Friends, colleagues remember longtime Montgomery attorney, law enforcement trailblazer

Friends, colleagues remember longtime Montgomery attorney, law enforcement trailblazer
Well-known Montgomery attorney and former law enforcement officer Roianne Conner died Monday at the age of 67. (Source: Family of Roianne Houlton Conner)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Well-known Montgomery attorney and former law enforcement officer Roianne Conner died Monday at the age of 67.

Conner practiced law in the capital city for 33 years including an early stint at the Montgomery District Attorney’s Office and later at her firm, The Law Offices of Roianne Houlton Conner, where she focused on family law and criminal defense work. Conner worked on countless high-profile cases throughout her career. Most recently, one of her petitions to the Alabama Supreme Court in January 2019 prompted a shift in long-standing legal precedent for changing trial venues. Despite Connor’s numerous legal milestones, she was a rising tide for women practicing law throughout the state.

“Roianne Conner was short in stature, but a giant in the eyes of those who had the privilege to witness her in action in the courtroom,” stated LaShandra Warren-Barnes, Montgomery County Court Administrator. “She helped pave the way for many woman in the legal profession and served as a natural mentor.”

Conner served on the bench as an acting family court judge for a period in Montgomery's Circuit Court and held the title of adjunct professor at Troy University and Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.

“There would not be a Montgomery County Bar Association Women’s Section if it had not been for Roianne Conner,” Warren-Barnes said. “She considered me part of her family, and I’m forever grateful for everything I learned from her.”

While many commonly knew Conner as an attorney, perhaps fewer realized she was part of the city’s history as one of the first female Montgomery police officers and one of the first women to rise to the ranks of detective and sergeant. During that time females carried the title, “Police Woman,” something her family jokingly says she despised until the end. She used her expertise to help create the city’s rape unit and various divisions still used by MPD today. Conner worked her way through college and graduate school while serving as a full time officer.

Roianne Conner was one of the first female Montgomery police officers.
Roianne Conner was one of the first female Montgomery police officers. (Source: Family of Roianne Houlton Conner)

“[She was] one of Montgomery’s first female police officers and second generation law enforcement for the City of Montgomery,” stated Mickey McDermott, a former MPD officer and attorney who tried cases with Conner. “[She was a] fierce but fair advocate for her clients and an awesome human being. I am honored to have known her and to serve her as a police officer and attorney.”

Conner was most proud of the up-and-coming attorneys she mentored and her family, where she joyfully took an active role in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

Unfortunately due to social distancing guidelines, there will be no visitation and only limited seating for a Mass on Monday, June 1. Holy Spirit Catholic Church will be live streaming the funeral Mass. The church is requiring everyone in attendance to wear a face mask.

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