CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Applications are being accepted to fill a vacancy on the West Virginia Supreme Court after the resignation of a justice who was convicted on felony charges.
The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission will accept applications through a Dec. 3 deadline, Gov. Jim Justice’s office said Tuesday in a news release. Interviews will be held on Dec. 11.
The commission will make recommendations to Justice, who will appoint Allen Loughry’s successor to serve until a May 2020 special election. A candidate will be elected in that race to serve the remainder of Loughry’s unexpired term through 2024.
Loughry resigned earlier this month. He was suspended from his seat earlier this year over allegations that he repeatedly lied and used his public office for personal gain.
He still faces sentencing in federal court for his conviction last month on 11 criminal charges, including mail and wire fraud involving his personal use of state cars and fuel cards.
In a response to Loughry’s second motion for a new trial, attorneys for the federal government called Loughry “vindictive and vengeful.”
Two prosecutors said in a response filed Friday that a judge should deny Loughry’s motion, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported .
Loughry filed a motion Nov. 6. for a new trial and asked to be acquitted of nine of the federal charges.
Loughry’s attorney said the court’s lack of travel policies meant Loughry wasn’t violating the law. Loughry filed an earlier motion for a new trial. That motion is under seal.
Loughry is the third justice to leave the five-member court in recent months. Justice Menis Ketchum announced his resignation before House of Delegates’ impeachment hearings. Robin Davis retired after the House approved impeachment charges against her.
Justice Margaret Workman, Davis, Loughry and Justice Beth Walker were impeached in August over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Some of the justices were accused of abusing their authority by failing to rein in excessive spending.
Walker was cleared of an impeachment charge at her Senate trial last month.
Two Republicans who were appointed as Supreme Court justices after the scandal broke, former House speaker Tim Armstead and ex-Congressman Evan Jenkins, won election to continue on the bench. Armstead will complete the term of Ketchum through 2020. Jenkins will serve through 2024, when Davis’ term ends.
Judicial elections in West Virginia became nonpartisan in 2016, but the court’s impeachment scandal stirred political attacks. Some Democrats argued the court’s shake-up was a power grab by the Republican-led legislature.
Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), http://www.newsandsentinel.com
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