W.Va. Supreme Court announces chief justices for 2023, 2024
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has announced the justices who will lead the court in 2023 and 2024.
Justice Beth Walker will take over as chief justice of the Supreme Court beginning in the new year. Justice Tim Armstead will serve as chief justice in 2024.
John Hutchison, who joined the court in 2018 and served as chief justice this year, will continue to serve as a justice on the court after he vacates his seat as chief. His term ends on Dec. 31, 2024.
Walker, who was elected to the Supreme Court in 2016 and began her 12-year term in January of 2017, also served as chief justice in 2019. In 2018, Walker was on the court when West Virginia lawmakers completed the extraordinary move of impeaching all four state Supreme Court justices for spending issues, including a suspended justice facing a 23-count federal indictment.
The article of impeachment stated the justices abused their authority and failed to control office expenses, including more than $1 million in renovations to their individual offices. It also said they failed to maintain policies over matters such as working lunches and the use of state vehicles and office computers at home.
Walker was accused of spending $131,000 on office renovations. However, she was ultimately acquitted of the impeachment charge in a trial before the state Senate in which she apologized for her role in the scandal.
“I regret so much the mistakes I made, and I’m sorry,” she said during the trial. “I need to apologize to the taxpayers ... I have learned from my mistakes to be sure. I think we can restore public trust in the judiciary.”
Walker was “reprimanded and censured,” but allowed to remain on the court.
Walker said in a statement this week that during her first tenure as chief justice, the court “focused on rebuilding public confidence in the judiciary.”
“Our commitment to transparency and accountability has not wavered, and next year we will develop a strategic plan to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of our court system,” she said.
Armstead will serve as acting chief justice in 2023 when Walker is unable to participate in a case.