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F. Lee Bailey
1933 -


F. Lee Bailey. Original painting on canvas. 16" x 21" 2016. in the private collection of the artist.

Francis Lee Bailey, Jr., who is more widely known as F. Lee Bailey, is an iconic American trial lawyer who has handled some of the most famous and polarizing cases in the country.

Bailey, who graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1957, served four years in the United States Marine Corps as a fighter jet pilot and squadron legal officer. Bailey first rose to prominence in Ohio, where he handled the appeal and re-trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard, a neurosurgeon accused of bludgeoning his wife to death.  After Sheppard’s original trial lawyers had exhausted all of his state court appeals, Bailey was hired to pursue a Federal Habeas Corpus claim for  post-conviction relief based on the trial judge’s failure to sequester the jury in the face of a “carnival-like” media atmosphere.    Bailey was successful in the Federal District Court, but the ruling was reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Bailey argued the case in the United States Supreme Court, obtaining an eight to one reversal.  Bailey handled the highly publicized re-trial of the case, and won an acquittal for his client.  Two movies and several television shows have been based on Dr. Sheppard’s trials.

Bailey's handling of the Sheppard case catapulted him to national prominence and he handled many more high-profile cases.  He represented another physician charged with murder, Dr. Carl Coppolino; Bailey won an acquittal in New Jersey because of the limited forensic evidence relating to death by injection of a paralyzing agent.  Bailey successfully defended   United States Army Captain Ernest Medina in the sensational military prosecution for his involvement in  My Lai massacre during the Viet Nam war.

Bailey also defended heiress Patty Hearst when she was prosecuted for her role with the Symbionese Liberation Army – originally her kidnappers.  Bailey’s defense was unsuccessful, but he was successful in keeping Hearst from being prosecuted in a companion case which subjected her to the death penalty.

In 1994, Bailey joined the defense team in the O.J. Simpson Los Angeles murder case; his cross-examination of Los Angeles Detective Mark Fuhrman is widely considered to have led to Simpson's acquittal.

Bailey, who has lectured throughout the country and who has published several books, currently operates a consulting business in Yarmouth, Maine, Bailey & Elliott.

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"The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena."

Theodore Roosevelt

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