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Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey Faces Allegation of Racist and Demeaning Comments

| July 20, 2016

judge mark hulsey

Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey in a still from a video campaign ad.

A Jacksonville judge accused of using epithets to refer to a female staff attorney and saying that blacks should “go back to Africa” could face sanctions after an investigation by a panel that polices judicial conduct.

A panel of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission found probable cause to pursue charges against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III 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, which has the ultimate authority over judges. Hulsey, who faces 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 disputed the accusations.

“These false allegations have been a poorly kept secret hanging over me like a cloud for months,” Hulsey said in the release. “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.

The reassignment was not intended “to pass judgment on the truth of these charges but to continue the orderly administration of justice,” Mahon said.

In addition to the allegations regarding comments about staff lawyers and African-Americans, the investigative panel also accused Hulsey of exploiting his judicial assistant by requiring her to write personal checks and make personal phone calls on his behalf, and of failing to “respond to post-conviction matters promptly and efficiently,” causing the Attorney General’s Office to “unnecessarily seek extensions.”

After the judicial panel opened the investigation, the judge told his assistant to “tell the truth” but also instructed her to say that she did not believe Hulsey would make derogatory remarks about women or blacks, according to the notice of charges.

“Your conduct represents an interference with the JQC’s inquiry process,” Alexander John Williams, assistant general counsel for the commission, wrote to Hulsey in the notice.

The panel also accused Hulsey of “indifference to your judicial duties” by relying on staff attorneys to “unnecessarily prepare word-for-word ‘scripts’ of even routine and mundane judicial acts.”

Hulsey is the fourth Florida judge to undergo a formal investigation this year.

A News Service of Florida investigation two years ago found the state Supreme Court had begun taking a much harsher view of judges’ inappropriate behavior. The Supreme Court has increasingly rejected recommendations from the Judicial Qualifications Commission and called for more punitive measures instead.

Of the 78 cases involving judges over the past 16 years, when the Supreme Court first began posting the documents online, seven judges have been removed from office, while 14 resigned before their punishments were meted out and just one successfully defended himself against the charges.

–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

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18 Responses for “Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey Faces Allegation of Racist and Demeaning Comments”

  1. anonymous says:

    Hang him out to dry. He did it. Just looking at him he looks mean as hell.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does he not have the right to freedom of speech? Someone can accuse anyone of doing anything. I am so tired of people whining about everything and anything.

  3. Common Sense says:

    For too long judges have thought themselves above the laws they are supposed to administer.

  4. Sherry says:

    Disgraceful and outrageous!

    For those of you who constantly tell yourselves, and US, that there is no prejudice or racism or inequality in the USA. . . or that President Obama is solely to blame for provoking racism. . . take the time to read this article carefully. Mark Hulsey has been in the legal profession for over 30 years, and a judge for over FIVE years. Do you really think any African American could get a judgement EQUAL to that of a white man in this judge’s courtroom?

    In addition, his demeaning treatment of women is completely unacceptable!

    Please understand that the vast majority of these kinds of cases never see the light of day. Only a relative few are brought to the attention of the Supreme court, or the media.

    The worst part of this story is that there is still the possibility that Judge Hulsey could be re-elected because of the undercurrent of racism and chauvinism in Florida and the USA, as a whole. This man reflects the worst traits of human beings and our society. It will be very interesting to see if we have enough hate filled voters in Northern Florida to put him back into office.

    And the INEQUALITY and INJUSTICE goes on, and on, and on!

  5. Sherry says:

    NO. . . in Judge Hulsey’s work place he most certainly does NOT have the right to free speech! What he has said and done is completely UNETHICAL and unprofessional, and blatantly shows his racism and prejudice against those for whom he has sworn an oath to “judge” in an unbiased way! It also sets up himself and his office for civil lawsuits, and is a complete embarrassment to his profession! Take a read and get educated:.

    It is also NOT OK for other professionals in the work place to say and do similar things. Check into anti-discrimination laws for goodness sake!

  6. GT says:

    Did you ever think how hard it must be for this man to sit day after day and see mostly african americans with long rap sheets come up in front of him and not be rascist. Maybe he like the rest of us is just plain tired of the crime that has taken over our city. As far as him being rude to female staff members thats wrong.

  7. daveT says:

    Just think of how many other people in the US have said that very same thing. Pretty pathetic from a Judge.

  8. Knightwatch says:

    So, Anonymous, you think a sitting judge who degrades his staff and expresses racist views is merely expressing his “freedom of speech”? You, and people like you, are the driving force behind the growing civil and racial discord in this country. Collectively, you have helped to create the growing horror that is “Trumpism”.

  9. Sherry says:

    GT. . . if this “judge” cannot fulfill his duties as he is required to do in a completely UNBIASED fashion, he should absolutely RESIGN instead of running for re-election! Judges like this are why our citizens are NOT receiving the EQUAL justice they are legally and ethically entitled to!

    Also, your comments are offensive and racist in tone as well. . . I’m not surprised though! What Knightwatch says about Anonymous applies to you as well.

  10. Gerry says:

    I’ll vote for him for President……….Here come the Judge !!!!!

  11. Rick says:

    GT, how much easier for this POS to not have chosen this line of work knowing what is expected? I’m sure they would love to go back to beautiful Africa but the whites have exploited their land. Keep in mind that they never asked to come here in the first place to work on building this country to what it is today. Maybe if the races/countries that benefited from the labor of their souls and enriched themselves would go to Africa and build their country to the condition that they built ours, even I may go with them to their paradise.

    Anyone commenting in this bigots favor is an equal to his malice towards the destruction of families in Africa who were hoarded in shiploads for monetary gain. I’m not African American, however, have dealt with many good and bad ones just like any other race including my own. It is painful to know that families with their young were destroyed in ways so unimaginable. For the purpose of morality alone, I don’t see any possible way in the world that the countries involved in slavery could ever make it up to them.. So they wanted them here to break their backs and build a beautiful US and now they want them to go back? Bigots, be grateful that you weren’t born an African in the times of slavery or in the years of oppression in the south. Not that it doesn’t still exist, it’s just not displayed in the open as in those days of whites only signs as if the whites were any better. On the contrary if you ask me.

  12. Sherry says:

    And here come more and more racist pigs! No surprises here, considering the completely close minded ignorance of many who comment on this site!

  13. Donna says:

    I take it that most if you did not read the last paragraph. One way or another, he’s going down. The odds are against him. The Judicial Qualifications Commission does not take accusations against judges lightly. Nor does the Florida Supreme Court.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Get some thick skin and pick your battles. That’s the problem, everyone is sitting around whining and have a pitty party for them self. Do you honestly think everyone has something nice or good to say about you? What’s the difference if this was said in front of someone or behind their back and no one heard to complain when the man has the right of freedom of speech. There are plenty of Judges that say things that aren’t nice and hurt peoples feelings… with it and put your big boy panties on. That is what separates the men from the boys.

  15. Sherry says:

    Anonymous. . . and why don’t you put on YOUR own “big boy” “Depends” and submit your offensive comments using your own name?

    Those who comment here regarding professional ethics and the need for equality in our justice system and society are not the whining cowards. It’s the racists, fascists and xenophobes who are mouthing off behind handles like”Anonymous” while shaking in fear of loosing their lily white majority control of the USA.

    What separates the true “professionals” from the idiots is their understanding of how educated, intelligent adults conduct themselves in a civilized society.

  16. Vinny Boom Bots says:

    Definitely my kind of judge, deal with the mooks as he sees them, I only wish he was Donald John Trumps Attorney General, illegal dope sales like crack & hype would cease in like 24 hours when he’d start dishing out life sentences for selling a ten dollar rock or a dime bag of horse to some unemployed dope addicted home invader or car jacker.

  17. woodchuck says:

    What people or citizens of the U.S. do not understand is that if your oppinion is not politically correct you are a racist.Good luck with Hlllary.

  18. Anonymous says:

    What if it was your mother,sister or child,freedom of speech is always misinterpreted.

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