Leon County Judge Faces Charges

Dec 5, 2012

A Leon County Circuit Judge is being charged with using her office to promote her private business.

The Judicial Qualifications Committee or JQC, says Judge Judith Hawkins used her role as judge to promote her private, for-profit business, Gaza Road Ministries. Among the evidence gathered in the case are photos of Hawkins in her robe on the bench that are posted on the businesses website.

The JQC also says Hawkins sold or attempted to sell her books, study guides and other publications in her courtroom and inside the Leon County Courthouse. The purchasers include attorneys who regularly appear in her courtroom, which the JQC says is a quote, “disparity in authority”.

Hawkins, who was first elected to the bench in 1996, has 20 days to respond to the charges. A spokeswoman for the JQC didn’t want to speak on tape, but says the case will go before a JQC panel. If the charges are upheld, the findings will go to the Florida Supreme Court, which could issue fines, a reprimand or a suspension. It could also decide to remove Hawkins from her position.

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