Former Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis has died in the United States after a period of illness.
According to reports reaching Monrovia, the former Chief Justice died while undergoing medical treatment.
The late Johnnie N. Lewis, born April 16, 1946 was a Liberian lawyer and politician. A native of Sinoe County, Lewis was educated at the University of Liberia in Monrovia and at Yale Law School in the United States.
He was the 18th Chief Justice of Liberia, serving from 2006 to 2012. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as a judge in Liberia’s circuit court system.
The late Chief Justice was born unto the union of Roderick N. Lewis and Mary Houston-Lewis in Greenville, Sinoe County.
His father was a lawyer while his mother was a school teacher in a family with four boys and two girls. He earned his education at St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School followed by Sinoe High School.
For college, he attended the University of Liberia in Monrovia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, followed by a bachelor of laws degree from the university’s Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.
Graduating in 1969, he earned cum laude honors from the law school and was editor of the Liberian Law Journal. Lewis was admitted to the country’s Bar Association that year before moving to the United States to continue his legal education. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1971 with a master in law degree.
Lewis returned to Liberia where he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Liberia in 1971 and began teaching at his former law school.
In 1975, he was appointed to the Third Judicial Circuit Court in his home county by Liberian President, William R. Tolbert, Jr. replacing his deceased father.
In 1980, the government was overthrown and he left the judiciary. Lewis returned to the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law in 1984 and served as dean of the school until 1991. That year he also assisted with the transitional government as legal adviser to the President of the interim government.