Maligned Memphis Judge James Lammey Threatens Legal Action Against Memphis Commercial Appeal


An attorney representing Memphis Judge James Lammey has asked The Memphis Commercial Appeal to retract and apologize for an article suggesting he is an anti-semite.

As The Tennessee Star reported, an article Lammey shared  on Facebook— with David Cole as author — appeared on a website called and was, at least according to the newspaper, anti-Semitic in nature.

Lammey told The Tennessee Star he never agreed with the content and said as much on Facebook. Lammey only said he thought it was interesting.

In his letter, Bolivar-based attorney Stephen L. Hale told the newspaper their article was “reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel, per se.”

“The publisher has used this opportunity to launch not only a political attack against a sitting judge but to assail his core values as a civilized human being. Because of the publisher’s purposeful and reckless avoidance of the truth the reputation of Judge Lammey has been irreparably harmed; he has received hundreds of phone calls from all parts of the country accusing him of being a Holocaust denier, anti-Semite and racist,” Hale wrote.

“Valuable time has been taken away from his duties the citizens of Shelby County, Tennessee elected him to do as well as the time his secretary takes to answer these calls only to be subject to verbal assaults. Judge Lammey is also concerned for the safety of his family and himself from these unwarranted sometimes threatening calls caused by the false characterizations of his social media post concerning Cole’s article.”

In his letter, Hale also demanded the editors remove the article about him and any subsequent article from their website and to cease any further publication of these articles.

“Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available legal remedies,” Hale wrote.

In the letter, Hale also said the following:

• The publisher neither posts the referenced article nor provides a link for its audience to consider Cole’s words while implying that Judge Lammey is in some way condoning hate.

• The publisher is keenly aware that the judge expressed no such opinion and simply stated to his Facebook followers that the article was “an interesting read.” Nothing less; nothing more.

• In assailing Judge Lammey the publisher overlooks that the author of the shared article is in fact Jewish and that the article was in fact an argument against sectarian hate.

• The publisher’s assertion that the author hates Jews and is a holocaust denier are baseless and were inserted by the publisher only to align Judge Lammey with abhorrent anti-Semitic sentiment. The publisher used such inflammatory misinformation to enflame the passions of its audience and more specifically to malign Judge Lammey.

As reported, a coalition of left-leaning activists is reportedly pushing for authorities to formally censure Lammey.

According to The Memphis Commercial Appeal,  the following groups are among only some calling for censure: the NAACP Memphis Branch, Memphis Islamic Center and Jewish Community Partners.

Read the letter:

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”BUTLER_Lammey Letter Final”]


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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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