Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge rules George Sheldon eligible for attorney general primary

TALLAHASSEE — A Leon County circuit judge ruled Friday that George Sheldon has no residency issues that disqualify him from running for or serving as Florida attorney general.

"I'm thinking of all the jury excuses that I hear as a judge, day in and day out, from people who work out of their home, people who work out of state, truck drivers that are out three to four months at a time," said Chief Judge Charles A. Francis. "But their home is right here. They reside right here. I think, in this case, Mr. Sheldon's residence is where he's resided in Tallahassee, except when he worked out of state. He still came back to Tallahassee and stayed at the house he owned and maintained."

The ruling was a blow to supporters of Sheldon's Democratic primary opponent, Florida House Minority Leader Perry Thurston. Last week, he filed a lawsuit that sought to remove Sheldon, 67, from the Aug. 26 primary ballot because of a technicality involving where he lives.

In May, the Florida Bar determined that Sheldon had been delinquent in taking and reporting his continued learning education credits and notified him that he was no longer eligible to practice law in Florida.

In July, Sheldon learned that his license had lapsed. To reinstate it, he signed an exemption that said he had been a nonresident living in Washington, D.C., from 2011 to October 2013 while working in his $179,000 job as an acting assistant director at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Florida Constitution requires that candidates who run for attorney general live in the state the preceding seven years and be members of the Florida Bar for five continuous years. The lawsuit alleged that Sheldon didn't meet those requirements. Attorney Johnny McCray argued Friday that when Sheldon qualified to run in June, he couldn't practice law in Florida because of his lapsed membership.

"It's undisputed he didn't qualify," McCray said.

Francis, however, sided with Sheldon's attorney, Ron Meyer, who said the Constitution requires only that lawyers be members of the Florida Bar, which Sheldon was despite his delinquency.

The winner will face Republican incumbent Pam Bondi.

Judge rules George Sheldon eligible for attorney general primary 08/15/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New center opens in Tampa to help those with missing, damaged limbs

    Veterans

    TAMPA — Justin Lansford, his service dog Gabe by his side, smiled broadly Thursday as he imagined the future of a sprawling, resource center for people who need artificial limbs and those interested in helping them.

    Justin Lansford, 27, lost his left leg above the knee in Afghanistan. He was one of dozens of people attending the opening of the Veterans International Institute of Orthotics & Prosthetics in Tampa on Thursday. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  2. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  3. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  4. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  5. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”