CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WV MetroNews) - UPDATE: 10/07/2019
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a case involving the impeachment of West Virginia's Supreme Court, WV MetroNews reports.
Justices gathered behind closed doors last Tuesday and decided which cases to hear for the term that started today. One of the cases that was under consideration was a review the impeachment that was halted last year in West Virginia.
Monday, the Supreme Court released a list of orders. The West Virginia case was listed under "certiorari denied," which means justices had decided not to review the case.
Appeals had been filed on behalf of the state House of Delegates and the state Senate. Leaders in those bodies said they did not necessarily want to continue with impeachment trials of West Virginia Supreme Court justices but, instead, wanted guidance from a higher authority about how impeachment should have unfolded properly.
Last year, the House of Delegates majority impeached four of West Virginia's Supreme Court justices, not including then-Justice Menis Ketchum who resigned the day before the impeachment process began. Ketchum pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge.
Only one justice went through trial in the state Senate, Justice Beth Walker, who was censured and remained on the court.
A lawsuit by Justice Margaret Workman successfully halted the remaining proceedings. Workman also remains on the court.
Workman released the following statement Monday:
"I am gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld my position by refusing to hear the appeal of the dismissal of the impeachment articles filed against me. With this order from the nation’s highest Court, we can finally rest knowing that the impeachment proceeding that consumed so much time and energy last year is over. In my almost 30 years as a judge and justice, I have always been committed to serving while upholding the highest ethical standards. I plan to complete the term to which the people of West Virginia elected me in the same manner that I have during all my years of judicial service – with fairness and integrity while upholding the rule of law. I am very grateful for the help of my counsel, Marc Williams, and his team of excellent lawyers at Nelson Mullins."
Justice Robin Davis resigned, saying the process was unfair. Finally, Justice Allen Loughry was convicted in federal court on fraud charges, later resigning his office and now serving time in prison.
ORIGINAL STORY: 2/5/2019
After an impeachment scandal last year, the West Virginia Supreme Court has issued new administrative policies.
The new policies address state-owned computer systems, the use of purchasing cards, court-owned equipment, court travel and accounting practices.
Chief Justice Beth Walker says the policies are being posted on the court's website "Because we intend to keep our promise to West Virginia citizens to be open, responsible, and accountable."
Four justices were impeached in August, 2018, over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.
Some of the impeached justices were accused of abusing their authority by failing to rein in excessive spending.
A week after the impeachment, a temporary panel of justices ruled that the impeachment efforts were a violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine.