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MATHES, WILLIAM CAREY, JR.

MATHES, WILLIAM CAREY, JR. (1899–1967). William Carey Mathes, attorney and United States district judge, son of Lela Mai (Burke) and William Carey Mathesqv, was born at Hale Center, Texas, on December 17, 1899. His father was a pioneer attorney, judge, teacher, and banker in Hale County. Mathes was one of eleven children; his brothers included Burke William and George Curtis Mathes.qqv He was a graduate of Plainview High School, 1915, received his B.B.A. at the University of Texas, 1921, and LL.B. at Harvard University School of Law in 1924. In 1924 he accompanied his Harvard classmate, James C. Sheppard, a native of California, on a cross-country automobile trip to Los Angeles, where he joined the law firm of Newlin and Ashburn. In 1926 he, Sheppard, and Raymond Haight formed the firm of Haight, Mathes, and Sheppard, which became Mathes and Sheppard in 1931 after Haight's unsuccessful candidacy for the governorship of California. In 1945 the law firm became Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton (in 1995 one of the largest in the United States) when Mathes was appointed United States district judge for the Southern District of California by President Harry S. Truman. He subsequently served as chief judge of the Southern District of California and from 1965 to 1967 was senior United States district judge. He served as visiting judge in various U.S. district courts in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii, and Guam, and on the U.S. circuit courts of New York, Illinois, and California. He served as trial judge in various notable trials, including U.S. v. Tomoya Kawakita, in which Kawakita was convicted of treason in Japan during World War II, and U.S. v. Yates, et al., in which of fifteen members of the Communist Party were convicted of conspiring for the violent overthrow of the government. Mathes was president of the Los Angeles Bar Association in 1943 and served as a director of Civilian Defense in Los Angeles during World War II. He was author of the standard of federal jury instructions, with Edward J. Devitt, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions, Civil and Criminal (1965) and served as a member of various committees of the State Bar of California, American Bar Association, and United States Judiciary. He served in the U.S. Navy for a brief period in 1918 and was a Mason of the thirty-third degree. He was a Methodist and was active in the Democratic party prior to his appointment to the judiciary. On November 7, 1931, he married Rilla Florence Moore, graduate of the University of Southern California, at Santa Barbara, California. They had one son, William Michael, member of the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca and Academia Mexicana de la Historia, who became professor emeritus of history of the University of San Francisco and retired to his farm near Plainview. William Carey Mathes, Jr., died on July 24, 1967, of a heart attack while hearing a case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He is buried in Plainview Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Who's Who in America, 1960–61.

W. Michael Mathes

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

W. Michael Mathes, "MATHES, WILLIAM CAREY, JR.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmala), accessed December 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.