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Retired Circuit Judge Jack Lee Lessenberry of Little Rock passed away at St. Vincent hospital on Wednesday March 15 after suffering a stroke the previous week. He was 92. He was born in Little Rock on May 5, 1930, to Ben and Mary Leatherman Lessenberry. He attended Little Rock public schools and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After college, he attended the University of Mississippi School of Law and passed both the Mississippi and Arkansas bar examinations. He honorably served his country in the U. S. Army before returning to Little Rock to practice law.
In the early years, he engaged in a general practice, but became widely sought after as a successful criminal defense attorney. After 28 years in private practice, he successfully ran for a circuit judge in Pulaski and Perry Counties, where he served for ten years before entering retirement. On the bench, he was known as a fair and compassionate judge who ran a ‘tight ship.”
Perhaps his proudest achievement was establishing Arkansas’ first drug court. These courts are now commonly utilized to create fairness in adjudicating offenses that often hurt the offender more than anyone else, providing a diversion program for qualified defendants, and giving them a chance to reclaim their lives.
Judge Lessenberry is survived by his wife of 38 years, Rhonda Flack Lessenberry, his children, Blair Hundahl, Leigh McCann, and Jack Lessenberry Jr.; his grandchildren, Ashley, Molly, and Mason. He was predeceased by his son, Ben Lessenberry, his sister, Nancy Lessenberry, and his parents.
Plans for Celebration of Life and Visitation will be announced at a later date. Check back later.
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