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Impeach Judges who Pushed First DCA says Lawmaker

Former House Minority Leader Franklin Sands, D-Weston, wants First District Court of Appeals Judges Paul Hawkes and Brad Thomas impeached for their encouragement of the lavish new courthouse in suburban Tallahassee dubbed the “Taj Mahal.”

District Court of Appeal

The new courthouse has attracted strong criticism for its nearly $50 million price tag and expensive design features, such as mahogany trim and flat-screen televisions.  The courthouse was pushed by Hawkes and Thomas, who have since apologized, saying they didn’t think there was anything wrong with their bullishness or the way it was built.

In a letter dated April 15 that Sands sent to House Speaker Dean Cannon, the Democratic lawmaker said he is “concerned that the method utilized to achieve this objective was manipulative, unethical, and ultimately not within the parameters of the Florida Constitution.”

Sands requests that Cannon, R-Winter Park, “appoint an impeachment committee to investigate the roles played by Judges Hawkes and Thomas in the construction of the First DCA Courthouse.”

Cannon’s office confirmed Monday that he received the letter.

“If the (Judicial Qualifications Committee) takes public action, the House will respond pursuant to the constitution and Florida law,” said Cannon spokeswoman Katie Betta.

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