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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Dec. 21, 201612:00 PM EST

Northeast Florida judge apologizes for behavior during campaign

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A Northeast Florida circuit judge this week apologized and acknowledged he could face discipline from the Florida Supreme Court because of online attacks against an election opponent and comments about ruling on the constitutionality of state laws.

A panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission voted Oct. 28 to find “probable cause” existed to begin disciplinary proceedings against Circuit Judge Scott DuPont of the 7th Judicial Circuit, which comprises Volusia, Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties.

The panel said DuPont “recklessly” posted information on a campaign website about opponent Malcolm Anthony and that DuPont had not taken steps to verify the “scandalous information.”

Also, the panel recounted comments from a televised forum that included DuPont saying he would not hold state laws unconstitutional.

In a response posted Tuesday on the Supreme Court website, DuPont apologized and waived a formal hearing on the allegations.

“I am truly remorseful and apologetic for my behavior,” DuPont wrote. “I recognize and understand that I must exercise the utmost discipline in connection with my judicial activities, including the activities of my campaign.

“I am deeply aware of the need for judges and judicial candidates to set an example of the utmost propriety, judicial demeanor and restraint when required to run in a contested election,” he added.

The Supreme Court has the ultimate authority to discipline judges.

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