Memphis legal community mourns deaths of 2 judges on same day - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis legal community mourns deaths of 2 judges on same day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - The Memphis legal community is mourning the deaths of two well-respected Mid-South judges who died on Friday under different circumstances.

"It's just unbelievable...devastating," Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton said about the deaths of two of close friends, Circuit Court Judge Rita Stotts and General Sessions Judge Anthony Johnson. "Our profession and world of justice has lost two great judges. It's really crushing."

Stotts attended Christian Brothers Univeristy and later received a law degree from Vanderbilt University. She was first appointed, and then elected Judge, Division 4, in 2000.

Her father, Carl Stotts, was one of the city's first African American firefighters.

Stotts was a 17-year breast cancer survivor.
"The compassion and concern she had and brought to the bench about children," said Wharton. "The divorce cases...she had a very common sense view."

Johnson served as General Sessions Judge over division 10.
"The demeanor, the conduct, the dignity he demanded in his courtroom of everybody," Wharton said.
Friends said Johnson had suffered from a cardiac-related illness in the past.

Wharton said Johnson was a well-respected pioneer in the legal community. "He respected the majesty of lady justice. He felt those of us who came in his courtroom should be on the same level."

Click here to e-mail Jamel Major.

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