Judge Hawkes of 'Taj Mahal' repute earns low rating
Chief Judge Paul M. Hawkes of the 1st District Court of Appeal got the lowest Florida Bar poll rating ever given an appellate court judge up for merit retention.
Hawkes, who headed the construction of a palatial new courthouse dubbed the "Taj Mahal" or "Taj MaHawkes," should not be retained in office, according to 53 percent of lawyers with "considerable knowledge" of him, according to the poll released Friday.
More than 5,000 lawyers participated in the poll evaluating the 31 justices of the Florida Supreme Court and the five appeal courts that face merit retention votes in November.
Combining lawyers who have "considerable" and "limited" knowledge of Hawkes, 56 percent say he should be retained. No judge has ever scored that low in a Florida Bar poll, a spokeswoman said. The previous worst scores were in the 70s, except for a 61 scored by Hawkes in 2004 and a 64 scored by fellow Judge Brad Thomas in 2006. (Rest of Lucy Morgan's report here)