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John Sutton, lawyer who drafted ABA’s Model Code, has died

Posted Apr 22, 2013 8:25 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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John F. Sutton, a one-time dean at the University of Texas Austin School of Law, FBI special agent and drafter of the ABA's Model Code of Professional Conduct, has died at age 95.

Sutton died Friday of complications due to old age, his family told the Austin American-Statesman.

Born in Alpine, Texas, in 1918, Sutton spent time as a cattle rancher before attending the University of Texas in 1936. He earned his law degree in 1941.

Sutton served with the FBI as a special agent at the start of WWII, then served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a 1st Lt. in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps during the Korean War. He was in private practice from 1950-1957 in San Angelo, a practice he maintained with his wife Nancy Ewing, who was his law school classmate, and his father, retired Judge J. F. Sutton, according to his obituary in the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Sutton joined the law school faculty at his alma mater in 1957 and taught for 46 years until his retirement at age 85 in 2003. Sutton went on to become dean of the law school in 1979 and served as dean until 1984.

From 1965-1970, Sutton was one of the original draftsman of the ABA's Model Code of Professional Responsibility, which replaced the ABA's 1908 Canons of Ethics. Later, Sutton consulted on the drafting of the association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Sutton is survived by his wife of 72 years; his son John E. Sutton, who was a student of his in law school; daughter Nancy Joan Sutton Parr; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The obituary notes that funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at First Presbyterian Church in San Angelo. Graveside services will follow in Fairmount Cemetery. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, at Johnson Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to First Presbyterian Church of San Angelo, the San Angelo Area Foundation, or to a charity of one's choice.

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