MORRISON, WILLIAM ARTHUR (1909~1980) William Arthur Morrison, Judge and Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, was born in Cameron, Milam County, Texas on March 24, 1909. His father was an attorney and his mother was a teacher.
After graduating from high school, Morrison attended Texas A&M University for one year before he transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where he obtained his law degree in 1933. Morrison returned to Milam County, where he promptly ran for County Attorney and beat the incumbent four to one.
During this time, James E. Ferguson, former Governor of Texas, who had been a client of Morrison's father, took Morrison to see his wife, Miriam, who was serving in her second term as Governor of Texas. With James' recommendation, Governor Ferguson, in 1934, appointed Morrison as District Attorney of the 20th Judicial District of Texas. He was 24 years old.
In 1938, Morrison was elected to his previous position as District Attorney and happened to have been in Galveston, where he met Elizabeth Tinker, who was on vacation from Little Rock, Arkansas. After a four hour date, he asked her to marry him - and she said yes. The new couple took up residence in Cameron and Elizabeth became Morrison's secretary.
After the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Morrison resigned from the District Attorney's office on March 28, 1942, and enlisted in the U. S. Army. Serving as a drill instructor, he was transferred to the Central Intelligence Corp. He spent two years in Europe prior to the American invasion, where he focused on protecting American ships arriving in the United Kingdom. As a special agent, Morrison was at Normandy on D-Day and Paris on the day of the liberation.
After the end of the war in Europe, Morrison stayed in Paris investigating Nazi collaborationists. He testified in 17 trials that resulted in the defendants receiving the death penalty. He was discharged from the Army in the fall of 1945.
Morrison returned to the United States, but first settled in New York City, where he practiced law for a year and promptly returned to Texas, where, in 1948, ran for and won a seat as Judge of the 20th Judicial District of Texas. He held that position until 1950, when he resigned to run for a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He was elected on November 7, 1950, and held his seat as Judge and Presiding Judge for 26 years.
After his divorce from his first wife, Tinker, Morrison married Bess Clifton Sheppard, niece of U. S. Senator Morris Sheppard and later resigned from his seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals on March 31, 1976. Morrison died on November 11, 1980, and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery two days later.
Information taken from: Judge W. A. Morrison: An Unfinished Autobiography.