CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The resignation of a West Virginia Supreme Court justice recently convicted of federal charges prompted the governor Sunday to cancel a special legislative session that was to consider the justice’s removal.
It was the latest development in an impeachment scandal miring some past and present justices in varying accusations including abuse of authority and failure to rein in excessive spending that engulfed the state’s highest court for months.
Republican Gov. Jim Juestice’s office said late Saturday he received a letter from Justice Allen Loughry and accepted his resignation effective at the close of business Monday. Justice had no further comment and Loughry’s one-sentence resignation letter didn’t elaborate.
Loughry was convicted last month of federal criminal charges including wire fraud involving his personal use of state cars and fuel cards and mail fraud. He has requested a new trial.
Last week Justice had called the special session for Tuesday, saying in a proclamation that it would consider removing Loughry from his post. Another proclamation Sunday canceled the special session in light of Loughry’s resignation.
Loughry couldn’t be reached for comment. His attorney, John A. Carr, said in an email he would have no comment.
Loughry and three other justices were impeached by the West Virginia House in August over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into varying accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. One of them, Justice Beth Walker, was cleared of an impeachment charge at a Senate trial last month.
The West Virginia Supreme Court last month effectively halted the Legislature’s remaining efforts to impeach the state’s justices as a violation of the separate of power doctrine.
The court ruled that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to pursue its impeachment trial of Justice Margaret Workman.