JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group of Jacksonville pastors is asking a Duval County judge to resign amid allegations the judge made a racial comment. The pastors said Tuesday that Judge Mark Hulsey allegedly told his judicial assistant that, “He wished all blacks could be sent back to Africa on a boat."
News4Jax was told there is no recording of this incident and the pastors will not say who gave them this information, or when he allegedly made the statement.
"Anytime a judge makes statements that degrade any people, whether they are black, white or whoever they are, that that judge should be removed from office," said Pastor Fred Newbill, of First Timothy Baptist Church.
In response, Hulsey released a statement, calling the accusation unfair and inaccurate.
“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. I condemn the content of this alleged statement," Hulsey wrote. "I urge that this accusation be disregarded unless and until the accuser comes forward and makes themselves known to the public. In our country, we have the right to face accusers and, as in this case, hiding behind anonymity at the cost of another person’s reputation is outrageous.”
Speaking on behalf of the group, Newbill said he wrote a letter to Chief Judge Mark Mahon last week asking him not to assign cases involving African-Americans in Hulsey’s courtroom until a full investigation is done.
Newbill said Mahon told him the letter was forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission. The Judicial Qualifications Committee told News4Jax they can’t confirm or deny that they have received a complaint about Hulsey or any other judge.
The group will be meeting in July to investigate all complaints and will vote on if there is probable cause that misconduct took place. If the committee votes to launch a formal investigation, at that point the information will become public.
"If he comes out and says, 'Well, I didn't say it,' and that's believed by the chief judge and those who make decisions, then we go away," Newbill said.
Husley, who has been on the bench in the 4th Judicial Circuit for 6 years, is running for reelection. He’s facing a challenge from Jacksonville attorney Gerald Wilkerson.