Embattled judge told to remove items from office
Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Scott DuPont has until Monday to clean out his office.
In a letter written by Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge Raul Zambrano, DuPont’s cases are being reassigned ahead of proceedings with the state Supreme Court on multiple violations of judicial rules.
Last week, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended to the state Supreme Court DuPont’s removal from the judiciary following a two-day hearing in December in Jacksonville.
The state Supreme Court issued an order for DuPont to respond by March 12 with reasons he should be allowed to remain a judge.
“I feel compelled to make a number of changes, which, in my opinion, will minimize any impact on the administration of justice in the Seventh Judicial Circuit and help maintain public trust and confidence in the judiciary,” Zambrano wrote.
Commission hearing panel chairman Eugene Pettis wrote in the recommendation to remove DuPont that the judge created an appearance of impropriety when he increased two bonds and held first appearance at the Putnam County Jail without attorneys present.
Zambrano wrote he was assigning DuPont to “unspecified duties to be determined,” and “these duties will be performed away from any courthouse of the Seventh Judicial Circuit.”
Zambrano wrote the new assignment “does not alter your status as a circuit judge.” The judge said DuPont could enter any courthouse as a private resident “for personal purposes or business not related to the administration of justice.”
However, DuPont was told to surrender keys and remote control access to the parking facilities at the Putnam County and Flagler County courthouses.
“Please clear any of your personal belongings from the offices by Monday, Feb. 26, so that substitute judges can utilize the offices,” Zambrano wrote.
A separate administrative order would redistribute any cases DuPont was scheduled to hear, Zambrano wrote.
If DuPont chooses to respond to the state Supreme Court’s order, the commission hearing panel has until April 2 to file a response. After that, DuPont has until April 12 to file a response. The state Supreme Court can schedule oral arguments afterward.
No one was at DuPont’s Putnam County courthouse office Friday afternoon.