Procedure: Impeachment trials must be fair, impartial

State senators will tomorrow decide the rules for the process under which West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker will be tried, based on the articles of impeachment approved by the House of Delegates last week.

Former Justices Menis Ketchum and Robin Davis have already stepped down — sparing them the trial process, but also giving voters a chance to choose their successors.

Those concerned about political games, or worried the majority party in the state Senate does not intend to be fair in those proceedings should take note of state Senate President Mitch Carmichael’s description of what should be contained in the rules.

“Also contained within those rules will be dates and times, particularly time periods, that allow those that have been impeached to request evidence that will be presented against them at the trial, as well as an opportunity to respond from the House managers of the impeachment process to provide that evidence,” said Carmichael, R-Jackson.

Further, Carmichael took pains to note the procedures and amount of time given are an effort to give the justices “an opportunity to prepare their cases. He expects a mid-September start date, at the earliest. The rules do not limit the amount of time given for justices to defend themselves, either.

With the eyes of everyone in West Virginia upon them, members of the state Senate will no doubt bend over backward to ensure they are conducting the impeachment trials as fairly as possible. Given the state of our judiciary branch, they cannot afford to do otherwise.