News Service of Florida

The state Judicial Qualifications Commission said last week that a North Florida judge has resigned, ending a case about alleged misconduct.

The commission, which investigates accusations against judges and makes disciplinary recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court, said in a filing that it was dismissing charges against Liberty County Judge Kenneth Hosford.
“The basis for the dismissal is Judge Hosford’s resignation from the Liberty County Court effective at 5:00 p.m. on February 29, 2024, which has been received and accepted by the Governor, and his agreement to not to serve as a senior judge or hold any future judicial office,” the filing at the Supreme Court said.
An investigative panel of the commission and Hosford last year reached a proposed agreement that would have led to a 30-day suspension for the judge and a public reprimand.
The proposed agreement stemmed from a discussion between Hosford and an assistant state attorney after a hearing held on Zoom.
The investigative panel, in a filing at the Supreme Court, said Hosford addressed “concerns over the prosecutor’s decision to decline to file charges in a theft case where Judge Hosford had, just the day before, personally approved an arrest warrant for the accused. During the Zoom meeting, while addressing his displeasure with the way the prosecutor had declined to prosecute the case, Judge Hosford also admits to having provided investigative advice to the detective investigating the crime, including suggesting to the detective that he might get a search warrant to obtain more evidence of the crime.”
The Florida Public Defender Association and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers expressed concerns about the proposed agreement, and the investigative panel said in December it had started an inquiry into new allegations of misconduct by the judge.
The filing Thursday, Feb. 29, said the additional inquiry had been completed, though it did not provide details about the findings.
The Supreme Court has ultimate authority about disciplining judges.