Prosecutor Brian Kramer filed a complaint last week, seeking to have his opponent in the running for state attorney, Beverly McCallum, declared ineligible for having been suspended by the Florida court.
Kramer, assistant state prosecutor, and McCallum are the only candidates running for Bill Cervone’s place on the eighth circuit. Cervone is not seeking re-election.
The complaint, filed at the Second Circuit in Tallahassee, depends on a qualification to be a state prosecutor under the Florida Constitution and on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state of being a member of the Bar Association.
McCallum was suspended from practicing law by the Florida Supreme Court for 15 days in December, after an investigation by the Bar found her misconduct on allegations of misconduct she made against two Ocala-based Fifth Circuit judges.
Kramer contends that McCallum’s suspension should disqualify her under a Florida Constitution requirement that a state attorney “be and have been a member of the Florida Bar Association in the previous five years”.
The complaint states that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a lawyer who is under disciplinary suspension is not a member of the Bar Association with the privilege of practicing.
For this reason, McCallum has not been a member of the Bar for the past five years, so he is not eligible, the complaint states.
“She is not legally qualified. It is a yes or no question – do you meet the qualifications or not. It is a legal issue, “Kramer told The Sun.” It is not certain that people on the circuit will be tricked into voting for a candidate who does not meet the qualifications. “
McCallum, a former state assistant attorney, now in private practice, said in an email to The Sun that she had not officially received the complaint and would not comment on the pending litigation.
In the email, McCallum said voters on the circuit had allowed her to participate in the vote “and any effort to suppress their votes, voices and free and fair elections is unacceptable”.
McCallum added, “I am and have been a member of the Florida Bar Association since 2003.”
The Florida Elections Division website indicates that McCallum fell short of the number of verified signatures needed to get to the vote through petitions and paid a $ 10,173 qualifying fee.
A judge is expected to issue a decision on the complaint before the November election. Either party can appeal, and the appeal must also be heard before the election.