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Introduced Version House Resolution 201 History

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HOUSE RESOLUTION 201

(By Delegate Overington)

[Introduced June 26, 2018.]

 

Relating to empowering the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate allegations of impeachable offenses against the Chief Justice and Justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Whereas, The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is composed of one Chief Justice and four Justices. Those positions are currently occupied by the Honorable Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman, the Honorable Justice Robin Jean Davis, the Honorable Justice Allen H. Loughry II, the Honorable Justice Menis E. Ketchum II, and the Honorable Justice Elizabeth D. Walker; and

Whereas, On or about April 16, 2018, a Legislative Audit Report regarding the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia was issued.  The initial focus of the report concerned the use of state vehicles and other employer-provided benefits that may have not been treated properly for state and federal tax purposes.  The issues discussed in the report raise serious questions about the administration of the Court and the conduct of the Justices; and

Whereas, On or about May 20, 2018, a Legislative Audit Report – Report 2 – regarding the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia was issued.  This report focused on the use of state vehicles and purchases of gift cards.  The issues discussed in the report raise serious questions about the administration of the Court and the conduct of the Justices; and

Whereas, On June 6, 2018, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission (“Commission”) filed a Formal Statement of Charges against Justice Allen H. Loughry II alleging that probable cause exists to formally charge him with violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.  The Formal Statement of Charges contains thirty-two charges against Justice Loughry that raises serious questions about the administration of the Court and the conduct of Justice Loughry;

Whereas, On June 19, 2018, Justice Loughry was indicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  The indictment contains twenty-two counts against Justice Loughry that raise serious questions about the administration of the Court and the conduct of Justice Loughry; and  

Whereas, The Court’s actions and/or inactions have raised concerns that require further consideration and investigation by this body. Some or all of the five members of the Court may be guilty of maladministration, corruption, incompetency, gross immorality, or high crimes or misdemeanors, and may be unfit to serve as Chief Justice or as Justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Delegates:

That the House Committee on the Judiciary be, and it is by this resolution, empowered:

(1) To investigate, or cause to be investigated, any allegations or charges related to the maladministration, corruption, incompetency, gross immorality, or high crimes or misdemeanors committed by any Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals;  

(2) To meet during the adjournment of the House and to hold a hearing or hearings thereon if deemed necessary in the course of its investigation;

(3) To make findings of fact based upon such investigation and hearing(s);

(4) To report to the House of Delegates its findings of facts and any recommendations consistent with those findings of fact which the Committee may deem proper; and

(5) If the recommendation of the Committee be to impeach any or all of the five members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, then to present to the House of Delegates a proposed resolution of impeachment and proposed articles of impeachment; and, be it

Further Resolved, That in carrying out its duties pursuant to this resolution, the House Committee on the Judiciary is authorized:

(1) To examine witnesses, to send for persons, papers, documents, and other physical or electronic evidence, to order the attendance of any witness(es) or the production of any paper, document, and any other physical or electronic evidence along with any witness(es) necessary to supervise, maintain, or explain that evidence, and to exercise all other powers described under the provisions of §4-1-5 of the Code of West Virginia;

 (2) To issue summonses and subpoenas, including subpoenas duces tecum, and to enforce obedience to its summonses and subpoenas in accordance with the provisions of §4-1-5 of the Code of West Virginia or by invoking the aid of the courts of this state;

(3) To determine whether all or any portion of any meeting(s) or hearing(s) should be held in executive session, pursuant to the provisions of the House Rules; and, be it

Further Resolved, That in carrying out his duties pursuant to this resolution, the Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary is authorized:

(1) To establish or define rules of procedure for the conduct of any meeting(s) or hearing(s) held pursuant to this resolution;

(2)  To issue summonses and subpoenas to accomplish the purpose of this Resolution;

(3) To employ, with the prior approval of the Speaker of the House or the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, a court reporter or stenographer and such other professional or clerical employees as may be reasonably required;

 (4) To designate any subcommittee(s) of the House Committee on the Judiciary to assist the Chairman or Committee in performing their duties pursuant to this resolution; and

 (5) To determine the time and place of any meeting(s) or hearing(s) of the Committee and its designated subcommittee(s); and, be it

Further Resolved, That the House Committee on the Judiciary during its inquiry may entertain such procedural and dispositive motions as may be made in the case of any other bill or resolution referred to that Committee, or, in making its recommendations, if any, pursuant to this resolution, may include:

(1) A recommendation that the any or all of the five members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals not be impeached; or

(2) A recommendation that any or all of the five members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals be impeached for maladministration, corruption, incompetence, gross immorality, neglect of duty, and/or high crimes or misdemeanors, as set forth in Section 9, Article IV of the West Virginia Constitution; that those members subject to impeachment be removed from office and be thereafter disqualified from holding any office of public trust, honor, or profit in this State; that the House of Delegates adopt a resolution of impeachment and formal articles of impeachment as prepared by the Committee; and that the House of Delegates deliver the same to the Senate in accordance with the procedures of the House of Delegates, for consideration by the Senate according to law; and/or

(3) A recommendation of proposed legislation to correct any perceived statutory or constitutional deficiencies found by the Committee.

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