Hillsborough judge accused of campaign wrongdoing

Scales of Justice Law

An investigative panel Thursday alleged that a Hillsborough County circuit judge made “inappropriate and disparaging” remarks about her opponent during a 2022 election and improperly injected partisan politics into the campaign.

The panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission filed what is known as a “notice of formal charges” against Judge Nancy Jacobs, who unseated then-Circuit Judge Jared Smith in the 2022 election.

The notice, filed at the Florida Supreme Court, details a series of allegations against Jacobs, including that her campaign social-media sites included inappropriate statements about Smith’s positions on abortion issues and that she made disparaging remarks such as saying Smith couldn’t be fair and impartial because of his religious beliefs.

Also, the notice said Jacobs inappropriately touted her support from a Planned Parenthood PAC and that her campaign inappropriately advertised an endorsement from the group Indivisible Action Tampa Bay.

The notice described Indivisible Action Tampa Bay as an “expressly partisan organization.”

The notice said Jacobs has admitted her conduct violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct and said she can file a written answer to the charges at the Supreme Court, which has disciplinary oversight of judges.

After losing the circuit judge race, Smith was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the 6th District Court of Appeal.

©2023 The News Service of Florida

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