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.
“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.)