Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

John Moore II 1927-2013; Judge Presided over School Desegregation He Also Sent Outlaws to Prison, Was Known for Keeping Attorneys on Toes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

John Moore II 1927-2013; Judge Presided over School Desegregation He Also Sent Outlaws to Prison, Was Known for Keeping Attorneys on Toes

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Former U.S. District Judge John Moore II, known as a no-nonsense jurist who presided over Duval County's landmark school desegregation case, died Thursday at his Cypress Village home. He would have been 86 on Aug. 5 and had health problems for several years.

Judge Moore also shut down topless bars, sent members of the Outlaws gang to prison and called the Beastie Boys rap group's music "gross" but forced the city to remove warning labels from its concert tickets in 1987. He was known to fine lawyers who were late for court and threatened to jail federal prosecutors when he thought they crossed ethical lines.

Colleagues remembered him as a judge who demanded that lawyers who appeared before him abide by the three P's - be prepared, be punctual and be professional - but said they became better attorneys as a result.

"We were close, but as a judge, he was a purist," said attorney Hank Coxe. "You could be very good friends, and if you weren't prepared, he could take your head off, and that's what made him so good."

Judge Moore spent 28 years on the bench, the last three as chief of Florida's Middle District, stretching from Jacksonville to Naples. He retired from the federal bench at the end of 1995 but remained as a senior judge and continued to hear cases until recent years.

"Judge Moore was a true force in the legal community," said U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard. "He was feared and respected. You did not come to his courtroom unprepared. It made you a better lawyer knowing you had to be ready for him."

Once he admonished a Miami attorney who flew to Jacksonville the morning of a 9:30 hearing but was delayed because of bad weather. He asked the man why he didn't fly up the night before, said Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger.

Off the bench, he was kind and gentle, Coxe said. …

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