U.S. Judge Clarence Allgood Dead at 89, Apparently a Suicide
Dec. 01, 1991
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ U.S. District Judge Clarence Allgood, who served more than half a century on the federal bench, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Sunday. He was 89.
Allgood was shot in the mouth and ''everything indicates it was self- inflicted,'' said police Sgt. LaFaree King-Walker. The judge's body was found at his home Saturday by his son, and a handgun was found nearby, she said.
''There doesn't appear to be any foul play,'' said Jefferson County Coroner Wayne Hardisty.
Allgood was appointed a federal bankruptcy judge in 1938 and helped develop the Chapter 13 payback plan that governs how debtors repay creditors. He moved from bankruptcy court to U.S. District Court in 1961.
Allgood was judge at the 1973 bribery trial of then New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who was acquitted.
Until recently he also heard appeals cases with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
When he was 18, he lost both legs when he fell under a train while riding with friends aboard a boxcar, said the jurist's biographer, Stephen Coleman Jr.
''At their destination, they jumped off, but Clarence was struck from behind by a swinging door from the freight car and fell beneath the train,'' according to a Birmingham Historical Society account.
Allgood, who lived alone, is survived by a son, Clarence Allgood Jr., and five grandchildren.
Allgood was always noted as a ''practical, sensible, fair judge,'' said Coleman, who with his father, Stephen Coleman Sr., wrote the biography of Allgood.
''People in his court, even the people he sentenced, often came back to him later to thank him for his kindness and consideration,'' Coleman said.
Coleman said Allgood had been in pain recently from internal bleeding.