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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Dunavant Announces Joseph “Joe” Murphy as First Assistant United States Attorney, Western District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee
Joe Murphy, First Assistant United States Attorney, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – United States Attorney Dunavant is pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph "Joe" Murphy as First Assistant United States Attorney, Western District of Tennessee. This position was vacated when Lawrence J. Laurenzi retired in May 2018 after an extensive career with the Department of Justice.

Joe Murphy is a graduate of Lambuth College and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis. Since 1989 he has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Memphis office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. Murphy served as the office’s Criminal Chief, supervising 28 Assistant United States Attorneys who investigate and prosecute criminal cases in the Memphis office and 10 support staff. Prior to being named the office’s Criminal Chief in June of 2011, Murphy served as Chief of the office’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force for three years. In that position he was responsible for supervising a team of attorneys and support personnel who investigated and prosecuted violations of federal drug, money laundering, and firearms laws committed by both individuals and organized criminal groups. Between 1991 and 2007, Murphy served as a line assistant in both the office’s criminal division and drug task force.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "With over 29 years’ experience in the United States Attorney’s Office, including service as Criminal Division Chief and OCDETF Chief, Joe Murphy is well prepared to assume the duties of First Assistant United States Attorney. I am pleased to have Joe’s wise counsel, and I am confident that he will lead and manage the office with the highest degree of effectiveness and integrity. I look forward to continuing to work with him to pursue and carry out the priorities of the Department of Justice in the Western District of Tennessee."

During his career with the Justice Department Murphy has tried approximately 125 felony cases to verdict in U.S. District Court. These cases included prosecutions of health care professionals for illegally distributing controlled substances; mail and wire fraud cases; and theft cases involving pension funds and interstate shipments. Murphy has also represented the government in over 200 cases litigated before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and he has argued approximately 48 cases before that court.

A Memphis resident, Murphy has been married to Sandy Murphy for 29 years. He has two children, both of whom currently attend graduate school at the University of Memphis. Active in community and legal affairs, Murphy has served on the Executive Committees of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Criminal Justice and Environmental Law Sections, is a member of the Leo Bearman, Sr. Inn of the American Inns of Court, and has served as a volunteer with the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Updated July 9, 2018