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Ramsey, James Nelson, b. 1943



  • Existence: 1943-


James Nelson Ramsey was born January 14, 1943 in Rochester, New York. He attended Oak Ridge, Tennessee schools, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1965. He married Ilma Kathryn Thomas in 1967. Ramsey received his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1972, and was admitted to the Bar the same year. He joined the law firm of Ridenour and Ridenour in Clinton, TN, but soon established his own private practice. In 1974, he was elected County Attorney of Anderson County, and from 1976-1978, he also served as City Judge for the town of Lake City.

Ramsey was elected District Attorney General in 1978, and, in an attempt to put an end to corruption in county departments, soon found himself embroiled in controversy with local judges and law enforcement officials. He was cited twice for contempt of court in 1979; eleven (11) misconduct charges were filed against him before the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee between 1979 and 1981. Those charges were dismissed, but the accusations continued. Ramsey received a letter of censure from the Board in 1982; he also won re-election that year. Again cited for contempt of court in 1985, and again accused of misconduct before the Board, which suspended his law license for 6 months, Ramsey carried his case to the state Supreme Court in 1988. The Court upheld the Disciplinary Board ruling but reduced the suspension to 45 days. He filed a request for a Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court (1989), but the Court declined to hear the appeal. Despite the controversy, and questions about his ability to act as District Attorney General while under suspension, Ramsey sought, and won, re-election in 1990.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

James Ramsey papers

Identifier: ML-76
Date(s): 1974 to 1993

James Ramsey (b. 1943), attorney general and judge. Dartmouth College Class of 1965. The collection contains correspondence, legal documents, printed materials, newspapers, reports, political memorabilia and photographs related to his professional life.

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