Cheney Joseph, 73, Dies

Prof Cheney Joseph, Jr

Prof Cheney Joseph, Jr

NAFUSA member Cheney Joseph Jr., 73, died on December 18, 2015. Professor Joseph was the interim co-dean of the Louisiana State University Law School. He served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, 1976-1977.

He also served as Administrative Assistant, District Attorney’s office, East Baton Rouge Parish (until 1972); Assistant Professor, LSU Law Center, 1972 – 1975, Associate Professor, LSU Law Center, 1976 – 1980, Professor of Law and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 1981 – 1989; First Assistant District Attorney and District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish, 1989 – 1990; Judge Pro- Tempore, 16th Judicial District Court 1992; Judge Pro-Tempore, 40th Judicial District Court, 1993; Executive Counsel to the Governor of Louisiana, 1996 – 2000; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, LSU Law Center, 2000 – present.

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Bill Braniff Dies, 73

We learned of the passing of NAFUSA member and former United States Attorney William Braniff on November 7, 2015.  Bill served as a federal prosecutor for 22 years, including 4 years as U.S. Attorney in San Diego (SD of California, 1988-1993).  Bill began his career as a federal prosecutor in 1970, when he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, New Jersey.  His advocacy skills eventually led him to the position of criminal chief.  In 1980, Bill moved to San Diego and joined the U.S. Attorney’s office.  He quickly became known for his ability to analyze complex fraud issues and he prosecuted many important procurement fraud cases.  Bill was sworn in as U.S. Attorney in 1988 by the Attorney General.  During Bill’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, the office grew to include 90 attorneys and became one of the leading prosecutorial offices in the nation.  Bill oversaw the successful prosecution of major cases in such areas as drug trafficking, white collar fraud, organized crime, health care fraud, and environmental crime.  Throughout his career, Bill’s mission was to be the best advocate possible for the people of the United States.  He carried out his mission faithfully and skillfully, earning the respect of his colleagues, adversaries, and the bench.  Bill set an example that should be followed by young prosecutors everywhere.

As is our custom, NAFUSA arranged for an American flag to be flown over Main Justice on  December 9, 2015, and it will be presented to Bill’s family in recognition of the regard in which he was held by his former colleagues.

Phil Modlin Dies, 88

 

Philip Hodgin Modlin

Philip Hodgkin Modlin, former EOUSA director (1970-1975) passed away peacefully at age 88 on February 4, 2015. He had lung cancer. He is survived by two children, Melanie Modlin of Takoma Park, MD and Ann Modlin Boehm (Scott) of Alexandria, VA. 

As reported in Modlin’s obituary,

Born in Jamestown, North Carolina on October 9, 1926, Modlin heard the call of adventure at an early age. As a teenager, he hitchhiked to New York, Los Angeles and other fabled American places. A talented violinist and an ardent movie fan, his initial plan was to be a studio musician in Hollywood. That dream took him to the University of Michigan, where he pledged Sigma Chi and commenced to study music. Grasping that his true talents lay elsewhere, he transferred to High Point (N.C.) College, earning his A.B. degree in 1947. His sharp intelligence and powers of analysis helped him attend the George Washington University law school. and earn his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1950.

Modlin was proud of the fact that he held 67 jobs during his lifetime, including soap wrapper, golf course starter and magistrate for the city of Alexandria. With that unique frame of reference, he was often hailed by those who knew him as an insightful career coach.

Philip Modlin found his greatest job satisfaction at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served with distinction for 25 years. During his career, he played an integral part in the creation of the Attorney General’s Honor Program and Advocacy Institute. In 1970, he became Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, where he hired and worked with many future legal luminaries. Another of his later duties, which he relished, was to advise U.S. Attorneys General on judicial appointments. He traveled often to Capitol Hill to meet with senators, striking up an especially warm working relationship with Sen. James Eastland (D-Miss.), the powerful head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Toward the end of his Justice career, he served as the primary Deputy Associate Attorney General.


A memorial service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church,  Alexandria, VA on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 11 a.m. 

Phillips Memorial Service Held in Jackson

A memorial service was held yesterday in Jackson, Mississippi, for George Landon Phillips, former United States Attorney, 1980-1994, who passed away on January 26, 2015. (See January 27 obituary posted below). Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was the keynote speaker. NAFUSA member James Tucker spoke at the service and presented to George’s wife, Nicole, the American flag that flown over Main Justice in George’s honor.

In the photo shown below, Tucker is making his presentation and the flag, within its case, can be seen sitting on the chair.

James Tucker

James Tucker

In the next photo, Tucker is presenting the flag to Nicole Phillips. It has been a NAFUSA tradition upon the death of a former U.S. Attorney to arrange with EOUSA to have flag flown over Main Justice in his or her honor, then boxed in a beautiful display case and presented to the family. This tradition began during the time when Marshall Jarrett was the director of EOUSA and has continued under Director Monty Wilkinson. Our special thanks to Im Saovaluk at EOUSA for her special assistance in making this happen.

James Tucker

In the final photo, a group of U.S. Attorneys are attending an LECC subcommittee meeting of the AGAC several years ago.

George Phillips, John Smietanka, Sam Currin, Rich Stacy and Dick Cohen

Former U.S. Attorneys: George Phillips SDMS), John Smietanka (WDMI), John Gill (MDTN), Sam Currin (EDNC) , Rich Stacy (WY)  and Dick Cohen (ME)

George Landon Phillips Dies

George Landon Phillips

George Landon Phillips, former United States Attorney, Southern District of Mississippi 1980 to 1994, died January 26, 2015. He is survived by his wife Nicole and three children, Garrison, Margaret, and Mary. He had battled esophageal cancer since July 2013. His primary residence was Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Since the early 1980s, he also maintained a ranch residence 200 miles west of Denver, out from Silt, Colorado; he named the spread Redwing from the turn of century song by the same name. Over the years and particularly in recent years, he and Nicole and the children have worked, lived, and played part time on their farm out from Hattiesburg and part time at Redwing Ranch.

Upon receiving his law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1973, George returned to Hattiesburg where he practiced law and served as a county prosecuting attorney. In 1980, he was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. At the time of his appointment, George was the youngest U.S. Attorney in the United States. Bringing his background in local law enforcement to the forefront, he became a major player in the development of Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees (LECC), a program that became mandated for all U.S. Attorneys’ Office, and for which he received national appreciation. George served two terms on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC), 1981-1982 and 1988-1991. He is remembered for being instrumental in designing the official flag for the Office of theUnited States Attorney.

George made the fight against public corruption a priority, especially corruption in local and state government. During his tenure, in a major nationally-recognized undercover operation into county corruption involving federal program funds, seminal case law interpreting the enforcement and scope of §666, Title 18, in application to local and state government officials and agents was developed. George earned the well-deserved reputation as one of the nation’s leading U.S. Attorneys in the fight against public corruption. He served until 1994, leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office as the most senior U.S. Attorney in service. The Congressional Record of 1994 commends George for his outstanding law enforcement accomplishments. During his term as United States Attorney, he served four Presidents, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan (two terms), George H.W. Bush and William Clinton.

Following service as U.S. Attorney, George served as Special Counsel to Mississippi senior Senator Thad Cochran (R) for six years. However, law enforcement service was his first passion and he answered the call by acceptance of the position of Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Governor Haley Barbour recognized George’s exceptional leadership qualities and then appointed George the Commissioner of Public Safety, the top State law enforcement position. He served with distinction as Top Cop in the monumental emergency disaster efforts addressing the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in August 2005. In 2008, President George W.Bush appointed George to the position of Mississippi State Director for USDA Rural Development, his last position of public office, ending an outstanding career of public service.

Although retired from public service, for the last three years George has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), an organization of which he has been a member of and served for more than 30 years. A lifelong steadfast horseman, he was a dedicated participant in the affairs and projects of the AQHA, having served as a National Director since 2002. For a number of years preceding his death, George and Nicole dedicated a major portion of their daily lives and activities to the AQHA. The AQHA has been near and dear to his heart for most of his adult life.

A memorial service will be held on February 3, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. As is our custom, NAFUSA arranged for an American flag to be flown over Main Justice and it will be presented to George’s family at the memorial service by NAFUSA member James Tucker, a close friend and colleague of George and his family.

Judge Walter E. Black Dies, 88

George Cook 1981, Baltimore Sun

George Cook 1981, Baltimore Sun

Walter E. Black Jr., a retired chief judge of the United States District Court for Maryland, passed away on Monday, September 27, 2014, at his home from complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was the U.S. Attorney for Maryland (1956-1957) and served as an AUSA in that district from 1953 to 1955. He was named to the U.S. District Court in 1982, and served as the chief judge (1991-1994) and retired in 2002.

A memorial service will be held at 2 PM Tuesday, October 14, at the Chapel at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles Street, at Melrose Avenue, Baltimore.  Click here to read the obituary from The Baltimore Sun

As is our custom, NAFUSA has made arrangements for an American flag to be flown over Main Justice and presented to Judge Black’s family as a token of the appreciation in which he was held by his colleagues.

NAFUSA Members Remember Johnnie Mac Walters

As reported here on June 26, 2014, long time NAFUSA member Johnnie Mac Walters died on June 24. NAFUSA arranged for an American flag to be flown over the Department of Justice in Mac’s honor, and NAFUSA member Walt Wilkins (South Carolina 2008-2010), currently the Circuit Solicitor in Greenville, presented the flag to Mac’s four children at a memorial service in Greenville, South Carolina on July 19. Walt reports that the children were very grateful and sincerely appreciated the gift from NAFUSA. Letters to the family were also sent by NAFUSA members Bill Sessions and John Clark.

Clark shared his “refreshed recollections” contained in his letter. He recalled the assistance Walters gave to Sessions and Clark in ensuring that their requests for timely decisions on matters crucial to their 1972 grand jury investigation did not get bogged down in the bureaucracy. Clark’s reference to “George” refers to George Parr, the notorious South Texas political boss under investigation for income tax evasion. The reference to “my book” refers to Clark’s non-fiction book The Fall of the Duke of Duval (Eakin Press, 1995), chronicling the year-long grand jury investigation and the multiple prosecutions that grew out of it.

Clark writes:

After re-reading the Times piece and thinking further about the chronology of events, it’s my recollection that Scott Crampton succeeded Johnnie as Ass’t AG – Tax Division in 1971, when Johnnie became IRS Commissioner. We knew Johnnie, of course, as well as Scott.  We knew at the outset of our investigation in the Spring of 1972 that we had a tight Statute of Limitations deadline for George’s 1966 tax year ; and when we needed an expedited decision on an immunity grant for Karl Stautz to help us meet that deadline, Scott (at DoJ), and Johnnie (at IRS) helped to accomplish getting the facts reviewed and the decision made promptly.  When we needed assurance a little later in 1972 that the mandatory review by IRS Regional Counsel of the proposed indictment wouldn’t get bogged down in needless bureaucratic delays, Johnnie assured us that it wouldn’t, and it didn’t.  Johnnie believed in us and in the validity of our investigation, and he was helpful to us in ensuring that key decisions were made after proper review and without unnecessary delay. As you may recall, we were concerned because Regional Counsel reviews and decisions had a reputation among US Attorneys’ offices as needlessly slow, as did immunity requests at DoJ. Our District Director, Bob Phinney, was also concerned about the potential delay we might encounter at Regional Counsel level.  I.A. Filer told me that he thought George Stephen (the Chief of Intelligence in Phinney’s office) was the one who selected the team of agents that was assigned to our investigation.  We had three Special Agents (I.A. Filer, Jerry Culver, and Charlie Volz) and crack Revenue Agent Ed Watts. As I wrote in my book, I never worked with a more professional or a more capable team of investigators.

John

 

At the time of the Parr investigation, Sessions was the United States Attorney for the WD of Texas (1971-1974) and Clark was the First Assistant. Sessions later became a United States District Judge for the WD of Texas and the Director of the FBI. Clark succeeded Sessions as U.S. Attorney (1975-1977) and is currently of counsel with the San Antonio law firm of Goode Casseb Jones Riklin Choate & Watson. He is also a past president of NAFUSA and one of the founders. Sessions is currently a partner at Holland & Knight in Washington.

Clark says, “Johnnie Mac Walters truly believed, as the oft-quoted maxim puts it, that ‘A public office is a public trust.’ I felt privileged to know him.”

Johnnie Mac Walters

Johnnie Mac Walters Dies, 94

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Long time NAFUSA member Johnnie “Mac” Walters, died at his home in Greenville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. He was 94. See the full obituary from today’s New York Times. He served as assistant attorney general (1969-1971) and as commissioner of Internal Revenue (1971-1973) in the Nixon Administration.

As described in his memoirs, Our Journey, published in 2011,

In 1971 embattled President Richard M. Nixon sought to use the Internal Revenue Service as a weapon to investigate and punish his “enemies.” Tapes of White House conversations reveal that Nixon wanted as Commissioner “a ruthless son-of-a-bitch that he will do what he is told; that every income tax return I want to see I see; that he will go after our enemies and not go after our friends.”

Attorney General John Mitchell recommended Assistant AG Johnnie Mac Walters. Apparently no one checked with Walters who was “shocked” when White House Counsel John Dean presented him with an “enemies list.” Walters resisted pressure from the White House and told Secretary of the Treasury George Schultz that he could “have my job anytime he wanted it.”

Walters earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He served in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator, flying fifty bombing missions. He was awarded a Legion of Honor award from the nation of France in 2012.

Walters is survived by his wife, Donna Hall Walters, and his sons Hilton and John Roy; and his daughters, Donna Diane Gent and Betsy Kukorowski; five grandchildren and one great-grandson. A memorial service will be held at the  First Baptist Church in Greenville at 2 p.m. on July 19, 2014.

Our Journey

 

At NAFUSA’s request, an American flag was flown over the Department of Justice on June  27, 2014, in honor of Johnnie Mac Walters and will be presented to his family as a token of the appreciation in which he was held by his colleagues.

Flown over the Department of Justice on June 27, 2014, in honor of Johnnie Mac Walters

Flown over the Department of Justice on June 27, 2014, in honor of Johnnie Mac Walters

Johnnie Mac Walters flag case

 

 

Wayman Gray Sherrer, 86, Dies

Former United States Attorney Wayman Gray Sherrer, age, 86, of Oneonta, Alabama, died at his home on March 12, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Betty Rodgers Sherrer, and two children, Elizabeth Sherrer McKee and William Jefferson Sherrer. Sherrer is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, class of 1956. He served his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps as a member of the military police prior to attending college. After graduating from law school, Wayman served for six years as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, D.C.  In 1964 he was elected County Solicitor (District Attorney) of Blount County, Alabama, for a four year term. In 1969, Wayman Sherrer was appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. He served in that position until 1977. Wayman returned to the private practice of law in Oneonta, Alabama, in 1977, and in 2001, he was joined in the practice of law by his son. In all, Mr. Sherrer served the legal profession in Alabama for over 50 years.

As is the custom of NAFUSA, an American flag was flown over Main Justice and will be presented to the Sherrer family as a remembrance of the esteem in which he was held by his former colleagues.

American flag flown over Main Justice on March 18 in honor of Wayman Gray Sherrer

American flag flown over Main Justice on March 18 in honor of Wayman Gray Sherrer