Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Judge Dead at 57 Al Washington Recalled as Fair

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Judge Dead at 57 Al Washington Recalled as Fair

Article excerpt

Twelve years ago, Duval County Judge Alfred Washington Sr. said

he wanted to be remembered "for simply respecting the dignity of

my fellow man."

Judge Washington died yesterday morning at his Jacksonville

home after a battle with cancer. He was 57.

His death ended a 24-year legal career that began at the Duval

County Public Defender's Office. He was appointed to the County

Court in 1986.

Yesterday, his colleagues remembered Judge Washington by

speaking of his integrity and the respect those in his courtroom

had for him.

"He's going to be really, really missed," said Chief Circuit

Judge Donald Moran. "His sense of composure and sense of

fairness were felt by everyone that appeared before him."

When Gov. Bob Graham appointed Judge Washington to the bench,

the Alachua County native became Duval County's first black

county judge. He also became a role model to many.

"He was more than a mentor, he was like a big brother," said

County Judge James Ruth, who interned at the Public Defender's

Office under Judge Washington. "He was a friend, a confidant, a

fishing buddy and a voice of reason."

Growing up in a farm community in Alachua County, Judge

Washington worked the tobacco fields before heading off to

Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to enter a work program for

students who could not afford tuition.

After graduating from Tuskegee, Judge Washington and his wife

moved to Fort Pierce where he was a high school teacher before

he decided to move to Tallahassee and attend law school at

Florida State University.

His legal career began in the Public Defender's Office in Duval

County in 1974.

"He was like a teacher for the lawyers who worked with him in

the Public Defender's Office," said Assistant Public Defender

Bill White, who participated in hiring Judge Washington. …

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