Former legislator Roy L. Allen, 57, dies

Roy L. Allen II, a once-prominent Savannah attorney who saw his promising political career fall apart following theft charges, has died at the age of 57.


He died Friday in Atlanta, The Savannah Morning News reported.

Mr. Allen was a successful attorney who became a Chatham County commissioner, then a state representative and a state senator.

In 1991, he testified on behalf of his childhood friend, Clarence Thomas, who was seeking confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the 1990s, when Mr. Allen served in Georgia's House and Senate, he proposed making it illegal for anyone 16 or younger to be outdoors between midnight and 5 a.m. Gov. Joe Frank Harris vetoed the legislation.

Mr. Allen introduced the state's first voucher bill, which would have allowed public school funds to pay for scholarships to private schools.

The legislation died in committee.

"The news that former state Senator Roy Allen has died brings back memories of a successful legislative career coupled with bitter disappointments in his professional and personal conduct," said state Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, president pro tem of the state Senate.

In 1991, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $49,000 lien against him for taxes, interest and a penalty owed on income earned three years earlier.

In 1997, Mr. Allen gave up his attorney's license for violating the State Bar of Georgia's rules involving the handling of clients' money.

About a year later, he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of theft and was sentenced to 15 years, with 10 years to serve.

When Mr. Allen was sentenced, Judge Penny Haas Freesemann said, "I think he has the natural God-given talents to rise from this."

In 2002, the Board of Pardons and Paroles investigated him on charges of improperly taking money for counseling inmates seeking parole.

Mr. Allen also was accused of practicing law without a license.

In 2003, he was arrested in Atlanta after being detained in the Bahamas.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said he violated parole by failing to report to his parole officer and leaving the state without permission.

In 2004, he was paroled from the Georgia prison system.