W&L Mourns the Loss of Professor Roger Groot

Lexington, VA Monday, November 14, 2005

Roger D. Groot, longtime faculty member and Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law, passed away this weekend of natural causes. He was 63.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. this Wednesday in Lee Chapel. A reception will follow in Evans Dining Hall. The family has asked that, in
lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Hospice, Christ Episcopal Church in Buena Vista, or to the charity of your choice. The school has also established a term professorship in Professor Groot's honor.

Groot joined the School of Law at Washington and Lee University in 1973, teaching criminal law and procedure and becoming one of the nation's top criminal law experts. In 1990 he was named Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law, and in 1999 he took over direction of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, a trial-level legal aid clinic focused on capital murder defense. A scholar of incredible breadth, Groot was a respected legal historian in addition to his expertise in criminal law.

Groot retired as director of the VCCC in 2004 but continued his distinctive career as a teacher, scholar and advocate. This summer Groot was appointed by Gov. Mark Warner to the newly formed Forensic Science Board, created by the General Assembly to establish policies, procedures and standards to guide the operations of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. On leave from the School of Law at the time of his death, Groot had just completed a federal capital defense trial in which the defendant was sentenced to life without parole.

Roger Groot was born July 31, 1942, in Mt. Vernon, Wash., but grew up in south Texas. He attended Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate, graduating magna cum laude in 1962 with a degree in Russian. After serving six years in the Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, Groot attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with high honors in 1971. He taught at the University of Georgia for two years before joining Washington and Lee.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen, three children, and three grandchildren.

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