On Friday, April 26, 2024, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that a lawsuit had been filed challenging former Circuit Judge Scott DuPont‘s eligibility to run for a circuit court judicial seat.

The lawsuit, filed by incumbent Circuit Judge Rose Marie Preddy, cites the Florida Constitution, which requires candidates for a circuit court judge to have been members of the Florida Bar for at least five preceding years. However, DuPont was suspended from practicing law for 91 days in 2019 after the Florida Supreme Court found him guilty of violating multiple Bar rules.

As a result of this suspension, the lawsuit argues that DuPont should not be considered a member of the Bar during that time, and therefore fails to meet the constitutional eligibility threshold. The lawsuit aims to prevent DuPont’s name from appearing on the ballot for the Circuit 7 Group 11 race, for which he recently filed qualifying papers to challenge Judge Preddy.

DuPont was previously removed from the bench in 2018 when the Florida Supreme Court issued a unanimous vote stating he was unfit to serve as a judge. His suspension in 2019 came after the high court found him guilty of professional misconduct during his time as a circuit court judge.

The lawsuit names DuPont, the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, and the supervisors of elections for Volusia, Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns counties as defendants. It seeks both a court ruling that DuPont is ineligible, as well as injunctions to block his certification and inclusion on ballots.

When questioned by the News-Journal, DuPont maintained that the constitution and bar rules clearly allow him to run for office. However, Judge Preddy’s attorney argued the law is clear in disqualifying DuPont due to his suspension less than five years ago.



Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal