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Dem Lawmaker Attempts to Revive Interest in Ketchum's Impeachment

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Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Del. Mike Caputo speaks on the House floor on Aug. 13, 2018 as the chamber votes on proposed articles of impeachment. Those articles named all four remaining justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court. Former Justice Menis Ketchum had resigned by then.

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 5:28 p.m.

 

West Virginia’s House Minority Whip is requesting the governor to call the legislature back into session to consider impeaching a former state Supreme Court justice who was not included in earlier proceedings.

 

In a Thursday letter, Del. Mike Caputo asked the Gov. Jim Justice to bring lawmakers back to Charleston to consider impeaching former Justice Menis Ketchum.

Ketchum resigned from the court in July -- just one day before impeachment proceedings targeting the entire court began. Because of his resignation, the House Judiciary Committee decided to exclude him their investigation.

 

"While the House of Delegates initially focused the impeachment proceedings on sitting justices only, it is clear from the actions in the Senate relating to Justice Robin Davis that this idea no longer holds true," Caputo wrote in the letter.

 

The Marion County Democratic delegate cited impeachment pre-trial action in the West Virginia Senate for attempting to revive interesting in impeaching Ketchum.

 

On Tuesday, the Legislature’s upper chamber decided not to dismiss articles of impeachment against now-retired Justice Robin Davis. She is currently set to stand trial, despite resigning from her seat after being named in articles of impeachment.

 

Ketchum pleaded guilty last month to one federal charge of fraud for driving a state vehicle on private trips.

Caputo said lawmakers must remain “diligent and fair” in their actions to restore faith in the court system. He said Ketchum's admission of guilt "certainly rises to the level of an impeachable offense."

 

"[The] Legislature has a duty to ensure that former Justice Ketchum no longer profits at the expense of the taxpayer -- espeically in the form of his retirement compensation," Caputo wrote.

 

But attempts to revive interest in impeaching Ketchum -- at least over the former justice's retirement benefits -- may be moot.

 

According to state law, anyone convicted of a felony cannot hold public office. Another law states that convicted felons cannot be eligible for state retirement benefits.

 


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