Thomas R. Ashley, Esq.
Thomas R. Ashley, Esq. has always been a “winner,” academically, scholastically, in athletics, and most importantly, professionally.
At Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey He was elected President of his class and played first-string on one of the greatest high school teams in the history of New Jersey. This team was undefeated in 48 consecutive games and twice state champions.
Mr. Ashley received a full scholarship to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was elected Captain of and voted Most Valuable Player on the Rutgers’ basketball team and was also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.
Upon graduating he then received a full-scholarship to Rutgers University Law School (Newark) where he was an associate editor of the Rutgers Law Review; at that time only the top 10% of students were allowed to compete for Law Review. At graduation Mr. Ashley received the American Jurisprudence Award for accomplishment in constitutional and civil rights law.
After graduation from law school, Mr. Ashley considered but ultimately rejected an associate’s position at a well-known law firm in favor of a more challenging position as an attorney NAACP’s national office in New York City.
The NAACP at that time was led by the iconic executive director and civil rights leader, Roy Wilkens, who was one of the driving forces behind the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and thereafter. The legal staff was headed by Robert Carter, Esq. who worked directly with attorney Thurgood Marshall (later to become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court) on the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. The Board of Education. The Brown case desegregated public schools throughout the nation by finding that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Carter was a mentor to Mr. Ashley and later became a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of New York.
As a member of the NAACP legal staff, Mr. Ashley at age 28, tried and won a criminal case in Enid, Oklahoma where a black man was charged with inciting a riot. Later Mr. Ashley was a member of the legal team led by iconic lawyer Raymond Brown, Esq. The defendants in that case were four black Texas Southern University students charged with conspiracy to commit the murder of a Houston police officer in a racially-charged case. The case was tried in Victoria, Texas and ultimately was dismissed against all defendants.
After leaving the NAACP legal staff, Mr. Ashley accepted a position at Lowenstein, Sandler, Brochin, Kohl, and Fisher as its first black associate. The Lowenstein firm was and still is considered one of the finest law firms in New Jersey and is nationally recognized. At Lowenstein, Mr. Ashley worked as an associate in the trial section which mostly handled corporate litigation at that time. Nevertheless Mr. Ashley’s passion for criminal and constitutional law has never wavered.
Mr. Ashley left the Lowenstein firm and took a position as an associate in the office of Raymond A. Brown, Esq. Mr. Ashley had initially met Mr. Brown when he was lead counsel in the Texas Southern Murder Case. Mr. Brown was widely considered as one of the greatest criminal and civil rights attorney of his time. At the age of 34, Mr. Ashley became Mr. Brown’s law partner in the firm of Brown, Vogelman and Ashley with offices in Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey. While at the Brown law firm, Mr. Ashley defended individuals charged in organized crime cases, police officers, civil rights activists and alleged major drug dealers and many others accused of crimes,
After 7 years Mr. Ashley left the Brown law firm to form a partnership with Joseph Charles, Esq. Mr. Charles had been an associate in the Brown law firm. Mr. Charles later became a New Jersey Assemblyman, a State Senator and a New Jersey Superior Court Judge. He is an accomplished lawyer and political figure and now retired.
At the law firm of Ashley and Charles and later as a sole practioner, Mr. Ashley represented numerous individuals in high profile cases in federal and state Courts. He has represented numerous elected officials, including Mayors, Superior Court Judges, lawyers, doctors, a former NBA Executive Director, alleged organized crime figures, major drug dealers and alleged high ranking gang members in federal and state courts criminal matters.
Mr. Ashley was a member of the defense team in a two year federal RICO trial in which the defendants were 25 alleged members of the Lucchese Crime family charged with numerous counts of racketeering. All Defendants were acquitted. The trial lasted two years and was one of the longest criminal trials in the history of the Federal District of New Jersey. A book was written and movie made about the case.
Mr. Ashley has tried two death penalty cases in Philadelphia and New Jersey. In both cases, the jurors voted against the death penalty.
Mr. Ashley has also represented plaintiffs in personal injury cases in which his clients have recovered millions of dollars.
The awards listed above attest to Mr. Ashley’s reputation as a top criminal lawyer, who is held in high esteem by both lawyers and Judges alike.