TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An Alachua County lawyer who was ruled ineligible to run for state attorney this year is taking the issue to the Florida Supreme Court.
Beverly McCallum filed a notice Tuesday as an initial step in asking the Supreme Court to review an August decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal that blocked her from running for state attorney in the 8th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.
As is common, the notice did not detail the arguments McCallum will make to the Supreme Court.
McCallum, a Democrat, and Republican Brian Kramer filed qualifying papers in April to run to replace outgoing State Attorney Bill Cervone. But Kramer filed a lawsuit alleging that McCallum did not meet a constitutional requirement that state attorneys be members of The Florida Bar for the previous five years.
While McCallum is a longtime attorney, Kramer’s argument was based on a 15-day suspension she received in December from the Florida Supreme Court.
In a June 29 ruling, Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey agreed with Kramer’s argument and issued an injunction preventing McCallum from appearing on the ballot. McCallum took the issue to the 1st District Court of Appeal, but a three-judge panel on Aug. 17 backed Dempsey’s ruling.
“Because McCallum was suspended from the practice of law for a period of 15 days in 2019, McCallum does not meet the eligibility requirements for the office of state attorney provided under … the Florida Constitution, namely that a person ‘be and have been a member of the bar of Florida for the preceding five years,’” the ruling said.
McCallum’s exit left Kramer as the only candidate in the race.