13:26, August 24 297 0 abajournal.com

2018-08-24 13:26:06
Judge resigns after recognizing his courtroom comment was ‘a career-ender,’ chief judge says

A Florida judge abruptly retired last week after he referred to a black lawyer as “the other gorilla defense counsel.”

Judge Peter Evans of Palm Beach County, who is white, retired after Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx reviewed the Aug. 2 courtroom tape and spoke with Evans, report the Palm Beach Post and the Associated Press.

Marx told the Post that Evans “apologized profusely and he immediately retired.”

“We both recognized this is a career-ender,” Marx said.

An unidentified person reported Evans’ comment. Evans had been referring to an assistant public defender, who didn’t hear the comment during the commotion of early morning court hearings, according to the Post.

Attorney John Howe, the first black president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, said he often appeared before Evans and he never heard him express ethnic or racial bias. Howe told the Post it was a dumb remark and probably a misjudgment, but it didn’t sound like Evans intended to be insensitive and maybe he shouldn’t have been forced to resign.

Howe said that Evans “might bust your chops” but he had always been fair.

Evans, 67, had previously planned to retire when his term ended in January. His resignation letter had cited health problems and a recent lung cancer diagnosis.