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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

JQC brings charges against 'Taj Mahal' judge Paul M. Hawkes

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has charged 1st District Court Judge Paul M. Hawkes with exceeding his authority when he lobbied for a new $50 million courthouse in what has become known as the Taj Mahal scandal.

In an 11-page notice filed today with the Supreme Court, the JQC accused Hawkes of forcing the removal of a state employee who questioned the project; destroying documents relating to the project; attempting to get a free trip to Indiana for himself and a son; using a court employee to help one of his sons write a legal brief in a private appeal; using a "coercive and intimidating leadership style'' with the court's marshal and others; trying to force one court employee to perform personal errands; and usurping the budget duties of court employees.

Hawkes' conduct and behavior "demonstrated a pattern of conduct that can only be characterized as intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous,'' the JQC alleged. That conduct has "brought the entire judiciary of the state of Florida into disrepute, has inflicted substantial harm upon the entire state court system and has therefore demeaned the entire court system of the state of Florida,'' the JQC said.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 2:35pm]

    

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