Florida Supreme Court refuses to hear county judge legal battle

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 10/3/18

TALLAHASSEE – A months-long fight to have her candidacy recognized and her name on the upcoming ballot for a judge seat in Clay County has ended for Lucy Hoover after the Florida Supreme Court …

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Florida Supreme Court refuses to hear county judge legal battle

Posted

TALLAHASSEE – A months-long fight to have her candidacy recognized and her name on the upcoming ballot for a judge seat in Clay County has ended for Lucy Hoover after the Florida Supreme Court refused to review her case on Oct. 2.

In June, Clay County Court Judge Kristina Mobley, who was facing her first time up for re-election, sued Hoover, her only opponent. Mobley’s suit claimed Hoover failed to properly qualify to be on the ballot.

“In the end, I’m very proud of the fight, but I am disappointed in the outcome,” Hoover said. “I’m more disappointed, though, for the voters of Clay County. This wasn’t about me. It was about the right of the voters to have and make a choice in the election.”

Her argument boiled down to the premise that Hoover simply failed to not only properly complete all necessary candidate paperwork but did not turn the paperwork in on time as well. Hoover, on the other hand, said because she was in the office filling out the necessary paperwork at the time of the deadline, she should be allowed to qualify.

At the time, the Clay County Supervisor of Elections, Chris Chambless, said he likened the situation to a voter being in line before the voting deadline. If a voter is in line before the deadline, they are still able to vote even if they have to do so after the cutoff time. For that reason, Chambless allowed Hoover to qualify.

In court, Hoover’s argument failed to hold up and Mobley won the case. Hoover, though, continued to fight with appeals until she found herself attempting to appeal to the high court after she disagree with a ruling from the 1st District Court of Appeal. Her last bastion of hope to see her name on the ballot, the High Court was the final authority in this case. Unfortunately for Hoover, the Florida Supreme Court denied to review her case, therefore ending the challenge that would have, had the court sided with Hoover, allowed voters to choose between her and Mobley.

For Hoover, the high court’s denial to hear her case is a reflection in the system’s trust in duly-elected constitutional officers, in this case, Chambless.

“This is the [Florida Supreme Court] telling us, the citizenry, that we cannot rely on the authority of our duly-elected constitutionals,” Hoover said. “It’s their way of saying [Chambless] has no right to make a judgment call to follow a policy that’s been in place for over 40 years. It’s not right.”

Despite the loss, Hoover has no regrets.

“I have no regrets,” Hoover said. “I’ve learned a great deal and it was a wonderful and amazing educational process.”

Chambless said he is just happy that the process was able to occur.

“I’m just glad that the process was allowed to run its entire course because I think that by taking the opportunity to ask the question to the highest court, it ensures that you know everyone was served by the process,” Chambless said. “You may not like the outcome, or you may like the outcome, but you know this case was heard and I think that’s important. It gives all of this closure.”

Because Hoover’s name will not appear on the ballot, Mobley is presumed elected. Officially, according to Chambless, it will be known that Mobley faced no opposition.

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