CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Supreme Court has annulled former Chief Justice Allen Loughry’s law license and barred him from ever seeking public office in West Virginia.
The court released its order, issued Thursday, on Friday afternoon.
The court says in its order that it accepted the agreement and recommended sanctions presented by the Judicial Hearing Board and consented to by the Judicial Investigation Commission in February.
It notes that Loughry did not object or consent to the recommendations.
As previously reported, Loughry is currently in federal prison, having begun serving a two-year sentence at a federal facility in South Carolina in April.
He was at the center of the case that resulted in the impeachment of West Virginia’s entire Supreme Court. He was convicted last year of mail fraud and wire fraud charges stemming from the investigation into lavish court spending, misuse of state resources and funds and corruption in office.
The court discipline is distinct from the federal charges. As MetroNews’ Jeff Jenkins reported in February, Loughry had been charged with nearly three dozen Code of Judicial Conduct charges.
Part of the agreement approved was like a Kennedy Plea, Jenkins reported, where a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but agrees there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. The conduct charges filed by Judicial Investigation Commission against Loughry aren’t criminal charges but in the same way, according to agreement, he hasn’t admitted to some of them, but he also doesn’t disagree the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel could have produced sufficient evidence to back them up.
He said at the time, “I believe it is in the best interest of myself and the judicial branch at this time.”
The court also censured and reprimanded Loughry for various violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Law sources explain that a reprimand is a public rebuke for behavior that could be easily corrected, while a censure is a sterner rebuke for conduct that potentially affects the integrity and public perception of the court.
Under the agreement and court order, Loughry will pay a $3,000 fine and court costs of $5,871.12.
Four sitting justices were disqualified from consideration of this order: Chief Justice Beth Walker and Justice Margaret Workman, who were both impeached; Justice Tim Armstead, who was House speaker during the impeachment; and Justice John Hutchison, who was appointed last December to fill Loughry’s unexpired term.
Signing the order were Justice Evan Jenkins, sitting as acting chief justice; and Judges Joana Tabit, Robert Burnside, Jennifer Dent; and Senior Status Judge James Rowe.