by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON – Former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Menis Ketchum of Huntington entered a guilty plea to mail fraud today in federal court.
“Justice Ketchum did the right thing for doing the wrong thing,” said Southern District United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “There is no such thing as a small felony. There is no such thing as a little bit of public corruption. I want to praise the exemplary work of the FBI, the West Virginia Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, and prosecutors Anna Forbes and Phil Wright.”
Ketchum served as a supreme court Justice from January 1, 2008 through July 27, 2018. During that time, he admitted to repeated personal use of a State of West Virginia vehicle and State fuel credit card over the course of 2011 through 2014 in connection with his travel from his home in Huntington to and from a private golf club in western Virginia. The roundtrip mileage for each of these golf outings was approximately 400 miles and cost the taxpayers of West Virginia approximately $220 per trip.
Ketchum faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 6.
United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the plea hearing.
Ketchum’s plea and resignation from the supreme court are among a series of developments since the court was investigated. Another justice, Allen Loughry, has been indicted on 25 counts and appeared today before Judge Copenhaver as well. Three others justices – Chief Margaret Workman, Robin Davis and Beth Walker – have been impeached by the state house of delegates and await trial in the state senate.