TALLAHASSEE – A would-be candidate for Clay County Court Judge is hoping to appeal a 1st District Court of Appeal ruling that would prevent her from running against Clay County Judge Kristina …
TALLAHASSEE – A would-be candidate for Clay County Court Judge is hoping to appeal a 1st District Court of Appeal ruling that would prevent her from running against Clay County Judge Kristina Mobley.
Lucy Ann Hoover of Middleburg has started the process to get the Florida Supreme Court to consider her case. Rather than filing a case, Hoover had to file a notice to invoke discretionary jurisdiction.
“A [notice of invoke discretionary jurisdiction] is requesting the court to consider hearing the case on its merits,” Hoover said. “You list all of the issues that you believe are important enough for the supreme court to consider.”
While the district court of appeal ruling leaves Hoover off the ballot, the Florida Supreme Court is Hoover’s last hope. If the high court rules in her favor, there is a chance that a special election could be held to sort out the matter.
Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless said that a special election would allow Clay County voters to choose between Mobley and Hoover.
“There would be a special election,” Chambless said. “It’s never happened while I’ve been here, so this could be a first.”
If the Florida Supreme Court does accept her case, and if Hoover won the appeal, Chambless said that depending on the timing, this election might be grouped into another election in the county, but if the timing isn’t right, it would simply be its own election.
The case began in June when Mobley filed a suit against Hoover’s qualification as a candidate in the upcoming election. In the suit, Mobley’s attorneys argued that not only did Hoover fail to complete her qualifying documents correctly, but that she failed to turn them in on time as well. Originally, Hoover based her argument on a case called Bayne v. Gibson, which saw a person attempt to qualify for a state legislative seat, but due to extraneous and external issues, was unable to do so on time. This person had completed all of the necessary documents correctly but failed to turn them in on time due to circumstances beyond their control such as incorrect directions, large crowds and a lack of signage.
According to the ruling of Hoover’s appeal, her reliance on Bayne v. Gibson was misplaced.
“Accordingly, unlike Bayne where circumstances beyond the candidate’s control caused him to miss the qualifying deadline, the evidence here supports the trial court’s dispositive finding that, ‘nothing prevented Hoover from submitting all of the necessary paperwork to qualify for the judicial race other than her waiting until the last minute to complete and submit required documents’,” the ruling states.
Hoover disagrees, hence the potential appeal, but if the Florida Supreme Court accepts Hoover’s appeal, Hoover said she’ll still use Bayne v. Gibson as grounds for her argument.
Hoover filed the notice to invoke discretionary jurisdiction on Aug. 17 and on Aug. 24 filed a 19-page brief arguing the merits on which the high court should hear her plea. Mobley has the opportunity to provide a counter to the notice, but she must do so within 20 days of the notice filing. Hoover is unsure of when she’ll hear back, but she hopes to hear back soon, not only for her sake but for the Clay County voter’s sake too.
“Clay County deserves a vote and a choice on who they want in that [judge] seat,” Hoover said. “It needs to be up to the voters. They deserve the chance to look at our credentials and backgrounds and deem who they see most fit for the position. If I didn’t believe that, then I wouldn’t be doing this.”