the citizens of West Virginia by going on this path."
Blair went on to say the special session is open-ended enough that there could be additional indictments. He says anything could happen, especially given the other spending and management issues this year.