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Black Pastors Ask Voters To Dump Politicians Who Endorsed Embattled Jacksonville Judge

Ryan Benk
Pastor Fred Newbill led a group of black pastors in condemning politicians who endorse Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey.

A group of black Jacksonville pastors are calling for Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey to be removed from the bench as he faces charges of making racist and sexist slurs, along with other misconduct.

The pastors are also urging their congregations to withhold support from black lawmakers and lawyers who are endorsing Hulsey for re-election.

Pastors said they’re behind thecomplaint against Hulsey which led to an investigation and charges last month. The Judicial Qualifications Commissionfound probable cause that Hulsey told a staffer blacks should go back to Africa and used a sexist slur against a female lawyer.

Hulseyflatly denied the charges and will likely face them in a Supreme Court hearing, but Jacksonville Pastor Fred Newbill said that isn't enough.

“So, we are also saying to the Florida Supreme Court that they expedite his case and just take him off the bench,” he said.

Chief Judge Mark Mahon reassigned Hulsey from criminal court to the probate division for the time being.  

He’s facing lawyer Gerald Wilkerson in his re-election bid, and Newbill is calling out black politicians and lawyers who’ve endorsed the incumbent.

“Number one is Ronda Water Peeples and those who did the news conference with her. We also have a lawyer running who was part of the news conference and we also have Corrine Brown who her quick picks put out,” he said.

Newbill is urging black voters to oppose anyone who’s expressed support for Hulsey in this month’s primary.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville death row inmate Terrance Phillips, who was sentenced by Husley, is asking the Florida Supreme Court to take a second look at his case in light of the charges.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is calling that motion a “fishing expedition” and asking is the high court to deny his request.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.