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WV Supreme Court formally annuls Ketchum's law license

Almost three months after he resigned from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, former justice Menis Ketchum no longer is admitted to practice law in the Mountain State.

The state Supreme Court annulled Ketchum’s license to practice law in an order handed down Oct. 4.

Rachael Fletcher Cipoletti, chief counsel for the state’s Lawyer Disciplinary Board, filed a petition seeking the annulment of Ketchum’s law license on Sept. 13, according to the order.

The order was included in a petition filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, which further barred Ketchum from appearing as an attorney in federal court due to his license annulment.

On Aug. 23, Ketchum pleaded guilty to one count of felony wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6.

Ketchum, 75, of Huntington, admitted he used a state credit card to purchase gasoline while en route to and from a golf course in Bristol, Virginia, in August 2014. Ketchum used a state vehicle to travel to the golf course. At the time, the court had given Ketchum permission to use the state vehicle for his work commute between Huntington and Charleston.

In total, Ketchum said he took the state vehicle to the golf club in Virginia eight times at a total cost of about $220 per trip.

West Virginians elected Ketchum to the Supreme Court in 2008, and he announced his resignation on July 11, the day before the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee began its investigation into impeaching the state’s five Supreme Court justices at the time.

His resignation was effective July 27.

The timing of Ketchum’s resignation meant he was not subject to impeachment proceedings in the legislature, including the 11 articles of impeachment the House adopted against Ketchum’s four former colleagues on the court on Aug. 13.

Ketchum’s term was set to expire in 2020.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed former state House Speaker Tim Armstead to temporarily fill the vacancy on the court created by Ketchum’s resignation.

On Nov. 6, West Virginia voters will have the opportunity to vote on who will complete the rest of Ketchum’s term, which is listed as the Division 1 Supreme Court race on the general election ballot.

Reach Lacie Pierson at, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.


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