A tense courtroom discussion between a public defender and Judge John Murphy, a trial judge in Brevard County, escalated into the judge threatening to “beat” the attorney’s “ass” and then offering to fight the lawyer immediately outside the courtroom. Video of the incident then shows the judge and the attorney leaving the courtroom together, followed by an angry voice screaming “you want to fuck with me.” Several loud thuds can also be heard.
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At the beginning of the video, Judge Murphy and the attorney are arguing over what appears to be a scheduling matter, but the judge quickly becomes annoyed and tells the lawyer that “[i]f 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. I don’t need your help. Sit down.” The judge offers to fight the attorney after the lawyer protests that he has a right to be in court and represent his client.
Though the fight outside the courtroom is heard but not seen on the video, the attorney claims that Judge Murphy grabbed him by the collar and struck him. Two deputies reportedly had to break up the fight. Judge Murphy was not arrested, although the public defenders’ office says that it will report the incident to the Florida Bar.
It’s not at all clear what, if any, consequences Judge Murphy will ultimately face for his role in this incident, but it’s likely that the state bar will look less favorably on an application Murphy filed last year seeking promotion to a state appeals court.
(HT: a public defender)