By Hayes Hunt and Thomas O’Rourke
On June 2, 2014, a fight broke out in the hallway of a Brevard Country, Florida courtroom. The fight was between an assistant public defender and the presiding Judge, Retired Army Reserve Colonel, John Murphy, who threatened the attorney after he refused to waive his client’s speedy trial right. Specifically, after stating that he would “throw a rock at him” if he had one, Judge Murphy demanded to see the attorney “out back” so that he “could beat [his] ass.” The video of the incident, which can be seen in full here, shows that the two men then rushed out to a back hallway outside of the camera’s view where a violent fight apparently erupted. The judge ultimately returned to the courtroom alone where he received a round of applause and was offered a drink of water. He then proceeded to conduct court, setting a trial date in the defendant’s case.
What, if anything, should the Florida Judicial Qualifications Committee do?
Take no action.
Take no action, unless the lawyer makes a complaint to the Committee.
Dismiss the judge.
Require the judge to take a leave of absence and attend anger management classes.
Note: The Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit in Florida has temporarily reassigned the Judge’s pending cases and he has agreed to seek anger management and treatment during a leave of absence.
What, if anything, should the Orlando prosecutor do?
Charge the judge with a crime, such as assault, battery or disorderly conduct.
Nothing. Don’t waste any more time on the matter.
Note: It is reported that the lawyer will not be pressing charges.