Brevard judge accused of 'beat your ass' threat, brawl faces ethics charges



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed notice of formal charges against a Brevard County judge accused of telling a public defender, "I'll beat your ass," before allegedly throwing punches outside of the courtroom.

Judge John Murphy will have 20 days to respond to the charges.

Murphy is accused of punching attorney Andrew Weinstock after the two had words during court in which Murphy allegedly pressured Weinstock to get his client to waive his right to a speedy trial.

"You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now," Murphy told Weinstock. "Stop pissing me off. Just sit down."

"You know I'm the public defender. I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client," Weinstock said.

The judge allegedly asked Weinstock to come to the back hallway, an area where there are no cameras, which is where the fight broke out.

"If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your ass," Murphy told Weinstock before the two headed out of the courtroom.

While Murphy and Weinstock could not be seen, the courtroom camera captured audio of the scuffle and several loud thuds that accompanied it.  

Murphy agreed to anger management counseling after the scuffle.

After returning to the courtroom, Murphy is accused of inducing waivers of speedy trial in three cases. In another instance, Murphy is accused of removing the Public Defender' Office, taking a plea and sentencing a defendant. And in yet another case, he's accused changing the conditions of pre-trial release without counsel.

Weinstock's boss, Eighteenth Circuit Public Defender Blaise Trettis, told Channel 9 Weinstock has since resigned from his position.

In Weinstock's resignation email, he explained he quit because he doesn't agree with Trettis' support of Murphy returning to the bench.