Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Details Revealed in Judge Complaints; Panel Says Hulsey's 'Indifference' to Duties Created Issues for Staff

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Details Revealed in Judge Complaints; Panel Says Hulsey's 'Indifference' to Duties Created Issues for Staff

Article excerpt

Byline: Larry Hannan

More details became public Thursday in complaints against Jacksonville-based Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey, including inappropriately listing endorsements, regularly having others perform his work and pressuing an assistant to say he hadn't done anything wrong.

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission filed the updated complaint Thursday.

Hulsey, who narrowly won re-election in August, is accused of using sexist language and making racially charged remarks, including saying black people should "go back to Africa" and female staff attorneys are "like cheerleaders who talk during the national anthem." Hulsey has denied all the charges against him in court filings and said he harbors no ill will toward women or black people.

The charges include concerns that Hulsey used staff attorneys to prepare scripts for routine judicial tasks and required one attorney to regularly do his work for him. Chief Judge Mark Mahon previously told Hulsey to stop overusing staff attorneys, the documents said.

The commission panel said Hulsey's "indifference to your judicial duties" created problems for other staff and that he "exploited" his judicial assistant by having her pay personal bills, write letters and phone people on his behalf.

Hulsey could face discipline or removal from office by the Florida Supreme Court.

Thursday's filing repeated many of the allegations previously made against Hulsey but also spelled them out in more detail.

It said Hulsey's misuse of his judicial assistant required her to regularly take boxes of court filings home at night to complete work that the judge should have been doing himself. He also required staff attorneys, who work for all the judges in the Jacksonville based 4th Judicial Circuit, to be on call to perform routine tasks that Hulsey could have personally done.

"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," Thursday's filing said. "In another case, you required a staff attorney to sit with you and be present through an entire two-week capital trial, even during jury deliberations. …

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