Florida judge under investigation for racist and sexist remarks
Another Florida judge is in serious trouble, this time for allegedly making sexist and racist remarks from the bench. Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III of Jacksonville faces an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission that could result in his removal. Here's more from The News Service of Florida:
Hulsey is accused of using epithets to refer to a female staff attorney and saying blacks should "go back to Africa." A panel of the state JQC found probable cause to pursue charges against Hulsey for being "discourteous and condescending to staff," of having "expressed unnecessary criticism" of staff attorneys and using "language inappropriate for your judicial office." The notice of formal charges was filed Tuesday with the Florida Supreme Court.
Hulsey, who was elected to a six-year term in 2010 and is facing a re-election challenge this year, quickly denied the allegations. The commission has until October to file a recommendation for sanctions.
In the notice of charges, an investigative panel of the commission accused Hulsey of referring to a female staff lawyer as a "bitch" and a "c---," after she complained to the chief judge that Hulsey was overusing staff attorneys. The panel also accused the judge of demeaning female staff lawyers by likening them to "cheerleaders who talk during the national anthem."
Hulsey in 2011 "offhandedly observed" to an aide that African Americans "should go get back on a ship and go back to Africa," according to the notice of charges.
In a statement issued by his campaign, Hulsey said: "These false allegations have been a poorly kept secret hanging over me like a cloud for months. I am pleased the JQC has concluded its initial investigation, and that I will now have an opportunity to respond to them in a public forum."
Hulsey, a military veteran who has been practicing law for three decades, also said he has "demonstrated his commitment to the principles of equal justice for all" since joining the bench in 2011. Hulsey faces challenger Gerald Wilkerson in this year's campaign.
Mark Mahon, the chief judge for the 4th Judicial Circuit, which includes Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, called the allegations "troubling" and transferred Hulsey from the criminal section to the probate section after the notice of charges was filed. "These allegations are very serious, and if true, very troubling," Mahon said in a statement.