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John Louis Coffey
Born John Louis Coffey
(1922-04-15)April 15, 1922
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died November 10, 2012(2012-11-10) (aged 90)
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
Education Marquette University (B.A.)
Marquette University Law School (J.D.)

John Louis Coffey (April 15, 1922 – November 10, 2012) was a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and later a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Education and career

Coffey was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the Marquette University High School in 1939. Coffey received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University in 1943 and was in the United States Navy during World War II, from 1943 to 1946. He received a Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School in 1948. He was an assistant city attorney for the city of Milwaukee from 1949 to 1954.[1]

He was a judge for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, first as a Civil Court judge from 1954 to 1960, then a Municipal Court judge from 1960 to 1962, and then as a Circuit Court judge, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin from 1962 to 1978. He was the senior judge of the Criminal Division from 1972 to 1975, and chief presiding judge of the Criminal Division in 1976, switching to the civil division from 1976 to 1978. He was a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1978 to 1982.[2]

Federal judicial service

On February 19, 1982, Coffey was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated by Judge Thomas E. Fairchild. Coffey was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 18, 1982, and received his commission the following day. He assumed senior status on July 2, 2004,[3] and took inactive senior status on January 1, 2012. He died, aged 90, on November 10, 2012.[4]


  1. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (comp.). The State of Wisconsin 1981-1982 Blue Book 1981-1982. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Administration, 1982, pp. 9-10.
  2. Trina E. Gray, Karen Leone de Nie, Jennifer Miller, and Amanda K. Todd, Portraits of Justice: The Wisconsin Supreme Court's First 150 Years, Second Edition (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2003), p. 77.
    • John Louis Coffey at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  3. Inc., Midwest Communications. "Judge John Coffey dies at age 90". 


External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas E. Fairchild
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Succeeded by
Diane S. Sykes

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