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Friday, December 7, 2012

RELIGIOUS FOR-PROFIT GETS JUDGE IN TROUBLE

Leon County Florida Judge Judith Hawkins is facing an ethics charge for apparently trying to sell books related to her for-profit religious ministry at the county courthouse.  The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission charged Judge Hawkins with trying to sell materials for her ministry, Gaza Road Ministries, in the courthouse, parking garage, in chambers and even in the courtroom.  Her actions have, according to the commission, prevented her from focusing on her judicial duties.  Conflicts are a potential as well since many of the buyers of Judge Hawkins' materials also appear before her.  The Commission had this to say to Judge Hawkins:
 "Your involvement with Gaza Road Ministries has caused you to devote less than your         full time and attention to your judicial duties," the filing alleges. "You have explained that as a judge, you and your judicial assistant have a great deal of free time, so you feel free to use your judicial chambers and out-of-court free time to conduct your for-profit business and schedule business appointments. You often take time away from your judicial duties to promote your business to the detriment of the prompt and efficient administration of justice."
 

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