The Student Government senate will form a five-person impeachment committee to investigate allegations of ethical violations made by SG Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Lawrence.
SG senator Blake Bell requested the formation of the investigatory committee to look into the possibility that Lawrence might have violated parts of the Judicial Ethics Act in SG Statutes when she did not recuse herself from a trial earlier this month.
Bell said he was not looking to get Lawrence impeached, however.
“I’m not looking to hurt Miss Lawrence at all,” Bell said. “I’m not even looking to impeach Miss Lawrence.”
He wrote in his memo requesting the investigation, “I feel the integrity of the Court is in question, and an investigation should follow to reassure the student body that this government entity is secure and able to function.”
Bell said students from his college, the College of Arts and Sciences, approached him with concerns about Lawrence not removing herself from the trial still in front of the Court regarding the recent student body presidential election.
The trial is regarding complaints made by former SG senator Jennifer Wilson, the plaintiff, that the Election Rules Commission, the defendant, had not properly performed its duties of managing the student body elections and that the ERC had shown bias in favor of student body President-elect Frank Harrison and running mate Faran Abbasi.
Several allegations of possible bias were brought to the Court regarding Lawrence when the aforementioned election trial began March 9.
Co-Counsel for the ERC Jeremiah Pederson requested that Lawrence recuse herself from the trial for a variety of reasons. Pederson claimed that Lawrence and Wilson had improper e-mail correspondence regarding the case prior to the trial. Justices are generally prohibited from discussing cases with anybody until a decision has been reached.
Pederson also claimed that Lawrence and Wilson, who were both participating in an internship in Tallahassee at the time of the trial, rode to Tampa from Tallahassee together. He said the four-plus-hour car ride shared by the two could have easily led to improper discussion of the case.
Pederson also noted that Lawrence has had prior relations with Harrison, who is very closely related to the case.
The Court deliberated on the claims of possible bias and chose to allow Lawrence to remain on the bench for the trial.
Lawrence declined to comment on the committee being formed.
Though Bell is not seeking Lawrence’s impeachment, the committee can ultimately make whatever request it chooses based on its findings.
The trial in question will continue Thursday night at 9 p.m., the room is yet to be announced.