On Monday, December 11, 2023, Flaglerlive reported that a St. Johns County judge could face a public reprimand over improper campaign actions. According to documents filed with the Florida Supreme Court by the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, Judge Casey Woolsey of St. Johns County admitted that she acted in an inappropriate manner during her 2022 election campaign that violated judicial canons.
Specifically, the commission accused Woolsey of describing herself as “conservative” in phone messages to voters, which broke the rule against injecting partisanship into judicial races. She was also accused of a misleading Facebook post about her campaign fundraising totals. In response, Woolsey acknowledged to the commission that her behavior should not have occurred and pledged to run future campaigns differently.
The commission believes that Woolsey understands the judicial canons now must be followed. While it was her first campaign, being inexperienced is not an excuse for failing to abide by the rules. As such, the panel recommended the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimand Woolsey for her actions. The state’s highest court will make the final ruling on any discipline.
St. Johns County is located in the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, which also includes Flagler, Putnam, and Volusia counties. This circuit is currently served by 27 circuit judges and 16 county judges, with one vacancy in the Volusia County court. Both circuit and county judges in the three-county region are subject to the rules prohibiting partisan political activity in their work. If the Supreme Court agrees, a public reprimand would serve as a reminder to all judicial candidates in the circuit to protect non-partisan elections.