By the end of February 2021, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee will welcome First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. “Joe” Murphy as the district’s new Top Federal Prosecutor who will temporarily replace the outgoing U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant. According to the request announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Monty Wilkinson last February 9, 2021, which called for the remaining 55 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their letter of resignation on or before February 28, 2021, U.S. Attorney Dunavant announced that he will be stepping down by the end of the month and will then be replaced by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy on March 1, 2021. By virtue of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Joseph C. Murphy will assume the position as Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee within 300 days, or until a new Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official has been nominated and confirmed by President-elect Joe Biden and by the Senate, respectively.
Table of Contents
- Educational Background and Memberships
- Legal Career – Government Service
- Legal Career – Department of Justice
- Service as First Assistant U.S. Attorney
- Statement from former U.S. Attorney Dunavant
- More on Acting U.S. Attorney Murphy’s Legal Experience
- Office Jurisdiction
- Contact Details
- Memphis Branch Office
- Jackson Branch Office
- Social Media Profiles of Joseph Murphy
The appointment of First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. “Joe” Murphy as interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official for the Western District of Tennessee has been announced just as U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant vacated the highest position in the Office. The resignation of the outgoing Top Federal Prosecutor Dunavant is in accordance with the instruction provided by Acting U.S. Attorney General Robert M. “Monty” Wilkinson in an all-U.S. Attorney call last February 9, 2021. On behalf of the Department of Justice, Acting U.S. Attorney General Wilkinson requested for the remaining 55 Trump-appointed U.S. Attorneys to step down and vacate their posts by the end of February 2021. Such proceeding is expected in the transition between administrations, as the new government prepares for the nomination and appointment of new U.S. Attorneys across the 94 federal judicial districts in the United States. By virtue of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Murphy will take over as the first-in-command in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee on March 1, 2021, and remain as the Acting U.S. Attorney for the next 300 days, or until President-elect Joe Biden has nominated a new U.S. Attorney for the district, who the Senate shall subsequently confirm.
Educational Background and Memberships
Earning his Bachelor of Arts in English from the Lambuth College, Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph Murphy graduated from university in 1980 and attended law school after that. He received his Juris Doctorate from The University of Memphis—Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law in 1984. From then on, U.S. Attorney Murphy remained active in the community and legal affairs. He served as a volunteer at the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America and became a member of the Leo Bearman, Sr. Inn of the American Inns of Court. On top of that, he served as a Fellow of the Memphis Bar Foundation and on the Executive Committees of the Criminal Justice and Environmental Law Sections of the Tennessee Bar Association.
Legal Career – Government Service
United States Attorney Joe Murphy initiated his professional career as a Staff Attorney at the National Cotton Council of America, serving in the federation for over four years, from January 1985 to May of 1989. Following his stint at the National Cotton Council of America, Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph Murphy began his long years of service at the Department of Justice.
Legal Career – Department of Justice
In May of 1989, U.S. Attorney Murphy joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee. For over 18 years, he performed duties solely as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the district, prior to being given the opportunity to lead several of the units in the Office. During his years of service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Top Federal Prosecutor Joe Murphy also served as a Line Assistant in the Criminal Division and the Drug Task Force. In June of 2007, Acting U.S. Attorney Joe Murphy became the Chief of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), where he became responsible for leading a team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and support personnel in the investigations and prosecutions of cases involving violations of federal drug, firearms, and money laundering laws that are carried out by either individuals or organized criminal groups. After four years of supervising the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, U.S. Attorney Murphy was appointed as the Office’s Criminal Division Chief. For more than seven years, from June of 2011 to August of 2018, U.S. Attorney Murphy supervised a staff of approximately 28 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and ten support personnel who were all dedicated to investigating and prosecuting criminal cases directed to the Memphis Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
Service as First Assistant U.S. Attorney
Previously, on July 9, 2018, the appointment of Acting U.S. Attorney Murphy as First Assistant U.S. Attorney to United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant was announced. Joseph Murphy had replaced the former First Assistant U.S. Assistant Lawrence J. Laurenzi, who retired in May of 2018 after an extensive career with the Department of Justice. Upon the appointment of now Acting U.S. Attorney Murphy, then U.S. Attorney Dunavant acknowledged the previous works of U.S. Attorney Joe Murphy within his 29 years of experience in the United States Attorney’s Office, including being the Chief of the Criminal Division OCDETF. Moreover, former U.S. Attorney Dunavant expressed his enthusiasm over working with him as first and second-in-command in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
“With over 29 years experience in the United States Attorney’s Office, including service as Criminal Division Chief and OCDETF Chief, Joe Murphy is well prepared to assume the duties of First Assistant United States Attorney. I am pleased to have Joe’s wise counsel, and I am confident that he will lead and manage the office with the highest degree of effectiveness and integrity. I look forward to continuing to work with him to pursue and carry out the priorities of the Department of Justice in the Western District of Tennessee,” said former U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant.
More on Acting U.S. Attorney Murphy’s Legal Experience
Given the length of his legal career and the years he has dedicated to performing duties in the Department of Justice, Acting U.S. Attorney Joe Murphy has developed an expertise in investigating and prosecuting criminal cases. He has an extensive legal profile, having tried over 125 felony cases to verdict in the United States District Court. Most of the cases that he has worked on involved the prosecution of healthcare professionals who were leading and were in conspiracy with the individual responsible for illegally distributing controlled substances, along with cases of mail and wire fraud, and the prosecution of theft cases involving interstate shipments and pension funds. On top of that, U.S. Attorney Murphy has efficiently and effectively represented the U.S. government in more than 200 cases, which were all litigated before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and has also argued over 48 cases before the aforementioned court.
The Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee is currently being led by interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official Joseph C. “Joe” Murphy. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes and civil litigations, including those that are related to child exploitation, financial fraud, firearms violations, healthcare fraud, human trafficking, public corruption, and terrorism, among other violent crimes that are within the jurisdiction of the district. As the Top Federal Prosecutor of the Western District of Tennessee, Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph C. “Joe” Murphy is also in charge of representing the United States in affirmative and defensive civil cases and collecting debts owed to the United States.
Full Name: Joseph C. Murphy
District/State: Western District of Tennessee
Public email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Memphis Branch Office
U.S. Attorney’s Office
167 North Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Jackson Branch Office
U.S. Attorney’s Office
109 South Highland Avenue
Jackson, TN 38301
Social Media Profiles of Joseph Murphy
URL: Joe Murphy
Username: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee
Updated: July 6, 2021