James M. McInerney (1952-1953)
Early History/Schooling: James McInerney was born in New York City in 1905. He received his Bachelor’s and law degrees from Fordham University. He practiced law in New York City until entering federal service in 1935.
Tenure as AAG: When McInerney was appointed AAG of the Lands Division in 1952, he was already a seasoned veteran of AAG work, having served as head of the Criminal Division (1950-1952). He took on a number of cases concerning titling for public works projects. In one case, United States v. Waymire, McInerney argued for the United States’ right to construct a dam and reservoir site in connection with the Keyhole project of the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior.
Career: McInerney joined the FBI in 1935 and worked on several major kidnaping cases. In 1939, he transferred to the Criminal Division. In 1944, he was promoted to first assistant in that Division. From 1947-1950, he served as assistant to the head of the Tax Division, prosecuting wartime tax frauds and black market operations. In 1950, McInerney was appointed head of the Criminal Division by President Truman. During his time as head of the Criminal Division, McInerney was influential in forcing the FBI to conduct a full investigation into Ku Klux Klan activities in Myrtle Beach and the beating of Charlie Fitzgerald. In 1952, it was alleged that New York City Police Commissioner George P. Monaghan made an agreement with McInerney barring Federal inquiries into New York City police brutality. After this accusation, McInerney was transferred from the Criminal Division to the Lands Division. With the change of administration in 1953, McInerney retired from the Department of Justice and returned to private practice. In the mid-1950s, McInerney was chairman of the Special Committee for Legal Aid in Employee Security Matters, established by the District Bar Association to provide legal counsel to Government employees involved in security risk cases.
Personal: McInerney married Helen Lynch with whom he had two sons, Michael and Kevin. He was president of the Washington chapters of the Fordham University Alumni Association and the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. McInerney died in a car accident in 1963.
This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources, and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Division, please contact ENRD.