Spence-Jones Case Headed To Court Of Appeals
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marc Schumacher had been scheduled to hold a hearing on a motion for reconsideration in the legal case filed by Reverend Richard Dunn to prevent Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones from running for a third term in November.
But before Judge Schumacher even had a chance to get comfortable in his chair, Spence-Jones’ attorney withdrew the motion for reconsideration.
“For us, we just want to move on,” Michelle Spence-Jones told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “It’s time for this to move on to the Third DCA. We want a fair and impartial hearing. My residents, our community folks are waiting.”
The hearing was to be before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marc Shumacher who was recently selected to replace Judge Jorge Cueto. Judge Cueto removed himself from the case after Spence-Jones’ attorney claimed he had investigated the commissioner as a state prosecutor in a 2007 probe involving a large planned development in Coconut Grove. The development never materialized, and the investigation died.
Cueto said he stepped down so he would not “taint” the proceedings.
Judge Cueto originally ruled that due to charter limits, Spence-Jones couldn’t seek a third term in office, even though she missed much of her second term in office as she successfully fought corruption charges.
Spence-Jones’ attorney Bruce Rogow counters that while the commissioner was suspended, she was unable to fill her second term because she was not able to perform any “official act, duty, or function” of her office.
Spence-Jones said the case will now move to the Third District Court of Appeals and that she was looking forward to her day in court.
Reverend Dunn and his attorneys said they weren’t surprised by the withdrawal of the motion because they said Spence-Jones’ camp knew Schumacher was not going to side with them.
“It’s a victory for the people of Miami who voted overwhelmingly for term limits,” Rev. Dunn told Pastrana. “It’s about term limits. That’s what we’ve been saying all along. It’s about the law.”
Dunn is running for the District 5 seat, the same seat Spence-Jones plans to run for again if her appeal is successful.