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Probable Cause Found Against Duval Circuit Judge Accused Of Racist, Sexist Language

Mark Hulsey for Circuit Judge via Vimeo

Updated 3:30 p.m.

A Duval County Circuit Judge is facing charges that he mistreated his staff and used language unbecoming of a judge.

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission finds probable cause against Judge Mark Hulsey III.

The commission’s report is full of allegations, including that he used derogatory words for women when talking about a prior lead staff attorney.

He’s also accused of telling his staff attorney in a private conversation that African Americans should get back on a ship and go back to Africa.

And the report says he misused his judicial assistant for personal errands to the point that she could not perform her official duties in a timely manner.

Finally, the report alleges Hulsey interfered in the commission’s investigation of these matters by telling his staff attorney what to say on the record.

Last month, Hulsey issued a statement through a spokesman in response to a press conference held to protest his alleged behavior. It said, in part, “I am outraged at the unfair and inaccurate accusation that has been leveled at me in a most cowardly fashion. I did not, and would never, say the reprehensible things that I have been accused of saying." 

Read the JQC investigative panel's entire report here. Hulsey has 20 days to respond to the charges

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon from Chief Judge Mark Mahon :

"I have been made aware of the fact that the Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed formal charges against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey. These allegations are very serious, and if true, very troubling.  Judge Hulsey is, of course, entitled to due process and a hearing on these charges.  In the meantime, I have reassigned Judge Hulsey to assist in the Probate Division. 

"This is done not to pass judgement on the truth of these charges but to continue the orderly administration of justice.  For me to comment any further would not be appropriate."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a statement from Chief Judge Mark Mahon.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP