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A West Virginia Supreme Court justice who joined the bench following a 2018 corruption and impeachment scandal said Thursday that he will retire after his term ends next year.

Justice John Hutchison was appointed by Gov. Jim Justice to the seat vacated by convicted former Justice Allen Loughry, then won a 2020 special election to finish the remainder of Loughry’s term, which ends in December 2024.

Hutchison said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, son and grandchildren.

“When I came to the Court in January 2019 the judicial system was starting to come out of a very dark place,” Hutchison wrote in a letter to Chief Justice Beth Walker. “In the last five years the New Court has made amazing strides in reestablishing the integrity of the third branch of government.”

Hutchison served as a circuit judge in Raleigh County for 24 years prior to his appointment to the five-member Supreme Court. He and Justice attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley and played on the basketball team together. Hutchison swore in Justice as governor in January 2017.

Loughry was suspended from his seat over allegations that he repeatedly lied and used his public office for personal gain. He resigned after a federal jury convicted him on 11 charges, most involving mail and wire fraud over his personal use of state cars and fuel cards. He was released from prison in December 2020 after serving 20 months of a two-year sentence.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached in August 2018 over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Some of the justices were accused of abusing their authority by failing to rein in excessive spending.

One justice retired after the House of Delegates approved impeachment charges against her and another retired prior to the impeachment hearings.

Walker was cleared of an impeachment charge at her Senate trial. Then, a temporary panel of justices ruled the impeachment efforts violated the separation of powers doctrine and that the Legislature lacked jurisdiction to pursue the trials. The U.S. Supreme Court in October 2019 left the ruling in place.

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