Charles E. “Chuck” Hobbs II is a trial lawyer and political columnist based in Tallahassee, Florida. Over the past ten years he has served as counsel in a number of high-profile cases, including former Florida State University quarterback Adrian McPherson’s Gambling case, the Kappa Alpha Psi Hazing case, the Rachel Hoffman murder case and as lead counsel for Dr. Julian E. White, Director of the Florida A&M University Marching 100 who was initially terminated and later reinstated following the 2011 hazing death of Drum Major Robert Champion. Hobbs is a freelance writer and political commentator who has appeared on CNN, Fox News and the E! Network.
Early life and family
Chuck Hobbs was born in Tallahassee, Florida, the youngest child of the late Charles E. Hobbs, Sr. a United States Army Lt. Colonel, and Dr. Vivian L. Hobbs, a retired tenured English Professor at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Hobbs resides in Tallahassee.
Hobbs attended the FAMU Developmental Research School from 1981 to 1988 before graduating from Florida High School in 1990.
In 1990, Hobbs enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in history. At Morehouse, Hobbs was a member of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) academic bowl team where he excelled as one of the nation’s leading scorers. In 2004, Hobbs was inducted into the inaugural HCASC Hall of Fame and he continues to volunteer each year as a game official. http://www.hcasc.com/alumni/hof.asp
While at Morehouse, Hobbs became politically active, serving as a charter member and Vice-President of the Morehouse College Republicans. Like famous Morehouse alums Lerone Bennett, Jr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hobbs regularly penned articles for the school’s Maroon Tiger Newspaper.
After graduating from Morehouse in 1994, Hobbs earned an M.A. in social science with a concentration in history from FAMU in 1995. During graduate school, Hobbs was initiated into the Tallahassee Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Legal career (Selected)
Hobbs began his legal career as a prosecutor for Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney William N. Meggs. This soon followed stints as an associate with Frank Sheffield, P.A. and the Knowles & Randolph firm, where he worked as co-counsel and shareholder on several cases that garnered millions of dollars in damages for wrongfully injured clients. In 2001, Hobbs opened his own law firm focusing on criminal defense, personal injury and civil rights.
Adrian McPherson Gambling Case
In April 2003, Hobbs was tapped by Attorney Grady Irvin to assist him as local counsel in former Florida State University quarterback Adrian McPherson’s Gambling case. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/college/news/2003/06/04/fsu_gambling_ap/ McPherson lost his starting quarterback position in 2002 when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a check from R&R Truck sales, a car store owned by a pair of prominent FSU boosters and frequented by FSU athletes. http://quicktime.cnnsi.com/inside_game/mike_fish/news/2003/05/06/straight_shooting/
Charges were later filed alleging that McPherson had bet on college football games, including games involving FSU. The jury ended in a deadlock following a two-day trial that was televised nationally by Court TV and covered by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and almost every major daily in America. To avoid a retrial, McPherson later entered a no contest plea to all charges and was sentenced to probation and work camp. http://floridastate.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=197999 McPherson was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2005 and currently plays in the CFL.
Kappa Hazing Case
In 2006, five members of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity were charged under a Florida Statute making it a felony offense to haze prospective members of any college-based organization. http://www.news4jax.com/news/9953068/detail.html Marcus Jones, then a sophomore at the university, alleged that he had been beaten by fraternity members over a four-day period in February 2006.
During the first trial, which was televised on Court TV and garnered media interest as far away as Tokyo and London, experts for the state and defense disagreed as to the severity of Jones’ injury. The case ended in a mistrial when jurors suggested that they were unclear as to the definition of “serious bodily injury.” http://www.blackpressusa.com/news/Article.asp?SID=3&Title=National+News&NewsID=11034
The second trial, also aired on Court TV, ended with a hung jury for three of the five accused. The two that were convicted were sentenced to two years in prison but later had their cases overturned on appeal based upon the trial judge’s failure to define “serious bodily injury” as requested by the defense team prior to trial. http://diverseeducation.com/article/11537/1.php
Rachel Hoffman Murder Case
Hobbs served as lead counsel for Deneilo Bradshaw, age 24, who was arrested in May 2008 for the alleged robbery and kidnapping of Rachel Hoffman, a Florida State University graduate who was working as a Tallahassee Police Department undercover informant. In September 2008, Bradshaw and his brother in law Andrea Green were indicted for First Degree Murder and the state filed notice of seeking the death penalty for both men. In October 2009, Leon County Circuit Judge Mark Walker granted Bradshaw’s demand for a speedy trial and set jury selection for November 30. The case has been the subject of documentaries by NBC’s Dateline and ABC’s 20/20. http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20091021/NEWS01/910210322
In December 2009, a Leon County, Florida jury found Deneilo Bradshaw guilty of First Degree Murder. However, the jurors decided to forego the death penalty and recommended a sentence of life without parole, as accepted and pronounced by Judge Walker. Bradshaw's case is now under appeal. In February 2010, Bradshaw's co-defendant, Andre Green, pled guilty to Second Degree Murder and was also sentenced to life without parole.
In 2007, Hobbs was appointed Legal Adviser for the Florida State Conference of Branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His first official duty was to monitor the criminal trial of the eight defendants accused of manslaughter in the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, who died while in state custody at a Panama City Boot Camp. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7042858.stm
When Anderson’s attackers were acquitted at trial, Hobbs joined State NAACP President Adora Obi Nweze and other executive committee members in leading a march on the Federal courthouse, where the delegation met with then US Attorney Greg Miller in hopes that the Federal civil rights charges would be filed. The federal investigation is still pending. http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/101907/opl_209710550.shtml
In October 2008, amid complaints of potential minority vote suppression, Hobbs drafted a letter on behalf of the NAACP to Florida Governor Charlie Crist requesting that early voting hours be extended during the historic presidential race between then Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. On October 28, 2009, Crist signed an executive order extending both weekday and weekend hours for early voters.
In early 2009, the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP joined with several environmental groups in challenging efforts of the Biomass Gasification and Electric Company (BG&E) to develop a biomass plant on the Southside of Tallahassee on property owned by Florida State University, barely a mile from the neighborhood where Hobbs grew up. Despite medical evidence that the plant would emit particles and increase chronic pulmonary diseases and heart attacks for residents within a five-mile radius, city officials, citing the need for economic development, forged ahead with plans to build the plant over strong objections of community leaders. Further complicating matters were allegations that ethical breaches may have occurred by city officials and FSU President T. K. Wetherell, whose wife served as a lobbyist for BG&E. http://www.timberbuysell.com/Community/DisplayAd.asp?id=4193
Hobbs forwarded a letter on behalf of the NAACP to Governor Crist raising these ethical concerns and calling for the empanelling of a grand jury. That same week, State Attorney William N. Meggs issued a statement that he would bring the NAACP’s concerns before the Leon County Grand Jury. Within days, BG&E announced cancellation of its plans to build in Tallahassee. http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/38223249.html
In March 2010, amid reports of declining revenue for State Certified Minority Vendors in Florida, Hobbs filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Black Public Relations firms, as well as the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce. The suit alleges that racial discrimination and obscure laws were preventing minority businesses in Florida from effectively competing with majority owned firms. The lead defendant in this case is Florida Governor Charlie Crist. http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20100312/CAPITOLNEWS/100312005/Lawsuit-claims-state-unfairly-disqualified-black-owned-businesses-in-census-promotion-contracts
As NAACP adviser, Hobbs regularly provides counsel to individuals who seek judicial appointment in Florida. Since May 2008, Hobbs has assisted Governor Crist in his efforts to appoint judges that reflect the diversity of the state by consulting with former Crist General Counsel Jason Gonzalez and current General Counsel Robert Wheeler. In August 2009, Hobbs joined former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding and former Florida Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson in interviewing prospective candidates for two vacancies on the First District Court of Appeal. http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/sep/24/na-crist-shadow-panels-to-vet-judges-bashed/news-metro/#
During his tenure, Governor Crist has appointed a number of minorities and women to the bench, including two of an unprecedented four selections to the Florida Supreme Court---James E.C. Perry, an African-American, and Jorge Labarga, who is Cuban-American.
Governor Crist’s efforts with respect to diversity were not without controversy. In March 2009, Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Robert Pleus petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to compel the governor to select his replacement from a list of candidates that included no minorities. Crist had refused to select Pleus’ replacement, stating that “at least three well- qualified African-Americans” had sought the nomination. In April 2009, Hobbs filed an amicus brief supporting Crist’s position, arguing that Florida law does not allow a governor leave to fully investigate allegations of discrimination when levied against judicial nominating commissions. While the Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Crist, the issue of judicial diversity continues to garner headlines.
For the past decade, Hobbs has been a featured columnist in the Tallahassee Democrat, Capital Outlook and Florida Courier newspapers. His columns, written from a moderate-conservative perspective, focus on pertinent political and social topics. His columns frequently appear in the Miami Herald, the Florida Times-Union and the Tampa Tribune. Hobbs maintains a popular blog for the Tallahassee Democrat website and Jacksonville.com.
In 2011, Hobbs was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary by the Tallahassee Democrat only months after earning first place in the 2010 Florida Bar Media Awards for a series of articles that he penned on racial diversity and the federal judiciary. In 2007, Hobbs earned “Honorable Mention” at the Florida Bar Media Awards for an article on the Martin Lee Anderson case. In August 2008, Hobbs was among a delegation of bloggers granted press credentials to cover the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, where his daily blogs were posted on tdo.com and by the Black and Brown News service.
Currently, Hobbs is host of Generation NeXt, a weekly political affairs show. A frequent speaker, Hobbs has given keynote addresses to the 2009 Leon County Commission’s Martin Luther King Day celebration, the dedication ceremonies for the recently constructed FAMU Developmental Research School, the 2008 Founder's Day Banquet of the Fort Walton Beach Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and the Casa Bianca Missionary Baptist Church Founders Day Observance.
In 2009, Hobbs was appointed by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor to serve on the First Leon County Charter Review Commission. The commission will review the home-rule charter and make recommendations about possible charter amendments, including the politically charged topic of consolidating Leon County with the City of Tallahassee. http://www.leoncountyfl.gov/bcc/committees/detail.asp?id=112
Hobbs recently completed his term as a Leon County, Florida Charter Review Commissioner. The group successfully recommended limits on local campaign finance, lowering the limit from the state recommended $500 to $250. The group also encouraged the County to yield to the City of Tallahassee's more stringent environmental regulation standards. http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20100320/OPINION01/3200309/Our-Opinion--Update-county-s-environmental-and-campaign-codes
Hobbs holds memberships in Bethel AME Church; Valentine Lodge #147 Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons; the Tallahassee Area Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, The Federalist Society, and the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society.
- http://www.blacksportsonline.com/chmitchell.html (Editorial on the Mitchell Report/Baseball)
- http://minorityrights-gzp.blogspot.com/ (Martin Lee Anderson post trial comments)
- http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/open-forum/29998-sean-bell-s-murder-why-all-black-brown-people-should-fear-police.html (Loads to Lift Editorial)