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Judicial Investigations Commission Seeks to Expedite Disciplinary Action Against Loughry

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Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Suspended Justice Allen Loughry (pictured wearing a red tie) looks on during pre-trial hearing in the West Virginia Senate's Court of Impeachment on Sept. 11, 2018.

The West Virginia Judicial Investigations Commission says it is prepared to move forward with formal disciplinary action against suspended Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry. In two separate documents filed Monday, the commission has amended a statement of charges against the embattled justice and also asked that disciplinary proceedings against him begin.

Judicial Investigations Commission (JIC) attorney Teresa Tarr has brought forth an additional charge against Loughry following his recent federal conviction on 11 counts of fraud, witness tampering and making false statement.

The original 32-count statement of charges from the JIC on June 6 led to Loughry’s suspension without pay on June 8. The new statement from the JIC brings the total number of charges against Loughry to 33.

According to the new charges, Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice” of lying, using his public office for private gain and improperly using court employees to pursue agendas of personal gain and as part of a cover-up. The charges allege that Loughry was in violation of the state’s Judicial Code of Conduct.

In addition to the amended charges, Tarr also filed a motion to lift a stay on disciplinary proceedings against Loughry. The Judiciary Disciplinary Counsel is asking the Judicial Hearing Board to move forward on Loughry’s disciplinary hearing before his criminal sentencing in January.

On July 2, The Judicial Hearing Board put Loughry’s disciplinary proceedings on hold at his request pending his federal criminal trial.

“Any further need for a stay in the disciplinary proceedings is obviated by the conclusion of the Respondent’s criminal trial,” Tarr’s motion on behalf of the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel reads.

“An expedited hearing is necessary because Respondent is set to be sentenced on January 16, 2019 and in the event he receives a term of confinement in a federal penitentiary, it will be impossible for him to appear for hearing after this time,” Tarr also wrote.

 

Tarr also cited a judicial disciplinary hearing rule that states that a hearing must take place within 120 days the JIC filing of charges. With the postponement in place on the hearing since July, the 120th day would fall on Feb. 19, 2019 and after Loughry's criminal sentencing, according to Tarr's motion.

Loughry, who has yet to resign from the bench, currently awaits an impeachment trial. If convicted in the West Virginia Senate’s Court of Impeachment, he would be removed from office.

An attorney for Loughry has filed a motion to an ad hoc bench of the state Supreme Court to throw out Loughry’s impeachment trial -- in line with a ruling that has effectively blocked Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s own impeachment trial from moving forward.

 


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