The Florida Supreme Court said Monday evening it intends to throw off the bench Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins as part of a judicial-misconduct case in which she was found to have used her office to promote her ministry.
The potential penalty against Hawkins — removal from office — is the most severe sanction the high court could impose. After a three-day hearing in October, the Judicial Qualifications Commission had recommended she be publicly reprimanded, suspended for 90 days and fined $17,000.
Hawkins declined to comment, saying she hadn’t seen the Supreme Court order. Her attorney, Gerald Kogan, a former Florida Supreme Court justice, also declined to comment.
“When the case is still pending, I don’t like to talk about it,” Kogan said Monday evening.
In February, Hawkins, through her Coconut Grove attorney, told the court in response that she did not contest the JQC’s findings or its recommendations.
On Monday, six justices of the Supreme Court — Justice Peggy Quince recused herself — said it considered the entire case and requires she “show cause why removal from office is not the appropriate sanction in this case.” The response from Hawkins is due to the court before Aug. 14.
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SOURCE: Tallahassee Democrat