CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Retired West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis is asking a federal judge to halt the impeachment trial against her in the West Virginia Senate.
That trial is set to begin Oct. 29.
Davis was impeached on Aug. 13 by members of the West Virginia House of Delegates. The vote of 51-44 alleged, among other things, that she skirted spending laws for senior status judges and spent an excessive amount of money on renovations to her public office.
Last week, Davis filed a civil suit in federal court, calling the impeachment a “power grab.” In that suit she names West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and members of the House of Delegates who voted to move ahead with her impeachment, despite her resignation that was entered that same day.
The injunction, filed Tuesday in the Southern District of West Virginia, claims that Davis is likely to succeed in federal court based on the argument that the impeachment proceedings “are factually baseless and legally invalid.” She cites the Judicial Investigation Commission report that concluded that Justice Davis had not engaged in any misconduct. However Davis’ claims that the “House plowed ahead despite this …”
Former Justice Davis also says in the court document that she will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted, citing her reputation and legal costs, saying, “If a judgment is entered against Davis in the Senate before she obtains judicial relief, those harms will multiply — in addition to the harm from whatever unlawful penalty the Senate may impose. No money damages or other retrospective relief can possibly remedy this injury to Justice Davis’s constitutional rights.”
The injunction request further states that temporarily prohibiting the Senate trial will cause no “lasting harm,” adding there is no threat to the people of West Virginia because Davis already retired.
The document also says that the defendants have recognized “the futility of proceeding with charges against a retired Justice because they chose not to charge Justice (Menis) Ketchum.”
Ketchum retired and then pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud. The document argues that the retired Ketchum was not impeached, and therefore won’t be tried.
Lawmakers maintained the impeached justices were removed from the bench due to overspending and misuse of allocated funds.
On Tuesday Justice Beth Walker’s impeachment trial ended with a public reprimand and censure after the Senate voted 32-1 to allow her to keep her job.
Also on Tuesday, a jury of 10 women and two men were seated in the federal criminal trial against Justice Allen Loughry who is accused of using his public office for personal gain. His impeachment trial is set for Nov. 12.
Justice Margaret Workman will be the next to go on trial in the Senate. Hers is set for Oct. 15.