Judge Belvin Perry retiring from Florida bench; presided over Casey Anthony's murder trial


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ORLANDO, Florida — A Florida judge who gained an international audience while presiding over Casey Anthony's murder trial three years ago said Monday he is retiring after nearly 25 years on the bench.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry of Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit turned in a letter stating he intended to resign at the end of August. The circuit covers Orange and Osceola counties in metro Orlando.

The 64-year-old Perry presided over Anthony's 2011 murder trial.

Anthony was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, following a trial that drew worldwide attention. She was convicted of making false statements to police and got credit for time served.

In an interview last year on NBC's "Today" show, Perry said he thought there was sufficient evidence for a conviction on a first-degree murder charge, even though much of the evidence was circumstantial.

Perry was criticized by Anthony's attorneys for his statements.

Perry started his legal career as a prosecutor in Orlando in 1977. He ran for judge in 1989 and won, becoming the first African-American to be elected to the Ninth Circuit without first being appointed.

At a news conference, Perry said he was looking forward to getting "off the merry go-round" and playing some golf. He said he would work on legal issues that have been important to him on the bench, including those dealing with mental health and guardianship, but he would do it as a private citizen.

"I would like to be remembered for something else other than Casey Anthony, as a hard-working judge," Perry said. "I think I did a lot more than Casey Anthony."

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