Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Dies


Former West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elliot ‘Spike’ Maynard died Thursday May 1, 2014 at Charleston Area Medical Center. He was 71.

Maynard was born in Williamson on December 8, 1942. A 1960 graduate of Belfry High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College in 1967 and a law degree from West Virginia University in 1974.

Maynard served in the United States Air Force from 1961-1966 and was attached to a reconnaissance group during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Maynard was a private practice attorney, Mingo County prosecutor and from 1981-1996 served as a judge in the Thirtieth Judicial Circuit.

In 2010 Maynard switched from the Democrat to Republican party and challenged U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) in the race for congress in the third congressional district.

West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas released the following statement.

“I’m incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Justice Maynard.  Spike was a true West Virginian, a brilliant legal mind and a champion of the conservative cause.” 

Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis said, “I’m devastated at the loss of one of the best friends I’ll ever have. His charm and wit, his grace and kindness, his wisdom and insight – life just won’t be the same.”

Justice Brent D. Benjamin said, “Justice Spike Maynard practiced law, served the people of Mingo County as both a prosecutor and circuit judge, and served West Virginia as both a Justice and Chief Justice on our Supreme Court of Appeals.  He loved the law. He loved West Virginia. And, with all his heart, he loved Mingo County.  In many ways, Spike was larger than life. Yet the Spike I got to know was a quiet, considerate and compassionate man, a man with a warm smile and a deep concern about
protecting children and helping those victimized by crime. It was a pleasure serving with Justice Maynard. My heart goes out to his loved ones.”

Justice Margaret Workman said, “I am very sad to learn of Justice Elliott Maynard’s death. I was in law school with him, and later had the pleasure of serving with him on the Supreme Court of Appeals. He was smart, funny, charming, and so easy to get along with. He loved to talk about art and
opera and theater. When you sit next to someone every day, you learn a lot about them. Spike Maynard was a very kind person and he cared about people. As a Judge, he knew when to be tough and when to be compassionate.  He was a true gentleman. My deepest sympathies to his family and many

Former Justice Thomas McHugh said, “He was a leader of the Court. He was able to bring his experience as a circuit judge to the Supreme Court. He had great experience. He espoused his positions very strongly on things he believed. I appreciate the fact that he appointed me when Justice Albright
was ill.” 

Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury added, “We’ll all miss the sweetness of his voice.”

Maynard served on the West Virginia Supreme Court from 1996- 2008. According to a West Virginia Supreme Court news release  he served as Chief Justice in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

The news release says when Maynard was Chief Justice in 2000, he advocated for community corrections and alternative sanctions for certain criminal offenders, and his support was a key to the passage of community corrections laws in 2001. In his last year as Chief Justice he initiated a mock trial program for middle schools called West Virginia Law Adventure.

Maynard’s career on the Supreme Court was not without controversy. In 2006 Maynard was photographed vacationing with former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on the French Riviera. The photos surfaced in 2008 after Maynard heard a case involving Massey that came before the Supreme Court. Maynard ultimately recused himself from hearing the appeal.

Visitation will be held Saturday at Weaver Mortuary in Williamson. His funeral will be Sunday at Belfry Baptist Church in Goody, Ky.