Judiciary Mourns the Passing of Retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry L. Smith

February 12, 2021

The Tennessee Judiciary mourns the loss of retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry L. Smith, who passed away on February 12, 2021.

Judge Smith was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1995 by Governor Don Sundquist. He was elected to a full term on the bench in 1996 and was reelected in 1998 and 2006. He retired in 2014.

Prior to joining the appellate bench, Judge Smith worked for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. He joined the office in 1982 as an assistant attorney general. In 1989, he became deputy attorney general, and stayed in that position until his appointment to the Court of Criminal Appeals. While at the Attorney General’s Office, he served as a designee to the Tennessee Sentencing Commission, and on the Sixth Circuit Task Force on Capital Cases. Additionally, he served as president of the National Association of Extradition Officials from 1985 to 1986.

Judge Smith earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1978. He also attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for his undergraduate studies.

Judge Smith was a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association, and was a member emeritus of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court.

For many years, he was an instructor at the Nashville School of Law. After his retirement from the bench, he taught at the Belmont University College of Law as an adjunct faculty member.

In his spare time, Judge Smith enjoyed volunteering for organizations he cared about, including the American Red Cross and Nashville Public Radio.

This story will be updated as more details become available.