Earling Carothers "Jim" Garrison (November 20, 1921 – October 21, 1992) — who changed his first name to Jim in the early 1960s — was the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana from 1962 to 1973. A member of the Democratic Party, he is best known for his investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK).
Garrison remains a controversial figure. Opinions differ as to whether he uncovered a conspiracy behind the John F. Kennedy assassination but was blocked from successful prosecution by a federal government cover-up, whether he bungled his chance to uncover a conspiracy, or whether the entire case was an unproductive waste of resources.
Earling Carothers Garrison was born in Denison, Iowa. His family moved to New Orleans in his childhood, where he was reared by his divorced mother. He served in the U.S. National Guard in World War II, then got a law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1949. He worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for two years and then returned to active duty with the National Guard. After fifteen months, he was relieved from duty. One Army doctor concluded he had a "severe and disabling psychoneurosis" which "interfered with his social and professional adjustment to a marked degree. He is considered totally incapacitated from the standpoint of military duty and moderately incapacitated in civilian adaptability." Although one doctor did recommend that Garrison be discharged from service and collect 10% permanent disability, Garrison opted instead to join the National Guard where his record was reviewed by the army surgeon general who “found him to be physically qualified for federal recognition in the national army.”