UPDATE: Justice Robin Davis resigns, voters to elect second justice to supreme court
CHARLESTON – Robin Jean Davis, a 22-year member of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, is now the second justice to resign from the troubled court.
“As I’ve always placed my faith in the people of West Virginia, I return that faith to the people of West Virginia,” Davis said. “Effective yesterday, August 13th, I retired as a justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.”
Davis, who was first elected to the court in 1996, announced her resignation to a packed supreme court chamber Tuesday morning.
Davis’ resignation paves the way for a temporary appointment by Gov. Jim Justice. It also comes in under an August 14 deadline or any supreme court resignation to trigger a special election on the November ballot.
“Now, the citizens – and let me repeat that – the citizens of West Virginia, will be afforded their constitutional right to elect my successor in November,” Davis said.
The West Virginia House of Delegates adopted 11 articles of impeachment Monday after nine days of investigations by the House Judiciary Committee. Every sitting justice was impeached, including justices Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman, and Beth Walker. In her statement, Davis piled on criticism of the House of Delegates and their impeachment process.
“The majority have ignored the will of the people who elected the justices of this court,” Davis said. “They have erased the lines of separation between the branches of government. In fact, the majority in the legislature is positioning to impose their own party preferences.”
Davis was named in three articles for overpayment of senior status judges in violation of state law, spending $500,000 on renovations and furnishings for her office, and for adopting no policies and procedures regarding purchasing, travel, or spending.
“Most majority members of the judiciary committee have skipped from one subject to another, intentionally and without the due process of law,” Davis said. “The majority party has established a preconception which they bring forth without to regard to the evidence or the process by which that evidence should be considered.”
“The will of the people of West Virginia is being denied,” Davis continued. “I just cannot allow the finalizing of this product to come to fruition.”
Davis is the second judge to resign in less than 20 days. Former Justice Menis Ketchum resigned July 27. Shortly afterward the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia announced that Ketchum had agreed to plead guilty in an information to one count of felony wire fraud. Ketchum is accused of using state vehicles and fuel cards for out-of-state personal golf outings. Ketchum’s plea hearing is August 23, and is cooperating with investigators as they look further at the supreme court.
Justice Allen Loughry is also sidelined, having been suspended without pay pending the outcome of a federal court case. Loughry was charged in a 23-count federal indictment, including charges of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal investigators.
Last week, Workman appointed Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell to fill in for Loughry. Davis’ resignation will require another temporary justice to be appointed. Gov. Justice will also have an opportunity to pick a replacement to sit until the November special election.
Whoever wins to fill her seat will serve until 2026, when her term ends. A proclamation from the governor calling the special election was expected Tuesday. Candidates wishing to run for her seat have until Aug. 21 to file with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
“I thank my fellow West Virginians for the extraordinary opportunity to have served you,” Davis said. “I encourage each of you to watch this legislative process very carefully and to vote in November.”
See full story in Wednesday’s News and Sentinel.
CHARLESTON — State Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis, impeached on Monday by the West Virginia House of Delegates, this morning resigned her position, expressing “dismay for how the rule of law is being dismantled” in the state.
This story is developing.