Alachua County, Fla. — Upholding a lower-court ruling, an appeals court Monday said an Alachua County lawyer is not eligible to run for state attorney because she received a 15-day suspension from the Florida Supreme Court last year.
Democrat Beverly McCallum and Republican Brian Kramer filed qualifying papers in April to run to replace outgoing State Attorney Bill Cervone in the 8th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
But Kramer filed a lawsuit alleging that McCallum did not meet a constitutional requirement that state attorneys be members of The Florida Bar for the previous five years.
While McCallum is a longtime attorney, Kramer’s argument was based on the 15-day suspension she received in December from the Florida Supreme Court. In a June 29 ruling, Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey agreed with Kramer’s argument and issued an injunction preventing McCallum from appearing on the ballot.
McCallum took the issue to the 1st District Court of Appeal, but a three-judge panel Monday backed Dempsey’s ruling.
“Because McCallum was suspended from the practice of law for a period of fifteen days in 2019, McCallum does not meet the eligibility requirements for the office of state attorney provided under … the Florida Constitution, namely that a person ‘be and have been a member of the bar of Florida for the preceding five years,’” said the ruling by judges Brad Thomas, Lori Rowe, and Robert Long.
With McCallum blocked from running, Kramer is the only candidate in the race.
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