State investigators had called Brevard judge accuser “not credible”


The attorney who accused a Florida judge of “kicking his ass” had earlier been described in a judicial investigative panel’s report as “rude, disrespectful, incompetent and a highly unlikeable lawyer.”

On Tuesday, the Florida Supreme Court suspended Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy without pay and ordered him to show the court why he shouldn’t be permanently removed from the bench.

Last June, Murphy was caught on courtroom video blowing up at then-Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock, telling the lawyer he wanted to throw a rock at him and saying, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll beat your ass.” The altercation was reported by state and national news media.

Weinstock later said Murphy clocked him twice in the face in a hallway behind the courtroom; Murphy denied striking him, and investigators in a report this May said “there was no clear and convincing evidence that Judge Murphy ever actually struck Weinstock.”

The court, however, likely was swayed by other findings, including that Murphy handled seven cases after Weinstock left, meaning several defendants didn’t have a lawyer present with them in the courtroom.

But that same report of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), the state body charged with investigating charges of judicial misconduct, was as unvarnished in depicting Weinstock as it was laying out Murphy’s bad behavior.

“Several witnesses testified that Mr. Weinstock’s reputation for truthfulness and veracity in the community was very negative,” said the 22-page report, available on the Supreme Court website.

Another judge that works in the courthouse told the commission that Weinstock’s “reputation is that of being untruthful and untrustworthy” and said she had once reported him to The Florida Bar.

That judge said “she ultimately stopped even exchanging social niceties with him ‘about cats, or kids, or college, or football or anything else’ because of the level of discomfort she reached,” the report said.

Investigators, upon talking with Weinstock, said he was “defiant, defensive, evasive and at times (he) testified inconsistent with what he had earlier reported.”

“Mr. Weinstock was not a credible witness,” their report said.

Ultimately, though, the JQC found Murphy’s courtroom behavior “aggressive and appalling” and said it “created a remarkable national embarrassment for not only the judiciary of the State of Florida, but for its citizens as well.”

Weinstock did not respond to a message left at the number listed on his Florida Bar page. He resigned the Public Defender’s Office after the incident. Weinstock, admitted to legal practice in 1999, is listed by the Bar as a member in good standing.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn