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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jul. 16, 202005:10 AM EST

The Marbut Report: Candidates for clerk of courts on Aug. 18 ballot

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The Republican primary election and two Duval County judicial seats will be decided by voters.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

If you’re not registered to vote, you have until July 20 to do so and then be able to cast a ballot in the Aug. 18 primary election.

One constitutional office, contested by three Republicans, along with two seats on the nonpartisan Duval County Court will be on the ballot.

Leon Jackson

There will be a new Duval County clerk of the circuit and county courts in January because incumbent Ronnie Fussell is term-limited after two four-year terms.

There are three Republican candidates in the primary election, each with experience working in the clerk’s office.

Leon Jackson began his career in the clerk’s office at age 18 as a part-time helper. He later was promoted to manager and in 2018, to senior manager.

Jody Phillips

Jody Phillips, the current clerk’s office chief operating officer, is a former highway construction executive who has been with the office for nine years. 

Scott Wilson is in his second term on City Council and was its 2019-20 president.

Wilson went to work in the clerk’s office in 1994 as a court record clerk.

He left in 2007 as court operations supervisor, the highest-ranking civil service position in the office, to become the executive assistant for Council member Don Redman, succeeded in 2015 by Wilson.

Scott Wilson

The candidate receiving the most votes will be on the ballot with Democratic Party clerk candidate and civil rights attorney Jimmy Midyette in the Nov. 3 general election.

In the nonpartisan judicial elections, incumbent Duval County Judge Erin Perry will face attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters.

A former assistant state attorney, Perry was appointed to the bench in January 2019.

Peoples-Waters, a private practice attorney, also was a candidate for Duval County judge in 2012.

The other judicial contest includes Duval County Judge Scott Mitchell, who was appointed to the bench in 2012 and reelected unopposed in 2014.

He’s being challenged by Isaac East, an attorney, mediator and arbitrator and owner of East Law of Florida.

Visit duvalelections.com to register to vote or for a sample ballot.

The mural inside the lobby of the Baker County Courthouse includes this image of Ku Klux Klan members. (News4Jax.com)

Attorneys call for removal of Baker courthouse mural

The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is calling for the removal of the mural in the lobby of the Baker County Courthouse in Macclenny because it depicts horseback riders in Ku Klux Klan robes.

“We call upon the chief judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit to immediately order removal of this shocking and offensive depiction of the worst part of American history,” the association said in a statement July 9.

“The Chief Judge should act immediately to rectify this situation,” it said.

Jacksonville attorney Mitch Stone, founder of Mitchell A. Stone P.A., is president of the association.

“We consulted our members and agreed across the board that we don’t believe it’s appropriate for that mural to exist in a courthouse,” Stone said.

“When they walk into a courthouse, people need to know they’ll be treated fairly with equal justice. That’s not what the KKK did. It existed to remove power from people who had just been freed. That’s the antithesis of justice,” he said.

The association advocates for removal of the mural and its placement at another site, such as in a museum.

“We don’t want to erase history. We need to remember people who have done terrible things, but that’s not a part of history you need to show in a courthouse,” Stone said.

Judicial Nominating Commission is seeking applicants

The Florida Bar is seeking applicants for the state Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

Applicants must be licensed to practice law in Florida. Commissioners are not eligible for state judicial office for vacancies filled by the JNC on which they serve for two years after completion of their term.

The application may be downloaded at floridabar.org and must be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 14 to the executive director of The Florida Bar.

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