Sneed, Joseph T. 1920-2008 (Joseph T. Sneed, III, Joseph Tyree Sneed)

views updated

Sneed, Joseph T. 1920-2008 (Joseph T. Sneed, III, Joseph Tyree Sneed)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 21, 1920, in Calvert, TX; died February 9, 2008, in San Francisco, CA. Lawyer, judge, educator, and author. Sneed spent twenty-five years between 1947 and 1973 teaching at the University of Texas, Cornell and Stanford Universities, and Duke University. He was also associated with a Texas law firm briefly in the 1950s. In 1973, during a brief stint as deputy U.S. attorney general under President Richard Nixon, he was connected with the Justice Department's response to American Indian protest activities at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. It was Nixon who appointed him a judge of the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1973; he sat on the bench in San Francisco for thirty-five years, achieving the status of senior judge in 1987. Sneed saw himself as a relatively conservative judge on a court that had been moving steadily toward liberalism. He was a member of the panel that chose Kenneth Starr to investigate President Bill Clinton's involvement in the Whitewater real-estate scandal in the 1990s. In 2001 he argued in support of a California three-strikes law that sent a third-time offender to jail for fifty years for the comparatively minor crime of shoplifting videotapes from a store. Sneed was the author of Footprints on the Rocks of the Mountain: An Account of the Enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment (1997).



Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2008, p. B9.