James M. McInerney (1950-1952)
Early History: James McInerney was born in New York City in 1905. After receiving his bachelor’s and law degrees from Fordham University, he practiced law in New York City until joining the FBI in 1935 as a federal agent. He worked on several major kidnapping cases. In 1939, he transferred to the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. In 1944, he was promoted to first assistant in the Division. From 1947 to 1950, he served as assistant to the head of the Tax Division, prosecuting wartime tax frauds and black market operations.
Tenure: In 1950, Mr. McInerney was appointed head of the Criminal Division by President Harry S. Truman. During his tenure, Mr. McInerney was influential in requiring the FBI to conduct a full investigation into Ku Klux Klan activities in Myrtle Beach and the beating of the owner of a popular club there. In 1952, it was alleged that Mr. McInerney and New York City Police Commissioner George P. Monaghan made an agreement barring federal inquiries into New York City police brutality. After this accusation, Mr. McInerney was transferred from the Criminal Division to the Lands Division (later renamed the Environmental and Natural Resources Division), where he served as Assistant Attorney General and oversaw a number of cases concerning titling for public works projects.
Later Career: With the change of administration in 1953, Mr. McInerney retired from the Department of Justice and returned to private practice. In the mid-1950s, he 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. Mr. 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 Criminal Division, please contact the Division.