A Florida judge who was facing investigation after being accused of making racist and sexist comments from the bench has abruptly resigned ahead of an impeachment investigation by the Legislature, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Duval Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III was at the center of a probe by the Judicial Qualifications Commissions after allegedly saying that blacks should “get back on a ship and go back to Africa.” Hulsey also allegedly called a female staff attorney a “bitch” and a “cunt,” and used other demeaning language toward female lawyers on his staff, likening them to “cheerleaders who talk during the national anthem,” the Times notes.
As if things couldn’t get any more grimy, Hulsey was also accused in a formal complaint of attempting to sway what his judicial assistant would tell the qualifications commission during its investigation.
“Your conduct represents an interference with the JQC’s inquiry process and your JA [judicial assistant] was temporarily resigned to prevent further interference,” the commission’s report read.
According to the Times, in total, Hulsey was accused of 18 different violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics and a violation of state election law for claiming to have a certain number of endorsements without having those endorsements in writing.
Although the JQC’s notice of formal charges was filed in July, and despite the media attention the allegations brought in Jacksonville, Hulsey snagged another re-election to a six-year term.
However, on Monday, Hulsey abruptly resigned just as the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee was scheduled to meet in Tallahassee on Tuesday, when a House investigator was expected to present a report on Hulsey’s case and the panel’s chairman, Republican state Rep. Larry Metz, was expected to request a committee vote to subpoena witnesses.
“He resigned under the threat of the investigation,” state House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican, said.
Hulsey’s letter of resignation was reportedly sent to Gov. Rick Scott by email and hand delivery, and noted, “I hereby tender my resignation as a judge of the Circuit Court of the State of Florida, Fourth Judicial Circuit, Group 25, effective this 23rd day of January, 2017 at 10:15 a.m.”
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of the state of Florida,” he added.
Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.