Florida Judge Allegedly Threatens Public Defender, Challenges Him To A Fight, And Then Attacks Him Outside Courtroom

Unknown-1gavel2If the judges over in Broward County are having trouble staying sober, it appears that anger management may be the challenge for judges in Brevard County, Florida. Judge John Murphy has been accused of saying that he wanted to throw a rock at a public defender and then saying that he wanted to meet him behind the courtroom to “beat your ass.” According to public defender Andrew Weinstock, he proceeded to try to do precisely that. However, no criminal charges have been brought against Murphy and there is no reported judicial discipline proceeding.

Murphy was allegedly upset that Weinstock would not get his client to waive his right to a speedy trial. In the video below, he tells Weinstein “You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now.” He then told Weinstock to “Stop pissing me off. Just sit down.” Then it allegedly went from insulting to gladiatorial with Murphy quoted as saying “If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass.”

The two then left the courtroom. While the two could not be seen, the courtroom camera captured sounds of a scuffle and loud thuds — even producing applause from the courtroom when the fighting seemed to end. It would seem like an April Fool’s joke but it wasn’t April and it was no joke.

In the video, Murphy clearly loses his sense of control and decorum. Weinstein seems to agree when the judge asks him to step outside and immediately follows Murphy. However, Weinstock’s supervisor Blaise Trettis, public defender of the 18th Judicial Court said that Weinstock thought that they were going to just talk things through but 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 reportedly broke up the fight and Weinstein was reassigned and Murphy went back and retook the bench to continue with cases.

The question is, if Trettis and Weinstein maintain that this was an unprovoked attack, why was there no criminal charge. Fights in courthouses are routinely treated more severely than other assaults. Moreover, if Murphy did make these statements, it is clearly a violation of judicial ethics. What makes that violation even more egregious is that it was allegedly over pressure to get someone to waive a constitutional right.

I assume that judicial discipline will come but I am curious as to how the deputies concluded that no criminal act occurred.

John C. Murphy was elected in September of 2006 and re-elected in 2012 for a term that expires on January 8, 2019. He is a graduate from the University of Dayton School of Law. Before taking the bench, he worked at his father’s law firm, Betten, Murphy & Weiss, Attorneys, P.A.

Source: WFTV

60 thoughts on “Florida Judge Allegedly Threatens Public Defender, Challenges Him To A Fight, And Then Attacks Him Outside Courtroom”

  1. you gotta love the comments on the board at warspite i suggest you read up on accreditation more. what it really means is the schools are willing to take the money from the elites to teach what they are told to teach… the schools that are not accredited have refused to take the money and will teach their students what they know as true history and right and wrong hence those schools being demonized and attacked such as what you did. we also need to remember that prisons are now a private industry and as such lawyers whether public or private are given kickbacks to fill up those jail cells along with the judges where else will the elites get such low cost labor? i mean they have already filled up all the legit jobs with illegal immigrants and even they are starting to wise up……..once again begin your research at what HUMAN RESOURCES REALLY MEANS!!!!!!

  2. davidm2575:

    Here is an article reproduced from Attorney At Law Magazine, Kentucky Edition, May, 2014 dealing with Collateral Consequences of a guilty plea in Kentucky:

    What Every Lawyer Should Know PRIOR TO Advising Their Client To Enter A Plea Of Guilty In A Criminal Case: Collateral Consequences Of A Criminal Conviction In Kentucky – (2014)

    WHAT EVERY LAWYER SHOULD KNOW PRIOR TO ADVISING THEIR CLIENT TO ENTER A PLEA OF GUILTY IN A CRIMINAL CASE: Collateral Consequences Of A Criminal Conviction In Kentucky …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. I’m nervous when I see newly admitted lawyers or attorneys who practice primarily civil or family court law make an appearance in a criminal defense case. Sometimes even experienced criminal defense lawyers fail to fully advise their clients of potential collateral consequences that will or can occur upon entry of a plea of guilty to a violation or a crime and sentencing on a criminal offense in Kentucky. The purpose of this article is to acquaint or remind all attorneys that practice even one criminal defense case, that there are collateral consequences that don’t appear on the face of the criminal statute that must be considered. Take some time to ask questions of your client. You are responsible as their counsel and are directed by the Sixth Amendment to provide effective assistance of counsel. This includes advising on the consequences of a conviction. Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct.1473 (2010) and Stiger v. Commonwealth , 381 S.W.3d 230 ( Ky. 2012). ………………………… This article is space restricted and does NOT include every consequence. It is meant as a general checklist only to use as a starting point to compose your own checklist to insert in your client file at the initial interview. Ask questions of your client in the following areas to generate a conversation as to what is at stake in addition to their freedom, fines and court costs. Focus grasshopper and ready the fight. ……………………………………………..

    Resources: Making Padilla Practical: Defense Counsel and Collateral Consequences at Guilty Plea, 54 How. L.J. 675, 690 (2011) by Gabriel J. Chin and The Advocate, Journal of Criminal Justice Education & Research, Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, June 2013: Collateral Consequences Of Criminal Convictions In Kentucky by Glenn S. McClister.

    ……………………………………………………… Kentucky State Court Considerations §RCr 8.08. Pleas A defendant may plead not guilty, guilty or guilty but mentally ill. The court may refuse to accept a plea of guilty or guilty but mentally ill, and shall not accept the plea without first determining that the plea is made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charge. If a defendant refuses to plead or if the court refuses to accept a plea of guilty or guilty but mentally ill or if a defendant corporation fails to appear, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty.
    § RCr 8.09. Conditional plea With the approval of the court a defendant may enter a conditional plea of guilty, reserving in writing the right, on appeal from the judgment, to review of the adverse determination of any specified trial or pretrial motion. A defendant shall be allowed to withdraw such plea upon prevailing on appeal.
    “Alford” plea North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970),was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that there are no constitutional barriers in place to prevent a judge from accepting a guilty plea from a defendant who wants to plead guilty while still protesting his innocence. This type of plea has become known as an Alford plea, differing slightly from the nolo contendere plea in which the defendant agrees to being sentenced for the crime, but does not admit guilt; however, the judgment of conviction entered by the Court will have the same legal effect of a “straight” plea of guilty.

    TRAFFIC CITATIONS: can carry points assessed on the client’s drivers license; Google: Kentucky Driver Point System for a list of points per violation; 601 KAR13:025
    EXPUNGEMENTS: not all originally charged felonies nor misdemeanor cases can be expunged after resolution, or when statutorily eligible based on a dismissal; timeframes differ from immediately to 60 days, 2 years or 7 years: seeKRS 431.076, 431.078 and 431.079
    A FELONY CONVICTION cannot be expunged
    J UVENILE COURT CONVICTIONS : don’t go away by themselves at age 18; you need to file a petition and order; see KRS 610.330 and “…and felony adjudications are public records and can never be expunged unless there is a diversion agreement with the prosecution at the time the plea is entered. There is no exception to this rule.”
    DUI CONVICTIONS affect future DUI charge penalties within 5 years; affect automobile insurance rates and premiums, loss of drivers license, felony enhancement for 4th offense: see KRS 189A.010
    Some SEX OFFENSES carry registration as a sex offender; see KRS 17.510 “Almost all sex offenses carry a registration requirement, and the period of time a person must be registered has increased with new legislation every time the law has been amended. Frequently, lifetime registration is required. The statutes are written so that if a person must register, several other prohibitions are triggered: living near schools, childcare centers, etc, and the inability to have any social networking accounts, among other things.” Courts can order HIV testing: KRS 510.320; give a DNA sample
    Some DRUG OFFENSES can be used in the future as a subsequent offender: see § 218A.010. Definitions for chapter (41) “Second or subsequent offense” means that for the purposes of this chapter an offense is considered as a second or subsequent offense, if, prior to his or her conviction of the offense, the offender has at any time been convicted under this chapter, or under any statute of the United States, or of any state relating to substances classified as controlled substances or counterfeit substances, except that a prior conviction for a nontrafficking offense shall be treated as a prior offense only when the subsequent offense is a nontrafficking offense. For the purposes of this section, a conviction voided under KRS 218A.275 or 218A.276 shall not constitute a conviction under this chapter;
    PFO I and PFO II statues increase the penalties: see KRS § 532.080. Persistent felony offender sentencing if your client has prior felony conviction(s); or if your client is currently charged with a felony Class D Felony
    PRETRIAL DIVERSION Program affects the client for up to 5 years until Dismissed-Diverted Order is entered if a background check is performed while in diversion § RCr 8.04. Pretrial diversion
    Chapter 533. PROBATION AND CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE Pretrial Diversion Program: (§§ 533.250 – 533.262) Beware of WAIVERS of appeal and waiver of ability to assert ineffective assistance of counsel in the plea agreement : Commonwealth Of Kentucky, Supreme Court of Kentucky, 2013-SC-270: United States Of America v. Kentucky Bar Association: pending PROBATION:
    Some crimes cannot be probated: see § 532.045. Persons prohibited from probation or post incarceration supervision – Procedure when probation or post incarceration supervision not prohibited; § 532.047. Nonavailability of probation or suspension of sentence to violent offender – Exception ;§ 533.060.
    Probation or conditional release – Effect of use of firearm – Other felonies ;§ 533.065. Effect of person wearing body armor and carrying deadly weapon at time of offense ; “violent offenses ” in KRS 439.3401
    Kentucky Drivers License/CDL: Some offenses carry suspension/revocation of license upon conviction
    Property Seizure/Forfeiture : see KRS 218A.450, KRS 218A.410, KRS 218A.460, KRS 218A.415(3)
    Probation and Parole in Kentucky, see: 501 KAR 1:030. Determining parole eligibility. Some felonies carry parole eligibility of 15%, 20%, 50% and 85%; you should also review the standard conditions and terms of a probated sentence with your client ahead of time.

    Federal Court Considerations Federal Court: Unlike state court, there are presumptions regarding pretrial detention; No parole- most sentences are to serve at 85% service rate; Armed Career Criminal Act; 18 U.S.C. 922(g) gun charges- mandatory minimums; 851 Notices of a prior felony conviction penalties; Mandatory Minimums based on the drug and quantity, economic loss tables in the guidelines; most porno cases-mandatory minimums; Defendants prior criminal record; Criminal History Points- United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines, Title 28 U.S.C. 994 General Considerations

    Effects on Citizenship and Immigration (ICE); Certain crimes have harsh consequences upon conviction ( felonies, drugs & crimes of moral turpitude): 8 U.S.C. 1227Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010),130 S.Ct. 1473, 176 L.Ed.2d 284

    IMPACT ON: Student Loans Housing, Public Benefits Programs Possession ofFirearms (State and Federal): KRS 527.040 and federal law: 18 U.S.C. 922(g) Occupations and Licenses Civil Rights; Voting: Kentucky Constitution 145(1); Jury Service KRS 29A.080(2) (e); Passport: 22 U.S.C. 2714; holding public office and denial of ABC license Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights, Adoption/ Effects on Family Court and Circuit Court cases as a “convicted felon”; impact on custody proceedings and pending or future lawsuits DVO/EPO cases: prohibitions regarding weapons Current and Future Employment/Background checks/Criminal Record Checks …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Here’s a good article from the ABA journal on a recent SCOTUS opinion which expanded what qualifies as “domestic violence” for purposes of losing the right to own a gun under federal law. United States v. Castleman, No. 12-1371, decided March 26, 2014: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/scotus_gives_expansive_meaning_to_physical_force_in_interpreting_domestic-v/ And here’s a link to the ABA website addressing collateral consequences nationwide: http://www.abacollateralconsequences.org/

    Industry Group(s): ATTORNEY AT LAW MAGAZINE, MAY-JUNE 2014


    This is very clearly an assault–plain and simple.

    He took him out to punch him so it can be done off cameras.

    This is a state and federal crime.

    This criminal in robes needs to be arrested, jailed, convicted and imprisoned for life.

  4. davidm2575, most criminal lawyers I know would never ask the client “are you guilty or are you innocent?” Most clients will protest their innocence from the first instance. Rare is the client who initially admits to the act. Clients often change their stories. The proper questions in the initial interview are “what can the cops prove?” “Who are your witnesses?”. “Do you want to go to trial or pursue a negotiated plea?” To demand to know if the client is guilty or innocent can put the lawyer into an ethical dilemma regarding the presentation of evidence and testimony should the client tell the lawyer he is “guilty” from the outset and elect to go to trial. It’s TV lawyers who want to hear from the clients’ mouths that they are guilty. The decision to go to trial or take a plea is the client’s not the attorney’s. A client has the absolute. solitary right to make the decision to take the plea, reject it, enter a plea of guilty and let the judge sentence or to go to trial and to take the stand or not if he or she desires. And yes, sometimes an innocent client may feel the the need to plead guilty if it is in his or her best interest. That’s what an Alford plea is all about. Yes, convictions haunt people for the rest of their lives; but it’s their decision to enter pleas and most often it is as a result of making a prior poor decision that got them into the jam in the first instance. I have never seen a revocation in full to prison for the simple possession of a beer. I am a public defender. I don’t pressure clients to go to trial or accept pleas. The decision to go to trial is either my client’s or the DA’s and never mine. I would never discourage a client from accepting a plea offer or attempt to coerce a client into taking a plea. If they ask my opinion, I tell them. Once they decide to go to trial, that’s where my energy goes in preparation and not into trying to persuade them otherwise. I hear all the time that my “lawyer” made me take the plea and blame it on the public defender when in fact, it was not the case, and it was in the client’s best interest to do so. I have had recidivist clients reject reasonable plea offers, go to trial despite overwhelming evidence against them, get convicted and receive life sentences without parole when the offer was for reduced charges and a handful of years in prison. I have also had an innocent man sentenced to death and eventually exonerated.

  5. Michael:

    “America is now a third rate nation, immoral and hedonistic to the core.”


    I have to wonder: if its so bad for you and your family, why do you stay?

    And if you really want to change things,please detail all the “real action” that “Honest Working Folks” (and you, in particular), have done to improve things besides ” whine” and “blow hot air.”

    It’s easy to complain abut problems. Fixing them — that takes work.

    1. All of the blue collar folks have been whitewashed from the Justice scene and politics at large. Moreover, Congress is now the Millionaires club. While your usual sarcastic response is to kick “the other” out of your country when they notice the Sophists have taken us down the $hit hole, this is my home. While I have no where to go, I notice that many of those in charge of distributing justice to others (while exempting themselves–from cops to prison guards; from sophistic lawyers run amok to drunk and exempt judges–) are retreating behind gates with huge waterfalls out front and guards keeping the riff raff at bay.

      What is to be done? For starters, I can vote. I can vote to get Progressives making policies like forcing Xian bakers (I am an atheist) to undergo “sensitivity training” as if in a communist gulag out of office. I can vote to get this NSA enriching White House out of office. I can vote to get politicians to diminish funds to public schools who refuse to teach the Constitution but teach gender construction instead (as in South Carolina). Lastly, I can use my satirical and hyperbolic voice to shout at those manicured men–many–like the progressive main blogger himself (whom I respect as a scholar but whose conclusions I abhor) who come whining here about the world they have created– to wake up before there is no more retreating behind waterfalled gate houses.

      If it is not done soon enough, there might be a new awakening, and the backlash will send us all back to the middle ages. I like to think of myself as the lone voice trying to hold the pendulum at 6!

  6. Here’s good example of some history between these two being conspicuously left out of the story. I’ve never seen a judge jump off the handle this fast and I’ve never seen an attorney jump at the chance to punch a judge so fast. There’s more here. Also, the next attorney should have asked for the judge to recuse himself from further cases. The judge was upset and his impartiality could reasonably be questioned. Elected judges are a mixed bag.

    As for the applause, those folks would have made good Roman spectators and they apparently forgot about the question lawyer John Donne once asked when he heard that death knell tolling in the distance.

    1. Mespo wrote: “Also, the next attorney should have asked for the judge to recuse himself from further cases.”

      Mespo, it seemed to me that the next guy up kind of pandered to the Judge. He had no lawyer because the Judge had just beat him up. The guy complained that he had called the now beat up lawyer twice a week for many weeks and the lawyer never ever called him back.

  7. America is now a third rate nation, immoral and hedonistic to the core. To make matters worse, those who have real power (such as the blogger’s author and other attorneys who post here), do nothing but whine and pocket their huge fees to live behind gates in lush communities. Never any talk about real action, or about simplifying the court procedures so that one doesn’t need a fortune to carry simple suits forward. Nothing! The robed powers that be and the toady like empty suits without soul nor hearts simply blush at this mayhem (street level thuggery by cohorted college graduates) and blow hot air. I see some here even comment on that we need more levels of bureaucracy and government mandated monopolistic restrictions to entry in the Justice arena to combat this “ass kicking” event when the blogger clearly reveals that this thug is a graduate of a GOVERNMENT MANDATED cohort, such as the one the main blogger teaches at in another state. Perhaps if we had REAL HONEST WORKING FOLKS on the bench and those same honest folks able to represent themselves without the sophistic claptrap pocketing insane fees to access the Wizard behind the Veil, these outrageous suits that pass muster these days (and no longer shock us) would wither on the vine of the sense of the commons, you know us stupid silly hoi poloi.

  8. Public defender Andrew Weinstock is clearly the guy I want for my defense!

    He knew the prosecution was lazy and unprepared for a trial and felt he had a good chance of clearing his client. Good for him. Apparently the judge was also lazy and unprepared. Shame on him!

  9. Been there. Had it said and off the record the judge was apologizing after he went back on.

  10. Annie, the aliens have already landed and are now called the Tea Party. 🙂

  11. Paul, are they here to ‘serve man’ ? 😮 Or maybe they could instead just cut your lawn.

  12. Criminal Defense attorneys sometimes are challenged by the presiding judge. It is our job to represent our clients zealously and handle the adversity. We have to protect our clients, make a record and defend their constitutional rights.

    Public Defenders do the majority of criminal defense work in this country. I’ve read it’s somewhere around 80% of all criminal defense cases prosecuted in this county. The minority of cases are defended by the private bar. They generally are overworked and underpaid and subjected to unfair criticism that they are somehow less advocates that the private bar.

    We have a great Public Defender system in KY: The Department of Public Advocacy and the Louisville Jefferson County Public Defenders Office. Kudos to all criminal defense attorneys that “stand their ground” and protect their clients. We are the last protectors of the constitution.

  13. It is difficult to get information on candidates before an election in Brevard County. It is in the local newspaper today but I bet you won’t see it in 2019.

    1. Annie – aliens are already at Area 51. My goodness, you really need to keep up with the news.

  14. I was “encouraged ” to plead guilty to a DUI case in order to have the charges lessened to reckless driving because a trial would not end with anything but a DUI. Palm Beach County Florida is known for judges to accept police reports which are the truth mixed in with something the police thought would bring a conviction, in other words they lied. The judge never questioned it. The prosecutor was overjoyed with my plea, which ruined my life emotionally and financially. I am fortunately,I thought, glad to have not seen the inside of a courtroom in many years, so I was unaware of what was taking place and the P.D. was no help in explaining things.

  15. I agree with the comment about his law school. University of Dayton, Thomas Cooley, and some others should throw up some red flags about whether one is intellectually up to the difficult task of being a judge.

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