Jerry Summers: Henry V. Grady - Prosecutor And Race Car Driver

Sunday, March 7, 2021 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

During the 1960s former assistant District Attorney Henry V. Grady was considered the premier criminal defense lawyer in the Chattanooga area.

Henry was not the typical defense counsel of his day.  He lived on Lookout Mountain and was a quiet but well qualified attorney who had the ability to carefully select a weak point in the prosecutor’s case to help his clients get acquitted of criminal charges.  He was born on August 20, 1915 and attended Webb School at Bell Buckle, Baylor School at Chattanooga, the University of Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University and graduated from Cumberland University Law School.  He served in the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific and North Atlantic.

Prior to becoming a defense lawyer, Henry had been an assistant district attorney under District Attorney Fletcher R. Morgan during the years 1944-1946 and under Morgan’s successor, Corry Smith, for over a decade.

Morgan had established a team of experienced law enforcement officers designed to arrest and prosecute violators of the gambling laws in Tennessee.

The name of the squad became known as “Morgan’s Raiders” and Henry Grady was a vital member of the group and was considered its chief.

Criminal Judge Tillman Grant has stated that Henry Grady and E.B. Baker were the best lawyers to practice in his court when he became criminal judge after graduating from the Chattanooga College of Law.

Henry Grady also had a pastime that would eventually get him in trouble with his boss, Fletcher Morgan.

Henry raced stock cars under his regular name and his employer was not enthused when he found that one of his prosecutors was engaged in a sport that often included some drivers who raced stock cars on the weekend but made, transported and sold white whiskey during the week.

Some of the stock car drivers who engaged in the illegal practice of being involved with moonshine later became well known NASCAR drivers with the most famous being Junior Johnson of North Carolina.

When District Attorney Morgan discovered that Henry was racing stock cars he directed his young prosecutor to discontinue his weekend hobby because of the appearance of impropriety that it produced.

Henry being a creative young man agreed that he would discontinue racing under the name of Henry Grady to appease his boss.

However he was not willing to retire from his racing pastime and therefore according to rumors started racing under a new name, “Fletcher Morgan”.

He represented many high profile defendants in criminal cases including a co-defendant, Nicholas Tweed, in the jury tampering trial of Jimmy Hoffa, President of the International Teamsters Union. Tweed was acquitted – Hoffa was convicted.

When he died of cancer on November 25, 1963 one of the local trial judges that he practiced before, stated, “I have never met a more competent and honorable man in his profession than Henry Grady.”

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

           


Soddy-Daisy Community Library Announces Summer Reading Recommendations, Program And Festival

Collegedale Police Department Begins Process Of Accreditation

Local Organzations Partner To Honor National Poetry Month And Black Women Writers


The Soddy-Daisy Community Library and the KELCURT Foundation will release the SDCL 2021 Summer Reading Recommendations lists, and will announce the Epic Summer of Reading Program on Tuesday, ... (click for more)

Collegedale Police have begun the process of seeking accreditation through the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. Acting Chief Jack Sapp and his administration have committed themselves ... (click for more)

In recognition of National Poetry Month, RISE Chattanooga is partnering with two local organizations—the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter, Inc. and the Chattanooga Alumnae ... (click for more)



Happenings

Soddy-Daisy Community Library Announces Summer Reading Recommendations, Program And Festival

The Soddy-Daisy Community Library and the KELCURT Foundation will release the SDCL 2021 Summer Reading Recommendations lists, and will announce the Epic Summer of Reading Program on Tuesday, May 4. This program is open to all ages in different categories: Pre-K - second, third - fifth, sixth - eighth, ninth - 12th, and adult. This program is open to anyone residing in or near Hamilton ... (click for more)

Collegedale Police Department Begins Process Of Accreditation

Collegedale Police have begun the process of seeking accreditation through the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. Acting Chief Jack Sapp and his administration have committed themselves to a standard of accountability, not only to the State of Tennessee whose accreditation they will be seeking, but also to the citizens that the city of Collegedale serves. Collegedale ... (click for more)

Breaking News

County School Officials Told No Migrant Students At Temple Dorm To Enroll In County Schools; Aim Is To Reunite Children With Families, Baptiste Group Says

County School officials said in a meeting on Tuesday, a leader of the Baptiste Group said there are no plans for migrant children at a former Tennessee Temple dorm to attend county schools. School officials said they were told that the program is a short-term placement for children and is focused on reunification of children and families. The Baptiste Group plans to ... (click for more)

Tim Kelly Is New Chattanooga Mayor; Jenny Hill, Isiah Hester Win City Council Races

Tim Kelly was far ahead in the Chattanooga mayor's runoff election after early vote totals and the first 20 precincts were released. He quickly declared himself the winner, and he finished ahead by over 5,000 votes. He won 15,966 to 10,661. Among early voters, it was Kelly 8,623 to 4,988 for Kim White, former president of the River City Company who was vying to be the city's ... (click for more)

Opinion

A Mayoral Race To Be Proud Of

It was very refreshing for both candidates to only speak to their strengths for the entire campaign while not dragging each other through the mud and acting like third graders as it too often the case with political campaigns. It was even more refreshing to see such a humble victory and a gracious defeat as both candidates appeared to be extremely supportive of one another ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Gallops To Mayor

Tim Kelly, betting heavily on himself by spending over $1 million of his own money and divesting of a widely respected auto dealership in order to be fully focused, was hailed as a winner Tuesday night. The personable Kelly was greeted with open arms as Chattanooga’s newest Mayor when he outlasted another quite capable candidate, Kim White. In what was expected to be a nose-to-nose ... (click for more)