Friday, December 07, 2012

Judge Charged With Improper Sale of Religious Material In Courthouse

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission on Wednesday filed a Notice of Formal Charges (full text) against Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins for using her judicial position to sell religious books and materials through her for-profit business, Gaza Road Ministries. Photos on her business' website show her in her judicial robes. The formal charges in part also allege:
you have sold or attempted to sell your books, study guides, and other publications in the Leon County courthouse, in the parking garage of the courthouse, in your Chambers, and even in the Courtroom in which you preside. The purchasers of your books and other publications include attorneys who regularly appear before you and court staff.  There is a disparity in authority between your position and those to whom you have sold within the courthouse.
You use your Leon County email account, your Judicial Assistant, and your office spaces and equipment within the Leon County Courthouse to create, edit and promote the products you have for sale through Gaza Road Ministries....
Your involvement with Gaza Road Ministries has caused you to devote less than your full time and full attention to your judicial duties....
AP reports on filing of the charges.