The First District Court of Appeal (DCA) has overruled Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson’s recent decision that allowed the City of Tallahassee to address the residency controversy involving City Commissioner Scott Maddox.
The City of Tallahassee, through their legal representation, previously persuaded Judge Dodson that the city’s charter gave them sole discretion over the issue.
Dr. Erwin Jackson, who first filed an action over questions about Maddox’s residency with the Circuit Court, filed an appeal with the DCA challenging Dodson’s decision. In the appeal, Dr. Jackson, through his attorney, argued state law required a hearing in Circuit Court, not with the City Commission.
On Wednesday, after the three judge panel heard about 40 minutes of oral arguments, the DCA issued a ruling that said “the lower tribunal was obligated to hold the ‘immediate hearing’ required by section 102.168(7), and lacked discretion to stay the case in deference to a hearing before the City Commission.”
The order concluded with “we therefore grant the petition for writ of mandamus, quash the order under review, and direct the lower tribunal to hold an immediate hearing on Jackson’s timely complaint.” The complete ruling is provide below.
BY ORDER OF THE COURT:
We find that section 102.168, Florida Statutes (2016), is controlling and that the proper forum for Jackson’s post-election contest is the circuit court. Therefore, the lower tribunal was obligated to hold the “immediate hearing” required by section 102.168(7), and lacked discretion to stay the case in deference to a hearing before the City Commission. Rather,in considering Jackson’s challenge to Maddox’s eligibility to hold office, the lower tribunal was required to consider, without limitation, whether Maddox is eligible for the office of City Commissioner under Section 9 of the City’s Charter (creating a city commission to consist of five “electors of the city elected at large”) (emphasis added). We therefore grant the petition for writ of mandamus, quash the order under review, and direct the lower tribunal to hold an immediate hearing on Jackson’s timely complaint. An opinion further explaining the Court’s reasoning will issue at a later date; however, the lower tribunal should proceed with the immediate hearing forthwith.
ROWE, MAKAR, and KELSEY, JJ., CONCUR.
The judge’s second decision due to the first decision being wrong is wrong again. Now it is official that not only do they wink and look the other way at Maddox’s fraud, but now it rises to a new level…the judge has labeled the fraud with an “official” seal of approval. The judge is letting the pilot fly drunk.
Citizens aren’t getting the representation that they deserve. We deserve legitimate representation not representation with a foundation pouring through a sieve.
This is why we are first in crime, have a dysfunctional CDA, etc., because of poor leadership.
Shall we call Donald Trump, CNN, and Dateline? Should we put up billboards denouncing this fraud? Should we send out disclaimers to parents of students coming here warning them that Tallahassee has a commissioner(s) not properly representing us?
Why does Maddox believe he is above the law? This is sad, embarrassing, and degrading. Will Maddox ever find his moral compass or is it permanently broken?
However “nice” a person Scott Maddox may be, he just happened to be the person in question when the problem needed fix’in. I have seen the same tactic used for at least 20 years by persons running for and sitting on commission. A year is good. Just owning a property is not, and should not be enough. Do what is right and no one has to come back and “fix it”
Scott and his family do not live in the rental office space. They live in a million dollar estate outside the city. Scott signed a legal document when he bailed a family member out of jail stating his permanent address was the county home.
I plan to offer the city an ordinance requiring residency to be established one year before filing to run for an office!
Thank you, Dr. Irwin, for your continuing investment of your time and resources in the service of Tallahassee! You are making a real difference in highlighting and ridding our city government of corruption at the core. Between the City Attorney’s Office and the Commission, you have quite a job ahead of you…I don’t know which is worse, but it seems the CAO is enabling the Commissioners. Good luck! You are very much appreciated!
The only way we are going to put to rest how “residency” will be defined is to put it before a fair and impartial tribunal. Keep this in mind. Let us *assume* someone has financial interest in more than one property. The problem may not be that a candidate (Scott Maddox) did anything “wrong” or “illegal” by splitting time between the two. This *may be* where a revision or recording in the law may be required to reflect the public interests, and *not* a matter of being a violation of law.
Where are Americans of good conscience supposed to resolve their disputes civilly?
So let’s get busy doing the work necessary to clarify the issue(s) rather than making the individuals the problem?!