Memphis, TN – Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, has announced his resignation, effective February 28, 2017. U.S. Attorney Stanton has served in office since August 2010.
“Nearly six and a half years ago I was provided the professional honor of a lifetime,” U.S. Attorney Stanton said. “To be able to serve the district where I was born, raised and educated, and for which I have tremendous love and respect, was a remarkable experience. I am tremendously grateful to President Obama, Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Congressman Steve Cohen for placing their trust in me. I am confident the extraordinary professionals of the U.S. Attorney’s Office will remain tirelessly devoted to the unwavering cause of justice on behalf of the citizens of West Tennessee and our great nation. I am proud of the work we have accomplished in and out of the courtroom, including building meaningful bonds of trust with the community we serve. As I step away from this esteemed post, I remain committed to being actively engaged in serving our great community.”
When he assumed the role as U.S. Attorney in 2010, Mr. Stanton committed himself to protecting the nearly 1.5 million citizens that comprise West Tennessee through the vigorous enforcement of federal laws.
One of Mr. Stanton’s highlights during his tenure as U.S. Attorney was the creation of a dedicated Civil Rights Unit in 2011. The Unit, which has earned national acclaim, is responsible for prosecuting individuals who commit federal civil rights crimes, such as human trafficking, law enforcement corruption, excessive force, official misconduct, hate crimes, predatory lending, unfair housing, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations.
Mr. Stanton has served on the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Board. The program was recently awarded the U.S. Attorney’s Office funding to implement a federal initiative that exclusively targets crimes involving heroin and prescription opioids. He is also a founding member of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, which is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement officials, with a common goal of combating criminal gang activity.
With a focus on prosecuting cases involving violent crime, human trafficking, child exploitation, hate crimes, health care fraud, identity theft, racketeering, drug trafficking, and unlawful firearm possession, prosecutorial highlights during Mr. Stanton’s tenure include:
- Chastain Montgomery, Sr., was sentenced to consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murders of United States Postal Service employees Paula Robinson and Judy Spray during a robbery of the establishment. Mr. Stanton served as co-counsel on the trial team.
- Ricky Lee Stewart, III was sentenced to life in federal prison for fatally shooting Henderson Police Department Captain Dennis Cagle during an attempted robbery of a Henderson, Tennessee Save-A-Lot. Stewart’s wife, Cheryl Freeman Stewart, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for her role in the attempted robbery.
- Orlando Garcia was sentenced to life in federal prison for his role in the murder of Tennessee State Trooper Calvin Wayne Jenks, who was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in Tipton County.
- Dale Mardis was sentenced to life in federal prison for the racially-motivated killing of a Shelby County Code Enforcement Officer. Mr. Stanton served as co-counsel on the trial team.
- Craig Petties, a leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the Mid-South, was sentenced to nine life sentences in federal prison. More than 40 additional people were also prosecuted for their roles within this violent and lucrative criminal enterprise.
- Clarence Mumford, Sr., the ringleader of a two-decade-long teacher certification testing scam, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison. Thirteen other participants in the scheme were also prosecuted, and an additional 40 reached diversion agreements that resulted in the loss of their teaching licenses.
- Justin Shawn Baker was sentenced to federal prison for violating the civil rights of students and faculty of the Margolin Hebrew Academy. Baker defaced a Torah and religious prayer books, which the students and faculty used for a worship service conducted at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson.
- Terrence Yarbrough, aka “T-Rex,” was sentenced to more than 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking at least 10 female victims, some underage teens. To coerce the victims into prostituting for him, he beat them with belts, wooden coat hangers, crowbars, padlocks attached to belts, and dog chains.
- Amos Patton, a former soldier, was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for assault with intent to murder four soldiers at the Millington Army National Guard Recruiting Center.
- Terrence Milam was sentenced to 170 years in federal prison for producing child pornography and engaging in sexually explicit conduct with two prepubescent female minors between October 2013 and late January 2015.
- Christopher T. Crawford and Jordan West were sentenced to federal imprisonment for their roles in a lucrative shipping theft scheme that defrauded FedEx and wireless carriers of more than $1.8 million.
- Remark Chism was sentenced to federal prison for masterminding a federal benefit fraud scheme that cost the government approximately $2.8 million. His brother, Ray Chism III, was sentenced in a separate case for executing a federal benefit fraud scheme that defrauded the government of $400,000.
Between 2010 and 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collected more than $50 million in civil and criminal actions.
During his tenure, Mr. Stanton also made it a priority to conduct outreach and strengthen relationships between law enforcement partners, citizens, and community groups.
For example, Mr. Stanton engaged the district’s clergy, civic, nonprofit and business communities through community forums, roundtable discussions and a myriad of speaking engagements; encouraged and equipped the district’s youth by visiting schools, community centers, and nonprofit organizations that cater to youth; and implemented programs that provide employment opportunities to non-violent ex-offenders determined to become productive members of society.
Mr. Stanton spearheaded the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s involvement in the U.S. District Court’s reentry and drug court program; appointed a Reentry and Prevention Coordinator; established an Employer Recruitment Program to help increase the number of companies who hire non-violent ex-offenders; and conducted quarterly visits to both the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Memphis and Satellite Prison Camp (SPC) in Millington to talk with inmates about transitional resources, supervised release, and the necessity to watch the company they keep.
In addition, Mr. Stanton chaired the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Racial Disparities Working Group. Under his leadership, this group of U.S. Attorneys from across the country addressed implicit and unconscious bias, potential sentencing disparities, and requested enhanced training programs for law enforcement officials.
Mr. Stanton is responsible for fully staffing both the Memphis and Jackson divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office by hiring two-thirds of the Office’s current Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs), along with nearly half of the Office’s support staff. He also appointed the district’s first-ever Appellate Chiefs and created a dedicated Appellate Unit to promote and defend the government’s interests in the Courts of Appeals. He was able to accomplish these milestones while navigating his staff through several financial challenges, including a hiring freeze, government shutdown and budget sequestration.
Mr. Stanton, a native Memphian, is a graduate of Central High School, the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Law School. Prior to serving as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Stanton served as Senior Counsel with Federal Express Corporation. He also served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Memphis and in private practice with two Memphis law firms.