VIDEO - IN HIS OWN WORDS: JUDGE BELVIN PERRY JR. - PART 1 & 2

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Normal VIDEO - IN HIS OWN WORDS: JUDGE BELVIN PERRY JR. - PART 1 & 2

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:37 am

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By Jackie Brockington , Anchor
Last Updated: Sunday, March 31, 2013, 6:21 AM

ORLANDO --
Names that took on a life of their own during the Casey Anthony trial are Jeff Ashton, Jose Baez, Cheney Mason and the presiding judge, Belvin Perry, Jr.

Over a six week period, these names were thrust into our homes on a daily basis, but the man in charge of making sure that, at least in the courtroom, things were under control was Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr.

Perry, of the 9th Judicial Circuit, didn't start out believing he would become a household name. However, the Casey Anthony murder trial changed everything.

"My life has changed in the sense that there's absolutely very little privacy in terms of going out and someone not knowing who I am," Perry said.

Perry is known as a no nonsense judge who doesn’t allow shenanigans in the courtroom. Those in his courtroom know he means business.

"Well, I was blessed to practice before judges like that,” Perry explained. “The first judge I practiced before was Emerson R. Thompson, Jr. and he was an excellent judge and R. James Stoker and those were the first judges I practiced before and they were no nonsense judges. They were all business."

The road to the courtroom where he wields power was not an easy journey. He grew up in Orlando during segregation.

“It was what it was. I mean that was the norm. You didn't know anything else. I guess the difference was, here in Orlando you did not see the harshness that was demonstrated in other places in the South. Yes, if you went to the Florida Diner, which was located on Jackson and OBT, a favorite spot, you had to go to the back door to place an order and to receive your food,” Perry said.

For movies, black people went to the Carver Theater, and Mr. Evans Drive in Movie. Drinking fountains and restrooms were clearly marked and no service was allowed at counters in stores like Kress or Grants.

"I will never forget when those stores were finally integrated, the feeling that I had when I had my first hot dog. It seemed like the best hot dog in the world," Perry said.

Even after graduating from law school and returning to Orlando with dreams of a successful corporate law position, Perry couldn't find a job.

"Someone told me that ‘look, if you didn't graduate from Harvard or an Ivy League school, you’re not going get a job with a firm. Your best shot is to go with legal aid, public defender or the State Attorney's Office,’" Perry said.

His father asked him not to leave Orlando and then made a phone call to Bob Egan. Egan promised Perry a job and then Dec. 1, 1977, he was hired.

Since then, he's been re-elected an unprecedented nine times as chief judge with this term ending in 2015. This is a testament to the high regard in which he is held by his peers.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit serves Orange and Osceola counties and is the third largest in the state with 64 judges. With it, comes a heavy workload and the harsh reality of not enough dollars in the budget.

Since the Anthony trial, Perry has been referred to as a rock start by some. The title is something he finds amusing.

"I would beg to differ with them. I think because of that case, a lot of people just recognize me. I don't think of myself as a rock star because one, I don't have rock star money and I work for the State of Florida. I guess if your mug is on the television for close to six weeks, people will invariably get to know you,” Perry said.

His work sometimes includes imposing the death sentence, something he has done in three cases.

“One of the things that struck me, it was a lot easier to ask for it than to impose it because I think people forget the gravity of it. It's something that is very lonely because you really don't have anybody to discuss it with. Ultimately, you think that this is the process that will decide whether someone lives or dies,” Perry said.

In the end, we all want to be remembered for something. When asked what he wanted to be remembered for he said, “He was a good part of this community, that he contributed to this community and that he left the place a little better than he found it. And if they say that about me, than I am fine."

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Normal Chief Judge Belvin Perry, of Casey Anthony trial fame, to retire next month

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:29 am



Chief Judge Belvin Perry, the longtime leader of the criminal justice system in Orange and Osceola counties who gained national fame during the Casey Anthony trial, announced Monday he will retire in August.

By Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
8:13 p.m. EDT, July 7, 2014

Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr., the longtime leader of the criminal-justice system in Orange and Osceola counties who gained national fame during the Casey Anthony trial, announced Monday he will retire at the end of August.

"I have devoted a quarter-century of my life to the judiciary. ... It's time to move on, to maybe do something different and just relax for a while," Perry told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

An Orlando native first elected to a circuit judgeship in 1988, Perry has since served 18 years as chief judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

In a resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Perry wrote: "I will be forever grateful to the citizens for their support and faith in me during my thirty-six years of public service both as a Judge and Assistant State Attorney."

He added: "The citizens of this Circuit are simply the best."

Perry, 64, was re-elected to a six-year term on the circuit bench in 2012. Gov. Rick Scott will appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of that term. His judicial colleagues will vote for his replacement as chief judge. The result of that internal election will come Aug. 5, officials said.

"The Governor is appreciative for Judge Perry's service to the families of Orange and Osceola counties. He will find the best person that will serve with humility while following the rule of law," John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said in a statement.

Considered tireless, the idea of Perry even taking a break seemed to come as a surprise to the local legal community.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who called Perry's retirement a "great loss to the community," said he's curious to see what the judge will do next.

"As much as he may have earned it, [rest is] probably not in his nature," Ashton said.

Said Bill Sheaffer, the longtime Orlando attorney and WFTV-Channel 9 legal commentator: "It's a significant loss to the judiciary and it's certainly a loss to the citizens of Orange and Osceola counties."

The son of a public-school teacher and one of the Orlando Police Department's first African-American officers, Perry graduated from Jones High School before attending Alabama's Tuskegee University for his bachelor's and master's degrees.

He earned his law degree at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. In 1977, Perry was hired by then-State Attorney Robert Eagan for the traffic division. He advanced to chief assistant state attorney before running for judge in 1988. He took office the following year.

"He was one of the people I looked up to as a young prosecutor," Ashton said Monday.

Perry became the first African-American to win a spot on the local circuit bench without first being appointed.

His fellow judges voted him chief judge in 1995 and again in 2001. He has held that position ever since.

He has won numerous awards and commendations while on the bench and is frequently cited as among Orlando's most powerful people, known for his prolific advocacy on a variety of criminal-justice issues in Tallahassee.

His time as chief judge was not without controversy. In 1998, he publicly apologized for an affair with a former deputy court administrator. More recently, he blocked a group from handing out pamphlets to jurors and instituted free-speech zones for demonstrators outside the Orange County Courthouse.

On Monday, Perry acknowledged that many will remember him primarily for one case: "I would like to be remembered for something else other than Casey Anthony," he said.

Anthony's prosecution in the death of her daughter, 2-year-old Caylee, was covered gavel-to-gavel across the nation. Perry on Monday stressed other achievements, including improving the technology used by the local courts and services for victims.

Asked about his legacy, the judge replied: "If people can say that I was fair, I was impartial and that I made the system better, then I will be satisfied."

Ashton, who also became a household name as a prosecutor in the Anthony case, said Perry "made it look easy, and believe me it was not. ... I think there's probably only one or two judges in the country that could have handled that case as well as he did."

Ashton's opponent in that trial, Jose Baez, said Perry went to "extraordinary lengths" to find an impartial jury.

"My experience with him was very spirited, we disagreed many times and there were times that we agreed. ... The one thing I've always praised Judge Perry on is that he gave Casey a fair jury," Baez said.

He shared Ashton's skepticism that Perry will stay retired for long.

"If I know Judge Perry, he's already got the next year planned out," Baez said Monday.

Perry recently tried to parlay the attention he garnered during the Anthony trial into a television career. He teamed with a producer to shop a syndicated court show but pulled the plug in April after the project failed to find a buyer.

"There will always be work to be done; by retiring I'm not about to leave this community," he said Monday. Asked whether he's talked to law firms about entering private practice, Perry replied: "Yes and no, but that's something that I will venture into in September and see."

Sheaffer said whoever is chosen to replace Perry as chief judge will have "big shoes to fill."

"He just exemplified what you would want in a judge that you're appearing before," Sheaffer said. "He was patient. He was understanding. He was fair. He was kind. He was knowledgeable in the law."

Perry's advice to his successor: "Roll up your sleeves, be prepared to work and don't be afraid to do it your way. Always do the right thing and not the political thing. Always treat people the way you want to be treated."

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Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
-- Dale Dauten--

Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
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