Col. Paris T. Houston
Paris T. Houston was born in a log cabin in a remote section of Union County, Tennessee, in 1906. He attended rural elementary schools. In 1926 he graduated from the LMU Academy, then went on to further his education at LMU receiving a BA in 1930. Five years later he graduated from George Washington University Law School with a degree in juris doctor. In 1943 he graduated from the Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army at the University of Michigan.
Houston began teaching elementary school in Union County in 1923. He was employed as a clerk and accounting clerk in the Department of Justice from 1930-1936. He then worked as an attorney, also in the Department of Justice, from 1936-1940. From 1940-1943 he was the Assistant United States Attorney or the acting United States Attorney for the Panama Canal Zone. He was the only assistant U.S. attorney and tried almost all of the criminal cases as prosecutor before the United States District Court for the Canal Zone. He prosecuted approximately 500 criminal cases and secured convictions in all of them except five. All of the jury trials for these cases resulted in verdicts of guilty. While in the Panama Canal Zone he was a member of the Bar Committee on Admissions and Grievances.
In 1943 he was commissioned in the United States Army as a Judge Advocate officer and assigned to defend the War Department before the board of Contract Appeals. Later on he was transferred to the Army special staff and assigned to the Army general staff as a counsel for the War Department Budget Division and the budget officer. After release from the Army in 1947, he returned to the Department of Justice and served as Assistant Chief of the Court of Claims section of the Civil Division. He had charge of a large number of trial attorneys who handled cases involving other types of claims against the government. In one of these cases, he saved the government from a judgment totaling $18 million in a class action suit. He also successfully defended the government from a class action suit brought by the veterans of the Philippine Army, saving the U.S. Government approximately $1 million.
He retired from the Department of Justice in 1965. In 1986 he was presented a Citation of Achievement by LMU. He was also selected as Alumnus of the Year by the Alumni Association of LMU in 1986.