George Beck, the Middle District of Alabama U.S. Attorney nominee, handled the successful 1977 prosecution of Bob Chambliss for his participation in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. The racially motivated attack killed four black girls and blinded another black girl.
The church was a meeting place for leaders of the civil rights movement and the bombing was considered one of the major crimes of the civil rights era.
Beck, a former Alabama deputy attorney general, reopened the case in the early 1970s, at the request of then-Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley (D). “Birmingham police either could not or would not solve this heinous act,” Beck said.
Beck (Auburn University, University of Alabama Law School) was nominated on March 31 to replace U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, who has led the Middle District of Alabama U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2001. She is one of five U.S. Attorneys still in office who were confirmed by the Senate and appointed by President George W. Bush.
The White House had considered Michel Nicrosi, who lost a bid for Alabama attorney general in 2010, and defense attorney Joe Van Heest for the U.S. Attorney post in Montgomery. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who supported another candidate, contributed to the slow pace of the process.
- Born in Enterprise, Ala., in 1941.
- Has been a shareholder at the law firm of Capell & Howard PC in Montgomery, Ala., since 2004.
- Has been a managing member of 21st Sentry LLC in Wetumpka, Ala., since 2006.
- Has served as the president of Chosen Oils Inc. in Wetumpka since 2000.
- Was president and sole shareholder at the law firm of George L. Beck PC in Montgomery from 1986 to 2003.
- Was a partner at the law firm of Baxley, Beck, Dillard & Dauphin in Montgomery from 1982 to 1986.
- Was a sole practitioner from 1979 to 1982.
- Served as Alabama deputy attorney general from 1971 to 1979.
- Was an associate at the law firm of St. John & St. John LLC in Cullman, Ala., from 1966 to 1971.
- Was a law clerk at the law firm of Clement, Hubbard & Waldrop in Tuscaloosa, Ala., from 1964 to 1966.
- Served stints in the Alabama Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve and the Judge Advocate General Corps from 1966 to 2001, rising to colonel.
- Has been an Alabama Democratic Party member “since birth.”
- Has tried about 850 cases, serving as sole counsel in 10 cases, serving as sole counsel for 450, chief counsel for 150, associate counsel for 150 and sole counsel for 100 administrative matters.
Read his full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire here.
On his Senate Judiciary financial disclosure, Beck reported assets valued at $9 million, including almost $2.8 million in cash on hand and in banks, and $409,500 in liabilities mostly from mortgages, for a net worth of $8.6 million.
On his Office of Government Ethics financial disclosure, he reported making about $270,000 as a shareholder at Capell & Howard since January 2010.
This story has been updated.