Maurice M. Paul

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Maurice Mitchell Paul
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
In office
July 31, 1997 – December 29, 2016
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
In office
1993–1997
Preceded by William Henry Stafford Jr.
Succeeded by Roger Vinson
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
In office
June 21, 1982 – July 31, 1997
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Winston E. Arnow
Succeeded by Stephan P. Mickle
Personal details
Born Maurice Mitchell Paul
(1932-05-16)May 16, 1932
Jacksonville, Florida
Died December 29, 2016(2016-12-29) (aged 84)
Orlando, Florida
Education University of Florida (B.S.B.A.)
University of Florida College of Law (LL.B.)

Maurice Mitchell Paul (May 16, 1932 – December 29, 2016) was an American lawyer and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

Education and career[edit]

Paul was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Florida in 1954. He served in the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1957. After leaving the Air Force, he was admitted to the University of Florida College of Law, receiving his Bachelor of Laws in 1960. Paul served as an interim instructor at the University of Florida College of Law in 1960. Paul was in private practice in Orlando, Florida from 1960 to 1972. He was a circuit judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida from 1973 to 1982.[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Paul was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on April 26, 1982, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida vacated by Judge Winston E. Arnow. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 18, 1982, and received commission on June 21, 1982. He served as Chief Judge from 1993 to 1997.[1] He assumed senior status on July 31, 1997, serving in that status until his death on December 29, 2016, in Orlando.[2]

Notable case[edit]

In 1976, Paul presided over the controversial murder trial of William "Tommy" Zeigler, who was accused of a quadruple murder in his furniture store on Christmas Eve 1975 in Winter Garden, Florida.[3][4] Paul refused to recuse himself even though shortly before the murders, Paul and Zeigler had been character witnesses on opposing sides of another contentious case in which Zeigler's side won.[3][5] After a problematic murder investigation and a rushed and complicated trial, Zeigler was found guilty,[6] but only after Paul, without the defense team's knowledge,[7] arranged for the hold-out juror's doctor to prescribe her Valium.[3][7] Paul then overruled the jury's recommendation of a life sentence and sentenced Zeigler to death.[3][8] Today nearly 41 years later, Zeigler remains on Florida's death row still proclaiming his innocence and fighting for DNA testing [3][9][10] while a steady stream of exculpatory evidence has continued to surface calling into question the actions of the judiciary, state prosecutors and police.[3][11][12][13][14][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Paul, Maurice Mitchell - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. 
  2. ^ Swirko, Cindy (30 December 2016). "U.S. District Judge Maurice Paul dies". The Gainesville Sun. Gatehouse Media. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Orlando Sentinel Sept. 26, 2015
  4. ^ Orlando Sentinel, June 13, 2016
  5. ^ Fatal Flaw by Phillip Finch, May 9, 1995. Page 94, 152, 153, 267
  6. ^ a b "Death Denied - Medill Justice Project". www.medilljusticeproject.org. 
  7. ^ a b Unsolved Mysteries January 31, 1997 (Attorney Terry Hadley, Irma Brickle interviews)
  8. ^ Fatal Flaw by Phillip Finch, May 9, 1995
  9. ^ Latest Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court http://tommyzeiglerisinnocent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Notice-of-appeal.pdf
  10. ^ Tampa Bay Times July 3, 2015
  11. ^ Fatal Flaw by Phillip Finch, May 9, 1995. Page 251
  12. ^ Tampa Bay Times, February 22, 2014
  13. ^ Investigation Discovery, A QUESTION OF INNOCENCE, July 11, 2014.
  14. ^ Unsolved Mysteries January 31, 1997

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Winston E. Arnow
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
1982–1997
Succeeded by
Stephan P. Mickle
Preceded by
William Henry Stafford Jr.
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
1993–1997
Succeeded by
Roger Vinson