by GENE HOWINGTON
Judge John Murphy of Brevard County, Florida, challenged veteran public defender Andrew Weinstock to a fight on Monday. In court. On camera. The disagreement? Weinstock refused to waive his client’s right to trial. “Judge” Murphy allegedly punched Mr. Weinstock in the head, but most of the action took place off screen although you can clearly hear the sounds of a fight. The video was reported by WFTV.
According to Blaise Trettis, public defender of the 18th Judicial Court, “The attorney said that immediately upon entering the hallway he was grabbed by the collar and began to be struck. There was no discussion, no talk, not even time for anything. Just as soon as they’re in the hallway, the attorney was grabbed.”
Two deputies broke up the fight. Murphy wasn’t arrested. It doesn’t appear charges will be filed. The public defender’s office did say the incident will be reported to the Florida Bar and that Weinstock was immediately reassigned to another area so he and the judge would not have to interact with each other.
Here’s my problem with this: Murphy should have been arrested on the spot. He should have been charged. And although it is a possible outcome, it is not a likely outcome that he should be disbarred and removed from the bench. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. This kind of behavior is unacceptable in any workplace, but in a court of law – instigated by the alleged judge no less – this kind of behavior is why I think public servants in positions of trust should have the full penalty of law used against them when they abuse their office. There is no argument to be made that this wasn’t an abuse of office and the public trust. He not only physically attacked an officer of the court, he did so because the attorney was refusing to waive a client’s Constitutional rights.
John Murphy isn’t fit to be a judge, let alone a member of the bar.
What do you think?