Facing the threat of term limits, Florida’s appellate court judges will beef up their presence in the Capitol by hiring a lobbyist with strong political connections and a controversial past.
The judges hired a former colleague, Paul Hawkes, who resigned a lifetime appellate judicial position in 2011 to avoid a trial and possible removal from office over his role in the construction of a lavish new courthouse for the 1st District Court of Appeal known as the Taj Mahal that was widely criticized for its opulence.
After leaving the bench, Hawkes became a lobbyist.
“Paul is uniquely situated to speak authoritatively on our issues in the Legislature, and that’s why we hired him,” said Clay Roberts, a judge on the First DCA who serves as president of a statewide conference of appeals court judges. “He’s an honorable man and an intelligent man. He knows what we do, and he will represent us well.”