Tallahassee, FL—In July 2012, while presiding over numerous criminal cases, according to an email exchange between Tallahassee Defense Attorney Greg Cummings and the mother of DeShon Thomas, during a case management hearing, Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson called for a sidebar to announce that he may have a Cancerous growth and that DeShon’s trial may have to be continued for the fifth time in two years.
In April of 2015, the Judicial Qualifications Commission announced that Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was being investigated for having shown “a pattern of misconduct.” Soon after the investigation began charges of misconduct were brought about. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s attorney filed a motion seeking to have the charges dismissed. The Commission quickly denied the motion to dismiss.
In late August 2015, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, a panel recommended the involuntary retirement of Second Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford asserting that a medical issue interferes with her judicial duties. The article goes on to state, “Fulford, 50, has been on medical leave from the bench in Franklin County since April 2015 while she has been receiving treatment. The Tallahassee Democrat has not been able to confirm what she is being treated for. In a Wednesday filing, the Judicial Qualifiying Commission wrote “Judge Fulford is permanently disabled and incapable for performing her duties as a circuit judge” after evaluations by health professionals.”
Both Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson and Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford presided over DeShon Thomas’ case. During DeShon’s judicial proceedings, both Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi were repeatedly contacted informing them of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct that was preventing DeShon’s criminal case from progressing through the court. The misconduct played out so clearly in open court that DeShon’s defense attorneys, both private and court appointed, seemed to be used to the misconduct. Under Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson’s presiding for more than two years there was no progressive activity on DeShon’s case. Between 2011 and 2013, Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson and Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford showed that they are not capable of presiding over cases in any capacity.
Currently, Second Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson is one of twenty-two applicants being considered by the First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission for a judgeship vacancy.
A criminals declining health or being under the influence of drugs (prescribed or otherwise) is not a solid defense for having committed a criminal act.
When exactly did Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford begin experiencing changes in her health? What medications have Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford been taking—prescribed or otherwise? These are questions that both defendants and the families of victims deserve to have answered. Prior to the Judicial Qualifications Commission announcing their investigation of Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was presiding over a Dealth Penalty case. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford presided over a manslaughter case where a 17-year-old, white male took a gun into the home of his friend, a black male, and shot him. In that case, despite the teen being charged as an adult, neither the Leon County Sheriff’s Office nor State Attorney Willie Meggs charged the teen with possession of a firearm by a juvenile delinquent. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell withheld adjudication and Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford sentenced the teen up to three years in a juvenile facility. The victims family did not receive justice. In another case, State of Florida vs. DeShon Thomas, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford relinquished her authority to State Prosecutor Jack Campbell—violating numerous constitutional laws. A defense attorney stated that he feared for the outcome of his client if he did not participate in unethical behavior directed by Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford.
As the Criminal Justice System and courts around the United States move forward into reformation, judges claiming poor health—only after being found as to having shown “a pattern of misconduct” should not be acceptable. Unhealthy judges are sure to make unhealthy decisions that will only lead to more and more wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions in murder cases leave the real murderer(s) out in the community. That fact alone is a health hazard for everyone.
Injustice is Not justice.