Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

Richard James was a Starfleet officer in the 24th century. He was a captain in the years 2363-2367.

In 2353, he was listed as a Starfleet Operational Support Services officer on the directory placard for Starbase 32, Maxia sector. His office was located in room #35258. (TNG: "Violations", directory)

In the 2360s, he was listed as an Advanced Technologies Division officer on the dedication plaque of Federation starships. (TNG: "The Wounded", dedication plaque; TNG: "Redemption II", dedication plaque)

In 2365, he was listed as the commander of the USS Constantinople on the Starship Deploy Status chart in the Starbase 173 courtroom. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man", okudagram)

Given the time frame of the Constantinople's encounter with the Enterprise-D, James may have been the officer who sent the mayday that was received by the Enterprise that year.

In 2368, he was listed as an Engineering Group officer on the second version of the dedication plaque of the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "Silicon Avatar", dedication plaque)

In the 2370s, he was listed as a Science Ops officer on the dedication plaques of several Federation starships. (VOY: "Caretaker", dedication plaque; VOY: "Message in a Bottle", dedication plaque)

In an unknown, alternate future timeframe, he was listed as an Engineering Division officer on the dedication plaque of the USS Pasteur. (TNG: "All Good Things..." dedication plaque)

This character was only mentioned in writing.
He was named after set designer Richard James.
There was, in addition, an Admiral Richard James and a Lieutenant Commander Richard James, who served aboard the Voyager.

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