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Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr.'s Role in the Casey Anthony Trial

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By Rhetta Peoples, Special to the NNPA from The Florida Sun –

ORLANDO - The American justice system has often been scrutinized for being one-sided or biased when it comes to justice.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, African Americans make-up more than 38% of national prison inmates, who are also predominantly male. However, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Black people are only approximately 14% of the U.S. population.

A Chief Judge in Central Florida is proof that even national statistics have exceptions.

Often referred to as the “Judge’s Judge”, Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, is the highly respected African American judge with a lead role in one of the most highly publicized court cases in history. Judge Perry received his Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and received both his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Masters of Education from Tuskegee University.

Judge Perry has served as Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court since 2001 and is a member of the Florida Bar, Orange County Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, and Trial Court Budget Commission. Perry said, “I’m humbled and grateful for the confidence of my fellow judges in re-electing me to this position.”

The irony of his position is significant in the overall view of criminal justice in America because African American men highly populate U.S. prisons and jails. Specific to the Casey Anthony case, it is rare to see White women being a part of statistics that have been dominated by African American men in what is sure to be one of America’s most historical and watched cases.

Judge Perry is not only an icon in the African American community but also an inspiration to African American men. His direct manner and voice has been the subject of commentaries and radio mocks because of his southern accent or lack of what broadcasters may call a “General American Speech”, like that of President Barack Obama or General Colin Powell and is typically what mainstream Americans expect to hear from a person of a higher position.

However, journalists and talk show hosts neglect the real issues when they focus on the accent. Dr. Cornel West, Attorney Willie Gary and the late Attorney Johnny Cochran, among others, also spoke with a certain flare of their culture yet, each left footprints in their areas of expertise.

Judge Perry is set to preside over the trial in which Anthony is charged with first-degree murder charge of her 2-year old daughter Caylee Anthony, who had not been seen for more than a month before she was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, after she admitted to smelling an odor similar to that of a “dead body” in her Casey Anthony’s car.

Months later, Caylee was found dead only a short distance from the Anthony family home. The child’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, even though the cause of death remains undetermined.

Anthony became a suspect after she neglected to report her daughter missing, exhibited strange behavior, searched numerous times online for chloroform, an ingredient in children’s medicine that is potentially hazardous, law enforcement found a mysterious stain in the back of her car that resembles a toddler in the fetal position and she gave authorities a vivid description of “zanny the nanny”, a female baby-sitter who she claimed mysteriously disappeared with her daughter. To date, none of her allegations have turned out to be credible.

Anthony still maintains her innocence, claiming she was protecting her daughter from people who she claimed threatened to hurt her and her family if she were to report the child missing.

Defense attorney Jose Baez has filed several motions requesting to dismiss key evidence from the trial, including the infamous stain that appears to resemble a child in the fetal position found in the back of Anthony’s car. Judge Perry ruled the evidence could be admitted into evidence. Also, Judge Perry denied the request of the defense to exclude the expert opinion testimony of Dr. David Hall, a Botanist who testified that he analyzed fragments of roots from the area in which the victim’s body was recovered.

Recently, Judge Perry denied the defense motion to exclude alleged identification of the chemical composition of human decomposition odor, or testimony relating to air, carpet samples or paper towels tested by Oakridge Laboratories.

Judge Perry is not only known as a well-respected judge, but also for his days as a prosecutor. His reputation as a sound prosecutor was solidified in what came to be known as the Black Widow trial, in which Judy Buenoano was sentenced to death by electric chair for the 1971 murder of her husband. She was also convicted for the murder of her son and attempted murder of her fiancé in 1983. She was also believed to be responsible for the 1978 death of her boyfriend in Colorado.

The Court, under the direction of Judge Perry, kept the location of the selection of the jury unknown until the actual day of jury selection. Currently, the jury is being chosen in Pinellas County, an area located on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida. Reportedly, there are four African Americans currently in the jury pool.

Once the jurors are selected, they will be transported to the Orlando area where they are expected to stay in area hotels for the duration of the trial, which is expected to take up to eight weeks. To date, Judge Perry has dismissed dozens of jurors based on conflicts with the case. He said, “I do not want to have to do this again,” respectfully referring to not having the taxpayers or the court spend time, energy, and money to retry this case. Perry said, “I am not naïve enough to think we’ll encounter no one who has heard this case, but the goal is to find people who have not been oversaturated with the media.”

More than 600 media credentials were requested for this case. The Florida Sun will be in the courtroom and will report on the trial. Stay current with the print publication, electronically at floridasunreview.com, and on Twitter and Facebook.

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-2 # Guest 2011-08-12 13:17
I love Judge Belvin Perry. I think he the the awesomest Judge there could ever be...I only wish he would have been on the O.J. Simpson case. I love this Judge.
-1 # Guest 2011-07-22 06:38
judge u r so smart u tell me who did it the evidence
that u allowed in , and the other ninety percent u didnt
was your fault and that is why this scum walks.....
u have to live with yourself....the people of nj try t5hat [censored]
u pulled in new jersey sidebar after sidebar, and u favorded
the defense and had to know baez took 9 years to pass
the bar how stuipid can u be and u carried him throughout the trial casey is a murder and u let her walk....shame on u
-2 # Guest 2011-07-22 06:29
+2 # Guest 2011-07-14 04:48
dear judge belvin perry jr. i think you are a wonderful judge and person. you were very fair during this whole trial i watched the whole trial. I think its very wrong that she is gonna walk. but just wanted to thank you i think your great.
+1 # Guest 2011-07-07 11:19
I love Judge Belvin Perry's demeanor in the courtroom. He has earned my respect. I am, however, EXTREMELY DISGUSTED with the verdict, to say the least and I wish I could understand how Judge Perry could be so lenient with her additional six days in jail and penalize Matthew Bartlett so harshly for a lesser offense. Casey will credited for good behavior...are you kidding?? How bad can she be while protected in a private cell? Protected like her daughter should have been. I am dissappointed with that aspect of Judge Perry's decision. She should have served at least until April of 2012.
+2 # Guest 2011-07-04 04:06
To suggest Judge Perry should remove himself is
with all due respect " stupid"
If Jose Baez was not ready to take on a capital
case then he should have checked his ego before
doing so-
Mikecom: are you suggesting Perry is to cut him slack
because he is new to this-
Judge Perry is articulate and fair and blind to playing
Favorites -
+5 # Guest 2011-07-03 13:07
I have highest admiration for Judge Perry Jr. in this Anthony trial. On this Sunday July 3rd when BOTH Defense and Prosecution in CLOSING arguments had dual difficulty, The Judge made another very appropriate decision-both men appeared sincerely contrite as "human imperfection" was exposed. I was thankful that all three reached a truly human understanding. Judge Perry deserves highest respect -there are no "perfect" people on this Earth that can uphold "behavioral" rules just because it is "posted" -despite every desire to want to do so. A fair Judge considers! The deliberate, punishable act was the young man who made a vulgar gesture (a good ruling there too!)-an uncontrolled human emotion is not as deliberate and not all can control involuntary response! Excellent judging of the situation-Excellent Judge!! I feel for both lawyers debating this case! We hope somehow truth will prevail for the innocent healthy little girl who lost her life unnecessarily at "someone's" ? hands.......
+5 # Guest 2011-07-01 13:39
I have watched this trial from day one. I must commend Judge Belvin Perry's control of the courtroom and proceedings. He is fair and very knowledgeable of the law. He presides over his courtroom with a gentle but very firm hand which demanded respect from all and he gave that same respect back. His respect for the jurors is remarkable. I hope that other judges take a lesson from him. Thank You Judge Perry for presiding over a tough trial and always making sure that it was not about a media circus but about Justice for CAYLEE.
-11 # Guest 2011-07-01 08:27
Judge Perry should remove himself from the Judiciary. He severely handicapped the defense with his biased pro-prosecutor rules. The judge is pro-prosecutor because he is an ex-prosecutor. Baez is a lightweight lawyer, not versed in objections.

Baez now has a Contempt charge HANGING OVER HIS HEAD for the rest of his case. How can he keep his head clear?

Matthew Bartlett was paraded in front of TV cameras for an IN-DIRECT contempt of court WITHOUT legal representation. This was not DIRECT CONTEMPT like the judge stated since he did not stop the proceedings, the court stopped the proceedings after being informed by Channel 13. This is a violation of THE US CONSITUTION. Matthew was INTIMIDATED by this power hungry Judge.
+7 # Guest 2011-06-25 19:14
In the picture of the little girl opening the glass sliding door is NOT a 2 or 3 year old. Caylee was not that big, nor developed. Someone needs to bring this to the attention of the court. I believe it could be proven through measurements.
I believe it is another of Baez tricks he thinks he can get away with.
+2 # Guest 2011-06-13 07:31
Follow the evidence. That's what the jury has to do. I have read so many misstatements and lies, many within minutes of the testimony. If she's found guilty and it's overturned, double jeopardy applies. It almost seems like the Judge and prosecution want to move this along so as not to miss their vacations or something. Casey has 6 felony convictions before the murder trial started. I don't know if Florida has 3 strikes, but those felonies would mean a life sentence in many states that do. She's not going anywhere so whether she gets a single cell for life or a needle, she's done. Game over. A needle won't bring her daughter back. It will; however, destroy what's left of her family.

As always, MHO.
+15 # Guest 2011-06-09 08:06
Judge Perry is showing the world a slice of the South that many people don't get the opportunity to see. Judge Perry has a beautiful southern accent, is more professional and in control of his courtroom than any other judge who has presided over a nationally televised trial and does it all with a gentle southern charm and grace. His intellect and knowledge are unimpeachable. We are proud of you Judge Perry. Thank you!
+6 # Guest 2011-06-08 09:26
Judge Perry is currently the Chair of the Florida Innocence Project Commission. The Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court appointed Judge Perry in July 2010 to serve as the commission chair for two years. I didn't see the mention and thought it should be noted.
+3 # Guest 2011-06-06 08:04
I hope they hang her. She is so self centered it is not even funny. I don't believe she has shed one tear for that child. All she does is cry for her self. I think she was so jealous of the attention Cindy gave the child and she wanted it all for her self.
+3 # Guest 2011-06-04 07:43
So clear that she's guilty. She tries to play the victim card, She lies about everything-even the smallest things. Who would not report their child missing the day it happened? well took her 31 days-most kids are dead by then. She partied the whole time-so really cares. Also when her parents said that Caylee drown in the pool, she just said they would say that. well now thats her defense! If shes not in for murder, she should be in for lying to law enforcement, and child abuse, since she didnt seen to report the kid/or care.
+2 # Guest 2011-06-03 13:20
Firefly...You sound like a typical turd defense attorney by prepositioning every word with "so called" or allegedly. The stink of guilt POURS from both Casey Anthony and the evidence. If she gets off it's not because shes not guilty, its because of todays justice system.
+7 # Guest 2011-05-28 09:43
Love how Judge Perry runs his court room How professional and fair he seems.
But i wish he would not put another sound in Mr. Lazzaro's name. That's the only thing I can find wrong. ha
-35 # Guest 2011-05-16 10:23
Please get the facts straight before you write an article. There was a so called stain in the trunk but not the size of a toddler in the fetal position. There were 3 people living in that house that used that computer! The only thing Judge Perry is worried about is what he has planned in July. He is speeding up this trail so he does not miss his important date in July.

BVN National News Wire