Allegations have come out of Brevard County, Florida, that a judge punched a defense attorney after he got annoyed with him in court. Judge John Murphy was seen on video berating the public defender, and things allegedly got even more ugly when he challenged the attorney to step into the hallway.
According to WFTV, the altercation went down on Monday. It seems the judge had been pressuring the public defender to get his client to waive his right to a speedy trial. The fact that the attorney and client would not do this clearly pushed the judge’s buttons.
The video from the courtroom, which does include some vulgar language, shows Judge John Murphy saying, “You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now.”
The public defender, Andrew Weinstock, maintained, “I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client.”
That clearly angered the judge even further.
Murphy then challenged the public defender to step out of the courtroom saying, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your a**.”
The two actually did step out of the room to an area without cameras. However, there was still audio and it was a bit shocking. A scuffle could be heard along with some booms, and apparently two deputies had to step in to break up the battle.
Public defender Blaise Trettis, Weinstock’s supervisor, says that the judge immediately grabbed Weinstock and struck him without any preamble. It seems the attorney simply thought they would have a discussion to resolve their issues, but the judge followed through on this threats. Weinstock was reassigned to a different area so he won’t have to deal with Murphy, and the judge went on to continue his rulings.
He apparently said, “I will catch my breath eventually,” adding, “Man, I’m an old man.”
No charges have been filed in the alleged assault, and it seems none are expected. The public defender’s office, however, has indicated that they will be reporting the incident to the Florida Bar. Fox News shares that they reached out to both Judge John Murphy and Public Defender Andrew Weinstock, but neither has responded with a comment on the incident. Though this isn’t the first or last time there has been a courtroom fight of some kind, seeing an altercation like this between a judge and attorney is unheard of most would say.
According to Florida Today on Tuesday, people are buzzing in the Brevard County courthouse but Judge John Murphy is not in court. A different judge has taken his seat and is handling the matters slated to be on his docket for the day. Reports indicate that deputies are working on talking to each of the men involved in the alleged altercation to get their statements. Will there be repercussions for Murphy after the judge allegedly punched the attorney?
[Image via WFTV video screencap]