Caught on camera: Florida judge stands accused of choking court worker

A judicial discipline board is recommending that the Florida Supreme Court immediately suspend a judge caught on tape last month angrily choking a clerk for not having paperwork ready when she wanted it, court records show.

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Circuit Judge Vegina T. “Gina” Hawkins, who sits in Fort Lauderdale, was charged Thursday with “inappropriate conduct” under the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, showing an “unfitness to serve,” according to an investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC).

On June 11, “you instigated a physical confrontation with a court employee,” the JQC’s “notice of formal charges” to Hawkins says. The commission investigates misconduct accusations against judges.

“You sought out the confrontation by interrupting the employee’s work in another courtroom, and summoning him into a secure hallway, ” the charging document says. “As he walked through the door, you placed your hands around the neck of the employee and shook him. Your actions were captured on a courthouse security camera.

“The genesis of the conflict with the employee appears to have been your displeasure with the fact that he did not have your 2 p.m. docket available for you that morning.”

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