CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Judicial Disciplinary Counsel wants the state Judicial Hearing Board to lift its postponement of the disciplinary hearing for suspended and convicted state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry.
Judicial Disciplinary Counsel Teresa Tarr, in a Monday filing, wants the disciplinary hearing as soon as possible and before Loughry is sentenced in federal court in January. He was convicted on 11 federal criminal counts earlier this month in connection with state Supreme Court spending, his use of state property, witness tampering and lying to a federal agent.
According to the motion, “An expedited hearing is necessary because (Loughry) 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 a hearing after that time.”
Tarr also cites a requirement that a hearing be held within 120 days after formal charges are filed.
Loughry requested the disciplinary hearing be postponed not long after the state Judicial Investigation Commission filed a 32-count Statement of Charges against him in early June, which was followed by his suspension by a fill-in state Supreme Court. Loughry allegedly violated the state Code of Judicial Conduct. The charges allege, among other things, that Loughry repeatedly lied about Court spending in media interviews and before the House of Delegates Finance Committee.
The Judicial Investigation Commission concluded Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain.”
The JIC has amended its formal charges against Loughry to include the federal conviction. The amended statement was also filed Monday.
The JIC was the first to file anything publicly against Loughry. It began its investigation back in February. It concluded that a multitude of emails showed Loughry was heavily involved with the $363,000 design and renovation of his office, including a $7,500 custom-made wooden medallion of the State of West Virginia built into the floor with his home county of Tucker in blue granite.
Since those charges were filed, Loughry has been indicted by a federal grand jury, impeached by the House of Delegates followed by his conviction Oct. 12 on 11 of 22 counts after a two-week federal trial.
Loughry is fighting his impeachment. A trial is scheduled before the state Senate next month. His attorney has filed a motion with another fill-in Supreme Court saying Loughry’s impeachment should be thrown out like the Court did in the case of Chief Justice Margaret Workman.
Gov. Jim Justice said Monday it would be best for Loughry to resign.
The Judicial Hearing Board is a nine-member panel made up of circuit judges, Family Court judges, magistrates, attorneys and lay members. When and if the board schedules a hearing it will be done so through the state Supreme Court clerk.