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Jan 31 2014

Judicial Panel Wants Marketing Christian Judge Fined, Suspended

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.”

But the Tampa Bay Times has previously reported on Gaza Road Ministries and its associated books, seminars, conferences and international mission trips…

“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.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    They have judges in Florida? What the fuck for? Citizen + Gun = All the Justice You Need. Done and done.

  2. 2
    Alverant

    I think the nature of the business is VERY relevant because it adds an extra layer of wrongness to what happened. Not only was the judge using the power of her office to promote a business, she was doing it to promote her religion as well. Do you think the report would have brought up the nature of her business if it was Wiccan oriented for example?

  3. 3
    Trebuchet

    Just another example of persecution of Christians, of course.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    Either it never occurred to this judge that lawyers and other people who worked with her in her official capacity might feel compelled to buy her Christian products in order to get on her good side and/or avoid getting on her bad side — or it did occur to her and this was perfectly okay. Either way deserves serious censure.

  5. 5
    grumpyoldfart

    It would be interesting to see a list of results of court cases along with the value of goods purchased by prosecutors and defense lawyers involved in those cases. If there is a correlation it might be worth looking for a causal link.

  6. 6
    D. C. Sessions

    The “unusually large” fine Ed mentions is $17K

    I suspect that three months suspension w/o pay is a larger penalty, or would be if it didn’t give her more time to spend on her other business.

  7. 7
    democommie

    Maybe she can get Roy Moore to head her defense team.

  8. 8
    David C Brayton

    My professor for Crim Law was an appellate court judge during the day and a teacher at night. Very smart, excellent teacher if a bit dull, and very much a man of discretion and decorum.

    The judge I clerked for during my second summer in law school was anything but. Buffoon and pompous are two adjectives that come to mind. I wondered how he passed the bar exam.

    One day we were in criminal court during arraignments and the defendant, age 25, was accused of aggravated battery on a seven year old. The photos of the victim were truly disturbing–I’m sure the DA was considering more charges. This judge spent 45 minutes discussing whether a parent has the right to spank a child.

    The arraignment shouldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes. The DA finally had it and she started to politely but firmly explain that the kid was in the ICU and this case had absolutely nothing to do with ‘spanking’.

    So, my point is that a lot of judges are totally lacking the skills necessary to be a judge.

    When I see stuff like this, I am still amazed that anyone in such a position could be so dumb–c’mon, selling bibles to lawyers that appear before you from your chambers–yet not not surprised.

  9. 9
    Jim Blair

    And of course is we had an atheist who was a judge, and if he was prejudiced against Lawyers whom he knew were too religious, you would be just as supportive of those lawyers wouldn’t you?

    And the local atheist groups would protest that judge, wouldn’t they?

  10. 10
    jasonfailes

    If you’ve read Ed for any length of time, you know the answer is “yes”.

    I can’t speak for all “atheist groups”, but if you’ve paid any attention to the history of groups such as the ACLU, you know the answer is also “yes”.

    Why do you ask at all?

  11. 11
    democommie

    “Why do you ask at all?”

    Because Judges, just like politicians are ALL the same. Liebrals are just as worse and REEL TRUE MURKKKANS and atheists are WORSTER than anybody!!

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