Supreme Court denies rehearing request by former judge


The Florida Supreme Court has denied a former judge’s request to reconsider his removal from the bench after he was caught on courtroom video berating and threatening to fight an assistant public defender.

The court issued its denial of John C. Murphy‘s motion for rehearing on Wednesday.

The request was technical in nature: Murphy had wanted his removal to be for a permanent disability, rather than a disciplinary action, because he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the Army Reserve, including a battle tour in Afghanistan.

But the incident was widely reported by state and national news media, causing in the Florida judicial system “to become a national embarrassment,” investigators said.

Murphy was a Brevard County judge when he got into an altercation in 2014 with now-former assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock over a speedy-trial request.

“If you want to fight, let’s go out back, and I’ll beat your (expletive),” Murphy told the attorney. The two men left the courtroom and Murphy was accused of hitting Weinstock in a hallway, though he denied any contact.

“You know, if I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now,” Murphy also was recorded saying. “Stop (expletive) me off. Just sit down.”

Murphy was on the bench for nine years. He established Brevard County’s Veterans Treatment Court, which was geared toward veterans arrested for misdemeanors or traffic offenses who may need treatment for behavior problems.

Murphy also had undergone anger management counseling, learning that his military experiences were a contributing factor to his outburst, suggesting post-traumatic stress.

Background material provided by The Associated Press

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].


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