Update: Broward Judge Suspended


UPDATE: One day after receiving her recommended suspension, The Florida Supreme Court suspended Broward Circuit Judge Vegina ‘Gina’ T. Hawkins.

The order is here:

An earlier story posted July 18 begins here:

Investigators have recommended that a Broward Circuit Judge be immediately suspended after they found that she put her hands around the neck of a court employee and shook him in anger.

Judge Vegina ‘Gina’ T. Hawkins, who was one of the last Broward appointees named by Gov. Rick Scott in November shortly before he left office, told investigators with the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission that her altercation with the employee was in “jest,” according to the JQC report.

Judge Gina Hawkins

But the JQC investigators uncovered a security camera video that they interpreted differently.

“In addition to the exceptionally inappropriate physical contact initiated by Judge Hawkins, the Investigative Panel is concerned about the misleading context of Judge Hawkins’ statement describing her “contention” that she never touched the person. This is clearly refuted by the security video, which Judge Hawkins watched prior to submitting her self-report. It is also refuted by the statements from the employee involved and others.”

Lying to the JQC always sinks judges in the end. There is no question that when the clerk walks out of the courtroom at around 57 seconds, Hawkins grabs him around the neck and shakes him in this footage from a security camera. Just grabbing him could have gotten her fired from many jobs.

In my experience, lying or trying to spin the JQC is the quickest way to get slapped with a fine or worse. In Hawkins case, worse.

“The genesis of the incident appears to be Judge Hawkins’ displeasure with the fact that papers for her 2:00 PM docket were not yet on her desk ready for her review,” the investigators wrote. “After being informed that the papers would be provided to her shortly, Judge Hawkins sought out the employee who was working in another judge’s courtroom. Entering the courtroom through a secure hallway, Judge Hawkins motioned for the employee to come outside into the hallway. As the employee walks through the doorway, Judge Hawkins placed her hands around his neck and shook him back and forth.”

Hawkins is just the latest in a long string of Broward judges in recent years that have broken state ethics laws. These include a judge who was drunk on the bench, another who lied to the JQC about a traffic accident when she was found to be impaired and, just last month, a judge who was reprimanded by the Supremes for intemperate behavior in court.

The JQC, which polices the judiciary in the state, found that Hawkins violated three canons of Florida’s Judicial Code. She did not act “at all times” in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary, she did not act in a dignified and courteous manner and she besmirched the integrity of the judiciary.

The JQC recommendation now goes to the Florida Supreme Court, which makes the decision concerning Hawkins’ punishment.

Check out the JQC report here.

6 Responses to “Update: Broward Judge Suspended”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This new class of judges is not inspiring confidence for the future.

  2. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    This is the tip of the iceberg with this judge. Watch for more.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Judge Imperato. Judge Rosenthal. Judge Gardiner. All are former judges who refused to admit what they did and now Hawkins. Like the umpires at the JQC says, “You’re out!”

  4. Frankly Sick says:

    The Florida Supreme Court is sick of Broward’s judges. It’s the shame of this county.

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Everything in Broward is a shame. Documented

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is sad how these judges run the court. They are corrupt, unethical and have no respect for the rule of law. The judges over there act like a bunch of thugs and not individuals who swore to uphold the rule of law. Sad state of affairs.