Monday, June 02, 2014

Florida judge tells attorney, 'I'll just beat your ass'...and then he does

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From the ABA Journal:
A Florida judge told a veteran public defender to step outside the courtroom on Monday, then punched the attorney until sheriff's deputies broke up the altercation, WFTV reports.

Although the incident occurred outside the range of a court camera, it captured audio, including what the station describes as several loud thuds. No one was charged in the incident, and Brevard County Judge John Murphy is said to have gone back on the bench afterward and continued his criminal court call.

The fireworks occurred after a courtroom dispute in which assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock resisted pressure to waive his client's speedy trial rights.

"If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your ass," Murphy told Weinstock as the two men exited the courtroom, WFTV reports. A short time earlier, the judge said: "You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down."

Weinstock said he had expected to talk with the judge in the hallway outside the courtroom, 18th Judicial Court public defender Blaise Trettis told the station. "The attorney said 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."

Florida Today has obtained the raw courtroom video and reports that those in the courtroom applauded as the judge returned to the bench saying: "I will catch my breath eventually."

WKMG also has a story and video.

The articles don't include any comment from the judge or any court official.

Weinstock has now been assigned to another courtroom.

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