Ethics Group Recommends $25K Fine for Judge’s ‘Bizarre’ Letters
Posted Apr 2, 2008 9:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A judicial ethics commission has recommended a $25,000 fine and 30-day suspension for a judge who sent two “bizarre” and “threatening” letters to the publisher of the Boston Herald.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct said in its report (PDF) that the conduct by Judge Ernest Murphy was intentional and therefore willful, the Boston Herald reports. Its recommendations for the fine, suspension without pay and public censure go to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for consideration.
Murphy sent both letters on court stationery after he won a $2.1 million libel verdict against the Herald in 2005. One letter invited the Herald’s publisher to lunch to resolve the dispute and directed him to bring a check for $500,000 more than the amount of the judgment plus interest. “No check. No meeting,” the letter said.
Murphy had testified he sent the letters in hopes of fending off a drawn-out appeal.