TBA Law Blog

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 16, 2021

Roscoe Dixon, a Memphis Democrat who was prominent in state politics for more than a decade before his 2006 conviction in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz corruption sting, died yesterday at 71, the Commercial Appeal reports. Dixon got his start in politics at the Urban League, the NAACP, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH and on the 1974 congressional campaign of Harold Ford Sr. He first ran for the Memphis City Council but lost in a runoff. He took a year to work on Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign in Atlanta and then returned to Memphis to build a grassroots coalition. He was then elected to the state House and served there from 1978 to 1994 when he joined the state Senate. He served there until 2005. Dixon was convicted in 2006 on bribery and extortion charges for accepting $9,500 to help pass legislation. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison. After his release, he became an advocate for the restoration of voting rights for felons.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 13, 2021

Memphis attorney Warner Hodges died April 10 at his home in Germantown. He was 99. Hodges attended Vanderbilt University Law School on the GI bill, earning his law degree in 1949. After several years of private practice, he was appointed as an assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and was later appointed as the U.S. District Attorney by President Eisenhower. He returned to private practice in 1961, becoming a prominent defense attorney in Memphis. Visitation will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. CDT at the Memphis Funeral Home, 5599 Poplar Ave., followed by a service at 2 p.m.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 12, 2021

Former U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell, a longtime Nashville legal mind and adviser to a vice president, died Sunday at 64. The Tennessean reported that the cause of death was multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease Campbell battled for years. A 1982 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Campbell first joined the Nashville law firm of Gullett, Sanford, Robinson & Martin, where he focused on constitutional law and federal election law. Several years later, he became a legal adviser to U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr.’s 1988 presidential campaign. Gore’s selection as then-President Bill Clinton’s running mate and the campaign’s electoral win took Campbell to Washington, D.C., where he served as counsel to the transition and then counsel and director of administration in the vice presidential office.

Campbell returned to Nashville and private practice in 1995, but Clinton soon appointed him to fill a district court seat after Judge Thomas A. Wiseman Jr. took senior status. Campbell served on the bench for 21 years, including seven years as chief judge. While on the court, he heard several high profile cases, including the murder trials of Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman, Perry March and serial killer Paul Dennis Reid. Off the bench, he took a special interest in the Tennessee School for the Blind, visiting often to teach the students about the U.S. Constitution and judicial system. Campbell retired from the court in 2016, but went on to serve as an adjunct law professor at his alma mater, as well as the Nashville School of Law and Belmont University College of Law. He will be buried in a private ceremony tomorrow. A public event in his memory will be planned for a future date. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has more on Campbell's career.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 9, 2021

Memphis lawyer Elbert E. Edwards III died Wednesday at 71. A graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Edwards spent his career practicing law in private practice, at Memphis Area Legal Services and later at the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office. Visitation will take place tomorrow from 9 to 10 a.m. followed by a memorial service at Whitehaven Baptist Church, 4800 Elvis Presley, Memphis 38116.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 7, 2021

Retired Judge James Kenneth Porter, who served as a circuit court judge in the 4th Judicial District, died Monday in Newport, one day shy of his 87th birthday, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced today. Judge Porter retired from the bench in 1993. He was first elected as a circuit court judge in 1974 after having served as a state senator for one term and a state representative for four terms representing Cocke County. Porter graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1957. A private family graveside service will be held in Union Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Apr 6, 2021

The Appellate Court Clerk’s Jackson Office is mourning the recent loss of two employees. Mia Ladonna Myles, who served as a deputy clerk in the Appellate Court Clerk’s Office Western Division, died on April 3 after a brief illness. Her 25th anniversary with the clerk’s office would have been in October. Dorsey Lazenby, who served as a staff clerk in the same office died on April 5 after an accident. She had recently celebrated 25 years of service with the state. Clerk of the Appellate Courts Jim Hivner sent his condolences to the families. “Mia and Dorsey were both kind, dedicated, and vibrant individuals and will be dearly missed,” he said.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 5, 2021

Longtime Nashville lawyer Stephen Eugene Cox died March 3. He was 77. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1970, Cox moved to Nashville where he practiced as a trial attorney and later a mediator. During his career he worked for Manier & Herod and then Cox, LeVan, Sprader & Patton. He was active in the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association and American Board of Trial Advocates, serving as president of that group's Tennessee chapter. From 2004 to 2008, he served as a member of the state Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Commission. Cox retired in 2014 and moved to Knoxville. His son, Stephen Eugene Cox Jr., is an attorney with Healthcare Realty Trust Incorporated in Nashville. A riverside service will take place in Knoxville on April 10. A memorial service will be held April 17 in Nashville. Details are posted online. Donations may be made to the USO, P.O. Box 96860, Washington, D.C., 20077.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 5, 2021

The Knoxville Bar Association will hold its Spring Memorial Service on May 14 beginning at noon EDT on Zoom. The service will honor 17 lawyers who have died in the last 15 months, including former TBA President and federal judge Pamela Reeves. KBA President Cheryl Rice, Rev. Charles Fels and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee will participate. See the full list of lawyers to be honored and register to receive the log on instructions here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 25, 2021

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock, R-Chattanooga, died today in Florida at the age of 90, the Tennessean reports. Brock spent eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1962 to 1970, becoming the first Republican to hold the Third Congressional District seat in 40 years. In 1970, he defeated incumbent Democrat Albert Gore Sr. for a seat in the U.S. Senate, but lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jim Sasser six years later. He went on to head the Republican National Committee, and serve as U.S. trade representative and Labor Department secretary during the Reagan administration. After leaving government service he formed the Brock Group, a Washington, D.C., trade consulting firm. Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who decades later held the same congressional seat, described Brock as the "father of the Republican Party" in Tennessee.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Mar 24, 2021

Retired Memphis lawyer Leonard V. Hughes Jr. of Germantown died Dec. 9, 2020, at the age of 85. A graduate of the Southern Methodist University Law School, Hughes was initially licensed in the Texas. He became licensed in Tennessee in 1960 and spent 50 years with the law firm of Hoffman, Hughes & McWhorter. Burial was at Memorial Park in Memphis.

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