Dems: Impeach Loughry Now

By Pierson, Lacie | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), August 2, 2018 | Go to article overview

Dems: Impeach Loughry Now


Pierson, Lacie, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


Democrats on the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee have drafted articles of impeachment against West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.

The nine Democrat delegates on the committee on Wednesday released their draft of articles of impeachment, charging Loughry with corruption, incompetence, gross immorality, neglect of duty and high crimes and misdemeanors.

In a news release, the committee's minority chairwoman, Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said there is more than enough evidence to impeach Loughry, and there is nothing to prevent the committee from continuing to pursue information about other justices if the articles against Loughry are adopted.

"Enough is enough, Fleischauer said in the release. "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.

In the draft articles, Loughry is accused of undertaking "a series of actions and representations, documented by clear evidence and sworn testimonials, which exhibits a pattern of corruption and deceitfulness never before seen in our state judicial system.

On July 27, Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, said he and the four other managers of the impeachment hearings would meet soon to determine how to define the state's impeachable offenses and determine whether any of the four remaining justices committed such an offense.

Impeachable offenses are stated in the West Virginia Constitution, but no definitions of the offenses are provided elsewhere in the constitution or in state code.

At the time, Shott said, if the committee were to draft articles of impeachment against more than one justice, he intended to do it all at once, instead of having individual drafts of articles and impeachment trials for individual justices.

"I think we would want, at least, to discuss where we are in respect to the other justices and whether we need some more information, Shott said July 27. "My preference as chairman would be to wait until we're ready to go forward with recommendations with respect to all the justices. I don't think its economical for a committee and for the Senate to have more than one trial, if we can combine everything into one trial, if we go that route.

Judiciary Minority Vice Chairman Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, said the committee's hearings into possible impeachment have become "very political.

"The judicial branch should always operate immune from political shenanigans, Fluharty said in the news release.

There are nine Democrats and 16 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, and it takes a majority of committee members to approve the articles of impeachment for those articles to be presented to the full House of Delegates.

If a majority of the House, or 51 members, approve the articles, which are formal charges of committing an impeachable offense, the articles will advance to the Senate.

If two-thirds of the Senate, or 23 members, approve the articles, the Senate will advance to an impeachment trial involving the justice or justices named in the articles. …

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