Brevard County Judge John Murphy

I saw this last month but, well, I’ve been away from the keyboard for a few months now.  The video below shows a Brevard County, Florida, public defender in the courtroom with Judge John Murphy.  The public defender tells the judge he is not waiving his client’s right to a speedy trial, Judge Murphy gets pissed off, the judge takes the public defender into a back hallway and attacks him, then comes back out alone, without the public defender, and attempts to get the public defender’s client to waive his right to a speedy trial without his attorney.

The judge has not been charged with assault and it does not appear that he will, and he has not lost his job.  According to the chief judge, Murphy will take a leave of absence and seek anger management counseling.

The fight erupted after Weinstock refused to waive his client’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, apparently causing scheduling problems.

“You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now – stop pissing me off, just sit down, I’ll take care of it,” Murphy said to Weinstock.

“You know I’m the public defender,” Weinstock countered. “I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my clients.”

An emotional Murphy sneered, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass,” after which the two men left the courtroom. Loud smacking noises could be heard and a man – identified as Murphy in the police report – shrieked, “Do you wanna f-ck with me?”

Murphy then returned to the bench to applause from a shocked audience.

Gideon has more on Fightin’ John Murphy here, and Judge Kopf at Hercules and the Umpire has two short blog posts blaming the public defender for getting himself beat up by the judge.  Apparently he was “told by someone with a background in such things that: ‘[Judge] Murphy is one of the calmest guys around . . .'”  Also, the “career PD is an ankle biter.”

There’s undoubtedly some history between the two, and the video posted on Gideon’s blog shows a hearing or two prior to the one that blew up, where the public defender is again insisting on not waiving his client’s speedy trial rights.  The public defender is being obstructionist, is refusing to waive his clients’ rights, and is not being particularly nice about it.  In short, he is doing his job, which probably comes as a shock to judges or prosecutors who are used to attorneys waiving their clients’ rights and making the process easier for everyone.

I respect the fact that judges have a hard job, and I do not envy them in the least.  Different people are looking to you to maintain order, to run the court’s docket efficiently, to preserve the rights of defendants, to preserve the rights of victims, and through it all to maintain a calm and patient demeanor.  It’s a high standard, but necessary. In today’s courtrooms in the United States, there is never an acceptable excuse for a sitting judge to verbally or physically attack a litigant or attorney unless it is in self defense or defense of others.  Worse than the verbal and physical attack, is that the judge came back out, after getting rid of the defense lawyer, and tried to get the public defender’s client to waive his speedy trial without his attorney, which shows the judge’s motivation and his disregard for the rights of defendants in his courtroom.

One Response to “Brevard County Judge John Murphy

  • Mia Taylor
    4 years ago

    I am currently dealing with BOTh lying police filing false charges and a prosecutor in Brevard County FL who doesn’t care to hear the truth. Then tell even bigger lies to the judge than the police told. I wish everyone would speak up about it. I can’t get anyone to listen to me. I have a ton of evidence, even proof of stalking by police (for more than 2 years) By the way, I am the state’s “victim”. I am offended that my name is on their false reports that the presector is trying to use to get a conviction that is based solely on officers lying.

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