Parsing the 1st DCA Taj Mahal JQC Charges.

It's never a good thing for a judge or lawyer to be hauled before a disciplinary committee, but for judicial car wreck onlookers the charging document against 1st DCA Judge Paul Hawkes is an interesting read.

Travis Pillow over at the Florida Independent has a nice summary, which includes this personal favorite:
On one occasion you demanded that the deputy marshal buy you a bottle of vinegar. The purpose was to clean your personal coffee pot. The deputy marshal refused, but you demanded that you be shown in writing why she, could not buy you a bottle of vinegar. She showed you that she was not authorized to purchase personal items for individuals. Even though she refused to buy you a bottle of vinegar, you continued to mention it to her and to harp on her refusal to buy you the vinegar.
And the problem is?

First of all, everyone knows the best way to clean a coffee pot is with lemon juice ice and salt -- has this guy ever worked in a restaurant?

Secondly, and I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like every boss I ever worked for when I was in high school.

Let's continue:
Hawkes allegedly tried to get a free trip to Indiana, courtesy of a company that had just sold the court thousands of dollars worth of new furniture. The chief judge at the time nixed his travel plans, and Hawkes allegedly “tried to intimidate” court marshal Don Brannon (who helped oversee budget matters) to change his version of events surrounding the planned trip during a closed-door meeting. Hawkes told other court employees “that no such trip was ever under consideration.” The fallout from that incident and Hawkes’s “coercive and intimidating” manner eventually prompted Brannon to resign.
My reaction:  see above.

But seriously -- we are talking Indiana.

I like this part best:
Hawkes’ conduct and behavior “demonstrated a pattern of conduct that can only be characterized as intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous,” the JQC alleged.
Come on!

"Intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous"  -- those are the precise qualities I look for in a judge.

(Mark Romance has already received my letter endorsing same.)


  1. Vinegar and olives: what about paragraph 8?

    On September 2, 2005, the First District Court of Appeal decided Olive v. Maas, 911 So. 2d 837 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005). On remand from the First DCA to the trial court, the trial court entered further orders that the parties again
    appealed to the First DCA, which on May 12, 2006, certified certain questions to the Florida Supreme Court.
    After the First District certified the Olive case to the Florida Supreme Court, you assigned your 1aw clerk, Renee Hill, a taxpayer-paid employee of the First District Court of Appeal, to assist your son in preparing the brief for the appellant, Roger Maas, in the Florida Supreme Court. On September 25, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court decided the case of Maas v. Olive, 992 So. 2d 196 (Fla. 2008).
    Your use of your law clerk in this fashion was a misuse of a state asset for the benefit of your son, and it was completely improper for you to assign your law clerk, who was on the court at the time your court certified the case to the Florida Supreme Court, to assist one of the parties in preparing a partisan brief in the Florida Supreme Court on a case that sought to overturn an opinion authored by your court.

  2. I disagree -- to me I see a father selflessly assisting his son be the best lawyer he can be.

  3. Excellent brief, your Honor!

    Marjorie Renee Hill Appointed by Governor Crist to Florida Judge of Compensation Claims

    TALLAHASSEE, FL - Governor Charlie Crist today announced the appointment of Marjorie Renee Hill of Tallahassee as Judge of Compensation Claims.

    “Renee Hill has a long record of being diligent and fair throughout her extensive experience handling workers’ compensation cases,” Governor Crist said. “I am confident she will be a wonderful addition, serving with sound judgment in this role.”

    Hill, 47, has served as the director of the First District Court of Appeal’s Workers’ Compensation Unit since July 2008. Previously she has served as a judicial staff attorney for the First District Court of Appeal beginning in February 2003. Hill was a senior attorney for the Department of Children and Families from 2002 to 2003. She also served as a judicial staff attorney for the First District Court of Appeal from 1998 to 2002. Hill earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in 1995 and graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 1998.

    Hill will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John P. Thurman.

  4. I totally agree with the article.


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