Dyer confirmed as Court of Criminal Appeals judge

The Legislature confirmed Gov. Bill Haslam’s appointment of Memphis lawyer J. Ross Dyer to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals’ West Tennessee division Monday evening.

From the Commercial Appeal:

Dyer, 43, who has been the chief counsel for Shelby County government since 2014, replaces Roger Page on the 12-member state appeals court. (Page was appointed earlier to the state Supreme Court.)

…Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said he believes Dyer has “significant professional experience that would make him suitable for this important public role” but also expressed concern about what he called a “significant error in judgment” by Dyer as county attorney in advising county officials not to share with the public a disparity study on contracting by Shelby County government.

“The report was paid for with public dollars and concerned a topic of public importance. … Further, the nominee advised the County Commission to only discuss the study in a private session because as I understand it, the nominee considered the disparity report to be a privileged document,” Harris said.

He also said he encourages the governor to make appointments “that reflect the diversity of perspectives that we see across the state. The governor has made four appointments to the Court of Criminal Appeals and three of the four have been former prosecutors and all four have been men.”

Note: The Administrative Office of the Courts press release is below.

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts
Nashville, Tenn. ­– The newest member of the Court of Criminal Appeals was confirmed Monday night during a joint session of the Tennessee General Assembly. J. Ross Dyer of Memphis became the first CCA judge to go through the confirmation process enacted earlier this year.

Judge Dyer, 43, was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam March 31. He replaces Roger Page, who recently became a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice. Dyer has been the Shelby County Attorney since 2014.

Judge Dyer comes from three generations of lawyers and judges. His grandfather Ross W. Dyer was a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court, appointed in 1961 and served as its chief justice from 1969-1974.

“I cannot think of a better way to follow the lessons I was taught and fulfill a life-long dream than to give back to the citizens of Tennessee by serving as a judge,” wrote Judge Dyer in his application for the post.

Dyer received his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1998 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in economics from Millsaps College in 1995.

Dyer and his wife, Amy, have a daughter, Mary Elizabeth.