W.Va. Supreme Court justice submits letter of retirement and resignation

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he has received a letter of retirement and resignation from Supreme Court Justice Menis E. Ketchum.

The governor's office says the letter indicates Ketchum will retire and resign from the court effective Friday, July 27.

"I have directed my general counsel to provide the necessary documentation to the Judicial Vacancy Commission and other state agencies as may be appropriate to fill this vacancy created by Justice Ketchum’s resignation,” Gov. Justice stated in a press release Wednesday.

Justice said he sent a letter in return to Justice Ketchum, acknowledging his resignation and retirement. The governor also thanked the justice on behalf of the people of West Virginia for his public service.

Ketchum is stepping down at a time that the state Supreme Court is under intense scrutiny.

In June, lawmakers unanimously passed House Resolution 201, which means the House Judiciary Committee will investigate impeachable offenses against the justices.

This comes after West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry II was indicted on 22 federal charges. The indictment includes mail fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, and making false statements to a federal agent.

According to our media partner, WV MetroNews, Ketchum, particularly, was caught up in an investigation of the use of state vehicles by justices for personal gain. A legislative audit revealed that Ketchum should have indicated his use of the vehicles on his personal income tax returns but did not.

Ketchum was elected in 2008 to a full 12-year term on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. According to the state's website, Ketchum served as chief justice in 2012 and 2016.