Johnson T. Crawford

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Johnson Tal Crawford
Circuit Judge of the Oklahoma District Court of Appeals
In office
1936 (1936) – 1946 (1946)
Personal details
Born(1889-08-31)August 31, 1889
Washington County, Arkansas
DiedJanuary 1, 1955(1955-01-01) (aged 65)
Spouse(s)Jessie Frank Rogers
ChildrenTalicia Diane Crawford
ResidenceAda, Oklahoma
  • Judge

Johnson Tal Crawford (31 August 1889 - 1 January 1955)[1] was an American lawyer and jurist. He was a district judge in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States from 1936 to 1946.[2] In the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, he co-judged both the Doctors' Trial and the RuSHA Trial. The collective judgement from the Doctors' Trial led to the establishment of the Nuremberg Code.[3]

Early Life[edit]

Johnson Tal Crawford was born 31 August 1889 in Washington County, Arkansas, United States.[4][5]

He received his law degree from Oklahoma University.[5][better source needed]

He met Jessie Frank Rogers, one of the daughters of Robert E. Rogers[6] and his wife (m. 12 October 1875 in Milton County, Georgia)[7] Mary Avarilla Cogburn (1858–1916)[8], and a sister of Phillip Henry Rogers (b. 23 September 1877)[9] when she was a stenographer at the county courthouse in Ada, Oklahoma.[10] They married on 3 July 1923 at the Central Presbyterian Church,[11][4] then on South Travis Street at the NE corner of Cherry Street,[12] Sherman, Grayson County, Texas. Jessie had also previously worked as a secretary for her brother-in-law Wallie, a local general practice physician.

District Judge[edit]

He was a judge from about 1924[5][better source needed] then presiding judge at the District Court of Oklahoma in Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma from 1936 to 1946,[2][4][13][14] a court with general jurisdiction over almost all civil and criminal matters within its sphere of influence. To be able to go to Nuremberg he resigned from the district court, but hoped to return to Ada to practice law following the war crimes tribunals.[5] Like the other potential justices, he requested permission for his family to accompany him.

Nuremberg Military Tribunal Judge[edit]

The Nuremberg Military Tribunal, 1946. From left to right: Harold L. Sebring, Walter B. Beals, Johnson T. Crawford, and Victor C. Swearingen.

Following the end of major hostilities in World War II, he was appointed as a member of Military Tribunal I by U.S. President Harry S. Truman.[15] As a member of Military Tribunal I, as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials at Nuremberg, he judged both the Doctors' trial (along with Walter B. Beals, Harold Sebring, and Lt. Col. Victor C. Swearingen)[16] and the RuSHA Trial.[13][17][18]


The collective judgement from the Doctors' Trial led to the establishment of the Nuremberg Code,[3] a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation. The trials were pivotal in the development of international human rights and bioethics.[19] His papers are held in the Linscheid Library of East Central University.[20]

Family Life[edit]

He was informally known by his middle name "Tal" and his wife Jessie Frank as "Jess".[21] Their daughter Talicia Diane Crawford (30 March 1924 in Ada, Oklahoma - 25 September 2000 in Fairfax (County?), Virginia),[22][23] married George Fitzgerald Smoot Jr. on 14 July 1943 in Escambia County, Florida, and had issue including:


  1. ^ Find-a-Grave: Johnson Tal Crawford, accessed March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Alumni" (PDF). Sooner Magazine. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma. 21 (12): 19. August 1949. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b Emanuel, Ezekiel J.; Grady, Christine C.; Crouch, Robert A.; Lie, Reidar K.; Miller, Franklin G.; Wendler, David D. (2011). The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 136–140. ISBN 9780199768639.
  4. ^ a b c U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 for Johnson Tal Crawford, accessed via paid subscription site, March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial, by U. Schmidt; Publ. Springer, Jun 30, 2004.
  6. ^ Robert Rogers in the 1880 United States Federal Census, accessed March 2019 via
  7. ^ Robert E Rogers in the Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978, accessed March 2019 via paid subscription site.
  8. ^ Find-a-Grave: Mary Avarilla Cogburn, accessed March 2019.
  9. ^ U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 for Phillip Henry Rogers, accessed March 2019.
  10. ^ Mary A Cogburn in the 1920 United States Federal Census, accessed March 2019.
  11. ^ Marriage of J. Tal Crawford and Jessie Rogers, accessed March 2019 via paid subscription site.
  12. ^ Central Presbyterian Church, Polk's Sherman City Directory, 1923; page 23. Accessed March 2019 via paid subscription site.
  13. ^ a b Schmidt, U. (2004). Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial. Springer. p. 144. ISBN 0230505244.
  14. ^ Eltzschig, Johannes; Walter, Michael (2011). Guide to the Microfiche Edition: With an Introduction to the Trial's History by Angelika Ebbinghaus and Short Biographies of the Participants The Nuremberg Medical Trial 1946/47. Walter de Gruyter. p. 83. ISBN 9783110950076.
  15. ^ Truman, Harry (20 December 1946). "Executive Order 9813-Appointment of the Members and the Alternate Member of a Military Tribunal Establlished for the Trial and Punishment of Major War Criminals in Germany". Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  16. ^ Mark William Falzini (2004). "Letters Home: The Story of an American Military Family in Occupied Germany 1946-1949". New York: iUniverse. pp. 62–64. ISBN 9780595312450. OCLC 1052834711. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  17. ^ "The Judges of Military Tribunal I hearing the RuSHA Trial". Photo Archives. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  18. ^ Vivien Spitz (2005). "Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans". Sentient Publications. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  19. ^ [ Link to the Nuremberg Code (.pdf download)
  20. ^ "Linscheid Library: Special Collections". East Central University. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  21. ^ Find-a-Grave: Jessie Frank "Jess" Crawford accessed March 2019.
  22. ^ Talicia Crawford Smoot in the Virginia Death Records, accessed March 2019 via paid subscription site.
  23. ^ Talicia Crawford Smoot in the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, accessed March 2019.