GAINESVILLE – Judge Maurice Paul of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida died at the age of 84 in Orlando on Dec. 29.
judge, best known for once throwing famed attorney F. Lee Bailey into jail, joined the court in 1982 under former President Ronald Reagan’s
administration and served until his death.
just a nice, modest man, but that didn’t prevent him from being a very forceful
and very just person in his profession,” Paul’s son, James Jeffrey Paul, told
the Gainesville Sun. “I would say he
was a very quiet person. He was very self-contained.”
Jacksonville, Florida native spent six years on a case that involved 25 defendants who
were caught up in a large drug smuggling operation. That case was said to have been the basis for Miami Vice.
Paul also was
known for trying a case involving the French-American drug smuggler
Claude DuBoc, who was represented by Bailey. After DuBoc pleaded guilty to drug
and money-laundering, Paul sent Bailey to jail in 1996 for failing to turn over
some of DuBoc’s assets. Bailey, who also defended O.J. Simpson in his high-profile murder trial, thought that he was entitled to some of the assets,
including interest earned on stocks that were seized as part of the plea deal, because he had represented DuBoc.
thing most people say about him, on both sides of the aisle, is that he was remarkably
fair and impartial,” Paul’s longtime judicial clerk Michael Dupee said about
him. “He was very respectful to people in his courtroom. Even the defendant who
was about to be sent away, Judge Paul called him 'mister' and wished him luck.”
knew the late judge for 23 years and never heard him say a mean thing about
anyone nor did he ever hear him use profanity. He also remembers him as always
making lawyers feel welcome in his courtroom.
graduated from the University of Florida in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree and
later attended his alma mater’s law school where he received his juris doctorate in 1960. In
between undergrad school and law school, he was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, according to Ballotpedia.
veteran began his law career as an interim instructor at the University of
Florida College of Law and then worked in private practice in Orlando from 1960
to 1972. Paul later became a judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of
Florida until 1982, and then served the rest of his career ruling for the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Reagan nominated Paul to his seat on April 26, 1982 to fill a vacancy left by Winston Arnow.
Stephan Mickle succeeded Paul.