Stephen R. Johnson - Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, P.C.

Stephen R. Johnson

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2011

Mr. Johnson is a trial and appellate attorney whose practice is focused on the defense of persons and companies accused of white-collar crimes, major felonies, and other serious matters in federal and state courts. He has argued or briefed cases before the Supreme Court of the United States; the Supreme Court of Tennessee; the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits; all federal district courts in Tennessee; the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and Tennessee Court of Appeals. He has been admitted to practice on a pro hac vice basis in a number of other federal and state courts.

Mr. Johnson has been defense counsel in jury trials and hearings in state and federal courts involving a wide variety of criminal offenses, including charges of theft of trade secrets, racketeering, money laundering, health care fraud, illegal gambling, government contract fraud, wire and mail fraud, bank fraud, perjury, firearms offenses, illegal drug distribution, assault, child abuse and neglect, internet crimes, rape, other sexual offenses and homicide. He has successfully defended persons at jury trial in murder prosecutions when the death penalty was sought. Mr. Johnson has represented persons wrongfully convicted of serious felony matters on appeal and collateral review, to include direct appeal, state post-conviction, coram nobis, and federal habeas corpus proceedings. In addition, he represents health care providers and other licensed professionals in disciplinary matters. 

Mr. Johnson serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), co-chairs NACDL's Sixth Circuit amicus committee, and is a past President of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL). For three consecutive years he served as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Criminal Justice Section, and he is the Associate General Counsel for the TBA. Mr. Johnson is on faculty with the Tennessee Criminal Defense College (TCDC), and is an active member of the white-collar defense, sentencing, forfeiture, mental health, and membership committees of NACDL. He serves as the chair of the technology committee of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) and is a Master of the Bench with the Hamilton Burnett Chapter of the American Inns of Court. For his volunteer efforts, the TBA honored Mr. Johnson with its Access to Justice Award. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of white-collar criminal defense and has achieved an AV rating for preeminent legal ability and ethical standards from Martindale-Hubbell.

Mr. Johnson is an adjunct professor with the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he supervises third year law students in the Innocence and Wrongful Convictions Clinic, an initiative he has been involved in for over a decade. He has published articles and taught lawyers, law students, members of law enforcement, and others on the topics of trial practice, wiretapping, ethics, federal grand jury investigations, the death penalty, pretrial preparation, forensics, jury selection, cross-examination, eyewitness identification, and other criminal law and litigation issues. He has been quoted or profiled in the Tennessee Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Newsweek and the National Law Journal. He is listed in SuperLawyers, Cityview's Top Attorneys, and the Knoxville Business Journal's 40 Under 40.

Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC) at Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence, with honors, from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he served on the Constitutional Law Moot Court Team and the Moot Court Board, was a member of Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, chaired the Speaker Series and UT Pro Bono, coordinated the Homeless Project, and was the founding director of the Tennessee Innocence Project. Among other honors, he received the Excellence in Criminal Advocacy Award and the Dean's Citation for Extraordinary Contributions to the College of Law. During law school, Mr. Johnson worked at the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr. Johnson completed his undergraduate education at Carson-Newman University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in International Economics with a minor in Political Science. At Carson-Newman, he was an honors student, a resident assistant, involved in student government, founded the Community Connections program, and was president of the Bonner Scholars, who created the Stephen Ross Johnson Service and Leadership Award and named him its first recipient. Mr. Johnson was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to the United Kingdom, where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Economic History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and worked as a consultant economist for Govan Initiative, a Scottish economic development agency. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Johnson worked as a private investigator and also in the education, court, banking, retail, farming, and manufacturing sectors. He regularly draws on his diverse academic and vocational experiences in representing his clients.

Mr. Johnson enjoys distance running and cycling, has coached youth basketball, and is an active member of his church and community. He is married to the love of his life and best friend, Amy Benner Johnson, and has two children. The most important titles he holds are husband and daddy.

Office Location

Main Place, Suite 300
606 West Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: White-Collar of the Knoxville Metro Area
Stephen R. Johnson has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!

Practice Areas

Criminal Defense: White-Collar