Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto has removed himself from Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones's case on whether she can run for re-election.
"After reading and hearing allegations in the media impuning this court's judicial ethics without any party having the courtesy to serve any paper or mtoion on the court prior to one and one and a half hours ago, this court moves sua sponte this morning to disqualify itself from any further action in this case to avoid any taint of imprpriety in the process," Cueto said in an order.
Spence-Jones had said the Cueto had investigated her when he was a lawyer in the State Attorney’s Office. Her attorney had previously said he would file a motion to ask Cueto to step away from the case and order a new hearing in front of another judge.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Cueto said he spoken a prosecutor in the State Attorney's Office, who assured he was not part of the investigation.
At issue is whether Spence-Jones, who won two commission elections, is eligible for a third consecutive election because she had been suspended by the governor for much of her second term. Cueto, siding with former commissioner the Rev. Richard Dunn, agreed that since she had been elected twice she was not eligible for a third term. Term limits prevent commissioners from running for more than two consecutive full terms.
Dunn was appointed to fill Spence-Jones' seat while she faced bribery charges. Spence-Jones returned to office when she was exonerated.
Dunn is now running for the District 5 seat.