This Judge Will Just Stone Cold Beat A Lawyer's Butt Until He Gets His Way
We really shouldn't be surprised that the following story happened in Florida, because we have read all the Carl Hiaasen books and we know that Florida courtrooms must be nothing but fever swamps of hostile weirdness, but this tale of the judge who tried to beat up a public defender -- and then came back and finish out his daily docket -- is weird even for Florida.
Did you watch the video? You should watch the video. That is some "Night Court" level buffoonery up in there, except that Judge Harry Stone would never be craven enough to punch a public defender. Basically, what you're seeing is that the pugilistic judge, John Murphy, would like the public defender to waive his client's right to a speedy trial. The PD does not wish to do so, and he does not have to SINCE THAT IS A FUCKING RIGHT. Full stop.
Really, there's no more lawsplain-y type discussion to be had at that point, as far as the judge is concerned. The defendant has invoked his or her right to a speedy trial, and you, your Honor, set that thing for trial within the statutory limits. Even trying to talk the public defender out of it is pretty uncool. Trying to beat the living daylights out of the public defender? Definitely not cool.
"You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now," Murphy tells [Adam] 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 in the video. [...]
"If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your ass," Murphy tells Weinstock before the two head out of the courtroom.
We have to admit that we probably would have backed down after the part where the judge told us he'd like to hit us with a rock, and we definitely wouldn't head out into the hallway with him where there are no cameras so he could beat us up offscrean. But Weinstock is made of sterner stuff than we are, or perhaps he's just more trusting.
Weinstock's supervisor [said] Weinstock thought they would just talk out the problem, but he said there were no words exchanged, just blows thrown by Murphy.
"The attorney said that immediately upon entering the hallway he was grabbed by the collar and began to be struck," said Blaise Trettis, public defender of the 18th Judicial Court. "There was no discussion, no talk, not even time for anything. Just as soon as they're in the hallway, the attorney was grabbed."
The weirdest part? You can HEAR THE FIGHT in the courtroom. And when it's done, the audience applauds. What. The Fuck. Perhaps they were afraid that if they didn't, they were next on the judge's boxing card?
Oh wait, that's not the weirdest part. The weirdest part is that the judge comes back in like nothing happened.
After the confrontation, Murphy went back into court and finished ruling over first appearances.
"I will catch my breath eventually," Murphy said. "Man, I'm an old man."
Seriously, no fucks are given by that judge.
Oh wait. That's not the weirdest part either. The weirdest part is how Time covered this like the public defender was also spoiling for a fight, instead of just being bullied by the judge.
It took less than 30 seconds for a public defender and a judge to take a courtroom dispute “out back” and settle the disagreement mano a mano.
Closed-circuit camera footage shows a debate about “docket sounding” escalating into openly stated desires to beat and bludgeon one another.
Did Time watch the same video we did? Sure looks like they did, because they embedded that fucker too. And there is no beat-y bludgeon-y language coming from the public defender unless you count "invoking your client's constitutional rights" as a bludgeon, which maybe Time does.
You will be unsurprised to learn that Hizzoner Judge John Murphy will be attending anger management classes during his probably not really voluntary leave of absence. Maybe at least don't let the guy have a gavel when he comes back?