Former W.Va. Supreme Court justice sentenced to 2 years in federal prison

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ/WV MetroNews) -- Former state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison on federal charges involving his personal use of state property and financial misjudgment of court resources, our crew at the scene reports.

Loughry also was ordered to pay nearly $1,300 in restitution, plus a $1,000 special assessment. Furthermore, he was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, as well as supervised probation of three years.

The former judge is allowed to self-report to Berkeley Springs, located in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, by April 5.

According to our crew, U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver enhanced the sentencing level from 10 to 16 months by three levels up to 18 to 24 months and then imposed the 24-month sentence.

Judge Copenhaver said while Loughry is not solely responsible for the mistrust in the judicial system, he's "contributed mightily" to it. He added it was of "great importance" to have a sentence that shows respect for the law and serves as a deterrent for the future but the current guidelines were inadequate for this case.

Loughry and his attorneys did not comment as they left the courtroom. In court, his attorney John Carr pointed to the tremendous impact the case and press coverage had had on Loughry and his family and asked for probation or home confinement.

Prosecutors responded that Loughry stood "at the apex of the justice system" and the damage he did cannot be measured both to the institution and the state. They added it was important to have a sentence that would not breed cynicism from the public.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart issued this statement, in part, in a release:

"I said it before and I will say it again, there's no such thing as a little bit of public corruption. It is a cancer that erodes the public's confidence in government and undermines the rule of law. Integrity and honesty need not be exceptions but, rather, should be the standard we expect from our public servants. To quote Mr. Loughry, as stated in his book: 'It is essential that people have the absolute confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our system of justice.' Today, with the sentence of Mr. Loughry, our system of justice took a big step in furthering the people's confidence."

No one testified during Wednesday's sentencing.

Loughry was convicted last October on 11 criminal counts in connection with finances involving the state Supreme Court and Loughry’s personal use of state property. The overall investigation stemmed from $363,000 worth of renovations to Loughry's Supreme Court office at the State Capitol.

A federal jury found Loughry guilty of 11 of the original 23 counts he faced. Copenhaver acquitted Loughry of one of the counts, a witness tampering charge, in an order that came down after the trial.

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