Was Raulston Schoolfield Corrupt? 'Rush to Justice' Invites Readers to Judge for Themselves
When Chattanooga's Judge Raulston Schoolfield died in 1982, the New York Times noted his passing:
Judge Raulston Schoolfield, removed from the criminal bench on charges of bribery and extorting campaign help from racketeers but later elected as a lesser jurist, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 76 years old.
Mr. Schoolfield's impeachment and conviction by the state Senate in 1958 led to his disbarment and removal as a County Judge...
Schoolfield was controversial throughout much of his career.
Originally elected to be a reformer working against a political machine controlling Hamilton County in the 1940s, he may or may not have been corrupt himself. Some supporters turned against him amid allegations he'd accepted an $18,500 bribe from the Teamsters, plus about 30 other charges. And he may have made political enemies during his unsuccessful bid for Governor of Tennessee, running on a segregationist platform.
Most surprising of all, the impeached, disbarred judge was eventually able to pick up a gavel again, due to his enduring popularity with some local voters.
Attorney Jerry Summers has written Rush to Justice? Tennessee's Forgotten Trial of the Century - Schoolfield 1958, which gives readers a chance to examine the evidence and decide for themselves whether Schoolfield truly was corrupt, or was victimized by political enemies.
In this extended WUTC interview, Summers talks about his new book.
From the publisher:
Chattanooga, Tennessee, trial attorney covers the first part of a controversial judge's life. Raulston Schoolfield was removed from office by an impeachment conducted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1958. This book explores details of the investigation, trial, press coverage and outcome. 152 illustrations.