U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson dead at 63

Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson died early Monday, federal District Clerk Nick Lorio confirmed.

The Baton Rouge native was 63.

Appointed to the federal bench in 1998 by President William J. Clinton, Tyson served as chief of the Middle District of Louisiana from 2005 until his death.

The Middle District includes the parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, East Feliciana, West Feliciana and St. Helena.

Tyson earned a bachelor’s degree from LSU in 1970 and won his law degree from the school’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1973.

His biography on the Middle District’s website shows that Tyson was in private practice from 1973 until 1988. He served as Baton Rouge City Court judge from 1988 until 1993, when he won election to a judgeship on the state’s 19th Judicial District Court. He served the 19th district until his federal appointment in 1988.

Tyson served as City Court prosecutor before becoming that court’s judge. He also served as an assistant state attorney general early in his career.

There was no announcement on the cause of Tyson’s death. He had been treated in the past for lung cancer.

U.S. District Judge James J. Brady said Friday afternoon that he and the other Middle District judges would not comment on Tyson’s loss until after the jurist’s family members complete plans for services.

An announcement on the district’s website said: “Our court family is deeply saddened by the death early this morning of Chief Judge Ralph E. Tyson. Chief Judge Tyson was a wonderful person, a dedicated public servant and a wonderful leader and friend to all of us. We ask for your prayers for his family and for our court.”