JACKSONVILLE – The next step for a former Florida judge is still unclear after he resigned from the bench just before a potential impeachment trial.
Judge Mark Hulsey of the 4th Judicial Circuit Court has officially resigned amid charges that he often used inappropriate racist and sexist slurs in the workplace. A complaint filed back in July alleged that he said African-Americans should “get back on a ship and go back to Africa.”
He also allegedly compared the female attorneys on staff to “cheerleaders who talk during the national anthem.”
While Hulsey denied making any such statements, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission filed charges against him shortly after the complaint was filed. The organization was set to reconvene next month, but it is not clear if it will still need to, considering Hulsey’s resignation.
The next step for Hulsey is a little fuzzy, and it has not been reported whether he might still be convicted of charges or if the Judicial Qualifications Committee will continue to investigate.
An employee for the organization declined to give any details on the case.
“Everything we do here is confidential,” the employee told the Florida Record. “We really can’t speak on it. Anything else is public record and filed with the Supreme Court. We can’t talk to anyone about what we know or anything.”
A worker with the 4th Judicial Circuit Court also said the staff was not at liberty to speak on Hulsey’s resignation.
The former judge’s letter came last month, just a day before the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee was set to take on the investigation against him. The committee was set to meet about “a report on preliminary findings.”
Even though Hulsey’s name is not listed as an item on the agenda, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, confirmed with Orlando Weekly the committee planned to “go down the path of impeachment,” for Hulsey. The House committee was slated to discuss subpoenas as well as hear from witnesses and recommend Hulsey’s impeachment, as the trial for his charges would not start until this summer.
Corcoran described Hulsey’s move as “a victory for justice” and called him out for his “repulsive behavior.”
One thing is clear: Hulsey certainly was axed from the list of candidates for the 2017 seat in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court, which serves Duval, Clay and Nassau counties.
He was up against lawyer Gerald Wilkerson for the coveted slot.
“I hope to win this election regardless of Judge Hulsey’s alleged wrongdoing,” Wilkerson told the Florida Record previously. “It would be naïve to suggest they will not have some impact. Unfortunately, there are some in our community who may want a judge with these values on the bench, and so it may strengthen their desire to vote for him. I believe that these allegations notwithstanding, I am by far the more qualified candidate. I have been a trial attorney for more than 16 years. I am a veteran, a father, a husband, and I have practiced far more areas of law than Mark Hulsey.”
During the investigation, Hulsey was reassigned to desk work and ruling on documents such as wills.