west, there was still a de facto segregation keeping the two communities
apart. During the 1950s and 1960s,
Maxey successfully worked to remove
these barriers in the housing market,
in the Spokane social club scene, and
in Spokane restaurants.
Two of Maxey’s most noteworthy
cases occurred in 1963. In one, he represented Jangaba Johnson, a black Li-berian student attending Gonzaga University as a Fulbright Scholar. Jangaba
was denied a haircut by a white barber
on account of his race. Other Gonzaga
students tried to resolve the issue informally: the barber refused. Maxey
was brought in to do the same. The
barber again refused and Maxey filed
the case with an administrative tribunal. 20 The tribunal tried to resolve the
matter as informally as possible. The
barber refused. The case proceeded to
a hearing, and after a three-minute deliberation, 21 the tribunal ruled against
the barber. He was ordered to provide
haircuts to all races, to hang a poster
stating the same, and to write a letter
to Jangaba. The barber refused. The
case was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court. The Court ruled
9–0 against the barber. 22 Remaining
faithful to his misguided principles,
the barber refused to comply with the
Supreme Court ruling upholding the
original order from the tribunal, and
chose to retire.
The other was a 1963 criminal case
representing Charles Will Cauthen.
Known locally as Bob Williams, he was
a convicted killer and death row inmate
who had escaped from a Georgia prison
to eastern Washington. After years in
hiding, he was located by law enforcement and the state of Georgia sought
extradition. Maxey was hired to represent Williams in those proceedings.
Usually a straightforward affair, this
extradition did not proceed as Georgia
had hoped. There were serious questions raised about the investigation of
the crime and the fairness of Williams’s
trial back in Georgia. Maxey and other
attorneys argued that Williams should
not be sent back under these circumstances and asked that extradition
be denied. Governor Albert Rosellini
agreed, finding that reasonable doubt
existed as to Williams’s guilt, and
refused the request for extradition.
Again, Maxey had prevailed.
Some of Maxey’s other notable
work included providing legal support
in Mississippi in 1964 for “Freedom
Summer,” a black voter registration ef-
fort following the passage of the Civil
Rights Act, and representing mem-
bers of the “Seattle Seven.” Other ac-
complishments and accolades include
serving as the state chairman for the
United States Civil Rights Commis-
sion under five presidents, receiving
the William O. Douglas Bill of Rights
Award from the Washington ACLU
(1982), 23 being named to Best Law-
yers in America (1983), and being
honored with Goldmark Award for
Distinguished Services from the Legal
Foundation of Washington (1987, and
the Gonzaga Law Medal (1993). 24
Toward the end of his career, Maxey
expressed some concern that he had
not been able to really accomplish anything or make any significant impact.
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