W.Va. public pension board asks judge to review eligibility after ex-judge's felony conviction


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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — A former West Virginia judge's public pension is being called into question following his corruption conviction.

The West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board on Thursday asked a circuit judge to determine that ex-Mingo Judge Michael Thornsbury is ineligible to receive his pension due to his felony conviction.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1t1Pdkf) that the petition seeks to end retirement benefits for Thornsbury and any marital benefits received from his ex-wife Drema Thornsbury.

According to the petition, Thornsbury contributed a little more than $3,000 to the public employees' retirement system and more than $167,000 to the judges' retirement system.

The petition asks the Kanawha County Circuit Court to find that Thornsbury "rendered less than honorable service" under state code.

Earlier this year, a federal judge sentenced Thornsbury to four years and two months in prison. He had pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive campaign sign maker George White of his constitutional rights. Prosecutors said Thornsbury participated in a scheme to protect the late Sheriff Eugene Crum from accusations that the sheriff bought prescription painkillers from White.

Board representative J. Jeaneen Legato said that when a person is convicted of a felony offense related to a person's employment, that qualifies as "less than honorable service."

When the board receives notification that a person is convicted of a felony offense, it votes on whether the offense is related to that person's employment.

Legato said after the board voted it notified Thornsbury, who asked for judicial determination. Thornsbury also has appealed his sentence with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.charlestondailymail.com

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