Belvin Perry, Jr. was born on October 11, 1949 to Belvin Perry, Sr. and Jessie M. Perry of Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Jones High School in Orlando. Raised to value public service, his mother worked as a public school teacher and his father served in law enforcement as one of the first two African-American police officers to be hired by the Orlando Police Department.
He attended Tuskegee University where he received a Bachelor of Science in History in 1972 and a Master of Education in Student Personnel Services in 1974. He went on to study law at Thurgood Marshall School of Law where he received his Juris Doctor in 1977. He began his legal career with the Office of the State Attorney serving as a Trial Attorney in 1977.
He quickly rose through the ranks with the State Attorney’s Office, concluding his service with the prosecutor’s office as Chief Assistant State Attorney in 1989. In January of that same year, he became the first African-American to be elected to the circuit bench of the Ninth Circuit without first being appointed. While serving as a judge for nearly 25 years he has served as Administrative Judge in Osceola County and served nine terms as Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
In his professional activities as a judge he has served as President of the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts, 2010 -2011 and as Chair of the Florida Innocence Commission. He also serves on the Trial Court Budget Commission where he previously served as Chair for four years.
He has served on the Supreme Court Criminal Court Steering Committee; Supreme Court Local Rule Advisory Committee; Florida Supreme Court Commission on Fairness – Guardianship Subcommittee; Supreme Court Committee on Post-Conviction Relief in Capital Cases; Florida Court Education Council; Orange County Jail Oversight Committee; as Chair of the Criminal Justice – Public Safety Coordinating Council; as Chair of the Statewide Revision 7 Communications Advisory Group; and as the first African-American Chair of the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges.
He is a member of the Florida Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association. He is also involved with 100 Black Men of Orlando, Inc., and serves as Chair of the Orange County Central Receiving Center, which was renamed “Belvin Perry, Jr., Central Receiving Center” in August of 2014.
In 2001, Judge Perry was recognized by Orlando Magazine as one of the 20 most powerful people in Orlando. Again, in 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 he was recognized as one of the 50 most powerful people in Orlando. In 2011, he was recognized by Ebony Magazine as one of their Power 100. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 he was recognized by Orlando Sentinel Columnist Scott Maxwell as one of the 25 most powerful people in Central Florida.
His dedication and work on the bench also earned him the 2009 FLABOTA Jurist of the Year presented by the Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, 2009 Trial Judge of the Year presented by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the 2005 Jurist of the Year Award presented by the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida.
Other awards and honors include; 2014 Historical Society of Central Florida - John Young History Maker Present Award 2013; 2014 Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award; Central Florida Urban League Bob Billingsley Legacy Award; 2012 James G. Glazebrook Memorial Bar Service Award by the Orange County Bar; 2012 Judge William M. Hoeveler Judicial Award for Professionalism by the Florida Bar; 2005 Golden Bell Award presented by the Mental Health Association of Central Florida; Drum Major Award presented by the Dr. I.S. Hankins/F.A. Johnson Education Foundation, Inc., Founders Award presented by Florida Partners in Crisis; Friend of Law Related Education Award presented by the Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc. and a 2003 Appreciation Award from presented by the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association for meritorious service and dedication to the legal community.