Gov. Justice Calls Impeachment Trial Standstill an Embarassment; Rules Out Special Session
Gov. Jim Justice says he isn’t planning to call the Legislature back into session to address pending impeachment trials after a temporary bench of the West Virginia Supreme Court halted the trial of the state’s chief justice.
Gov. Justice was asked about the standstill on the impeachment trials at a Monday morning news conference. He said it would be ”horribly unfair” to intervene before the House and Senate attempt to address the situation on their own.
“Those people need to speak and those people need to find direction without me imposing my wishes on them,” Justice said.
In August, the House of Delegates adopted articles of impeachment against four justices of the state’s high court for their roles in lavish spending on office renovations, using state resources for private gain and failing to provide administrative oversight.
Justice Beth Walker was tried and acquitted in the Senate before an opinion from an ad hoc Supreme Court bench blocked the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Margaret Workman.
The ruling also throws into the question the trials of retired Justice Robin Davis and suspended Justice Allen Loughry.
“Every day that this continues on, it has embarrassed West Virginia and it has hurt West Virginia -- and every day it hurts us until it is over,” Justice said about the standstill and lingering questions over the remaining trials.
Both Davis and Loughry have asked the Supreme Court to extend the writ of prohibition granted to Workman to include their respective impeachment trials, although the Supreme Court has yet to rule.
The Senate says they plan to ask the court to reconsider their opinion on Workman’s writ so that her trial can take place.
Davis retired from the court one day after being impeached. Loughry was convicted earlier this month on 11 counts of federal charges, including fraud, witness tampering and making false statements. He has yet to resign from the bench.
Gov. Justice calledfor Loughry to step down.
"It just seems to me like the right thing is resignation and go on down the road," he said when asked about Loughry.