Brent Deane Benjamin, a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, was born in Marietta, Ohio, on July 3, 1957. He was recruited to play lacrosse at Ohio State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1981 and his law degree in 1984. He settled in Charleston and worked in private practice for 20 years.
In 2004, Benjamin, a Republican, successfully ran for a 12-year term on the Supreme Court against the Democratic incumbent Warren McGraw. During the campaign, A.T. Massey Coal Company President Don Blankenship spent $3 million on an advertising campaign that attacked McGraw. Blankenship’s involvement in the campaign came under scrutiny four years later. Benjamin and two other justices voted in favor of Massey in a case involving a rival coal company, Harman Mining Corporation, and its owner, Hugh Caperton, a cousin of former Governor Gaston Caperton. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 2009 that Benjamin should have recused himself from the case.
Benjamin served as chief justice in 2009 and 2013. He has supported the expansion of courts that focus on treatment, including drug courts for juveniles and adults. He has also supported the court’s efforts to find permanent homes for children who are available for adoption.
Benjamin is also interested in archeology and has participated in excavations in Egypt and the United States. He is married to the former Janice Taylor, and they have five children.
Last Revised on April 11, 2013