Sunday, November 2, 2014

Inzer Bass Wyatt Jr. (1907-1990)

Inzer B. Wyatt, from the 1980 "Justices and Judges of the United States Courts".

    A native son of Alabama, strangely named jurist Inzer Bass Wyatt logged nearly three decades of service as a federal judge, being appointed to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in 1962. Born in Huntsville on March 29, 1907, Inzer B. Wyatt was the son of Inzer Bass and Katheryne Milligan Wyatt. Inheriting his unusual name from his father, Inzer Wyatt's early education occurred in the state of his birth and in the early 1920s enrolled at the University of Alabama. He would earn his A.B. degree in 1927 and in 1930 graduated from the Harvard Law School.
   Inzer Wyatt married in the early 1930s to Hope Johnston (1906-2004), to whom he was wed for nearly sixty years. The couple would remain childless through their entire marriage and by 1940 had removed from Alabama to New York. As a resident of Manhattan, Wyatt joined the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell and in 1940 was admitted as a partner. He remained with this firm until 1942 when he joined in the ongoing war effort, becoming a
a Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. From 1944-45 he served as a special security representative in the China -Burma-India theater and would leave the army in 1946, having attained the rank of Colonel.
   Following his return stateside Wyatt rejoined the firm of Sullivan and Cromwell but would leave once again in 1953 to accept the position of special assistant in the U.S. Attorney General's office, taking part in cases centered upon conscientious objectors. He remained in this post until 1960, and two years later was appointed by then-President John F. Kennedy as U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. After being confirmed Wyatt began a 28-year tenure on the bench and would assume senior status as a judge after turning 70 in 1977.
   During his lengthy career on the bench, Wyatt oversaw the 1969 trial of lawyer Roy Cohn (1929-1984), best known as U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the early 1950s. Cohn, on trial for alleged bribery, would be acquitted along with two others by Judge Wyatt, who gained additional press in 1970 when he approved "an $82.5 million dollar offering by five major drug companies" who had been sued by thousands of customers that had leveled charges of high price fixing against them. 
   Inzer Wyatt's 28-year judgeship was terminated by his death at age 82 in Manhattan. Following his passing Wyatt was returned to his birth state of Alabama, being buried at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. Hope Johnston Wyatt was also interred at this cemetery following her death in 2004 at age 98.

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