Frank Joseph Polozola

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Frank Joseph Polozola
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
January 15, 2007 – February 24, 2013
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
1998–2005
Preceded byJohn Victor Parker
Succeeded byRalph E. Tyson
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
In office
May 23, 1980 – January 15, 2007
Appointed byJimmy Carter
Preceded byElmer Gordon West
Succeeded byBrian Anthony Jackson
Personal details
Born
Frank Joseph Polozola

(1942-01-15)January 15, 1942
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
DiedFebruary 24, 2013(2013-02-24) (aged 71)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
EducationPaul M. Hebert Law Center (LL.B.)

Frank Joseph Polozola (January 15, 1942 – February 24, 2013) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

Education and career[edit]

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Polozola received a Bachelor of Laws in 1965 from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University. He was a law clerk for Judge Elmer Gordon West of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana from 1965 to 1966. He was in private practice in Baton Rouge from 1966 to 1973. He began teaching in 1977 at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Polozola was a part-time United States Magistrate of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana from 1972 to 1973 and a full-time United States Magistrate for the same court from 1973 to 1980.[1]

On April 2, 1980, Polozola was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to the seat on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana vacated by his former mentor, Judge West. Polozola was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 21, 1980, and received his commission two days later. Polozola served as Chief Judge from 1998 to 2005.[1] He assumed senior status on January 15, 2007. Polozola died on February 24, 2013, in Baton Rouge.[2]

Notable cases[edit]

In September 1980, Polozola presided over the racketeering and extortion trial of former Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Gil Dozier of Baton Rouge. When Dozier was found to have engaged in jury tampering in his original trial while on bond, Polozola added eight years to the original ten-year sentence. In 1984, Dozier's term was commuted to the two years and two months served by Carter's successor as president, Ronald W. Reagan, despite Judge Polozola's opposition to the clemency.[3][4]

Polozola presided over the sentencing of Barry Seal, who was murdered less than two months later.[5][6] In December 1984, Seal was arrested in Louisiana for flying a cargo of marijuana into the state. Polozola was furious at being powerless to put Seal away due to his previous deal with the government. Polozola on December 20, 1985, invoked the sentence handed down by a Florida judge and sentenced Seal to six months' supervised probation, taking the occasion to say that people like Seal were "the lowest, most despicable people I can think of." A condition of the sentence was that he had to spend every night, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., at the Salvation Army halfway house on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge. Polozola further stipulated that Seal could not carry a gun or hire armed bodyguards. Seal's attorney, Lewis Unglesby, told Polozola his ruling amounted to a death sentence for his client. Seal told friends that the judge "made me a clay pigeon." At 6 p.m. on February 19, 1986, Seal promptly drove up to the Salvation Army in his white Cadillac. As he parked his car, he was approached by a man carrying an automatic weapon. Two quick bursts riddled Seal's head and chest, killing him instantly.[6]

In 2000, Polozola presided over the criminal trial of former Governor Edwin Edwards.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Frank Joseph Polozola at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b Staff, WAFB. "Federal Judge Frank J. Polozola passes away".
  3. ^ "Persistence paid off for jailed Dozier", Minden Press-Herald, July 23, 1984, p. 1
  4. ^ "Bill Sherman, "Louisiana ag chiefs: past and present", July 3, 2008" (PDF). ldaf.state.la.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Crimes of Mena: Barry Seal set up for murder". www.whatreallyhappened.com.
  6. ^ a b "Barry Seal murder in Baton Rouge 25 years ago helped expose Iran-Contra debacle". 14 February 2011.

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Elmer Gordon West
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
1980–2007
Succeeded by
Brian Anthony Jackson
Preceded by
John Victor Parker
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
1998–2005
Succeeded by
Ralph E. Tyson