CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lawyers for Chief Justice Margaret Workman have entered multiple motions to dismiss the articles of impeachment against her in the state Senate.
Workman also has asked for her impeachment trial to be delayed until after the Nov. 6 election.
“The scope and nature of the negative publicity which has attended every aspect of this case has created a prejudicial environment, especially in light of the upcoming election, which threatens Respondent’s right to a fair and impartial impeachment trial,” wrote lawyers for Workman.
Justice Workman’s Senate trial has been set for Oct. 15.
The first impeachment trial in the Senate is for Justice Beth Walker, Oct. 1.
Workman faces three articles. One is an all-encompassing maladministration charge, saying the justices failed to hold each other accountable.
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.
The other two articles that name Workman are somewhat redundant. They allege she signed off on a policy skirting state law by allowing senior status judges to exceed a cap on how much money they can make each year when they serve in open courtrooms around the state.
One of those two articles specifically names Workman. In the other, Workman and Davis are named together.
Workman, on Friday, also filed a petition with the very Supreme Court that she serves on, challenging the legality of impeachment proceedings in the House of Delegates and requesting a stay of impeachment trial in the Senate.
One of Workman’s motions to dismiss the articles of impeachment in the Senate reflects the petition that was filed with the Supreme Court.
“Chief Justice Workman is going to vigorously defend herself,” said Marc Williams, the lawyer for Workman who filed the petition with the Supreme Court.
Marc Williams, the attorney for state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman, joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss his challenge of the legality of the impeachment proceedings. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/l8R2HoPxnb
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 24, 2018
Workman has separate legal teams for the trial in the Senate and for her motion with the Supreme Court.
Williams heads up the team of lawyers working on the Supreme Court petition.
Workman is represented in the Senate trial by the Bailey & Glasser law firm. Those lawyers filed the multiple motions that hit today.
Motion to continue
Here is Justice Workman’s motion with the presiding officer of the Senate trial to delay the proceedings there until after the Nov. 6 election.
“In light of the publicity surrounding this case, the timing of Chief Justice Workman’s could hardly be more prejudicial,” her lawyers wrote.
“Chief Justice Workman is set to go to trial on Oct. 15. Her trial would conclude shortly before the Nov. 6 election, in which half the Senate will be on the ballot.
“Although Senators, sitting as a Court of Impeachment, will undoubtedly make every effort to separate their consideration of the impeachment case from the effect it might have on their reelection, there is simply too great a risk that electoral considerations will influence them.”
Motion to define maladministration article
Another motion by Workman asks to better define the article accusing her and the rest of the Supreme Court justices of a variety of acts of maladministration.
The motion notes that the word “maladministration” does not appear anywhere in the article.
The article is expressed to consider all of the Supreme Court justices as a group, but Workman and the other justices face individual trials.
“Without a particularized description of the charges and theories against her, Respondent will have an inordinately short time to prepare to defend herself against a multiplicity of allegations may of which, confusingly, were refuted on their face by the evidence before the House.”
Motions to dismiss maladministration article
Workman’s lawyers have entered two motions asking for dismissal of the maladministration article.
The first suggests she is being held accountable for policies that should have been overseen by the court’s administrator “without alleging that she caused the acts or omissions by inadequately supervising or controlling the person appointed to that position.”
It continues, “Absent any allegation (and there is none) that Respondent caused the administrative director to engage in such waste or to deficiently perform the duties and responsibilities of the job, she cannot be found guilty of Article XIV as a matter of law.
“Indeed, the uncontroverted evidence is that the administrative director resisted all legitimate attempts by Respondent at supervision and control.”
The second motion says the article is unconstitutionally vague.
“Assuming, strictly arguendo, that Article XIV spews forth a bombardment of facts that, taken together, might sufficiently capture the essential elements of ‘maladministration,'” Workman’s lawyers wrote.
“Respondent is yet entitled to know the specific acts or omissions the Board of Managers intends to prove, and the corresponding portions of the charge to which those acts or omissions are intended to relate.”
Motions to dismiss articles about overpayment of senior status judges
Two more motions aim to dismiss articles contending Workman intentionally circumvented a cap on how much senior status judges are eligible to make annually.
One says the law Workman is accused of violating isn’t clear.
“The point is that the statute is confusingly drafted, with terms that are inherently or latently ambiguous and in tension with each other,” Workman’s lawyers wrote.
“Because no adversarial proceeding has yet arisen in which the Supreme Court of Appeals could definitively construe 51-9-10, no one can say for sure what the statute means.”
The second contends that Workman did nothing intentional.
“No evidence has been produced that Respondent intended any violation.”
Individual maladministration claims
Finally, there were individual motions to dismiss the individual aspects of Article XIV, the maladministration article.
Each of the motions contends there is no evidence to back up the particular accusation.