Loughry resigns from WV high court
CHARLESTON — Suspended West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry has submitted his resignation to Gov. Jim Justice, who accepted the resignation, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office on Saturday.
Loughry was convicted Oct. 12 of 11 of 22 federal criminal charges made against him, including wire fraud involving his personal use of state cars and fuel cards and mail fraud. The convictions came more than a year after it was made public that Loughry had a $32,000 couch in his office and had moved a valuable antique Cass Gilbert desk from his office into his home, which led to an investigation of the entire Supreme Court of Appeals budget. He has requested a new trial. Justice had called a special legislative session for Tuesday, Nov. 13, to consider removing Loughry from his position. Loughry, who was elected to the seat in 2012, has been suspended from the bench since June 8.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2019. He was allowed to remain out of jail on a personal recognizance bond by U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver.
Loughry submitted a single-sentence letter, which was dated Friday, Nov. 9, stating his resignation is effective at the close of business Monday, Nov. 12. Veterans Day is observed Monday and federal and state offices will be closed.
Justice will appoint a temporary replacement to Loughry’s seat until a permanent one is elected via special election during the May 2020 primary election.
Loughry’s resignation comes after two other justices left their seats as a result of the investigation. Justice Menis Ketchum retired before impeachment proceedings began and Justice Robin Davis submitted her resignation shortly after her impeachment hearing. Those seats were filled when Gov. Justice appointed Evan Jenkins and Tim Armstead as their temporary replacements, and they remained in those positions when they were elected via special election Nov. 6.
Loughry, Davis and the two other sitting justices, Beth Walker and Margaret Workman, were impeached by the House of Delegates in August over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. The House brought 11 articles of impeachment against the justices. Loughry was named in seven of those articles.
The impeachment of every sitting member of the state Supreme Court led to the introduction of Amendment 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot. West Virginians overwhelmingly voted in favor of the amendment, which put the control of the court’s budget in the hands of the West Virginia State Senate.