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This profile was last updated on 1/3/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Gus Puryear IV

Wrong Gus Puryear IV?

Chief Lawyer

Phone: (615) ***-****  HQ Phone
Corrections Corporation of America , Inc.
CCA Headquarters (Facility Support Center) 10 Burton Hills Blvd.
Nashville , Tennessee 37215
United States

Company Description: Corrections Corporation of America is an owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities, and a prison operator in the United States. The...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • bachelor , political science
    Emory University
  • J.D. , with honors
    University of North Carolina School of Law
185 Total References
Web References
Feeling the Heat, Corrections Corp. Launches "The CCA 360" to Respond to Critics | Texas Prison Bid'ness, 3 Jan 2015 [cached]
Our friend Alex Friedmann, the former CCA prisoner whose efforts seem to have de-railed the federal judicial nomination of former CCA chief counsel Gus Puryear has.
Inexperienced CCA insider nominated for a federal judgeship | Texas Prison Bid'ness, 3 Jan 2015 [cached]
PuryearIn June 2007, President Bush nominated Gustavus A. Puryear IV, a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) lawyer, for a federal judgeship in the Middle District of Tennessee-- the same U.S. District Court where CCA is headquartered and where much of the litigation against the company takes place.
Puryear said he would recuse himself from cases involving CCA, which slightly mitigates the conflict of interest that would inherit his federal judgeship, but it still doesn't smell right. Having a wealthy corporate lawyer preside over cases in the district where his old corporation is based makes me cringe.
Puryear inexperienced
In addition to a conflict of interest inherent in a Puryear's judgeship, it seems that Puryear may not even have the proper legal qualifications to take on the role of a federal judge. Puryear has never served as a judge, he has little trial experience, and his last six years of work have been spent as a corporate lawyer.
According to Tenneseans Against Puryear, "Puryear has been actively involved in just five federal cases and only one trial in Tennessee, most recently 10 years ago. TheGannette News Service wrote about Puryear's experience problem in the end of February:
"Puryear's lack of trial experience is a greater concern than his role as a corporate lawyer and his lack of judicial service, said Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Michigan Law School.
Puryear's lack of trial experience is likely why he received a 'qualified' rating by the American Bar Association, instead of the higher "well qualified," Laycock said.
Of the 67 judges nominated by President Bush since January 2007, 14 received a unanimous or majority 'qualified' rating. The rest had unanimous or majority 'well-qualified' ratings."
Puryear's position as general counsel and lobbyist for CCA didn't net him any trial experience, and it certainly has not prepared him for the federal bench. As the top attorney and a top executive for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Puryear spent much of his time at the company's Nashville headquarters stemming a tide of inmates' civil rights lawsuits, finding legal niches to shield CCA from public scrutiny, negotiating new private prison contracts, lobbying the federal government to pass pro-CCA legislation, and fighting off a slew of lawsuits brought by sharholders angered by the company's shady financial practices in 2001.
More information
Check theTennesseans Against Puryear website for a deeper look at Puryear's background and the problems surrounding his potential judgeship. Read Puryear's written responses to questions posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 12, 2008 Read the Private Corrections Institute'sresponse to Puryear's written answers
PCI News, 6 Sept 2012 [cached]
That's a tangential issue in the legal career of Gustavus A. Puryear IV, just one of the things that has caught the attention of Alex Friedmann, an ex-con gone good and now an editor of Prison Legal News, an organization devoted to digging out mistreatment and maltreatment of prisoners.
Puryear is chief lawyer of Corrections Corporation of America that is headquartered in Nashville. "CCA is the defendant in scores and scores of lawsuits each year. It is difficult to see how Puryear could ever serve as presiding judge in a trial involving his old bosses. The nomination---presented before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Republican Senators Corker and Alexander---came about the way most do: Puryear has been a worker in the vineyards for Tennessee and national Republicans.
Friedmann says Puryear has been personally involved in only five federal cases and two trials over his entire legal career, and lost one of those.
Republicans answer that Puryear has been rated as "qualified" by the American Bar Association.
Puryear, therefore, is in the bottom 25 percent.
There is a chance that Puryear won't be approved in the Senate committee.
More than a year after President Bush nominated Gustavus A. Puryear IV to become a U.S. district judge in Nashville, the 40-year-old's appointment appears to be in serious trouble, thanks in no small part to Alex Friedmann, a convicted armed robber turned inmate advocate.
Erica Chabot, the press secretary for committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, said Puryear is one of only three people who have been nominated for district judgeships since January 2007 and have had hearings before the committee but have not had their nominations voted on.
"I understand they have put Puryear in the 'controversial' category," said Brian Fitzpatrick, who once worked for Republican Sen.
Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee solidly support Puryear.
Puryear did not return calls from The Associated Press for this story.
Opposition of CCA Executive to Federal Judgeship | Texas Prison Bid'ness, 3 Jan 2015 [cached]
A significant amount of opposition has been registered against Gustavus A. Puryear IV, general counsel since 2001 for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CCA is the nation's largest for-profit private prison company. As many of you know, several of the private prisons in Texas are operated by CCA. We recently posted informationon CCA's latest investor phone call.
Puryear was nominated by President Bush in June of 2007 for a federal judgeship for U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee (the same jurisdiction where CCA's corporate headquarters is located).
An effort in Tennesse has developed that has worked hard to oppose the Puryear nomination. Tennesseans Against Puryear opposes the nomination for several reasons including:
Because as CCA's general counsel, Puryear, would hold a judgeship in the same district where CCA's corporate office is located, where numerous lawsuits against CCA are filed; He has little trial experience in federal court; during his time at CCA he has worked to conceal damaging information about the company and has belittled prisoner litigation; and
DC Hall of Shame, 28 Nov 2011 [cached]
Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corp. of America, was the subject of an intense lobbying effort that eventually doomed his nomination.
The spot that is open on the U.S. District Court has been publicized not because who was once in the seat, but who was nominated for it - Gus Puryear. Puryear, who is the executive vice president and general counsel for Nashville based Corrections Corporation of America, was nominated for the bench by President George W. Bush in June of 2007.
Although Puryear did get a nomination hearing, the U.S. Senate, which has final say on these lifetime appointments, never voted on his appointment. Puryear's nomination suffered from negative press reports about his ties to Belle Meade Country Club as well as the alleged practices of CCA in its prisons. Puryear was also targeted by an organization opposed to prison privatization. The Florida group had ties to organized labor that represents state corrections officers. Traditionally, when openings for a federal judgeship occur, the U.S. Senators from that state tell the president whom they want and he nominates them.
Yesterday, Lamar Alexander, the lead water-carrier for judicial nominee Gus Puryear, read the campaign its last rites.
Alexander's statements are the last nail in the coffin for Puryear, lead counsel for private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America. They're also an unofficial acknowledgment of the power of the one-man campaign. No matter where your loyalties lie, it's tough to argue that anyone deserves more of the credit (or blame) for Puryear's failed nomination than Alex Friedmann.
Nominations of two Tennesseans - Gus Puryear of Nashville to be a federal judge and Susan Williams of Knoxville to be a TVA board member - have been derailed by political squabbles.
Several prison rights and civil rights groups have objected to the nomination of Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison giant based in Nashville. CCA had been hammered by allegations of underplaying serious incidents in its jails and misrepresenting the circumstances of in-custody deaths.
Democrats opposed both -- Puryear was caught in an election-year political fight. Republicans have tried to gain approval for as many of Bush's nominees as possible before the end of his term.
In response to Alexander's comments, Puryear released a written statement through CCA.
"Mr. Puryear was an unqualified, inexperienced, conflicted and controversial nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.
The nominations of Gus Puryear of Nashville to be a federal judge and Susan Williams of Knoxville to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority are dead for this year, Sen.
"That's not going to happen," Alexander said at a briefing with Tennessee reporters, referring to the nomination of Puryear for a federal judgeship in the Middle District of Tennessee.
The nomination by President Bush of Puryear, general counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, had been criticized by prison rights and civil rights organizations because of his role in representing the largest private prison company in the country.
Puryear issued a statement through CCA.
"Gus realizes this is a lame duck year in politics," he added.
"Gus Puryear is a qualified nominee who deserves an up-or-down vote in the Senate, and we're continuing to pursue every option to that end," Sen.
CCA spokesman Steve Owen, responding to a request for Puryear to comment, said the company has "no way of knowing what the outcome of the confirmation process will be.
We continue to believe that Mr. Puryear would make an excellent federal judge. He has served the company admirably and with great integrity as general counsel. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Puryear's nomination in February but has not scheduled a vote on whether to send his name to the full Senate for a vote. Reasons cited by opponents as to why Puryear should not be confirmed include: a lack of trial and judicial experience, his role as chief lawyer for the country's largest private prison company, and the company's handling of the 2004 death of Estelle Richardson while she was in the Metro Detention Facility in Nashville.
A series of articles by the New York Times have Washington, D.C. insiders saying that Gus Puryear should keep his day job. Puryear, executive vice president and general counsel for Nashville based Corrections Corporation of America, was nominated by President George W. Bush last year to serve on the U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee.
Since the nomination, Puryear has been attacked here and in Washington for everything from his handling of CCA legal matters, his membership in the Belle Meade Country Club, to his lack of experience outside of corporate law.
Republican insiders acknowledge that the articles have made Puryear's bid "more complicated" and there is no momentum to push him forward at this time. While the articles don't mention Puryear by name, CCA is sharply criticized for their handling of the death of Boubacar Bah and the labeling of his inmate file as "proprietary information - not for distribution. Bah was 52-year-old tailor from Guinea who had overstayed a tourist visa. While incarcerated, Bah had fallen and hit his head and became incoherent. According to the NYT, "documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth. He was eventually transported to a hospital, but his family was not notified of his whereabouts for five days. He died four months later.
In his April 16 letter, which Pith obtained this morning, Turner mentions the Time magazine story that alleges CCA counsel Gus Puryear allegedly whitewashed incident reports on escapes and unnatural deaths, so as not to alarm the company's clients.
Add women's rights groups to the list opposing the federal judicial nomination of Gus Puryear IV, the embattled general counsel for the Corrections Corporation of America. Puryear's membership to Nashville's Belle Meade County Club is under fire by the women's rights organization who say women are unable to vote or hold office at the private golf club. National Organization of Women, the National Council for Women's Organizations and the Women's Equal rights Legal Defense and Education Fund have sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Puryear's nomination ignited a debate whether the general counsel of CCA, the for-profit prison giant, is suited for the bench in light of allegations that he encouraged misleading incident reports. Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that opposes prison privatization, has been an outspoken critic of Puryear's nomination. The Alliance for Justice and the National Lawyers Guild are among the opposition. There's also a website,, is part of the opposition campaign. The hearings were held last month and the committee has not voted on his nomination. President Bush nominated Puryear last June to serve as a federal judge for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Now, though, the Richardson case has taken center stage in the nomination hearings of Gus Puryear, the CCA general counsel who was nominated by President George W. Bush to a federal judgeship in Tennessee's Middle District.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has grilled Puryear about his statements about the case-he falsely claimed the guards were "exonerated"-and how his company handled the investigation.
First, there's the issue that, no matter how you look at it, Richardson was almost certainly killed in a CCA facility, which Puryear glosses over in his correspondence with members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
In fact, Puryear makes her death out to be a veritable mystery, even though it's ludicrous to imagine how someone could break their skull and crack their ribs by simply slipping on the floor. So if-and we're using the word "if" lightly here-she was killed in jail, that doesn't reflect well on CCA. Then, of course, there's McGuire's fresh anecdote about the supposedly malfunctioning camera, which makes you wonder if CCA took an awkward stab at a cover-up. CCA and Puryear are already under fire for last week's report, in which a former prison manager accused the company of lying to its government clients about the safety of its prisons. Is there a pattern here? It's
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