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Introduced Version House Resolution 4 History

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HOUSE RESOLUTION 4

(By Delegates Pushkin, Barrett, Diserio, E. Evans, Hornbuckle, McGeehan, Paynter, Pyles, Robinson and Pack)

[Introduced February 5, 2018; Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary then Rules]

 

Relating to empowering the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate allegations of impeachable offenses against West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II.

Whereas, By his own admission, Justice Loughry has utilized state property at his private residence, including property donated to the state and property purchased and owned by the state; and

Whereas, A desk which was part of the original furnishings of the State Capitol, which was selected by the architect for use by state officials in the State Capitol was at his private residence until removed based on public awareness of the desk’s location; and

Whereas, Another such item, a leather couch, delivered and removed from his residence utilizing state employees and a state vehicle was for his personal use, as no subsequent assertion has been made of what public use the couch was being utilized for; and

Whereas, Although originally asserted by Justice Loughry that the couch was a gift from a prior Supreme Court justice, subsequently Justice Loughry revised his assertion and then stated that the couch was “abandoned property” although it had been in the possession of the Supreme Court for eight years, and was not abandoned and was in fact donated for use by the Court, and was state property; and

 Whereas, Justice Loughry initially alleged the use of this property was pursuant to “Court Policy” although court personnel subsequently stated no such policy exists; and

Whereas, The attempts by Justice Loughry to explain his actions were admissions of wrongdoing and his subsequent recharacterization of his actions brings into question his motives and the veracity of his comments; and

 Whereas, Justice Loughry’s actions may be in violation of several state laws, specifically the West Virginia Governmental Ethics Act, which prohibits the use of public office for private gain and utilizing state employees, state vehicles and state furniture for private use; West Virginia state law relating to the disposition of surplus state property by improper possession of state-owned furniture; and possession of state property at a personal residence being grand larceny pursuant to West Virginia law; and

 Whereas, Although Justice Loughry asserts that he was conducting public activities at his home, sufficient evidence exists that the use of this state property was of a personal nature and his intentional and fraudulent acts to cover up his actions reflect that he had knowledge that his actions were improper; and

Whereas, Justice Loughry’s actions are in conflict with the Code of Judicial Conduct for West Virginia that subverted the judicial system as his actions undermine the integrity of the judiciary, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, the improper supervision of judicial employees by directing their participating in this nonemployment-related scheme, all constitute violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and

Whereas, Justice Loughry’s actions have caused an erosion of public trust in the judiciary; his intentional utilization of falsehoods to misrepresent his actions subverts the very essence of the integrity of the judicial system, and cast doubts upon his fitness for a judicial position established upon unbiased veracity and incorruptibility; and

Whereas, An investigation is in order by the West Virginia Legislature to determine whether sufficient evidence exists that Justice Loughery is guilty of maladministration, corruption, incompetency, gross immorality, a high crime or misdemeanor, and an inquiry is proper as to whether these actions are sufficient to require the Legislature to take impeachment actions to cause his removal; therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Delegates:

That the House Committee on the Judiciary be, and is by this resolution, empowered to investigate or cause to be investigated, any allegations or charges raised herein or identified by its investigation, and make findings of fact based upon such investigations and hearings;  and to report to the House of Delegates its findings of facts and any recommendations which the Committee on the Judiciary may deem proper; and if the recommendation of the committee be to impeach Justice Allen H Loughery II, to present to the House of Delegates a resolution of impeachment and 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 and papers, documents and other physical evidence, to order the attendance of any witness, or the production of any paper, document and other physical evidence, and to exercise all other powers described under the provisions of §4-1-5 of the Code of West Virginia; and

 (2) To issue summonses, subpoenas and 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; and

(3) To determine whether all or any portion of a meeting or hearing should be held in an executive session, pursuant to the provisions of House Rule eighty-three; and, be it

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

(1) To establish or define rules of procedure for the conduct of meetings or hearings held pursuant to this resolution; and

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

 (3) To designate a subcommittee or subcommittees of the Committee on the Judiciary to assist the Chairman or the Committee in performing his or her its duties pursuant to this resolution; and

 (4) To determine the time and place of all meetings or hearings of the Committee and its designated subcommittees; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the 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 Honorable Allen H. Loughry II, Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court, not be impeached; or

(2) A recommendation that the Honorable Allen H. Loughry II be impeached  for maladministration, corruption, incompetence, gross immorality, neglect of duty, or any high crime or misdemeanor, as provided for in Section 9, Article IV of the West Virginia Constitution, and that  the Honorable Allen Loughery be removed and disqualified from office, and that the House of Delegates adopt a resolution of impeachment and formal articles of impeachment as prepared by the Committee on the Judiciary, and deliver the same to the Senate in accordance with the procedures of the House of Delegates, for consideration by the Senate according to rules of procedure and state law.

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