The Department of Defense today announced that Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and civilian member of the Court of Military Commissions Review will succeed Chief Judge Griffin Bell as the appellate body’s senior member.
The secretary of defense approved Bell’s request to be excused from his duties on the Court of Military Commissions Review for health reasons.
The secretary stated, “Chief Judge Bell has a long record of dedicated and outstanding service to our country, including serving as Attorney General of the United States, as a federal court of appeals judge, for a brief period of time in a temporary appointment as a major general in the Army of the United States, as a distinguished member of the bar, and most recently as Chief Judge of the Court of Military Commission Review. We are grateful for his faithful service to the country, and wish him the best for a speedy recovery.”
Chief Justice Williams was as an associate justice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island from 1995 to 2001. He served as an Army captain in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Silver Star for Valor. He earned his law degree from Boston University in 1970 and a master's degree in taxation from Bryant College in 1986.