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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hawkes' trial scheduled for October



A Halloween trial has been scheduled for 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul M. Hawkes.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Paul Backman scheduled the trial to begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 31, predicting it will last a week.

Other members of the Judicial Qualifications Commission Panel who will decide Hawkes' fate include Judge James A. Ruth, Henry M. Cox III, Harry Duncanson, Michael Nachwalter and Nancy N. Mahon.

Hawkes faces charges of conduct unbecoming a judge in connection with his pursuit of a posh new courthouse that many have dubbed a Taj Mahal. Hawkes is accused of bullying state officials in charge of construction, keeping budget information from other judges on the court, destroying public records and attempting to get a furniture vendor to provide him and family members with a free trip.

Hawkes denies any wrongdoing and insists other members of the court supported his actions. The JQC can recommend disciplinary action, including his removal from office, but it will be up to the Florida Supreme Court to determine his punishment.

Lucy Morgan, Times senior correspondent

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 6:06pm]


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