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KNOXVILLE – The youngest member of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and the state’s first black female appellate court judge — Camille R. McMullen, a 1996 alumna of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law — will speak at the ninth annual Julian Blackshear Scholarship Banquet.

Camille R. McMullen
Camille R. McMullen
The Blackshear banquet, sponsored by the University of Tennessee’s Black Law Student Association, will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at the UT Visitors Center on Neyland Drive, near Kingston Pike.

Tickets are available through the college’s Development Office, (865) 974-6691. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Julian Blackshear Scholarship fund, named in honor of Julian Blackshear, one of UT’s first black law school graduates, who is now a retired attorney living in Nashville.

Last year, at age 37, McMullen was sworn in as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Prior to her current appointment, McMullen served seven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. Before that, she was an Assistant District Attorney for Shelby County from 1998 until 2001.

As a state prosecutor, McMullen tried felony cases and was the lead prosecutor in several cases involving the summertime deaths of small children left in day-care vans. As a federal prosecutor, she handled cases involving felons with firearms, bank and mortgage fraud, and identity theft, among others. Additionally, she handled numerous appeals before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

McMullen said her years as a prosecutor were great preparation for being a judge. “I had to get out there on the other side to see the whole picture. I’ve come full circle now,” she said.
In announcing her selection last year, Gov. Phil Bredesen said McMullen “brings a strong and wide-ranging level of experience to this post, and her experience as a criminal lawyer has prepared her well for service in the Court of Criminal Appeals.”

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said he wasn’t surprised that McMullen was appointed to the appeals court.

“She was a rising star in the DA’s office. She has the temperament, the intelligence, the work ethic and the fairness,” he said.

In her new job, McMullen is required to write some 80 opinions a year.

“It’s been an absolute whirlwind,” she said of her first year on the job. “I keep getting these big boxes filled with cases. It requires a tremendous amount of time, but my colleagues on the bench have been wonderfully supportive in helping to get me acclimated. It is a lot of work, but I’m up for the challenge.”

McMullen’s husband, Bruce, a 1996 alumnus of UT College of Law, is a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker Donelson and concentrates his practice in business, municipal and health care litigation.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,