Arch Kelley III was an American attorney who dedicated his life to justice and service. He served as a federal prosecutor, a judge, and an advocate for civil rights. This article will explore his life and legacy, examining his contributions to the legal profession and his impact on society.
Early Life and Education:
Archibald Randolph Kelley III was born on January 21, 1944, in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in a family of lawyers, as his father and grandfather were both prominent attorneys. After graduating from high school, Kelley attended Harvard College, where he majored in government. He then attended Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1969.
After law school, Kelley worked as a law clerk for Judge Collins Seitz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He then joined the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division. In 1975, he became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he worked on cases involving white-collar crime and public corruption.
In 1983, Kelley was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure as a judge, he presided over many high-profile cases, including the trial of John Gotti, the boss of the Gambino crime family. Kelley was known for his fairness and his commitment to justice.
Later Career and Legacy:
After leaving the bench in 1997, Kelley joined the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he worked on cases involving corporate governance and securities law. He also served as a member of the New York City Police Department’s Advisory Board, where he worked to improve police-community relations.
Kelley’s legacy is one of service and dedication to justice. He was a tireless advocate for civil rights and a champion of the rule of law. He believed that the law should be applied fairly and impartially, and he worked to ensure that justice was served in every case.
Kelley’s career came to a dramatic halt when he was indicted on multiple charges of bribery and obstruction of justice in 1987. The charges stemmed from an investigation into allegations that Kelley had accepted bribes from attorneys in exchange for favorable treatment in cases. Kelley initially denied the charges but later pleaded guilty to bribery and obstruction of justice in 1989.
Kelley was disbarred and sentenced to six years in prison for his crimes. He served four years in prison before being released in 1995. Following his release, he worked as a paralegal and a consultant on legal matters. In 2017, he published a memoir titled “Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia,” which detailed his experiences as a prosecutor and his eventual downfall.
Arch Kelley III was a remarkable individual whose contributions to the legal profession and to society will not be forgotten. His legacy is one of service, fairness, and dedication to justice, and his example serves as an inspiration to all who seek to make a difference in the world.