HomeBCSO4th Judge recuses themselves from Wheel of Fugitive case

4th Judge recuses themselves from Wheel of Fugitive case

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Brevard County, FL – A motion to disqualify Judge George T. Paulk in the case of David Gay vs. Brevard County Sheriff (The Wheel of Fugitive case) has been granted, despite strong resistance by the Sheriff’s legal team. This is the 4th Brevard County Judge to recuse themselves from the high-profile case.

The lawsuit was filed against Sheriff Wayne Ivey and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for defamation and intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress on behalf of client David Gay. David was featured on Sheriff Ivey’s ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ show 4 times, yet he was not a fugitive, and says he ended up losing his job over it.

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Attorney Jessica Travis, on behalf of the plaintiff, David Gay, had filed a motion on May 18, 2023, seeking the disqualification of Judge Paulk. The motion’s basis was the automatic granting of such motions if not ruled upon within 30 days, as per Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.330(1). This rule stipulates that motions to disqualify a judge are deemed automatically granted if they are not denied within this timeframe.

However, the defendant, Sheriff Wayne Ivey’s attorneys, contested the motion’s validity in a detailed, 9-page memorandum of law. The defense argued that the motion was procedurally insufficient, citing what they argues was a failure to comply with specific requirements, including the precise date when the grounds for the motion were discovered. They also raised questions about whether the motion was properly served electronically, as mandated by Rule 2.516(b)(1).

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Despite these arguments, the court ultimately granted the motion due to the expiration of the 30-day period. This decision highlighted the strict interpretation of procedural rules and the balance between technical compliance and judicial discretion.

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The case, which has garnered significant attention, has been assigned to Judge Michelle Naberhaus. She is reportedly the only judge remaining in the circuit to preside over the case. The case is awaiting its first hearing under the new judge.

Editors note: Attorney Jessica Travis referenced in this article is the attorney of record for The Space Coast Rocket’s Editor, Robert Burns.

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