Tallahassee, FL - A local judge is accused of using her courtroom to profit in a side business.
The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed a notice of formal charges against Judge Judith Hawkins.
Judge Hawkins sits on the bench in Leon County.
According to a new complaint against her, she's accused of using the Leon County Courthouse, including her courtroom, to run a side business.
Specifically, Judge Hawkins owns a business called Gaza Road Ministries.
She sells religious materials.
According to the notice of formal charges Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission filed against her, Judge Hawkins has sold those materials all around the Leon County Courthouse, including in her chambers and courtroom.
The complaint claims Judge Hawkins has sold the materials to attorneys who regularly appear before her in court.
Additionally, she's accused of using her Leon County e-mail account, her Judicial Assistant and her office spaces and equipment to create, edit and promote Gaza Road Ministry products and made more than 13-thousand dollars last year.
She's further accused of taking time away from her judicial duties to promote her business to the detriment of the prompt and efficient administration of justice.
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Gerald Kogan is representing Judge Hawkins.
He says he'll file a response to the accusations with Judicial Qualifications Commission before Christmas.
Kogan says the possible outcomes range from clearing Judge Hawkins of any wrong doing to her removal from the bench where she makes more than $142-thousand a year.
Associated Press Release
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge is facing ethics charges alleging she's using her office to promote a private interest -- her for-profit religious ministry.
An investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission filed the allegation on Wednesday against Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins.
The panel accused the Tallahassee-based judge of selling or attempting to sell religious books, study guides and other publications to lawyers and staffers at the county courthouse.
It noted a website for her business, Gaza Road Ministries, includes pictures of Hawkins in her judicial robes, one showing her sitting on the court bench.
She's also accused of using her judicial assistant, courthouse office and equipment to create, edit and promote her products.
Hawkins did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment.