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Retired Alabama Supreme Court Justice Hugh Maddox has died

He won election in 1970 and served on the Court through 2001.


Retired Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Alva Hugh Maddox died at his home in Montgomery on Friday. He was 90. Maddox was a senior legal advisor to three Alabama governors: George Wallace, Lurleen Wallace and Albert Brewer.

During Lurleen Wallace’s administration, Maddox was often the senior leader for the administration in the state with Lurleen dying from cancer and George Wallace campaigning for president.

Brewer appointed Maddox to the Alabama Supreme Court in 1969. He won election in 1970 and served on the court through 2001, when the Alabama judiciary age limit forced him to retire.

“For more than thirty years, Hugh Maddox provided his wisdom and good judgment to the people of Alabama as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Alabama,” said Associate Justice Will Sellers. “Justice Maddox’s legacy of service and leadership impacted generations of young Alabamians who participated in the Youth Judicial Program he founded at the Montgomery YMCA. He was a powerful example of living his faith by helping his community. The impact of his dedication to Alabama can never be diminished.”

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Richard Minor said on Twitter: “I was saddened to learn Justice Hugh Maddox died today. Justice Maddox served from 1969-2001 as an Associate Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court. Having authored the treatise, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, he was known as the father of Ala. Crim. P. Honored to have his portrait hanging in chambers. He was an organizer of the first @InnsOfCourt organized in Alabama in 1989. That Inn now bears his name, the Hugh Maddox American Inn of Court in Montgomery.”

Maddox was born in Covington County, Alabama, on April 17, 1930. He graduated from Florala High School in 1947. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama and a law degree from the University of Alabama Law School. Maddox served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Postwar, he stayed in the Air Force Reserves even while on the Alabama Supreme Court. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a colonel in 1982 after 30 years of service.

Prior to his service for the three Alabama governors, Maddox served as a circuit judge and as an assistant district attorney in the 15th Judicial Circuit in Montgomery County.

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Maddox served longer on the Alabama Supreme Court than any associate justice in Alabama history. Maddox wrote numerous opinions while on the Alabama Supreme Court. He was a Democrat but often sided with conservatives in the court.

Maddox authored the treatise, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, with the First Edition published in 1990, and continued to work on supplements to this book through 2019. He also authored and illustrated a children’s book, “Billy Boll Weevil.”

Additionally, Maddox was instrumental in forming Chapters of the American Inns of Court throughout the state of Alabama and was recognized by receiving the A. Sherman Christensen Award at the United States Supreme Court in 2008.

The Montgomery Chapter was named the Hugh Maddox Inn of Court in his honor. He also established the Youth Judicial Program in 1979, as part of the YMCA Youth Legislature. He received the YMCA Man of the Year Award in 1988 for his service to youth in the community and the Montgomery Area Council on Aging Senior of Achievement Award.

Maddox is survived by his wife of 62 years, Virginia Roberts Maddox, and his two children, Robert Hugh Maddox (Jill) and Jane Hoesel (Brian) as well as granddaughter, Hannah Maddox; one sister, Carol Hartzog (Gayle); three brothers-in-law, Wade Roberts (Dale), Truett Roberts (Deborah), and Bill Roberts (Gloria); as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there will be a private family graveside service. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 305 South Perry Street, Montgomery, AL 36104 or to the YMCA, P.O. Box 2336, Montgomery, AL 36102.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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