Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register


SharePrint Allen Loughry


Supreme Court Justice Allen Hayes Loughry II, who wrote a book on West Virginia political corruption, became the first justice of the high court to be convicted of ethics crimes. Born August 9, 1970, in Elkins, Loughry grew up in Tucker County. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and law degrees from Capital University School of Law in Ohio, American University’s Washington College of Law, and the University of London. He also studied at the University of Oxford in England.

During the 1990s, Loughry worked as special assistant to Congressman Harley O. Staggers Jr. and aide to Governor Gaston Caperton. From 1997 to 2003, he worked as a senior assistant attorney general in the West Virginia attorney general’s office. In 2003, he began working for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals as a law clerk. He is the author of a book about West Virginia political corruption, Don’t Buy Another Vote, I Won’t Pay for a Landslide, published in 2006. U.S. senators John McCain and Robert C. Byrd wrote forewords to the book. Loughry taught political science at the University of Charleston beginning in 2010.

Loughry, a Republican, was elected to a 12-year term on the West Virginia Supreme Court on November 6, 2012, in a campaign noted for its effective use of West Virginia’s public financing program. He took office on January 1, 2013, filling the seat of Justice Thomas McHugh, who retired. In January 2017 Loughry was elected as chief justice by his colleagues on the Court, and in April they extended his term to four years. Previously, chief justices had been elected to one-year terms, and Loughry was the first chief justice to undertake a four-year term since 1888. In February 2018, following controversies arising from Supreme Court spending, the Court elected Justice Margaret Workman to replace Loughry as chief justice.

Allen Loughry’s rise from law clerk to chief justice of the state’s highest court was followed by an equally dramatic fall. Controversy surrounded him particularly after his election as chief justice, involving lavish remodeling and redecorating of Court facilities including his office, the purchase of expensive office furniture and the transfer of state furniture and equipment to his home, and charges of the misuse of state vehicles and double-dipping on expenses. Matters were greatly compounded by alleged attempts to cover up misdeeds, and Loughry’s removal as chief justice was reported to have been triggered by his failure to inform fellow justices of a federal subpoena on the Court.

In June 2018, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission named Loughry in a 32-count document accusing him of violating the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct. The other four justices recused themselves in ensuing Supreme Court proceedings against Loughry, and substitute justices were appointed. This special court suspended Loughry from the Supreme Court without pay while charges against him progressed.

On June 20, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Loughry on 22 criminal counts including mail and wire fraud, witness tampering and making false statements. On October 12, a jury found him guilty of seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of making false statements to federal investigators and one count each of witness tampering and mail fraud. All of the wire fraud convictions related to his use of state cars and state credit cards on weekends and holidays, and to book-signing events.

On June 26, the House of Delegates voted to begin an investigation into all justices of the Supreme Court to determine whether impeachment proceedings were justified against Loughry or others. Following the investigation, the House adopted 11 articles of impeachment against Loughry and others. The last West Virginia official impeached by the Legislature was A. James Manchin in 1989.

On November 10, Loughry submitted his resignation letter to the governor. On February 13, 2019, he was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, three years of supervisory release, a $10,000 fine and ordered to pay $1,273 in restitution. He was released from prison in December 2020 after serving 20 months of his sentence.

Last Revised on December 12, 2023


Jenkins, Jeff. Loughry Sentenced to 2 Years in Federal Prison. WV Metro News, February 13, 2019.

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Allen Loughry." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 12 December 2023. Web. 20 July 2024.


There aren't any comments for this article yet.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2024 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.