WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A Florida judge abruptly retired after calling a black defense attorney “a gorilla” during a court hearing.
Public Defender Carey Haughwout tells the Palm Beach Post that Judge Peter Evans uttered the word so quickly and innocuously that Assistant Public Defender Sheldon Graves didn’t even hear it.
An unidentified person reported the slur to Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx, who listened to a tape of the six-minute hearing where Evans refers to Graves as “the other gorilla defense counsel.”
Marx tells the newspaper that Evans was contrite when they discussed it, and both recognized the slur as “a career-ender.” He retired Aug. 17.
Evans, who is white, was the lone judge in a predominantly black community. He had planned to retire when his term ended in January.