Protesters call for Jacksonville attorney to withdraw from Florida judge seat

Florida Bar is investigating actions of Judge Tyrie Boyer, attorney Michael Kalil

Jacksonville attorney Michael Kalil (Facebook)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two civil rights organizations joined together for a motorcade protest in downtown Jacksonville Tuesday morning.

Following the 10 a.m. motorcade, the NAACP and the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville held a news conference on the grounds of the Duval County Courthouse at 501 West Adams St.

The controversy that they are voicing outrage over revolves around the actions of Florida Circuit Court Judge Tyrie Boyer and Jacksonville attorney Michael Kalil on April 24, which are under investigation by the Florida Bar.

RELATED: Florida Bar investigating after Jacksonville attorney becomes judge without an election

Boyer filed to seek re-election as a judge, but documents show two hours before the filing deadline on Friday, he withdrew from the race in a faxed letter dated the day before. An hour and a half earlier, Kalil entered the race.

The moves by Kalil and Boyer on the final day of filing left less than two hours for another person to file the necessary paperwork to join the race.

Once the deadline passed, Kalil effectively became a judge without an election.

Now, both the Jacksonville NAACP and the Northside Coalition are calling for an investigation because they said it was unfair for Kalil to win the seat in that manner.

“We are concerned that Jacksonville attorney Michael Kalil violated the qualification process so he could win an election as a circuit court judge by default and without an election," President of Jacksonville NAACP Isaiah Rumlin said.

Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition said the attorney’s filing “represents the height of impropriety because he filed just one hour before another judge suspiciously withdrew from the race.”

“Mr. Kalil’s actions to qualify were clearly unethical, improper and unfair, and simply do not pass the smell test,” Frazier said. “We think that there should be diversity in terms of race and gender on the courts.”

Both civil rights organizations said they will continue to protest and demonstrate until Kalil withdraws from the seat.

Kalil called claims that he schemed to win an election false and preconceived. He has not announced any intention to withdraw from the race since calls for him to do so began in April.

About the Authors: