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Legal Ethics

Judge Accused of Marketing Materials for her For-Profit Religious Ministry at Courthouse

Posted Dec 6, 2012 1:02 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Florida judge is facing legal ethics charges, accused of trying to sell books related to her for-profit religious ministry to those at the Leon County courthouse instead of focusing on her judicial duties.

In a Wednesday filing, an investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission contends that Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins has marketed materials from her Gaza Road Ministries in the courthouse, its parking garage, in chambers and even in her courtroom, the Associated Press reports. Some of those who have purchased include attorneys who appear before Hawkins, the JQC says.

"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."

Hawkins did not respond to a request for comment, the AP says.

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