Darrell McGraw

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Darrell McGraw
33rd Attorney General of West Virginia
In office
Governor Gaston Caperton
Cecil H. Underwood
Bob Wise
Joe Manchin
Earl Ray Tomblin
Preceded by Mario Palumbo
Succeeded by Patrick Morrisey
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
In office
Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
In office
January 1, 1976 – December 31, 1988
Preceded by Donald R. Wilson
Succeeded by Margaret Workman
Personal details
Born (1936-11-08) November 8, 1936 (age 79)
McGraws-Tipple, West Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jorea Marple (4 children)
Residence Charleston, West Virginia
Alma mater West Virginia University
Profession Lawyer
Religion Methodist

Darrell Vivian McGraw, Jr. (born November 8, 1936 in McGraws-Tipple, Wyoming County, West Virginia) is an American Democratic politician. He is the brother of former West Virginia State Supreme Court Justice and state Senate President Warren McGraw.

He was elected the state supreme court for a single 12 year term in 1976 and later as state attorney general in 1992 and re-elected in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.[1] He is the only person to have held both offices. He lost his reelection bid for a sixth term in 2012. He received 49% of the vote to Patrick Morrisey's 51%.

Early life and education[edit]

McGraw graduated from Pineville High School and served two years in the United States Army, stationed in Germany, before beginning his undergraduate career at West Virginia University, where he served as student body president and dedicated the mast of the U.S.S. West Virginia, which still stands as a landmark at the university.

After earning his Juris Doctor at West Virginia University, he began working under Governor Hulett Smith.

Political career[edit]

Prior to acting in an official capacity within West Virginian politics, McGraw took a behind the scenes role, serving as counsel to Hulett C. Smith, Governor from 1965 to 1969, and the West Virginia Legislature. For twelve years starting in 1976, he was a state Supreme Court Justice. During his tenure, McGraw upheld the state Freedom of Information Act, ordering that any exemptions that were to be granted related to this legislation were to be extremely limited. In 1980 he officiated at the wedding of Larry Shannon Roberts, a former WCHS weatherman, and Diana Rhodes Lovejoy, a former WV State Tax Dept employee. The wedding was held in the State Capitol Rotunda, the first known wedding to be held at this location.

In 1992 he was elected Attorney General. As Attorney General for the State of West Virginia, he has been involved in many high profile national cases, including the 1998 multi-billion dollar State Tobacco Settlement, which secured billions of dollars for the state of West Virginia. As of a result of the settlement money, West Virginia will save $2.5 billion due to a bond sale that resulted from the settlement.[2] His office also litigated refunds for over 1,200 state residents from DirecTV totaling $152,000.00[3]


While on the Supreme Court, McGraw authored an opinion changing the state judicial retirement plan from 24 years as a judge to 24 years of government employment, making himself and over half of all judges immediately eligible for retirement. He also perceived to lead an "anti-business" majority on the court. He was soundly defeated for re-election to the court. He was further criticized for an outrageous temper, often aimed at female subordinates.

As Attorney General, McGraw has been criticized by some newspapers, state legislators, tort reform advocates, and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, who accuse him of cronyism,[4] benefiting trial lawyers who contribute to his political campaigns, and inappropriate use of public resources.[5]

Election results[edit]

Supreme Court

  • 1976 - ELECTED [6]
  • 1988 - DEFEATED in primary [7]

Attorney General

  • 1996 - ELECTED [8]
  • 2004 - REELECTED with 50.4%[10]
  • 2008 - REELECTED with 50.4%[11]
  • 2012 - DEFEATED receiving 49% of vote.


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Donald R. Wilson
Justice for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Margaret Workman
Preceded by
Mario Palumbo
Attorney General of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Patrick Morrisey