CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Justice Beth Walker, the least tenured among the West Virginia Supreme Court justices being considered for impeachment, has hired legal counsel and issued a statement.
“Since joining the Court in 2017, Beth has been nothing but fair to everyone who has come before her,” stated J. Zak Ritchie and Ryan McCune Donovan, the Charleston lawyers who are representing Walker.
“The House of Delegates has an important job to do, and we trust that they will be equally fair to Beth in reviewing all the facts before moving forward on any articles against her.”
Both Justice Allen Loughry and Justice Robin Davis have had counsel representing them during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Each lawyer has just observed, declining opportunities — so far — to ask any questions of witnesses.
Walker, who has served on the court for a year and a half, has not had her own legal representation until now.
On Monday, the full House of Delegates will consider the impeachment of all of the remaining justices on the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Any of the articles passed by the full House would then be heard by the state Senate in a trial. The Senate would require a two-thirds majority vote to remove any of the justices from office.
Walker is named in several of the 14 articles passed by the House.
One, Article 2, is a sort of catch-all contending that justices did not live up to their responsibility to set standards
That article accuses all four remaining justices of failing to establish policies about remodeling state offices, travel budgets, computers for home use and framing of personal items.
Walker and all the rest of the justices face allegations that they spent thousands too much on the renovations of their own offices: $500,278.23 for Justice Davis, $363,013.43 for Justice Loughry, $130,654.55 for Justice Walker and $111,035.19 for Justice Workman.
Several more articles alleged each of the justices had signed off on a policy to circumvent state law by paying senior status judges as contractors, allowing them to make more than they were really allowed.
The House Judiciary Committee did not vote to approve a suggested article of impeachment that specifically focused on Justice Walker’s role in hiring outside counsel for a written opinion at a cost of $10,000.
Below is a DRAFT copy of the articles that were considered by the House Judiciary Committee. The committee did not vote to approve two of the articles that are listed but did approve another article that is not represented on this draft.