Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attorney Says Judge Involved in 1969 Bribe

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attorney Says Judge Involved in 1969 Bribe

Article excerpt

An attorney representing Death Row inmate Leo Alexander Jones

filed a motion yesterday accusing Circuit Judge A.C. Soud Jr. of

accepting money in 1969 while he was a private attorney, in

order "to bribe" a judge on Jones' behalf.

Soud sentenced Jones to death in 1981 for killing a

Jacksonville police officer and this year twice decided in the

Jones case that Florida's electric chair does not constitute

cruel or unusual punishment.

In another motion filed yesterday in Jacksonville, Jones'

attorney Martin McClain said new evidence shows Jones is

innocent of killing officer Thomas Szafranski. McClain said the

new evidence includes an eyewitness who said he saw another man

shoot Szafranski.

In court documents, McClain accuses Soud of accepting $700 when

he was a private attorney to give to former Criminal Court Judge

William T. Harvey to reduce a one-year county jail sentence

Jones was serving.

Harvey, now deceased, was indicted on taking bribes in two

cases unrelated to Jones in 1969.

Soud declined to comment on the motion last night because of

the pending case on the electric chair before the Florida

Supreme Court.

The second motion filed yesterday also requests that Jones'

murder conviction and sentence be set aside, that a hearing on

the new evidence be held and that an indefinite stay of

execution be granted.

The state high court granted an indefinite stay of execution

for Jones yesterday while it decides whether electrocution is

cruel or unusual punishment. The previous stay was set to expire

next Monday.

McClain said Soud's personal involvement with Jones should

disqualify him from further proceedings in this case and that

another judge outside of the Fourth Judicial Circuit should be

assigned.

The court is reviewing for the second time a decision by Soud,

who decided the chair does not constitute cruel or unusual

punishment. …

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