A Leon County circuit judge has blocked a candidate from running for state attorney in a large swath of North Florida, finding that she did not meet a legal qualification for the job.
Judge Angela Dempsey issued a 12-page ruling Monday that prevents Democrat Beverly McCallum from vying to become state attorney in the 8th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.
McCallum and Republican Brian Kramer filed qualifying papers in April to run to replace outgoing State Attorney Bill Cervone. But Kramer filed a lawsuit alleging that McCallum did not meet a constitutional requirement that state attorneys be members of The Florida Bar for the previous five years.
While McCallum is a longtime attorney, Kramer’s argument was based on a 15-day suspension she received in December from the Florida Supreme Court. In her ruling Monday, Dempsey agreed with Kramer’s argument and issued an injunction preventing McCallum from appearing on the ballot.
“Based on the undisputed material facts, the language of the Florida Constitution and the analysis set forth (in previous cases), the court concludes as a matter of law that defendant Beverly McCallum has not been ‘a member of the bar of Florida for the preceding five years,’ is constitutionally ineligible to hold the office of state attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit and does not meet the necessary qualifications to hold the office of state attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit for which she sought to qualify,” Dempsey wrote.
As of Wednesday morning, the Florida Division of Elections had removed McCallum from a list of qualified candidates on its website, leaving Kramer as the only candidate for the state attorney post.
Republished with permission from the News Service of Florida.
July 1, 2020 at 4:57 pm
Just a reaction here: this decision seems really dumb, because you have to be a member in order to even be suspended and endure a period of suspension, so you should still be considered a member during suspension as long as you have paid your dues and have not quit the bar. A suspension is a punishment for something, not kicking you out, such as with a continuing education deficiency – once you cure the deficiency you are back on good graces. I don’t actually know anything about lawyers and bar, just a reaction to the story.
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