Judiciary Mourns The Loss Of Judge Alan Glenn

November 5, 2021

Retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Alan E. Glenn passed away on November 4, 2021, at the age of 79. He served on the Court of Criminal Appeals for over 22 years, taking the bench in 1999 and serving until his retirement on July 1, 2021.

“I am honored to have served on the Court of Criminal Appeals with Judge Glenn. He was a master at managing his workload and working efficiently,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger A. Page. “He was always first to raise his hand to volunteer to help a colleague. He was an excellent public servant to the State of Tennessee and will be dearly missed.”

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Glenn served as an assistant district attorney general in Shelby County from 1971 to 1982.  He was in private practice in Memphis from 1982 to 1999. He was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals by Governor Don Sundquist and was retained by voters in 2000, 2006 and 2014.

 “I was always engaged in criminal law and found it more interesting than civil law,” Judge Glenn said in an interview following his retirement. “I enjoyed every aspect of my career. I loved being a DA, loved the people I worked with at the law firm, and thoroughly enjoyed serving as an appellate judge.”

On the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Glenn was known as a prolific, engaging, and meticulous writer, often jumping at the chance to be the authoring judge on the toughest cases. Over his 22 years on the CCA, he wrote more opinions than any other judge.

“The members of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals are saddened and shocked to learn of Judge Glenn's passing,” said Judge John Everett Williams, presiding judge of the CCA. “He was a good man, wonderful colleague, and our friend. We join with his family in dealing with his unexpected loss.”

One of his most memorable cases – State v. Jose Reyes - came in 2016 and involved allowing child victims to have support animals in court. It was a question of first impression in Tennessee, and Judge Glenn was the author of the opinion that concluded service animals accompanying child victims in court is not prejudicial to defendants. The practice is now widely used across the state.

At the request of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Judge Glenn served as chair of the Judicial Ethics Committee from 2005 – 2019, drafting over a dozen ethics opinions on issues proposed by judges across the state.

“Judge Glenn’s work on the Judicial Ethics Committee was outstanding,” Chief Justice Page said. “It is a very important but often thankless job, and Judge Glenn handled it with poise and professionalism. In addition to drafting the ethics opinions, the chair also fields dozens of emails and phone calls from judges looking for guidance. The Supreme Court is forever thankful for his dedication and service as chair of the committee.”

Mentoring and teaching came naturally to Judge Glenn, who taught Trial Advocacy at Harvard Law School from 1986 to 1999.  He was cast in the role of prosecutor and spent three weeks each year in Boston.

“Harvard’s ideal for a prosecutor had a thick Southern accent and that was me,” Judge Glenn said. “I went up against some of the biggest names in law as defense counsel and it was a tremendous learning experience for everyone.”

In the early 1980s, Judge Glenn stumbled upon the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis when a board member was looking for legal advice for the budding new organization. The only-of-its-kind museum is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and advancing the art and craft of fine metalwork and today includes galleries, a blacksmith shop, the Lawler Foundry, a repairs and restoration lab, a library, sculpture gardens and a gazebo on a campus overlooking the Mississippi River. Judge Glenn served on the board of directors for over 30 years, including a term as president. He hosted his CCA colleagues at the museum.

Judge Glenn also served as the president of the Memphis Arts in the Park Festival and as the vice president of Theatre Memphis. He was a member of the Memphis/Shelby County Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association. He was also a member of the American Arbitration Association and the Board of Construction Advisors.

A memorial service is planned for Thursday, November 11, at 11 a.m., at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow. 
 
The family asks that any memorials be sent to Idlewild Presbyterian Church at 1750 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104-6144, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. 
Judge Glenn