Florida Supreme Court suspends judge for grabbing employee by neck

Judge says she was just waving her arms

Broward County Circuit Judge Vegina Hawkins
Broward County Circuit Judge Vegina Hawkins (Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court is suspending a Broward County judge without pay for grabbing a courthouse employee by the neck and shaking him.

The high court suspended Circuit Judge Vegina Hawkins Friday. A security camera captured video of Hawkins grabbing the employee on June 11.

The court was following the recommendations of a commission that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct, which reported Hawkins was upset the employee didn't bring her papers before a hearing later that day.

A lawyer representing Hawkins told the Supreme Court that she cried when another judge showed her the video. Hawkins initially said she was simply waving her arms and didn't touch the employee, but later acknowledged the video makes it appear like she did. Her lawyer said a suspension without pay would be "draconian."