Federal judge Maxwell dies

by Chris Dickerson |
Nov. 22, 2010, 4:19am

Maxwell

WHEELING -- Federal Judge Robert E. Maxwell has died.

Maxwell, 86, died Saturday, according to Judge John Bailey, chief judge of the Northern District of West Virginia. Bailey had been in poor health, Bailey said.

Maxwell was nominated to the federal court by President Lyndon Johnson on July 19, 1965. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Aug. 11, 1965 and served as chief judge from 1965 until 1994. He went to senior status the following year. He was based in Elkins.

"Judge Maxwell was very intelligent. He was a great speaker," Bailey said, according to an Associated Press article. "He knew every employee in that building, what their kids names were. He was very friendly, very outgoing and he was loved down there."

The court will hold a memorial, but plans have not been finished, Bailey said.

"Judge Maxwell was a special person, and I always considered him a dear friend," U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said. "He was a true defender of justice and an excellent public servant who will be sorely missed."

Maxwell was born in 1924 in South Bend, Ind., and got his law degree from West Virginia University College of law in 1949, according to his biography. He went into private practice in Randolph County, then served as prosecuting attorney from 1953 until 1961. Maxwell served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia from 1961 until 1964.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

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