West Virginia lawmakers vote to impeach multiple justices on state's highest court

West Virginia lawmakers vote to impeach multiple justices on state's highest court
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West Virginia lawmakers on Monday voted to impeach three of the four sitting justices on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals over corruption and misuse of state funds.

The Associated Press reported that the House of Delegates on Monday afternoon voted 64-33 to impeach Justice Allen Loughry, followed a couple hours later by a 56-41 vote to impeach Justice Robin Davis. 

Lawmakers also voted around 6:30 p.m. to impeach Chief Justice Margaret Workman, the AP reported.

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Each of the justices will face a trial in the Senate to determine whether they will lose their seats on the bench as part of a widening corruption scandal that has engulfed the state's highest court.

NPR reported that the state has a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday to trigger a special election for court vacancies. If they are convicted after that deadline, Gov. Jim Justice (R) would have the opportunity to appoint their replacements.

Justice Beth Walker is the only judge to avoid impeachment as of Monday evening.

The AP reported that lawmakers cleared Walker of the most serious charge of spending $131,000 on renovations after taking office last year. However, she is still named in another article of impeachment that alleges she and the other three judges failed to control expenses.

The court's fifth justice, Menis Ketchum, resigned last month and pleaded guilty to one count of federal wire fraud last week.

The Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates last week approved 14 articles of impeachment against all four sitting justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The charges against the sitting justices include "unnecessary and lavish" spending of taxpayer dollars, maladministration, corruption and neglect of duty. The charges allege the justices used millions in state funds to renovate their offices.

—Updated at 11:12 p.m.