“As we stated in our June 8th letter to the Governor, President Carmichael and Speaker Armstead, our citizens deserve to be protected against corruption- and the Legislature must stand strong against Justice Loughry’s abuse of power,” Senator Prezioso said.
“The announcement today of the federal indictment of Supreme Court Justice Loughry is not surprising,” Delegate Miley stated. “The Governor and Republican leadership must take immediate action- and I am hoping that perhaps today’s news will prompt them to finally initiate an impeachment proceeding,” he added. “Continued delay reflects tacit indifference to his behavior.”
“There are some things included in the indictment, as well as in the Judicial Investigation Commission report, that are not in dispute- like the fact that Justice Loughry took state furniture home and used a state car for personal trips,” Miley stated. “Any other state employee would have been charged with larceny,” he commented. “Impeachment proceedings are designed to remove an elected official from public office if he/she has engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of the office,” Miley continued. “What more do Republican leaders need to know for them to decide that Justice Loughry has undermined the integrity of the judiciary?”
“As U.S. Attorney Stuart stated, the state Supreme Court stands in judgement of all West Virginians, and those justices’ conduct must be above reproach,” Senator Prezioso stated. “This saga has gone on long enough, and the Governor must call a special session to help restore the trust of all West Virginians in the justice system by allowing the impeachment process to begin so that the people can elect a new Supreme Court Justice in November,” Prezioso added. “Time is of the essence.”
Democratic Legislators from around the state voiced support for immediate action by the Legislature.
“Democrats in the Legislature have for many months spoken about the overwhelming evidence of Justice Loughery’s corruption, and have demanded an impeachment hearing because it will allow our state to begin to put the torrid affair behind us,” Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) stated. “This politically inspired procrastination has only prolonged the long shadow of corruption,” Delegate Pushkin continued. “We need to act now to begin to restore normalcy and confidence in the state judiciary.” Delegate Pushkin introduced legislation during the 2018 Legislative Session to begin impeachment proceedings and repeatedly tried to bring the issue to the attention of legislative leadership.
“It is beyond time for the House to impeach Justice Loughry,” Senator Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) said. “I called for actions months ago and this Republican leadership just stalled and ignored it in order to protect one of their own. The Governor and House must act now,” he urged.
“Things that happen in the dark will always find a way to shine,” Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio) stated. “Democratic legislators tried to shine light on this months ago,” he continued, “but Speaker Armstead and President Carmichael laughed it off as business as usual.” Delegate Fluharty stressed that it was time for them to finally act and begin impeachment proceedings. “Our state deserves transparency and the truth, not continued weak leadership.”
“This situation is not like a normal criminal investigation, which takes months if not years to resolve,” Delegate Jason Barrett (D-Berkeley) said. “The Legislature cannot wait on the slow wheels of the federal judicial system to do our jobs for us. The impeachment process is not to pursue criminal charges and we do not need a guilty conviction to act,” Barrett stated. “We need to act now- the people of West Virginia deserve a quick resolution and a corruption-free Supreme Court,” he added.
“Although the evidence is overwhelming, the impeachment process is an opportunity for him to defend himself, and to shine light on his actions and provide accountability,” Delegate Sean Hornbuckle stated. “I look forward to the opportunity to investigate his actions in a public forum, do our constitutional duty and provide good government to the people of West Virginia,” Hornbuckle said.
“I hope the Governor is in town today and at work- as we are presented with a serious situation that requires immediate action,” Delegate Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton) stated. “If the Governor does not act immediately to call the Legislature in session, I am prepared to circulate a petition to call the Legislature into session- and I’m sure many of my colleagues will be eager to sign on,” Sponaugle said.