U.S. District Judge William J. Campbell, the nation’s longest-tenured federal judge who as a prosecutor helped send Al Capone to prison, died Wednesday from complications of surgery. He was 83.
Campbell was appointed to the federal bench in 1940. He rose to become chief judge in Illinois’ northern district, twice rejected an offer to sit on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and was considered for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Campbell retired in 1970, but continued to hear cases in Illinois and California, and for the last nine years at the federal courthouse here.
As a young federal prosecutor in Chicago, Campbell helped convict Capone on tax-evasion charges.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Marie A. Campbell, five daughters and three sons.