First Justice Suspended From Scandal-Ridden State Supreme Court

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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West Virginia’s Judicial Investigation Commission cited state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry for 32 alleged violation of the state ethics code, prompting Loughry’s colleagues to suspend him from his official duties.

The embattled justice has been implicated in a range of alleged wrongdoing, including abuse of state resources, lying under oath, and hiding information from colleagues.

The complaint charges that Loughry “engaged in a pattern and practice of lying and using his public office for private gain.”

The details set forth allege Loughery lied pervasively about the procurement of new furnishings for his chambers, telling local news anchors, radio talk show hosts, newspaper editors, and members of the West Virginia state legislature that he was not involved in the lavish renovations of his office. Emails, eyewitness testimony, and other records show he was intimately involved in the selection of a $32,000 suede sectional, and a $7,500 wooden medallion with a county-by-county rendering of the state.

The total cost of the renovation ran over $350,000. (RELATED: New Evidence Of Illegal Campaign Donations To West Virginia Judge Emerges)

The complaint also identifies some 12 instances in which Loughery used state transportation for personal reasons, and notes the justice used state transportation some 148 times without logging his activity. He later attempted to exempt the justices from transportation disclosure requirements.

In April state auditors discovered Loughry removed a state-owned antique desk to his private residence. The so-called Cass Gilbert desk, named for an architect most famous for designing the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., in his possession is valued at almost $50,000.

The justice also concealed two federal subpoenas related to court business from the other four justices on the court. The subpoenas were issued in December 2017 and February 2018, when Loughry was serving as chief justice. He was removed as chief on a 4-1 vote when the other justices were made aware of the subpoenas on Feb. 16, 2018.

The complaint butresses its allegations with lengthy quotes from his book “Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay For A Landslide,” a meticulous history of political corruption in the state.

“Of all the criminal politicians in West Virginia, the group that shatters the confidence of the people the most is a corrupt judiciary,” he wrote.

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