James hails from Madison, Wisconsin. He received his B.A. from Cartage College, with a major in Criminal Justice and Philosophy. He received his Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 1989. He spent the summer of 1989 at the Mayo Clinic in the Pediatric Oncology and Neurology Service in Rochester, Minnesota. James spent the next thirty-four years at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the Osler 4, General Medicine floor. James resides in Harford County with his wife and family.