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Leon Burr Douglas (1916-1986)

Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1969-1980

Leon Burr Douglas was born February 29, 1916 in Chillicothe, Texas, northwest of Wichita Falls. He grew up on his family's farm and entered The University of Texas in 1935. After receiving a B.A. degree, he attended The University of Texas Law School, where he earned his LL.B. degree in 1941. He was admitted to the Texas bar the same year.

After graduating from law school, Douglas practiced law briefly in Rosenberg, Texas before joining the U.S. Navy after the United States entered World War II. He was commissioned as a lieutenant, served in the Pacific, and earned the bronze star.

Following the war, Douglas practiced law in Vernon, Texas for ten years from 1945 to 1955. He was married in 1949; the couple had daughter and a son, who became an attorney. Douglas was the Vernon city judge from 1949 to 1951; from 1951 to 1955 he was district attorney for the Forty-sixth Judicial District. From 1955 to 1969 he served as the Texas state's attorney before the Court of Criminal Appeals. In this position, appointed by the court, he represented the state in criminal cases that had been appealed to the court as well as in cases before the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as president of the Vernon Bar Association and was a member of the executive committee of the State Bar's judicial section.

In 1969 Douglas was elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, serving as a judge for two six-year terms before leaving the court in 1980. From 1981 to 1982 he served as a special assistant to attorney general Mark White; when White was elected governor, he served as a special assistant to Gov. White in the criminal justice division from 1983 to 1986.

Douglas died November 27, 1986 at his Austin home of an apparent heart attack at the age of seventy. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery.


L.B. Douglas, 50 Texas Bar Journal 1060 (October 1987).

Leon Douglas, Texas State Cemetery (accessed December 13, 2006).