|Guy Earl Humphries, Jr.|
Judge of the Louisiana 9th Judicial District Court
September 8, 1960 – December 31, 1981
|Born|| May 11, 1923|
|Died|| March 20, 2010 (aged 86)|
Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States
|Resting place||Alexandria Memorial Gardens|
|Spouse(s)||Ann Virginia Davis Humphries (married 1948–2008, her death)|
|Children|| Guy E. Humphries, III|
Richard Davis Humphries
|Alma mater|| Tioga High School|
|Occupation|| Attorney; Judge|
Guy Earl Humphries, Jr. (May 11, 1923 – March 20, 2010), was a 9th Judicial District Court judge in Alexandria, Louisiana, known also as a co-founder of the Renaissance Home for Youth, a criminal rehabilitation center in Rapides Parish. At the time of his death, so much time had passed that Humphries had been retired from the bench eight years longer than the twenty-one years of his judicial tenure.
Humphries was born in Shreveport in Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana. He was the second child and oldest boy of six children born to Guy E. Humphries, Sr., originally from El Dorado, Arkansas, and the former Hattie A. Sheppard of Pelahatchie in Rankin County, Mississippi. His parents had previously lived near Delhi in Richland Parish in northeastern Louisiana. The family moved to the Bayou Rigollette (pronounced ROW GULLEY) community in Rapides Parish so that the senior Humphries could procure treatment at the Alexandria Veterans Administration Hospital for tuberculosis, which he probably contracted during World War I. After his father's death, Humphries and his siblings helped their mother in the operation of the family farm.
Humphries graduated from Tioga High School in Ward 10 of Rapides Parish and thereafter accepted employment with the Union Pacific Railroad. During World War II, he served for more than three years in the United States Army Air Corps, the forerunner to the Air Force. Two of those years were in the Pacific Theater of operations. He was a radio control operator and cryptographer, having been honorably discharged as a tech sergeant. Through access to the G.I. Bill of Rights, he subsequently obtained his pre-law education at Southern Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish. He graduated in 1951 with a Juris Doctor degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. His law school classmates included future U.S. Representative Gillis Long, later Rapides Parish District Attorney Ed Ware, and his subsequent 9th Judicial District Court colleague Lloyd George Teekell (1922-1996). He was the vice-president of his law school senior class and earned the Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court Award.
In 1970, Humphries completed studies at the National College of State Trial Judges. He was affiliated with Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity, the American Legion, the Masonic lodge, the Shriners, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was an avid golfer and outdoorsman, and also coached youth baseball.
A member of both the Louisiana and the Alexandria bar associations, Humphries practiced law in the former firm of Gravel, Humphries, Sheffield, and Mansour, with Camille Francis Gravel, Jr., an advisor to several governors of Louisiana and the senior partner of the firm. Humphries became a judge, his only elected office, on September 8, 1960, and served until his retirement at the age of fifty-eight on December 31, 1981. He was elected four times. In 1972, he joined Alexandria Municipal Judge George M. Foote and Dr. Glenn Bryant, then the pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in downtown Alexandra, to establish the Renaissance Home, a haven for troubled youth in need of rehabilitation who otherwise could land in prison upon reaching adulthood. Robert J. "Bob" Tillie (born June 1944) of Pineville, the Renaissance founding executive director from 1973–2006, told The Alexandria Town Talk that Humphries was highly "supportive of a place for juveniles to have a second chance. He was very caring of kids in need."
Humphries conducted the first pilot program in Louisiana for the use of cameras and recording equipment in the courtroom, having received the Margaret Dixon Freedom of Information Award, named for Margaret Dixon, the former managing editor of The Baton Rouge Advocate. He also spent six weeks in China studying that country's legal system.
Judge George Foote recalled his friend Humphries as a "decisive" judge who operated an "efficient courtroom". The 9th District had two judges when Humphries began his tenure, but it later expanded to six. Humphries was known for his toughness; some lawyers tried to avoid his court if their clients faced severe sentences.
After he left the bench, Humphries said in a 1981 interview that the imposition of a sentence is "one of the most demanding tasks judges face. The facts of each crime are all different. I consider the facts of each crime, the defendant -- his background, his propensity for future crime or the possibility for rehabilitation, and the prime consideration is the public and the victim. [One] can hardly separate the (last) two because the victim is part of the public, and the public is a potential victim. . . . "
In 1956, Humphries was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, Illinois, which nominated the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket, the first Democratic ticket to lose the Louisiana electoral vote since the disputed U.S. presidential election of 1876. Humphries' law partner Camille Gravel was a delegate to that same convention. In 1976, Humphries coined the term "Red River Delta" as the name of the law enforcement planning agency that includes eight Central Louisiana parishes, among them Rapides. The planning districts were originally established under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, signed into law in by then U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Late in his career, Humphries was falsely accused by former Alexandria Mayor Ed Karst of political corruption. The allegation came after Humphries ruled against Karst in several lawsuits which pitted Karst against the Alexandria architect Joe Fryar, in a dispute over public housing projects formerly known as "Karst Park". The bar association initiated disbarment proceedings against Karst on the grounds that his slurs against Judge Humphries constituted misconduct. In a hearing in 1981, Karst admitted that the allegations that he had hurled against Humphries were baseless. Karst failed to be reinstated to his law practice, as the Louisiana Supreme Court denied each appeal.
Family and death
Judge Humphries died of cancer in Alexandria at the age of eighty-six. In 1948, he married the former Ann Virginia Davis (May 24, 1925 – January 29, 2008), a sister of Wade Hall Davis, Sr. (1920–2003) of Alexandria. Wade Davis was the former director of the Louisiana State School for Spastic Children in Alexandria. The facility treated spasticity, a disorder of the central nervous system. In Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics, former Lieutenant Governor Bill Dodd placed on the last page of the book a picture of Judge Humphries, Wade Davis, state Senator Cecil Ray Blair (1916-2001), and U.S. Senator Russell Long posed in front of moss-laden trees.
Humphries is survived by two sons, Guy Humphries, III (born 1950), and wife Dana, of Woodworth in south Rapides Parish and Richard Davis Humphries (born 1955) and wife Laura of North Richland Hills in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, and a daughter, Ann Humphries Jacob (born 1962) and husband, Tom Jacob, of West Palm Beach, Florida; five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren. Services were held on March 27 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria. Humphries and his wife are interred at Alexandria Memorial Gardens near Woodworth.
- Obituary of Guy E. Humphries, Jr., Alexandria Town Talk, accessed=March 25, 2010; no longer on-line.
- Louisiana State University Gumbo yearbook, 1951. e-yearbook.com. Retrieved on July 3, 2013.
- J. Cleveland Fruge. Biographies of Louisiana Judges. Usgwarchives.org. Retrieved on September 30, 2019.
- Richard P. Sharkey (March 23, 2010). Retired Judge Humphries, Co-founder of Renaissance Home, dies in Alexandria. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on March 24, 2010; no longer on-line..
- Index to Politicians: Humphreyville to Hunstein. The politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2010.
- History of Red River Delta. Rrdnw.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2010.
- "Former candidate for governor Karst dies", The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, July 18, 1992, p. 9-C.
- "Ex-Mayor Karst dies", The Town Talk, July 18–19, 1992.
- Bill Dodd Inventory. Library.nsula.edu. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
- Bill Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Company, 1991)