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b. Aug. 1, 1907
d. May 8, 1955
111th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Term
Oct. 4, 1950
to Dec. 17, 1950

HOWARD ELLIOTT FAUGHT

Although Howard Elliott Faught served a short tenure on the Supreme Court of Ohio, he brought honor to his native Guernsey County, as he was one of the few Justices to come from southeastern Ohio.

Known to close friends as “Faughty” and to others as “Judge,” Faught was born on Aug. 1, 1907 in Buffalo, Ohio to Arthur G. and Hattie Hollenbeck Faught.

After graduation from high school, Faught moved to Detroit, Mich. where he enrolled at the Detroit Art School. For five years, he worked at setting up window displays in stores while attending school. In 1932, he moved back to Ohio where he enrolled at Muskingum College and majored in pre-law. In 1935, he enrolled at the Ohio State University College of Law, where he received his law degree in 1938.

Upon passing the Ohio bar in July 1938, Faught practiced law in Cambridge, Ohio with Melton Boyd, Robert E. Scott, A.R. McCulloch and Frank L. Danello. He was elected prosecuting attorney of Guernsey County in 1940 as a Democratic candidate, but defeated for re-election in 1944.

On April 7, 1945, Gov. Frank J. Lausche appointed Faught to fill the unexpired term of the late Judge Charles S. Sheppard of the Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas. In 1946, he was elected to fill the remaining four years of the term. He became the first Democratic candidate elected to that court. He also served as chairman of the Guernsey County Democratic Executive Committee and also served on the Ohio Democratic Party Central Committee. In 1950, he chose not to seek re-election to the common pleas court bench.

Gov. Lausche appointed Faught to the Supreme Court of Ohio on Sept. 27, 1950, after the death of Justice Edward C. Turner on Sept. 13. Turner’s untimely death created a problem for the Secretary of State, in that the Ohio Constitution requires that in cases where a judicial vacancy occurs more than 40 days before the general election, a successor can only be appointed to the unexpired term until the next general election. Due to lack of time, the Secretary of State could not certify candidates for the position on the Supreme Court for the November 1950 general election, and a write-in election ensued. Out of a field of eight candidates, Justice Faught finished third. Henry A. Middleton won the election.

In his short tenure, Justice Faught wrote one majority opinion, State, ex rel. Clark v. Allaman, Supt. (1950). The issue was whether a birth mother who consented to the adoption of her child relinquished her parental rights permanently if the petition for the adoption was withdrawn or dismissed.

In the case, the mother consented to the adoption of her son by a couple who filed a petition to adopt with the probate court. They later withdrew their petition and instead of returning the child to the mother, the probate court transferred the case to juvenile court. This court transferred custody to a private adoption agency. Faught wrote that the mother did not lose her right to custody when the adoption petition was dismissed. Therefore, the juvenile court could not change custody of the child without notifying the birth mother that a complaint to terminate her parental rights was being filed against her, which it did not do. The Supreme Court returned custody to the mother.

After leaving the Supreme Court, Faught returned to Cambridge, where he practiced law with the firm of Willis, Danello, Faught & Moorehead. In 1952, he sought the judgeship of the 5th District Court of Appeals of Ohio, but C.B. McClintock defeated him. He was elected to represent the county in the Ohio House of Representatives in 1954.

Faught married Letha Jones Theherne on Aug. 1, 1947. The couple had no children. He died at age 47 on May 8, 1955. He is buried in Northwood Cemetery in Cambridge.