Posted: Feb 25, 2013 10:43 AM by Russell Jones, Rob Krieger
Updated: Feb 25, 2013 7:00 PM
BATON ROUGE - U. S. District Court Judge Frank Polozola, who presided over the criminal trial of former governor Edwin Edwards, died this weekend after a long fight with cancer. He was 71.
Chief Judge Brian Jackson said Polozola passed away late Sunday night.
An LSU law school graduate, Polozola was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to the federal bench in 1980. He served as chief judge for the Middle District of Louisiana from 1998 to 2005.
Polozola played LSU Baseball with long time friend Jimmy Field.
"A great teammate and I always respected him because he was always prepared, just like he was later as an attorney, a magistrate and then a judge, he was always prepared and always gave 100 percent," said Field.
Polozola presided over former governor Edwin Edwards' 2000 trial for extorting riverboat casino licenses. Edwards was sentenced to ten years, and released in 2011.
Edwards biographer, Leo Honeycutt, thinks that trial will forever mark Polozola's legacy.
"I don't think there's any doubt that Judge Polozola used an iron hand in that trial, and probably pushed some things through that would have caused some trials to be found as a mistrial or a hung jury," said Honeycutt.
"He did what he thought was right, and not everyone agreed with him, and that's part of your duty and responsibility, it's a very difficult job and I think he handled it well," said Field.
Polozola's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Downtown Baton Rouge.