Loughry should resign position immediately or face legislative impeachment proceedings

Instructions and arguments in a courtroom frequently reference beyond a reasonable doubt.

That is the standard of evidence called for to validate a conviction. What we have in the alleged violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct against Justice Allen Loughry meets that standard of proof and then some.

On Friday, we called on a judicial panel subbing for the state Supreme Court’s justices — to hear the case against Loughry — to immediately suspend him without pay.

An order from that court did so that afternoon and since then legislative leaders, the governor and others have called on Loughry to resign.

We are joining that chorus that he resign his position and today would not be too soon.

Should Loughry refuse these calls for his resignation a special session of the Legislature should be convened this week to impeach him.

Briefly, the charges against Loughry cite numerous lies to media outlets and a legislative committee stemming from a $363,000 office renovation.

Furthermore, the Judicial Investigation Commission’s charges cite alleged misuse of government vehicles and using his public office for private gain.

According to the charging documents, Loughry was directly involved with redesigning and furnishing his office. Evidence ranging from rough drawings to detailed notes contradict Loughry’s assertion that he was not.

A legislative auditor’s Post Audit Division report cites in great detail the justice’s misuse of state vehicles, including to attend signings of his own book on political corruption.

Few are aware of the content of two federal subpoenas that were also served on Loughry and the high court in December and February.

However, that would seem to pose even greater problems in the future for Loughry and the court.

Some will argue that Loughry should do what’s in the best interest of the state, his family or his colleagues on the high court’s bench.

Instead, we would argue that a case such as this casts a shadow over the entire judiciary of our state.

In this age of hyper-partisanship in the executive and legislative branches of government we look to the judiciary to be above the fray.

We purposely place the judiciary on a pedestal as the purveyors of the rule of law and not the rule of politics.

So, if we surrender our faith in the judicial system and process, there is no truth or even the perception of it.

Whether Loughry’s resignation will restore that faith — that trust — in the state’s courts is hard to say.

Other shoes can almost be expected to drop shortly regarding the high court and this justice.

Yet, this would be a big step in the right direction without a doubt.

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