(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission has issued an ethics opinion clearing state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis of wrongdoing in response to an ethics complaint filed earlier this year regarding the justice’s failure in 2012 to disclose a $1 million jet airplane deal between her husband and an attorney appearing before her.
The complaint, filed by a local businessman who was not involved in the case, came following an ABC News report that revealed that Davis’ husband sold his Lear Jet for more than $1 million to an attorney who handled a nursing home abuse case that eventually came before the high court. Davis wrote the majority opinion which resulted in a $17 million fee for the attorney’s firm.
“The sale of the plane would not have been a significant event in her demanding judicial position,” wrote Ronald Wilson, chairperson of the Judicial Investigation Commission. “There is no evidence to support a finding of probable cause that [Davis] violated the Judicial Code of Conduct.”
The ruling by the nine-member commission was unanimous.
The independent judicial review panel had harsh words both for the businessman who filed the complaint and for the ABC News report that brought it about.
The opinion blasted Bill Maloney for issuing a press release upon filing his ethics complaint against Davis. Doing so, it said, “gives the impression that Mr. Maloney was motivated by self-seeking political and egotistical political purposes.”
ABC News has left messages for Maloney.
Further, the opinion said the ethics complaint was based on “unprincipled allegations made by those involved in creating the so-called ABC News story.”
“The commission does not accept as proof allegations made in the mass media,” Wilson wrote.
A copy of the opinion was emailed to ABC News by Jennifer Bundy, the spokesperson for the West Virginia Supreme Court.
“Justice Davis will have no comment,” Bundy wrote.
The Commission consists of nine members: three circuit judges; one magistrate; one family court judge; one senior status judge, and three members of the public. All members of the Commission are appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court.
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