Brevard County Judge Who Punched Defense Attorney Back on the Bench

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

A Brevard County judge who came under scrutiny after a video surfaced online of him threatening to beat up an assistant public defender, and then taking the attorney into a hallway off camera and fighting with him, is now back on the bench as of June 30. 

On June 2, 2014, Judge John Murphy challenged Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock to a fight after Weinstock refused to waive his client’s speedy trial rights.  Weinstock followed Murphy into a hallway off camera, where the two can be heard scuffling.  According to reports, Murphy grabbed the attorney’s collar and began punching him in the head until the two were separated by police officers. 

Judge John Murphy completed anger management treatment and issued a public apology and is now on the bench in Titusville with the support of the Brevard County Public Defender, who said that Murphy deserved a second chance.  He is no longer serving as the judge in the criminal court where he got in the fight with Weinstock.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission won’t confirm nor deny if they have launched an investigation into the incident when it comes to Murphy’s behavior, although it did appear that they were interviewing witnesses within days of it happening.  While Murphy was reassigned to a different court, the move has been described as one that is not as much a disciplinary action as much as it was a move to promote the “efficient administration of justice”.  No criminal charges were filed against Murphy for the fight.

Meanwhile, things are not going as well for the assistant public defender who was involved in the fight.  The Florida Bar has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into the incident but is making no further comment.  In reaction to his boss’s support for getting Murphy back on the bench, Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock announced that he was immediately resigning from his position at the office on July 7, 2014.