Walter T. Cox III

Walter T. Cox III (born August 13, 1942) served for 22 years as a state and federal United States judge, including 15 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces from 1984 to 1999.

Walter Cox
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
In office
October 1, 1995 – September 30, 1999
Preceded byEugene Sullivan
Succeeded bySusan Crawford
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
In office
September 6, 1984 – September 18, 2000
Appointed byRonald Reagan
Preceded byWilliam Cook
Succeeded byJames Baker
Personal details
Born (1942-08-13) August 13, 1942 (age 77)
Anderson, South Carolina, U.S.
Alma materClemson University
University of South Carolina, Columbia

Walter Thompson Cox III was born on August 13, 1942, in Anderson, South Carolina,[1] the son of Walter Thompson Cox, Jr. (1918-2006), an official at Clemson University for almost fifty years.[2] He attended D. W. Daniel High School in Clemson and became an Eagle Scout.[1] He graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in 1964 and from University of South Carolina School of Law in 1967.[3] He joined the army in May 1964 and attended the Defense Language Institute and then served as the Liaison Officer to the Minister of Justice for the State of Bavaria and as the Liaison Officer to the American Embassy in Austria. He left the army in January 1973.[1]

From his election in 1978, Cox served until 1984 as resident Circuit Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina.[1][3]

Cox served as a judge for 22 years on both state and federal courts. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He began his service in September 1984. He was the court's chief judge from October 1, 1995 until his term ended September 30, 1999. He retired from the court on September 30, 2000.[1][3]

In May 2001, he was appointed chairman of a five-person Commission on the 50th Anniversary of the Uniform Code of Military Justice created by the National Institute of Military Justice to review the courts-martial system. It recommended requiring at least 12 people on a military jury in a case where the death sentence was a possibility and that in capital cases judges give an anti-discrimination instruction to the jury.[4] It also recommended an examination of the military's rape and sodomy codes.[5]

In 2009, he chaired a second commission, a group of eight that made seven recommendations largely addressing the courts-martial and appeals process, as well as advocating the repeal of Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (sodomy).[6]

Cox teaches criminal law at the Charleston School of Law.[3]

The Judge Advocates Association sponsors the annual Walter T. Cox III Symposium on Military History named in his honor.[3]

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Cox the Distinguished Civilian Service Award.[3]

Cox is of counsel to Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in Charleston.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Washington University Law: Walter T. Cox, Senior Judge, accessed February 20, 2012
  2. ^ South Carolina Legislature: H*4962, Session 119 (2001-2002), accessed February 20, 2012
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Nelson Mullins: Walter T. Cox, III, accessed February 20, 2012
  4. ^ New York Times: Raymond Bonner, "Push Is On for Larger Jury In Military Capital Cases," September 4, 2001, accessed February 20, 2012
  5. ^ New York Times: John Files, "Pentagon Considers Changing The Legal Definition of Sodomy," April 21, 2005, accessed February 20, 2012
  6. ^ Stars & Stripes: Report of the Commission on Military Justice, October 2009, accessed February 20, 2012
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Cook
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
James Baker
Preceded by
Eugene Sullivan
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Susan Crawford