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Justice James Perry Stepping Down In December

Florida Supreme Court Justice James Perry, only the fourth African American to serve on the state’s highest court, is retiring in December.

The Florida Constitution requires justices to step down when they turn 70, so Perry’s departure was not unexpected. Perry notified Governor Rick Scott in a letter delivered Friday. 

Perry was appointed to the court by Governor Charlie Crist in 2009.  According to a release from the court, Perry decided to become a lawyer and a quote, “instrument of change,” the night Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.

Three of Perry’s colleagues on the seven-member court, Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, will be forced to retire in 2019.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.