Jim Blackburn graduated from Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. His legal background includes serving as Special Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Attorney’s General office, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, United States Attorney and several years in private practice.
Blackburn’s most notable appointment was serving as the lead prosecutor in the trial of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, who was accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters. He was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison. A book and television mini-series, Fatal Vision, was based on this trial.
Blackburn’s law career ended dramatically in 1993 when he was found guilty of several ethical violations. In April, 1993, he turned in his license to practice law to the North Carolina Bar. He subsequently served a brief time in prison, suffered from depression, spent several years in therapy and a brief stay in Duke Hospital, and then waited tables at the restaurant where he formerly entertained many clients.
Blackburn documented these experiences in his book, FlameOut. He now has another successful career, through speaking engagements to many varied groups in a number of states and teaching Bar approved CLE courses on Ethics and Professionalism and Mental Health issues.