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Maurice M Paul

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Name  Maurice Paul

Role  Judge
Maurice M. Paul wwwfreetommyzcomyahoositeadminassetsimages
Education  University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law

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

Paul was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees 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 LL.B. 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.

In 1976 Judge 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. 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. After a problematic murder investigation and a rushed and complicated trial, Zeigler was found guilty, but only after Paul, without the defense team's knowledge, arranged for the hold-out juror's doctor to prescribe her Valium. Paul then overruled the jury's recommendation of a life sentence and sentenced Zeigler to death. Today nearly 41 years later, Zeigler remains on Florida's death row still proclaiming his innocence and fighting for DNA testing while a steady stream of exculpatory evidence has continued to surface calling into question the actions of the judiciary, state prosecutors and police.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Paul to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida on April 26, 1982, to the seat vacated by Winston E. Arnow. Confirmed by the Senate on June 18, 1982, he received commission on June 21, 1982.

Paul served as chief judge from 1993 to 1997 and assumed senior status on July 31, 1997.

Paul died on December 29, 2016.


Maurice M. Paul Wikipedia