Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry has stepped down following a nearly year-long scandal and a federal conviction. His resignation from the bench comes just days before lawmakers were again set to consider the embattled justice’s impeachment.
According to a Saturday news release from Gov. Justice, Loughry submitted a one-sentence letter of resignationdated Friday, Nov. 9.
“I hereby resign my position as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia at the close of business on November 12, 2018,” Loughry wrote in the letter to Gov. Justice.
The letter comes days before members of the West Virginia Legislature were set to convene in a special session to again consider Loughry’s impeachment. Gov. Justice issued a proclamation Friday for the special session that was set to coincide with interim committee meetings, which begin Sunday.
Gov. Justice issued a proclamation Friday for a special session that was set to coincide with interim committee meetings.
Loughry's part in the West Virginia Supreme Court scandal began with reports of the purchase of a $32,000 couch and a $34,00 floor inlay as part of spending on court office renovations. It was later discovered that he had used state vehicles for private use and was in posession of a "Cass Gilbert" desk at his private home.
Loughry was convicted in October on 11 counts of federal charges, including fraud, witness tampering and making false statements.
The House of Delegates impeached Loughry in August for lavish spending on office renovations, taking state resources -- including computers, furniture and vehicles -- for private use, authorizing the overpayment of senior status judges and failing to provide administrative oversight of the court.
He had been set to stand trial in the state Senate in the chamber’s court of impeachment -- until an opinion from an ad hoc bench of the state’s high court ruled Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s unconstitutional. The opinion also cited procedural flaws in the House of Delegates. A later ruling effectively applied the same decision to the pending impeachment trials of Loughry and retired Justice Robin Davis.
Loughry’s attorney has filed motions for a new federal trial. His sentencing in federal court is currently scheduled for Jan. 16.
Gov. Justice will appoint Loughry's replacement until a special election is held in May, 2020. The winner of that special election will fill the remainder of Loughry's term, which ends in 2024.