On Monday, 4th Judicial Circuit Mark Hulsey resigned from the bench ahead of an impeachment investigation by the Florida House.
“He resigned under the threat of the investigation,” House Speaker Richard Corcoran told the Tampa Bay Times‘ Steve Bousquet.
FloridaPolitics.com obtained a copy of Hulsey’s resignation letter, which noted that he effectively had served no use since re-elected last year beyond assisting other judges.
Hence, Hulsey’s departure would have no effect on judicial proceedings in Duval, Clay, or Nassau counties.
Hulsey had an alleged history of racist and sexist comments, which spurred an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission last year, even as Hulsey managed to get re-elected.
A sample of the complaints from the JQC reveals a minefield of issues.
“Among other comments: a. You referred to the prior lead Staff Attorney as a “b—-” and a “c—”. 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 a jury 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,” the JQC alleged.
As well, staff attorneys suffered other indignities from Hulsey, according to the charges, compelling them to essentially be on call for duty, requiring them to wait around for hearings that were continued, and requiring one to sit with him for an entire two-week capital trial.
Hulsey was also accused of interfering with the investigative process.
“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,” the JQC complaint alleged.
“You later confronted your JA regarding her cooperation with the JQC’s inquiry, and her apparent refusal to say what you wanted. Your conduct represents an interference with the JQC’s Inquiry process, and your JA was temporarily reassigned to prevent further attempts at interference,” the complaint continued.