Senior Judge Retires to Speak up About Racial Inequality
For more than four decades Fort Myers native Hugh Starnes was a judge in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit. He stepped down recently in order to speak out about what he sees as “deep, serious flaws in our society” including systemic racism.
In his resignation letter to Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice, Charles Canady, Starnes wrote, “My value system will not allow me to sit silently by while our society struggles to deal with these flaws that tear at the very fabric of our society and democracy, and worse, while the upper echelon of our federal government appears to be aggravating these flaws rather than attempting to solve them. This presents an irreconcilable conflict with my position as a judge, bound by judicial ethics that require me to say nothing.”
Judge Starnes’ decision has already gained a lot of attention, and will likely continue to do so, because his actions are uncommon and he says he plans to remain active in pursuit of this cause. He joins us to talk about his decision to retire now in such a public and symbolic way.
You can listen to the extended portion of the conversation below.