by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON — Another shoe has dropped.
The long-running investigation into the state Supreme Court of Appeals may have claimed another victim today — or veteran Justice Menis Ketchum may have simply decided to retire.
An announcement from Governor Jim Justice favors the latter explanation, although weeks of rumors had persistently said Ketchum was in negotiations with federal prosecutors to work out some sort of deal regarding what auditors say was a misuse of state vehicles.
Justice said today that Ketchum had sent him a letter indicating that he would be retiring and resigning from the court, effective July 27. Earlier capitol rumors had claimed that Ketchum “cleaned out his office” nearly a month ago.
The ongoing investigation into the court has resulted in a 22-count indictment of Justice Allen Loughry and action by the state legislature to consider impeaching all the justices. Financial improprieties and expenditures are at the heart of the accusations.
“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 said
Gov. Justice also sent a letter to Justice Ketchum acknowledging his resignation and retirement and thanked him, on behalf of the people of West Virginia, for his public service during his tenure on the State Supreme Court.