Death penalty controversy in Arkansas

Top judicial ethics stories of 2018

A 2017 controversy about the death penalty in Arkansas resulted in cross judicial discipline complaints by a circuit court judge and the supreme court justices and other legal proceedings.  In 2018, some of those cases were resolved although some remain pending for resolution in 2019.  A timeline of the events follows.

2017

April 10
Judge Wendell Griffen writes a blog post stating, in part, “[u]sing medications designed for treating illness and preserving life to engage in . . . premeditated and deliberate killing is not morally justifiable,” and referring to a series of executions that the state will carry out “[b]eginning a week from today, and three days after Good Friday—on Monday, April 17.”

April 14 (Good Friday)
~ 2:00 p.m. — Judge Griffen participates in an anti-death penalty rally on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol.
4:22 p.m. — McKesson Medical-Surgical, Inc., a distributor of the drug vecuronium bromide, files a lawsuit and moves for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from using its drug in scheduled executions.
4:37 p.m. — Judge Griffen grants the motion.
~5:30 p.m. — Judge Griffen attends a prayer vigil with his church outside the Governor’s mansion.

April 15
The state attorney general files an emergency petition for a writ of mandamus with the Arkansas Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the TRO and remove Judge Griffen from the vecuronium bromide case.

April 17
In an order, the Court immediately and permanently re-assigns all cases involving the death penalty or the state’s execution protocol, whether civil or criminal, that had been assigned to Judge Griffen and refers Judge Griffen to the Commission on Judicial Discipline & Disability.

April 27
Judge Griffen files a complaint about the 7 justices of the Court with the Commission.

September
Judge Griffen files a federal lawsuit alleging that the Court and the 7 individual justices, by entering the April 17th order, retaliated against him for his exercise of his First Amendment rights, violated the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, denied his procedural due process rights, violated equal protection, and constituted a civil conspiracy.

2018
April 12
The federal district court denies the justices’ motions to dismiss Judge Griffen’s lawsuit, ruling that “the Court cannot state that Plaintiff has failed to state plausible claims for relief.”  It does dismiss his claims against the Court itself as barred by sovereign immunity and held that the judge is “precluded from seeking injunctive relief against the individual Justices in their official capacities pursuant to Section 1983.”

April 13
In discovery, Judge Griffen seeks from the justices all documents and communications regarding him, his conduct in death penalty cases, his religion or race, his public statements about the death penalty, his participation in anti-death penalty rallies, his “fitness or perceived fitness to serve as a judge,” his grant of the TRO, his potential impeachment, the request for his recusal, and the April 2017 order.

April 24
The justices petition the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit for a writ of mandamus to vacate the district court’s order denying their motions to dismiss.

June 8
In a statement of allegations, an investigative panel of the Commission on Judicial Discipline & Disability alleges that Judge Griffen committed misconduct by failing to disqualify himself from the vecuronium bromide case and making comments in opposition to the death penalty on his social and electronic media sites.

July 2
Vacating the district court’s order, the 8th Circuit holds that Judge Griffen’s federal lawsuit fails to state any plausible claims for relief and remands the case to be dismissed.  In re Kemp, 894 F.3d 900 (8th Circuit 2018).

August 20
The Commission denies Judge Griffen’s motion to dismiss the statement of allegations.

August 29
The 8th Circuit denies Judge Griffen’s motion for re-hearing and re-hearing en banc of its decision directing that his lawsuit be dismissed.

September 20
In statements of allegations, an investigative panel of the Commission alleges that 6 of the 7 justices acted arbitrarily and capriciously by entering the April 2017 order.

October 4
The Commission files a statement of allegations against the 7th justice.

October 17
In an expedited petition for a writ of mandamus, prohibition, and/or certiorari, 5 of the justices argue that the Commission has no jurisdiction to issue a complaint against them based on a ruling of law.

November 22
The Commission dismisses the statements of allegations filed against the 7 justices, finding that the April 2017 order was a legal conclusion or application of the law over which the Commission had no jurisdiction in the absence of allegations of fraud, corrupt motive, or bad faith.

November 27
Judge Griffen files a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court from the 8th Circuit decision directing that his lawsuit be dismissed.

December 19
The Arkansas Supreme Court, with special justices appointed by the governor after the justices disqualified themselves, finds that the justices’ petition for a writ is moot based on the Commission’s dismissal of the allegations against them.

2019

February 19
U.S. Supreme Court denies Judge Griffen’s cert petition.

March 22
The hearing on the statement of allegations against Judge Griffen is scheduled to begin.

2018 state judicial discipline sanctions

Top judicial ethics stories of 2018

In 2018, as a result of state disciplinary proceedings:

  • 7 judges (or a former judge in 1 case) were removed from office.
  • 25 judges resigned or retired in lieu of discipline and agreed to never serve again pursuant to public agreements with conduct commissions.
  • 1 judge agreed to resign and was publicly admonished.
  • 11 judges were suspended without pay as a final sanction. 1 suspension was indefinite and included a public censure.  The other suspensions ranged from 6 days to 3 years and included suspensions for 15 days, 30 days, 35 days (plus a public censure), 45 days (plus a public censure), 60 days, 3 months (plus a $1,000 fine), 6 months, and 180 days (to be reduced to 90 days if the judge agreed to conditions such a mentor and monthly reports on pending cases).
  • 84 judges (or former judges in 11 cases) received public censures, reprimands, admonishments, or warnings. There were:
    • 15 public censures (2 former judges were barred from serving in judicial office as well as censured; 1 censure included a $2,000 fine, 1 included an agreement not to run for re-election, and 3 included orders of additional education)
    • 39 public reprimands (1 included a suspension without loss of compensation, 9 included additional conditions)
    • 23 public admonishments (in 6 cases, additional education was also ordered)
    • 7 public warnings (5 also ordered additional education)
  • 3 cease and desist orders.
  • 5 former judges were disbarred or their law licenses were suspended in attorney discipline proceedings for conduct while they were judges.

Approximately 57% of the sanctions were entered pursuant to an agreement.  This count does not include pending recommendations or decisions pending on appeal, and “judge” refers generically to judicial officers, including justices, magistrates, commissioners, and hearing officers.

The counts for 2017 is available in a previous post.

#MeToo and the judiciary

Top judicial ethics stories of 2018

The #MeToo movement to hold accountable people in authority (usually but not always men) for their sexual misconduct in the workplace began in October 2017 in Hollywood and has since spread to many other professions.  That the theme of “Time’s Up” would apply to the judiciary was clear by December 2017, with the publication of allegations about Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.  As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his 2017 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary:  “Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune.”

The timeline for the Kozinski scandal is:

2017

December 8
The Washington Post publishes an article entitled:  “Prominent appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski accused of sexual misconduct.”

December 14
Based on the news reports, the Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit identifies a complaint against Judge Kozinski under the Rules for Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings.

December 15
The Washington Post publishes a second article:  “Nine more women say judge subjected them to inappropriate behavior, including four who say he touched or kissed them.”

Chief Justice Roberts transfers the complaint against Judge Kozinski to the Judicial Council for the 2nd Circuit.

December 19
Judge Kozinski retires.

2018

February 5
Based on Judge Kozinski’s retirement, the 2nd Circuit Judicial Council concludes the complaint against him.

April 17
The U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability forwards a copy of the 2nd Circuit Judicial Council’s order to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee chair and ranking minority member, the Speaker, and the minority leader.

December 10
Kozinski is co-counsel on a brief on behalf of the appellant filed in the 9th Circuit.


* * *
Apparently but not expressly prompted by the Kozinski revelations, in his 2017 year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts announced creation of a working group to examine the federal judiciary’s practices for investigating and correcting sexual harassment in the workplace.  The federal courts have assiduously kept the public informed of their progress:

March 13
The federal working group describes nearly 20 reforms and improvements that have been implemented or are under development.

May 1
Based on the work of its own committee, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit adopts a “Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity, Discrimination, Harassment, and Employment Dispute Resolution.”

May 21
Based on the work of its own committee, the 9th Circuit Judicial Council adopts revised policies and procedures regarding workplace environment for all employees, including law clerks.

June 4
The federal working group issues a report with findings and recommendations to improve workplace conduct policies and procedures.

September 13
The U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct and Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability publish for public comment proposed amendments to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges and to the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.  The Judicial Conference also approves changes to the judiciary’s model employment dispute resolution plan to cover interns and externs and to extend the time for initiating complaints from 30 to 180 days.

October 30
The committees hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to the code and the rules.

November 28
The D.C. Circuit adopts policies and procedures to improve the handling of and response to workplace misconduct issues.

December 4
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts appoints the first judicial integrity officer for the federal judiciary.

December 31
In his 2018 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, Chief Justice Roberts provides an up-date on the working group’s efforts, endorses its recommendations, and explains that the proposals will be fine-tuned before the next meeting of the Judicial Conference in March 2019.

2019
March 12
The U.S. Judicial Conference approves “a package of workplace conduct-related amendments,” including amendments to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees, and the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act Rules.

* * *
With respect to state courts, on January 31, 2018, the Conference of Chief Justices adopted a resolution encouraging “the judicial branch of each state, territory, and the District of Columbia to establish and maintain policies:  (1) to provide every judge and employee with training that addresses the various forms of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, and related intimidation and reprisal that are prohibited by law; and (2) to establish procedures for recognizing and responding to harassment and harassment complaints.” Most states already had sexual discrimination and harassment policies, but some have recently adopted new or revised procedures or announced committees to make recommendations for up-dates.  So far:

  • The Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court announced the creation of a working group to examine what changes are needed in the court system’s anti-sexual harassment policy and procedures.
  • The Arizona Supreme Court adopted a new section on discrimination and harassment to the Code of Judicial Administration.
  • The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court created an 8-member working “group to study and make recommendations for how the judicial branch can prevent and address harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate workplace conduct.”
  • The Florida Supreme Court adopted “Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures for Sexual Harassment Complaints against Justices and Judges,” replacing a policy adopted in 2004.
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court adopted a “Revised Judiciary Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Anti-Discrimination.”

In October, the National Center for State Courts created a “repository for resources to assist the state courts in developing or updating training, policies, and procedures” regarding workplace harassment.

* * *
It is too early to tell whether the #MeToo movement will result in more judges being publicly disciplined for sexual harassment; even if there has been an increase in complaints about such conduct to conduct commissions since October 2017, many of those matters would still be in the confidential investigation phase, particularly if the allegations are extensive and disputed.

There were several resignations in 2018 that terminated investigations of workplace misconduct.

  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s resignation and agreement not to serve in judicial office, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications concluded its investigation of allegations that a magistrate had inappropriate relationships with court employees and attorneys during court hours and on court property. In the Matter of Shoulders, Stipulation and agreement for resolution of investigation (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications May 2, 2018).
  • According to the Omaha World-Herald, in February, a Nebraska Supreme Court justice resigned following a complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission; reportedly, the allegations were “in line with the national #MeToo movement,” and attorneys and former colleagues, including 2 women, told the newspaper that his judicial career “has been pocked with sexual comments to women.”
  • According to the Washington Post, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities told a former court administrative aide in January that it had decided to file charges based on her complaint that a trial judge had created a sexually charged work environment, but, in May, the Commission notified her that the charges were being “held in abeyance” in light of the judge’s announcement that he was retiring effective June 1.
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement to be disqualified from judicial service in the state, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct agreed not to pursue further disciplinary proceedings against a judge it had begun investigating after receiving a letter from the judge’s attorney about events described in an article in D Magazine entitled “Ardor in the Court” about the judge’s alleged affair with an attorney who was serving as counsel for one of the parties in a high value probate matters over which the judge was presiding. Peyton, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 26, 2018).

There were several judges publicly sanctioned for sexual misconduct in the workplace in 2018.

  • The Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications ordered a former judge to cease and desist from verbal and/or physical conduct that is offensive and demeaning to female court reporters and judges and to continue his retirement without seeking election or accepting appointment to any judicial office. Inquiry Concerning Yeoman, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications February 7, 2018).
  • Accepting the parties’ stipulation of facts, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court indefinitely suspended a judge without pay and publicly censured him for his sexual relationship with a member of the drug court team; the Court also ordered that a copy of its order be delivered to the governor and the legislature. In re Estes, Order (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court May 24, 2018).  The judge resigned after the decision.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for hiring a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship and making inappropriate comments to her during office hours, in addition to other misconduct. Public Reprimand of Jasso and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 18, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for engaging in an intimate relationship with the city’s prosecutor. Public Reprimand of Berry and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 21, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for inappropriately touching another judge and 2 court clerks at a social function and sending the other judge an offensive text message, in addition to other misconduct. Public Reprimand of Williams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 14, 2018).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission publicly admonished a judge for responding “nine inches” after a female court clerk stated, “I have a question for you” to him after a court session. In re Kathren, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 7, 2018).

See also In re Complaint No. 05-18-90083, Memorandum (Judicial Council for the 5th Circuit November 9, 2018) () (finding that appropriate corrective action had been taken and concluding a proceeding against an unnamed magistrate judge for inappropriately pursuing social relationships with an attorney who practices before him and with a court employee).

Those cases do not necessary reflect an increase in discipline attributable to the #MeToo movement, however, because there are several such cases every year and, given the timing, most were likely initiated prior to October 2017.  See, e.g., “Sexual harassment:  Top judicial ethics and discipline stories of 2017,” Judicial Conduct Reporter (winter 2018).

There are currently several pending public judicial discipline proceedings with sexual misconduct allegations.

  • Based on a complaint by the Judicial Conduct Board, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline has found that a judge committed misconduct by viewing images of naked and partially naked women while in his office, in addition to other misconduct. A hearing on sanctions will be scheduled.
  • Following a hearing, the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct has recommended that a court of appeals judge be indefinitely suspended for a pattern of inappropriate sexual comments and conduct with at least 2 members of his judicial staff in the workplace and outside of work, in addition to other misconduct.
  • In a notice of formal proceedings, the California Commission on Judicial Performance has alleged that a judge, in addition to other misconduct, engaged in a pattern of conduct towards a deputy public defender that was unwelcome, undignified, discourteous, and offensive and that would reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, and made unwelcome, undignified, discourteous, and offensive comments, some of which would reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, to and about other female attorneys who appeared before him and to and about other women who appeared or worked in his courtroom, including a court reporter and litigants.
  • In a notice of formal proceedings, the California Commission on Judicial Performance has alleged that a justice, in addition to other misconduct, engaged in a pattern of conduct that was unwelcome, undignified, discourteous, and offensive, and that would reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment or as bias or prejudice based on gender towards another justice on the court, California Highway Patrol officers assigned to the judicial protection section, court attorneys and other court personnel while on the California Court of Appeal and toward female court employees while a magistrate judge at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California between 1999 and 2009.

 

Indictments and impeachments in West Virginia

Top judicial ethics stories of 2018

Of the 5 justices who were on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in late 2017, only 2 were still on the Court in late 2018:

  • 1 justice resigned in June 2018 and subsequently pled guilty to a federal criminal charge.
  • 1 resigned in August after being impeached by the House of Delegates.
  • 1 resigned in November; there were pending judicial discipline charges against him, he had been impeached, and he had been convicted of federal criminal charges.

Of the 2 remaining:

  • 1 was impeached in August but was acquitted after a trial in October although the senate reprimanded and censured her.
  • 1 was impeached in August, but, in October, the Court, with 5 acting justices sitting, prohibited the senate from proceeding with the prosecution.

Following is a timeline of the events in West Virginia:

2017

January
The justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals elect Justice Allen Loughry as Chief Justice.

April
The justices change the rule to increase the term for chief justice from 1 year to 4 years and elect Justice Loughry to a full 4-year term.

November 14
WCHS-TV begins a series of reports on spending by the Court, particularly hundreds of thousands of dollars for renovating the justices’ chambers in 2013.  Other media reports follow.

November 20
Chief Justice Loughry meets with federal law enforcement representatives to report his concerns about spending by the other justices and the former administrative director of the Court.  The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office begin investigating possible misuse of funds by the justices.

December
Federal investigators serve a subpoena on the Court.

2018

February 16
The other justices vote to remove Justice Loughry as chief justice after learning he did not tell them about the federal subpoena.  Justice Margaret Workman is chosen as chief justice.

June 6
The Judicial Investigation Commission files a formal statement of charges against Justice Loughry.  The charges allege that the justice:

  • Used a state vehicle on 148 days for personal uses, including book signings for his 2006 book on public corruption in West Virginia, entitled Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay for a Landslide;
  • Made false statements about his involvement in the renovation of his office in testimony before the House of Delegates Committee on Finance while under oath, in 2 media interviews, and in an op-ed piece;
  • Kept a federal subpoena secret from the other justices;
  • Had a valuable antique desk moved from his court office to his home by a moving service paid for by the Court and, after reporters began asking questions, returned the desk, using court employees and a court van;
  • Had a couch moved from his court office to his home;
  • Had new court computers installed in his home for personal use by himself, his wife, and his son; and
  • Told the public information officer for publication that the Court had a long-standing practice of allowing a justice to furnish a home office with court-provided equipment and furniture when, in fact, there was no policy beyond providing computer equipment.

The Court suspends Justice Loughry without pay pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

June 20
Justice Loughry is indicted on 22 federal charges:  18 counts of wire or mail fraud, 1 count of witness tampering, and 3 counts of lying to federal investigators.  The fraud counts allege that he claimed mileage for trips on which he drove a court vehicle and used a government credit card for gasoline; received reimbursement from the Pound Institute for his travel expenses to an event in Baltimore, despite having used a state-owned vehicle and a state government credit card; used government vehicles and government credit cards for personal use; lied to other justices about his vehicle usage; and unlawfully converted to his own personal use a valuable desk that belonged to the Court.

June 26
Pursuant to the governor’s proclamation, the legislature holds a special session “to consider matters relating to the removal of one or more Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals” and passes a resolution authorizing the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate impeachable offenses.

July 2
The Judicial Hearing Board stays the disciplinary proceedings against Justice Loughry pending the federal criminal proceedings.

July 11
Justice Menis Ketchum resigns.

July 12
The House Judiciary Committee begins hearings on whether to impeach the remaining 4 justices.

August 7
The House Judiciary Committee recommends 14 articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Workman, Justice Loughry, Justice Robin Davis, and Justice Elizabeth Walker.

August 13
The House of Delegates adopts 11 articles of impeachment.  Justice Loughry is named in 7 of the articles, Chief Justice Workman in 4, Justice Davis in 4, and Justice Walker in 1.

The articles charge that:

  • All 4 justices “waste[d] state funds with little or no concern for the costs to be borne by the tax payers for unnecessary and lavish spending for various purposes;” failed to prepare and adopt sufficient and effective travel policies; failed to “report taxable fringe benefits, such as car use and regular lunches, on Federal W-2s;” failed to “provide proper supervision, control, and auditing of the use of state purchasing cards leading to multiple violations of state statutes and policies regulating the proper use of such cards;” failed to “prepare and adopt sufficient and effective home office policies;” and failed to “provide effective supervision and control over record keeping with respect to the use of state automobiles,” inventories of state property owned by the courts, and purchasing procedures.
  • Justice Loughry spent approximately $363,000 in the renovation of his personal office, including a $31,924 couch and a $33,750 floor with a medallion; “cause[d] a certain desk, of a type colloquially known as a ‘Cass Gilbert’ desk, to be transported from the State Capitol to his home . . . ;” “intentionally acquire[d] and use[d] state government vehicles for personal use;” “intentionally acquire[d] and use[d] state government computer equipment and hardware for predominately personal use;” and “made statements while under oath before the West Virginia House of Delegates Finance Committee, with deliberate intent to deceive, regarding renovations and purchases for his office . . . .”
  • Justice Davis spent approximately $500,000 in the renovation of her personal office, including a rug that cost approximately $20,500, a desk chair that cost approximately $8,000, and over $23,000 in design services.
  • Justice Workman, Justice Davis, and Justice Loughry when they were chief justice signed and approved contracts, forms, and/or administrative orders that provided for the payment of senior status judges over the maximum salary for senior status judges set by statute.

August 13
Justice Davis resigns.

August 23
Former justice Ketchum pleads guilty in federal court to 1 felony count of wire fraud, admitting to repeated personal use of a state vehicle and fuel credit card for travel to and from his home and a private golf club in western Virginia.

September 11
At a pre-trial conference for the Senate impeachment trial, Chief Justice Workman, Justice Walker, and the House members serving as prosecutors submit a proposed agreement that would have provided for the dismissal of the articles of impeachment, but the Senate votes to reject the settlement.

September 21
Chief Justice Workman files a petition for a writ of prohibition asking that the Court stay and halt the impeachment proceedings “because they are premised on unconstitutional articles.”

October 1
Following a 2-day impeachment trial, the Senate votes 32-1 to acquit Justice Walker but does reprimand and censure her.

October 11
The Court, with 5 acting justices sitting by temporary assignment, prohibits the state senate from prosecuting impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Workman, finding that the articles of impeachment violated the separation of powers clause and that her due process rights had been violated.  The Court directs that the mandate be issued immediately.

October 12
A jury convicts Justice Loughry on 11 federal charges:  7 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of making false statements to federal investigators, and 1 count each of witness tampering and mail fraud.  The jury acquits him of 9 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of mail fraud and deadlocks on 1 count of wire fraud.

October 22
The Judicial Investigation Commission files an amended formal statement of charges to add a count regarding Justice Loughry’s conviction of a crime and moves to lift the stay and expedite the proceedings.

November 9
In a proclamation, the governor convenes the legislature for a special session on November 13 “to consider matters relating to the removal of Allen Loughry, Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, including, but not limited to, censure, impeachment, trial, conviction, and disqualification.”

November 10
Justice Loughry resigns.

2019

January 8
The House of Delegates files with the U.S. Supreme Court a petition for a writ of certiorari arguing that the decision prohibiting the impeachment of Chief Justice Workman “violates the guarantee clause of the United States Constitution by eviscerating the state’s republican form of government.”

January 11
Loughry’s motion for a new trial on wire fraud and mail fraud charges is denied; his conviction on 1 count of witness tampering is vacated.

February 8
Loughry’s second motion for a new trial, based on social media activity by 1 juror, is denied.

February 13
Loughry is sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1,273 to the state and the Pound Civil Justice Institute.

February 21
In an agreement to dispose of the statement of charges, Loughry agrees to be disbarred, to never serve in public office in the state again, and to pay costs and disciplinary counsel agrees to recommend that he be publicly censured/reprimanded and fined $3,000.

March 6
Former justice Ketchum is sentenced to 3 years of probation, fined $20,000, and ordered to pay restitution to the state.

March 11
The West Virginia Senate files a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court raising the issues:  “1) Whether Guarantee Clause claims are judicially cognizable?” and “2) Whether a state judiciary’s intrusion into the impeachment process represents so grave a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers as to undermine the essential components of a republican form of government?”