Wednesday, July 20, 2016
JQC CHARGES RACIST, SEXIST JACKSONVILLE JUDGE REMARKS
FOURTH JUDiCIAL CIRCUIT MARK HULSEY, III is facing a hearing before the Florida Supreme Court as a a result of Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) charges of racist, sexist language insulting African-American women staff attorneys, abusing and misusing staff, condescending attitudes and asking attorneys to "script" his every word in court (not their job).
Ironicaly JUDGE HULSEY is the privileged son of the late Smith, Hulsey, Busey law firm cofounder MARK HULSEY, Jr., a legendary litigator responsible for starting JQC. Judge HULSEY's father was former State Bar president, who pushed for establishment of the Judicial Qualifications Commission and once chaired it, also chairing the Jackonville Chamber of Commerce and Jacksonville Port Authority.
If first-term FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT JUDGE MARK HULSEY, III is found guilty, if his alleged racist, sexist remarks and other misconduct are proved, it could result in his removal from the bench. In June, a group of ministers called for him to resign from the bench.
FROM TABPA BAY TIMES:
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.
BEFORE THE FLORIDA JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION
INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE, THE HONORABLE MARK HULSEY, III JQCNO. 16-056
NOTICE OF FORMAL CHARGES
TO: The Honorable Mark Hulsey, III
4th Judicial Circuit of Florida
501 W. Adams Street, Room 7266
Jacksonville, Florida 32202-7266
The Investigative Panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, at its meeting on July 7, 2016, by a vote of the majority of its members, pursuant to Rule 6(f) of the Rules of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission and Article V, Section 12 (b) of the Constitution of the State of Florida, finds that probable cause exists for formal proceedings to be instituted against you.
Canon 2A of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct (the "Canons") requires a judge to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, stating that ajudge "...shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and
impartiality of the judiciary."
Similarly Canon 5 provides, in pertinent part, that, "[a] judge shall conduct
all of the judge's extra-judicial activities so that they do not:
￼(1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge's capacity to act impartially as a judge;
(2) undermine the judge's independence, integrity, or impartiality; (3) demean thejudicial office.
1. You have been discourteous and condescending to your staff, and you have expressed unnecessary criticism of Staff Attorneys, and in doing so used language inappropriate for your judicial office. Among other comments:
a. You referred to the prior lead Staff Attorney as a "bitch" and a "cunt".
b. You have demeaned female Staff Attorneys by referring to them as like cheerleaders who talk during the national anthem.
c. You berated a Staff Attorney who failed to remain in the courtroom while ajury was deliberating. During this capital trial you required the Staff Attorney to provide you with basic information about capital trial procedures, and then, at the end of the two-week trial, you unfairly berated, and blamed the Staff Attorney for mistakes you made during the course of the trial.
2. In2011, during conversation with a Staff Attorney in your chambers in which she was reporting about the status of an order, you offhandedly ￼observed about African-Americans, "They should go get back on a ship
and go back to Africa."
3. You have also exploited your Judicial Assistant to the extent that she felt compelled to perform personal tasks, such as paying your personal bills, writing letters, and making personal phone calls on your behalf. This misuse of a government employee unduly burdened your Judicial Assistant, and created an unhealthy atmosphere where the boundaries between personal tasks and professional work became indistinct.
a. One consequence of your misuse of your Judicial Assistant is that you are unable to respond to post-conviction matters promptly and efficiently. After attending training on post-conviction motions, you gave your instructional notebook to your Judicial Assistant and instructed her to read it and figure it out. Further, you have failed to promptly issue orders sought by the Attorney General's Office, forcing them to unnecessarily seek extensions in responding to petitions.
b. Another consequence of your misuse of your Judicial Assistant is that she had to routinely take boxes of court files home to complete her official duties at night.
￼4. Because of your indifference to your judicial duties, you rely upon Staff Attorneys to unnecessarily prepare word-for-word "scripts" of even routine and mundane judicial acts. You have demanded that specific Staff Attorneys be available to assist you at any time. In doing so, you have limited their availability to other judges:
a. In one such instance you allowed a Staff Attorney to wait for two hours before telling her that the hearing she was there for had been continued to a later time.
b. In another case, you required a Staff Attorney to sit with you, and be present through an entire two-week capital trial, even during
c. You routinely called upon one specific Staff Attorney to do work
for you, calling her directly, rather than going through the assignment process for the pool of Staff Attorneys. Thus, your actions resulted in her doing double duty: work assigned directly by you as well as her regularly assigned work. When she finally told her supervisor what was happening, the Chief Judge was made aware of what you were doing, and instructed you to stop overusingtheStaffAttorneys. It was this action that prompted you ￼to refer to the Staff Attorney supervisor as a "bitch" and "cunt" in
aconversation with athird party.
5. Finally in 2016, when the JQC became aware of your continuing pattern
of misconduct it opened an Inquiry. When you found out that your Judicial Assistant had been contacted by the JQC, you directed her to "tell the truth", but then you also instructed her to make sure that she mentioned that she doesn't think you would ever make a derogatory remark about women or African Americans. You later confronted your JA regarding her cooperation with the JQC's inquiry, and her apparent refusaltosaywhatyouwanted. Your conduct represents an interference with the JQC's Inquiry process, and your JA was temporarily reassigned to prevent further attempts at interference.
6. Even after the foregoing, you have continued to request and suggest to your new Judicial Assistant that she undertake tasks that are purely personal in nature.
Your actions constitute inappropriate conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B(1), 3B(2), 3B(4), 3B(5), 3B(8), 3C(l), 5A(1), 5A(2), 5A(3), and 5A(6) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
You are hereby notified of your right to file a written answer to these charges with in twenty (20) days of service of this notice upon you. The original ￼of your response and all subsequent pleadings must be filed with the Clerk of the Florida JQC….
From FLORIDA POLITICS
Mark Hulsey fires back, says ‘dirty political tactics’ at play
8 hours ago
A Jacksonville judge facing misconduct proceedings is fighting back, saying the allegations against him are false and “dirty political tactics.”
Among other violations, Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III was charged Wednesday with reportedly making racially biased and other derogatory comments off the bench. (Previous story here.)
One accusation had him referring to a woman attorney by using a vulgar term for female genitalia. He’s also accused of mistreating courthouse staff attorneys and his judicial assistant.
The case is being pursued by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates misconduct accusations against judges.
In a statement released later in the day, the judge said he was “eager to begin learning the facts and accusers behind the allegations.”
The statement was on campaign letterhead, with a disclaimer, “Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Mark Hulsey for Circuit Court Judge.”
Hulsey, elected in 2010 to a six-year term, is running for re-election this year. He is being challenged by Gerald Wilkerson, a Jacksonville lawyer who specializes in family law and criminal defense. Judicial races are nonpartisan.
“These false allegations have been a poorly kept secret hanging over me like a cloud for months,” Hulsey said in the statement. “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.”
The statement mentioned his service “as an Army officer, an adjunct professor and in more than 30 years practicing law.”
“Hulsey forged strong relationships with diverse people from all areas of our community (and) these relationships were crucial in his election as a circuit court judge,” it said. “During his service as a judge, he has demonstrated his commitment to the principles of equal justice for all.”
The commission’s hearing panel may not take up the case until “later this fall,” Hulsey added. In all, he faces 14 violations of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct.
“That will allow the challenger in my re-election campaign to continue using these baseless allegations in his attacks against me,” he said. “I’m counting on my reputation for impartiality, integrity and honesty to help voters and my longtime supporters see through these dirty political tactics.”
Wilkerson responded in an email, saying “Hulsey knows that these allegations were reported and investigated by the JQC well before I ever filed paperwork to run against him.”
“I condemn in the strongest sense Judge Hulsey’s suggestion that the JQC results are political in nature,” he wrote. “I can certainly imagine how upset a judge would be for the JQC, after a full and impartial investigation, to bring formal charges for racist and sexist comments, for misusing staff and for interference in an official investigation.
“It is very disturbing, however, that his campaign would attempt to deflect attention from these serious allegations by knowingly and falsely suggesting that these allegations and findings are somehow the result of dirty politics,” Wilkerson added. “I understand, though, as between me and the JQC, I am the only available target for this sort of mudslinging.”
JUDGE MARK HULSEY, III SWORN IN AS JUDGE IN 2010