Frank Cruise Haymond

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Judge Frank Cruise Haymond was born in Marion County, West Virginia April 13, 1887. In 1906, he attended Harvard University after graduating from Fairmont State Normal School, later known as Fairmont State University. He received his LL.B. degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Fairmont and served for six years as judge of the Circuit Court of Marion County.

In 1917, Haymond enlisted as a private and went to France with the American Forces. He rose to rank of captain.

In 1919, he married Susan Arnett and fathered two children, William S. Haymond (1923–1987) and Thomas A. Haymond (1925–2001) Both children attended Philips Academy Andover and graduated from Harvard University.

In July 1945, Haymond was appointed to fill a vacancy on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals by Governor Clarence Watson Meadows. Haymond was elected to the court in 1946 and was reelected to two more 12-year terms. At the time of his death, June 10, 1972, Haymond had served longer on the high court than any past judge.

One hallmark of Haymond’s opinions was the habitual citation of long lists of cases (from both state and federal courts) in support of his argument. Haymond was no legal innovator, and not one to impose his judgment on the situation. He believed that the courts should not go beyond what he called the plain meaning of a statute or decided case.

One of Haymond’s last opinions reversed Judge George Triplett of Randolph County, who had declared incarceration at the aging Moundsville State Penitentiary unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. At the time, according to the New York Times, this prison had the highest per capita murder rate in the nation. Haymond’s opinion excoriated Triplett at length for going beyond precedent and intruding upon the executive and legislative prerogatives. Ironically, less than a decade after Haymond’s death the state Supreme Court unanimously declared imprisonment at the state prison unconstitutional on the grounds that the Haymond court had rejected, and mandated the building of a new penitentiary.

In 1970, Judge Haymond received the American Bar Association’s prestigious ABA Medal, which is awarded to a lawyer or judge who has ‘‘greatly advanced the cause of jurisprudence.’’ No other West Virginian has ever been considered for this honor.

He died in 1972 while still a member of the West Virginia Court of Appeals.

Bibliography:

The West Virginia Encyclopedia [1] US Biographies Project [2] ABA Journal (1970) [3]

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