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County, Court Admin Dedicate Courtroom 3A in Honor of Judge James C. Hankinson

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County, Court Admin Dedicate Courtroom 3A in Honor of Judge James C. Hankinson

Last week, Leon County Government and the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida dedicated Courtroom 3A in the Leon County Courthouse, 301 S. Monroe St., to honor the memory of the Honorable Judge James C. Hankinson.

Appointed to the bench in 2002 by Governor Jeb Bush, Judge Hankinson was known for his unwavering dedication and innovation throughout his tenure. As a circuit judge, he presided over some of the most serious and complicated criminal trials in Leon County.

"Judge Hankinson set a high standard in his pursuit of justice, and his contributions have left a lasting impact on our community," said Leon County Commission Chair Carolyn D. Cummings. "This dedication is a testament to his legacy and the values he stood for."

Notably, Judge Hankinson was instrumental in establishing the Second Judicial Circuit’s animal therapy program, a pioneering initiative that allows therapy dogs to comfort children testifying in criminal court. This program has now been expanded to dependency and delinquency proceedings, and even includes adults in certain cases. This program was the first in the State of Florida and serves as the model for the rest of the State and courts throughout the country.

"Judge Hankinson has provided comfort and support to countless individuals in our judicial system,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “His commitment to justice and compassion for others in Leon County and beyond defined his career and set the standard for others.”

In addition to his judicial duties, Judge Hankinson was a frequent instructor at the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges and the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies, where he shared his knowledge and experience with fellow judges.

"Judge Hankinson was not only a dedicated judge but also a mentor and friend to many in our profession,” said Chief Judge Francis J. Allman of the Second Judicial Circuit. “His work has set a precedent that continues to benefit courts nationwide,"

Judge Hankinson retired in 2020 and passed away on July 6, 2023. Courtroom 3A in the Leon County Courthouse will stand as a tribute to Judge Hankinson’s significant contributions, inspiring all who enter to uphold the values and principles he championed.

“We are humbled by the community’s appreciation of the professional example my dad set, and the example he set as a good father," said Clay Hankinson, son of Judge James C. Hankinson.

To view the event photos, visit

For more information, contact Elizabeth Garber, Trial Court Administrator, Second Judicial Circuit, at 850-606-4427 /, or Leon County Community and Media Relations at 850-606-5300 /  


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