The race for Orange-Osceola state attorney is heating up as the four Democratic candidates get set to square off in the upcoming primary election.
The current Orlando-area state attorney Aramis Ayala is not seeking re-election after her surprising victory over Jeff Ashton in 2016. Monique Worrell, a criminal justice attorney; current Chief Assistance State Attorney for Orange-Osceola Deborah Barra; Ryan Williams, a longtime assistant state attorney in Florida’s 9th and 5th Judicial Circuits and former chief judge Belvin Perry have all announced they are running for the position.
Perry, who gained national attention during the Casey Anthony trial, talked about why he decided to run on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com with Justin Warmoth."
"Before I even retired people had approached me in the past about running for state attorney and at the time I chose not to," Perry said. "But after watching what was going on in the state attorney's office; watching the revolving door of prosecutors going in and out; hearing the frustrations from law enforcement, citizens and judges about the lack of continuity, I decided that I was the best person that had the experience and the leadership ability to guide this office, and refocus and reset this office."
Some of Perry's opponents have been quick to point out that it's been more than thirty years since the former chief judge performed the duties of a prosecutor, and that the community should focus on the future rather than the past.
"I think one of the important factors they overlooked is that I was on the bench for thirty years," Perry said. "I was there with their prosecutors who were prosecuting their cases before me, so I got a chance to grade their papers, so to speak."
"It's somewhat laughable to say that because I was not prosecuting cases, I was seeing the end product of the prosecution." Perry continued. "I was seeing the end product of them putting the cases together. I saw the good. I saw the bad. I saw the indifferent. That's just a made up excuse."
Perry also discussed mass incarceration, private prisons and how he believes we can bring law enforcement and the community together.
Voters in Orange and Osceola counties will head to the polls on August 18 for the primary election.
Watch “The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com with Justin Warmoth” Sundays at 7:30 a.m.