A Florida judge was “reassigned” after he was found to have made racist and sexist comments to his staff in his courtroom. Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey will now work in the probate division overseeing wills and another judge will now take over cases previously assigned to Hulsey, according to News4Jax.
Hulsey, of Jacksonville, was accused of telling a female staff attorney that blacks should “go back to Africa.” Hulsey could potentially face sanctions after an investigation by a panel that polices judicial conduct.
Probable cause was found by a panel of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission to pursue charges against the judge for being “discourteous and condescending to staff,” for having “expressed unnecessary criticism” of staff attorneys and for using “language inappropriate for your judicial office.”
The Tampa Bay Times reports:
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.’
According to charges, in 2011 Hulsey “offhandedly observed” to an aide that African Americans “should go get back on a ship and go back to Africa.”
However, Hulsey, who faces a reelection challenge this year after sitting on the bench for six years, denied the allegations.
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 added that he has “demonstrated his commitment to the principles of equal justice for all” while sitting on the bench since 2011.
Hulsey has been transferred from the criminal section to the probate section after charges were filed. If the accusations are proven to be true, it could impact cases Hulsey has presided over in the past. A group of black attorneys is defending the Judge from the accusations. Those attorneys say that the accusations are not consistent with his behavior in court and feel that he’s been fair.
The charges can be read here.
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