Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum pleaded guilty to wire fraud at a federal court in Charleston, West Virginia, the first conviction in a sprawling public corruption scandal that has gripped the state’s highest judicial panel.
Ketchum was the first justice on the five-member panel to leave active service. Justice Robin Jean Davis resigned Aug. 14, and the remaining three justices face impeachment in the state senate.
“Justice Ketchum did the right thing for doing the wrong thing,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. “There is no such thing as a small felony. There is no such thing as a little bit of public corruption.”
Ketchum was charged with fraud in connection with his misuse of state vehicles and financial resources. The justice used a state-issued 2007 Buick Lucerne for personal travel on to trip a private golf club near Bristol, Virginia, between 2011 and 2014. Ketchum was only authorized to use the car while commuting between the state capital and is home in Huntington. (RELATED: West Virignia’s Highest Court Shattered By Corruption Indictment)
He also used a state credit card to refuel the vehicle during his personal travel.
The rest of the court faces impeachment for wasting government resources and failing to effectively administer the state courts.
Ketchum pleaded guilty before Judge John Copenhaver in the U.S. District for the Southern District of West Virginia. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 6.
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