Disbarred! How Vern Braswell’s Trial Lawyer Lost His License

7 mins read

By @BlackDefendants

Braswell’s trial lawyer, J. Bailey

The History of Braswell’s TriaI Lawyer

By the time Braswell made it to his second appeal around 2009, his trial lawyer, Javier Bailey, was well on his way to being disbarred as a result of allegations of misrepresentation of services to clients, poor services, and questionable financial practices. The complaints against him to the lawyers board were growing by the mile.

Former attorney Bailey is from a very prominent legal family; his late uncle D’Army Bailey and father Walter Bailey were civil rights champions in the city of Memphis. The current criminal justice complex in Shelby County, Tennessee is named after his dad, Walter Bailey.

However, when it came to the actual practice of law, Javier Bailey did not enjoy the same pristine ethical reputation that his father and uncle enjoyed. In the Braswell case, he was accused of not paying to secure an expert after he was given money to cover the expert’s fees. He was also accused of shoddy investigative work that he was paid for, but he did not produce any of the 8-10 witnesses for Braswell’s trial that showed up as new evidence witnesses during Braswell’s appeal. On what may have been Braswell’s most critical witness, a woman with 1st hand knowledge of the Braswell’s sexual practices because she often joined them, Bailey gave testimony that while Braswell told him about her, he may have forgotten. At times during Braswell’s appeal he said he crafted the Braswell defense, even though two other prominent attorneys, Leslie Ballin and Glen Wright, both testified that Braswell informed them of his defense early in his case; of note, Bailey was working on the Braswell case with Ballin.

In a letter Braswell wrote us, he said it seemed like Bailey was trying very, very hard to catapult him under the bus during the appeal. That he strenuously volunteered information to guarantee Braswell would fail; including information that he wasn’t asked. Braswell said he felt like Bailey was trying to nail the coffin shut on him as if he was soldiering for “The Man” or woman in this case. Braswell said he was confused and hurt by this. He went on to add, the morning after I was arrested, after being basically naked on a slab of concrete on suicide watch, Bailey popped up out of nowhere to visit me. He allowed me to cry on his shoulder and promised me that l was going to be okay. His visit made the difference in my desire to die, to live, and to fight these charges.

Braswell said he understood why Bailey was not only throwing him under the bus; he was also tying Braswell to the tracks under a train. Apparently. but not surprisingly, Bailey was being criminally investigated by the DA’s office and was warned that his testimony in my case could “trigger” charges against him. Seemingly, Bailey had a choice, allegedly, he could either tell the truth and Braswell comes out of prison and Bailey runs an increased risk of going to prison or Bailey could (as he testified) “hold back” and Bailey stays out of prison, especially if he helps to shut the door on Braswell and helps the DA’s office to keep Braswell in prison – allegedly! A witness tampering investigation should have (but did not) come out of the allegations by Bailey during his testimony.

Interestingly enough, the same judge, Paula Skahan had just ruled against Bailey in another appeal case in her court room when she concluded that Bailey gave testimony “inconsistent with the facts” regarding financial matters with another defendant. Nonetheless, Judge Skahan found Bailey to be credible concerning the financial matters of the exact same nature in the Braswell case. Sadly enough, after judges agreed that Bailey was deficient in multiple areas in his representation of Braswell, the judges said for this Black defendant, it didn’t matter.

At the time of Bailey’s disbarment, according to a news report and a report from the lawyer board, Bailey owed clients approximately $29,000. To see Bailey’s history of complaint from clients, judges, and appeal courts and how the lawyer board has dealt with them click here.


God bless you.

Justice For Vern Braswell
& Black Defendants Matter

Please show your support for Vern being granted a Clemency release:
1) because of the injustices in his case
2) so he can continue working on his prison reform proposals and prison reform research and
3) because of his mother’s rapidly failing health
by clicking the link below to send an email to TN’s Gov Lee & the Clemency Unit. You MUST include your info in the email.




If you want to join Vern’s family in helping to get Justice For Vern please contact, follow, and visit at J4VernBraswell@afmfm.org



This was composed in conjunction with Black Defendants Matter. BDM is responsible for researching and publicizing the Braswell case.
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Photo by Kalea Morgan on Unsplash

Originally posted here.
Reposted with permission.

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