Retired Justice James E.C. Perry
A native of New Bern, North Carolina, James E. C. Perry was appointed as the 85th Justice to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Charlie Crist and took office there on March 11, 2009. Before his appointment, he served as a Circuit judge of Florida's Eighteenth Judicial Circuit upon his appointment by Governor Jeb Bush in March 2000. Justice Perry later served as Chief Judge of the Circuit for a two-year term beginning July 2003.
He attended Saint Augustine's University, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting. After serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant, he went on to Columbia Law School where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1972.
Justice Perry met his future bride, Adrienne M. Perry, Ph.D., while at Columbia Law School. They have three children, two attorneys and a Human Resource Manager.
Justice Perry has been actively involved in many community activities. A dedicated father, Perry managed his son’s AAU basketball team, the SanLando Greyhounds and played an active role in all their sports activities. Justice Perry’s commitment to improving children’s lives extends beyond his own family. As founder and president of the Jackie Robinson Sports Association, Perry built a baseball league serving 650 at-risk boys and girls – the largest in the nation. However, the Association did more than coach baseball. Volunteers also served as mentors and provided free tutoring. In addition to his work with disadvantaged kids, Justice Perry served as captain of the Heart of Florida United Way Campaign and his firm served as general counsel for the Florida Chapter Branches of the NAACP. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s University. Justice Perry has been a member of the Carter CME Tabernacle Church of Orlando for more than 30 plus years. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees.
As an attorney, Perry was widely recognized for his legal skills and abilities. Prior to his appointment to the trial bench, Justice Perry was senior partner in the law firm of Perry & Hicks, P.A., where he specialized in civil and business law.
Justice Perry has received numerous honors and awards including the 3rd Annual Puerto Rican Bar Association's Moot Court Competition Award in 2014, the 2014 Key to the City of Titusville Award for recognition of his dedication and extraordinary commitment to Justice, the Florida Memorial University's President's Award in 2014, the North Brevard County Branch NAACP's Award of Appreciation for outstanding and exemplary service to this nation in fall 2014, the Seminole County NAACP Humanitarian Award, the Orange County Chapter NAACP Paul C. Perkins Award, and the 2005 Martin Luther King Drum Major Award for Social Justice. In 2004, Justice Perry was honored by his hometown, New Bern, North Carolina, receiving the “Key to the City.” In 2005, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) selected Justice Perry as one of four individuals to be profiled during its national broadcast of An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence. Most recently, Justice Perry received the prestigious Williams-Johnson Outstanding Jurist of the Year Award for 2006 from the Brevard and Seminole County Bar Associations. The recipient of an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Stetson University College of Law, Justice Perry is frequently asked to speak at schools, churches, and civic groups. He has delivered the commencement address at several schools including the University of Central Florida, Stetson University College of Law, Barry Law School and his alma mater, Saint Augustine’s University.
Justice Perry was the first African-American appointed to the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. Governor Jeb Bush issued this statement when he appointed Justice Perry to the circuit bench in March of 2000. “James brings a high level of professionalism, knowledge, and skill to the bench. His community service and commitment to the Jackie Robinson Little League demonstrates his dedication to the community. I am confident that his expertise, strong commitment, and dedication will continue to be an asset to the 18th Judicial Circuit and the state.” Following his appointment to the circuit court bench, Justice Perry ran unopposed to retain his seat. Justice Perry retired from the Florida Supreme Court on December 30, 2016.
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