Joseph Sam Perry

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Joseph Samuel Perry (November 30, 1896 – February 18, 1984) was a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Carbon Hill, Alabama, Perry was the son of a coal miner named Jack Perry, and Mary Elizabeth Brown. He worked on local farms and in area coal mines before joining the U.S. Navy and serving in Europe during World War I.[1] After the war, he returned home to finish high school. Perry then earned a bachelor's degree Phi Beta Kappa in 1923 from the University of Alabama and a master's degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in 1925. He earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1927.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Perry worked in private law practice in Chicago from 1928 until 1933, when he began working as a master in chancery in DuPage County, Illinois and as a private lawyer in Wheaton, Illinois. In 1936, Perry was elected to the Illinois Senate as a Democrat from the 41st district. He served from 1937 until 1943 and served as a floor leader for Governor Henry Horner. In 1943, Perry returned to private law practice in Wheaton. He was the last Democrat from DuPage County to serve in the Illinois Senate until Tom Cullerton of Villa Park seventy years later. After World War II, Perry was unsuccessful in efforts to be elected as a state senator and a congressman, largely because he was a Democrat in heavily Republican DuPage County. Perry remained a lawyer in Wheaton until he became a federal judge in 1951. Perry also worked from 1949 until 1951 as DuPage County's public administrator.[3]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On July 13, 1951, President Harry S. Truman nominated Perry to be a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The United States Senate confirmed Perry's nomination on August 21, 1951.[4]

During his tenure, Perry presided over a large number of high-profile trials, including an 18-month-long wrongful-death suit initiated by the survivors and family members of two members of the Black Panther Party who were killed during a 1969 raid on the group's headquarters. At the end of the trial, which at that time was the longest trial before a federal court jury in U.S. history, Perry dismissed all charges against law enforcement officials who had been sued for $47 million in a wrongful-death suit when jurors could not reach a verdict. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit eventually overturned Perry and ordered a new trial, but an out-of-court settlement eventually was reached.[5]

Perry took senior status on November 29, 1971.[6]

Mastodon discovery[edit]

On October 16, 1963, a man named Marshall Erb (1910–1989) was excavating a pond in the back yard of Perry's house, at 683 Riford Road in Glen Ellyn, Illinois when Erb found a large, 42-inch bone.[7] The bone was taken to a geologist at Wheaton College in nearby Wheaton, Illinois, who judged it to be the fossilized bone of a prehistoric mastodon that became extinct more than 8,000 years ago. Diggers uncovered more bones, and Perry then gave Wheaton College permission to excavate the site. Geologists eventually found more than 100 of the mastodon's 211 bones, including the complete skull with well-preserved teeth.[8] Geologists eventually reassembled the mastodon skeleton, and it is now on display at Wheaton College's Meyer Science Center.[9][10]

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County purchased much of Perry's 10-acre (40,000 m2) estate in 1995 for $312,500.[11]

Death[edit]

Perry died on February 18, 1984 at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois.[12]

Personal[edit]

Perry was survived by his wife, Nelle, a son, John and a daughter, Maribeth.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/633007172.html?dids=633007172:633007172&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Feb+20%2C+1984&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(1963-Current+file)&edition=&startpage=C6&desc=Joseph+Sam+Perry%2C+U.+S.+district+judge
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  5. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/633007172.html?dids=633007172:633007172&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Feb+20%2C+1984&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(1963-Current+file)&edition=&startpage=C6&desc=Joseph+Sam+Perry%2C+U.+S.+district+judge
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  7. ^ http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/NewsLetter5960s/DEC63.html
  8. ^ http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/NewsLetter5960s/DEC63.html
  9. ^ http://www.mysteriousworld.com/Journal/1998/Winter/Fragments/
  10. ^ http://www.wheaton.edu/community/perry
  11. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/20549700.html?dids=20549700:20549700&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+17%2C+1995&author=Bob+Goldsborough.&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&edition=&startpage=3&desc=DISTRICT+WILL+BUY+MASTODON+POND
  12. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/633007172.html?dids=633007172:633007172&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Feb+20%2C+1984&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(1963-Current+file)&edition=&startpage=C6&desc=Joseph+Sam+Perry%2C+U.+S.+district+judge
  13. ^ https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/633007172.html?dids=633007172:633007172&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Feb+20%2C+1984&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune+(1963-Current+file)&edition=&startpage=C6&desc=Joseph+Sam+Perry%2C+U.+S.+district+judge

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Elwyn Riley Shaw
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
1951–1971
Succeeded by
William Joseph Bauer