Remember that judge in Florida who was accused of selling Christian books and other items from a company she owned to lawyers and others who had business before her court? The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission is recommending that she be reprimanded, fined and suspended over it.
The state panel charged with investigating alleged misconduct by Florida judges has recommended suspension without pay, a fine and publicly reprimanding the Leon County Judge accused of operating a for-profit religious business from her office. Judge Judith W. Hawkins was charged in December 2012 with misconduct after she was accused of selling Bible study books and other products to people who regularly appear in her courtroom.
The nature of Hawkins’ business was not specified in the report from the Judicial Qualifications Commission outlining its recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court. The report says those details are “irrelevant to these preceedings,” and her business is identified only as “ABC.”
“Judge Hawkins operated a private, for profit business from her judicial chambers,” the recommendation said. “She linked the sale of ABC’s products to her judicial office, by a website, which depicted her in a judicial robe, and described her as a county court judge in Tallahassee. She used state time and resources (including her judicial assistant) to promote ABC.”
That’s actually a pretty hefty penalty, surprisingly so. Now it’s up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether to accept them.