James M. Goslin

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James McCormick Goslin, Jr.

Sheriff of Caddo Parish, Louisiana
In office
December 22, 1966 – July 1, 1976
Preceded by J. Howell Flournoy
Succeeded by Harold Terry

Born August 27, 1915
Calhoun, Ouachita Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died September 27, 2001 (aged 86)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Resting place Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Nettye Lewis Goslin
Children James M. Goslin, III
Residence Reared in Ruston, Louisiana

Shreveport, Louisiana

Alma mater FBI National Academy
Occupation Law-enforcement officer

United States Army in World War II

Religion Southern Baptist

James McCormick Goslin, Jr., known as James M. Goslin or Jimmy Goslin (August 27, 1915 – July 27, 2001), was from 1966 to 1976 the sheriff of Caddo Parish, based in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana.


Goslin was born in Calhoun in western Ouachita Parish, the son of James Goslin, Sr. (1888-1977), and the former Reita Roan (1894-1981). Reared thereafter in Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Goslin relocated in 1931 to Shreveport.[1]

For seven years Goslin was an officer of the Shreveport Police Department. During World War II, he served in the Philippines as a United States Army criminal investigator agent.[1]


In 1944, he became a deputy under Caddo Parish Sheriff J. Howell Flournoy. Goslin graduated from the FBI National Academy.[2] and the Police Administration School at Southern Methodist University near Dallas, Texas.[1]

On October 31, 1961, Sheriff Flournoy, Chief Deputy Goslin, and J. Earl Downs, the Shreveport commissioner of public safety who was unseated the next year by George Wendell D'Artois, Jr. (1925-197) informed the manager of the Continental Southern Trailways bus terminal in Shreveport that facilities must under state law remain racially segregated. Despite the warning, terminal manager Hugh Brian Walmsley, Sr. (1919-1974) removed signs which had designated separate waiting rooms, restrooms, ticket booths, and dining facilities for the use of whites and African Americans. The next day, the Caddo Parish district attorney instituted the prosecution of Walmsley for violation of the state segregation law. Soon U. S. District Judge Benjamin Cornwell Dawkins, Jr. (1911-1982), declared that segregation at the bus terminal imposed an "undue burden" upon interstate commerce at odds with the Commerce Clause of Article 1, Section 8, of the United States Constitution. In November 1962, the court directed city officials, including Mayor Clyde Fant and Commissioner J. Earl Downs, to halt the state segregation policy at the bus terminal and to pay costs related to the lawsuit. Flournoy and Goslin were removed as defendants in the case; the attorney for the city was a rising political figure, later U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.[3]

In another case involving Sheriff Goslin, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans upheld a ruling from the U.S. District Court in Shreveport regarding the appointment of legal counsel for indigent defenders in misdemeanor cases. The issue centered on Willie Lee Thomas, who was prosecuted with four misdemeanors and two escapes from the Caddo Parish in 1963 and 1964, when Flournoy was still sheriff. Goslin contended that the district court erred in mandating the appointment of counsel in a misdemeanor case. He argued that such a requirements imposes an "impossible burden" on the state administration of justice. Thomas pleaded guilty to a charge of escape and was given the maximum penalty of one year in jail, but he was not informed of his right to the assistance of counsel. Like the district court, the circuit court in 1968 sided with the prisoner and against the sheriff.[4]

When Flournoy died in December 1966, Goslin as the chief criminal deputy was appointed sheriff eight days later by Governor John J. McKeithen to finish the year and a half remaining in the term. Until the appointment, Goslin had for eight days shared the duties of sheriff with the parish coroner, Dr. Stuart DeLee. A Democrat, Goslin was subsequently elected sheriff in 1967 and 1971 for two four-year terms of his own.[1] Flournoy had announced plans to retire two months before his death and endorsed Goslin as his successor.

In the general election held on February 6, 1968, in which Goslin ran unopposed, Republican state Representative Taylor Walters O'Hearn (1907-1997) of Shreveport, who was seeking election to a second legislative term, unsuccessfully as it developed, notified Goslin and Shreveport Public Safety Commissioner George Wendell D'Artois, Sr. (1925-1977) that election laws had been violated at three predominantly African-American voting precincts in Shreveport — that Democrats passed out campaign literature at the door of one polling place and were less than the required two hundred feet minimum from access to the two other precincts. O'Hearn said that Goslin and D'Artois both told him that the matter was out of their jurisdiction.[5]

Goslin worked in the department to implement a central purchasing system and to bring forth changes in insurance, the maintenance of criminal records, and bookkeeping procedures. A sheriff's substation was added in Vivian in far northern Caddo Parish. Goslin established a toll-free incoming telephone line. The department began its own training academy and opened an indoor shooting range. Goslin authorized classes on narcotics, water safety, self-defense for women, and student traffic and pedestrian programs. In 1971, Goslin established the since defunct Caddo Correctional Institute at Spring Ridge in south Caddo Parish. It replaced a former facility on West 70th Street, which had been utilized in excess of sixty years.[6]

In 1974, under federal court order, Goslin seized equipment of the Charlotte Hornets, who were in Shreveport playing at Independence Stadium for the World Football League against the Shreveport Steamer; both teams soon disbanded. Goslin was complying with a suit seeking more than $26,000 in accumulated debts that had been filed against the Hornets by plaintiffs in New York City, where the team had been domiciled during the first half of 1974. However, Goslin allowed the team to play the game before the impounding of the equipment.[7]

Later years

After he left office, Goslin became involved in the 1978 campaign to choose a successor to retiring U.S. Representative Joe Waggonner of Louisiana's 4th congressional district, a brother of neighboring Bossier Parish Sheriff Willie Waggonner. He supported a fellow Democrat, Loy Weaver a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration and a banker from Homer in Claiborne Parish. Victory, however, went in a disputed vote to Waggonner's preferred choice, Anthony Claude "Buddy" Leach, then a state representative from Vernon Parish and later the chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.[8] After one term, Leach was unseated by the later governor, Buddy Roemer of Bossier Parish.

Goslin was formerly named "Lawman of the Year,"[1] "Mr. Shreveport,"[9] and received the Liberty Bell Award,[1] which recognizes an outstanding non-lawyer who has made a strong contribution to the community.[10] Goslin was honored in 1976 by the American Legion.[11]

Goslin died of Alzheimer's disease and a lung infection. He was predeceased by his wife of fifty-three years, the former Nettye Lewis. The couple had one son.[1] They are interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 James McCormick "Jimmy" Goslin, Jr. obituary, The Shreveport Times, July 30, 2001.
  2. Directory of Graduates of the FBI National Academy. Mocavo.com. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  3. United States of America, Plaintiff, v. City of Shreveport, Louisiana, et al., Defendants. la.findacase.com (November 16, 1962). Retrieved on September 25, 2014.
  4. James M. Goslin, Jr., Sheriff of Caddo Parish, Appellant, v. Willie Lee Thomas, Appellee., 400 F.2d 594 (5th Cir. 1968). Federal-circuits.vlex.com. Retrieved on September 25, 2014.
  5. Shreveport Journal, February 7, 1968, p. 1.
  6. The Beginnings of the Modern Sheriff's Office. caddohistory.com. Retrieved on December 31, 2010; no longer on-line.
  7. Richard Sink (November 7, 1974). Louisiana Sheriff Seizes Hornets Gear. The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved on March 2, 2015.
  8. The Shreveport Journal, November 8, 1978, p. 4A.
  9. The Shreveport Times, May 29, 1973.
  10. Norman Otto Stockmeyer, The Liberty Bell Award: Symbol of Law Day, January 1992.
  11. The Shreveport Times, March 18, 1976.