Senate impeachment trials to begin mid-September

CHARLESTON — State Senate President Mitch Carmichael plans to call members of the Senate back to Charleston on Monday to adopt the rules that will be followed during impeachment trials involving three state Supreme Court justices.

The House of Delegates named Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Beth Walker, suspended Justice Allen Loughry and now retired Justice Robin Davis in a total of 11 Articles of Impeachment following votes Monday and early Tuesday. Davis will avoid a trial in the Senate after handing in her retirement to Gov. Jim Justice Monday night. She announced it Tuesday morning.

During an appearance Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline,” Carmichael said the proposed rules to be followed will call for handling each Article of Impeachment separately and each justice one by one.

“Each individual is handled separately,” Carmichael said. “There will not be a consolidation of those articles of impeachment. Each one will be handled separately, which I believe is the proper way to handle it.”

Of the justices still remaining on the court, suspended Justice Loughry faces seven Articles of Impeachment, three for Chief Justice Workman and one for Justice Walker related to money spent on office renovations, management of the court’s finances and taking state property for personal use.

The proposed Senate trial rules scheduled to be discussed next week will include timelines associated with gathering of evidence, notification of service of process and other things, which will impact when the trials can begin, Carmichael said.

“I don’t see any way to properly do this — beginning the trials and so forth until mid-September, probably,” Carmichael said.

The Senate will provide live audio and video streaming of the trials. Carmichael said everyone will know exactly the process that is occurring.

“I think it’s very, very important to know there are no caucus positions on this, no backroom deals on this. This is absolutely a public process,” he said.

Carmichael said Monday’s Senate floor session would begin at noon.

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