(865) 637-0661

Washington, DC (August 7, 2023) – Stephen Ross Johnson was sworn in as Secretary of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s annual meeting held on August 5 in Chicago, IL.

Johnson is a criminal defense trial and appellate attorney with Ritchie, Davies, Johnson & Stovall, P.C. Johnson has defended criminal cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States, ranging from complex financial crimes to death penalty cases.

Johnson has published articles and taught lawyers, law students, members of law enforcement, and others across the country on criminal law and litigation issues. He is Past President of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Past Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, served as Associate General Counsel for the Tennessee Bar Association, and served on the board of the Knoxville Bar Association. He is Past President of the Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court.

Johnson is the founding Past President of the Tennessee Innocence Project. For many years, he was an adjunct professor and director of the Innocence and Wrongful Convictions Clinic at the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic. In those roles, Johnson was involved in the drafting process and policy advocacy resulting in the passage of Tennessee’s Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001 and Post-Conviction Fingerprint Analysis Act of 2021.

Johnson is a Trustee of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ) and served as NACDL’s Treasurer from 2021 until his election as Secretary. He served multiple terms on NACDL’s Board of Directors and is actively involved in the Task Force on Prosecutorial Accountability and the White Collar Crime and Membership Committees. Johnson is the Sixth Circuit Vice Chair of NACDL’s Amicus Committee and is the NACDL Lawyer’s Assistance Strike Force Representative for the Sixth Circuit.

Johnson received his Doctor of Jurisprudence, with honors, from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He also holds a Diploma of Contemporary Economic History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Economics from Carson-Newman University. Johnson is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL’s many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

For more information:

Knoxville, TN Attorney Stephen Ross Johnson Sworn In as Secretary of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar


NACDL News Release on 2023-24 Officers and Newly-Elected and Re-Elected Members of the NACDL Board of Directors Installed at Annual Meeting