CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers have begun the rare process of deciding whether impeachment proceedings are necessary just days after a state Supreme Court justice was charged in a 22-count criminal indictment.

The House Judiciary Committee met without taking action Tuesday. Earlier the House of Delegates voted to have the committee investigate any justice but decided against setting a deadline.

Justice Allen Loughry pleaded not guilty in federal court last week. He was suspended over allegations he repeatedly lied about using his office for personal gain.

The committee heard from former delegate Mark Harman, who was involved in impeachment proceedings against state Treasurer A. James Manchin in 1989. The House impeached Manchin after the loss of $279 million in state investments, but he resigned before the state Senate took up the measure.

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