Justice Walker's legal team releases statement before House considers impeachment articles
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
The legal team for West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker released a statement Thursday, saying that the justice has always been fair and hopes the House of Delegates will be fair when it considers proposed impeachment articles against her.
“Since joining the court in 2017, Beth has been nothing but fair to everyone who has come before her,” a statement from attorneys J. Zak Ritchie and Ryan McCune Donovan said. “The House of Delegates has an important job to do, and we trust that they will be equally fair to Beth in reviewing all the facts before moving forward on any articles against her.”
The House of Delegates meets in special session starting 10 a.m. Monday to consider possible impeachment articles against the four remaining justices on the court.
Walker faces proposed articles of impeachment after the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to recommend 14 articles of impeachment against the four remaining justices on the court, with two articles for Walker; eight articles for Justice Allen Loughry; four articles for Justice Margaret Workman; and four articles for Justice Robin Davis.
Article 2 accuses Walker, Loughry, Workman and Davis of failing to properly carry out the administrative duties of the court. Committee members said the justices were guilty of not mandating policies to control spending on renovations, vehicle use, lunches, home use of computers, travel costs and other expenditures. Counsel said there were no policies to check or audit.
Article 8 accuses Walker of wasteful spending on office renovations. Walker’s chambers were renovated at a cost of $131,000. The work included cabinets, other office furnishings and wallpaper. Those chambers have been extensively renovated just seven years earlier.
Former justice Menis Ketchum was not included in the House Judiciary Committee’s review of evidence since he retired and resigned from office effective at the end of the business day July 27. Federal prosecutors said he has agreed to plead guilty in an information to one count of wire fraud.
Walker was elected to the Supreme Court on May 10, 2016, becoming the first justice to be elected in a non-partisan race, according to the Supreme Court’s website. She took office Jan. 1, 2017.
Raised in Huron, Ohio, she is a graduate of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. Walker received her law degree from Ohio State University.
Walker was hired by the law firm of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love (now Bowles Rice), where she worked 22 years, after she graduated from law school. She also served as associate general counsel for the West Virginia United Health System from 2012 until she resigned in 2016 to take office.