Court Security

Assistant PD punched by judge resigns in protest after jurist returns to bench

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An assistant public defender who said he was punched by a Florida judge in a Brevard County courtroom hallway has resigned in protest following the jurist’s return to the bench less than a month after the incident.

Andrew Weinstock said in a Monday letter that he was resigning, effective immediately, because his boss did not oppose Judge John Murphy’s resumption of judicial duties, Florida Today reports.

“I wish he hadn’t resigned, but apparently Mr. Weinstock feels strongly that I should oppose Judge Murphy’s return to the bench,” said Blaise Trettis, who serves as 18th Judicial Circuit Court public defender, to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.).

Murphy, who issued a public apology and reportedly agreed to get anger management counseling and unspecified treatment during his paid leave, is now assigned to hear civil cases.

Trettis told Florida Today that he felt it would be hypocritical to argue against giving the judge a second chance. “Defense attorneys routinely plead that their clients should be given a second chance when their bad behavior is uncharacteristic of who they are and is an isolated instance in their life,” he explained.

Trettis also pointed out that the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission is investigating Murphy’s conduct and said he expects the state supreme court to discipline the judge after the investigation is complete, the Law Blog reports. The newspaper couldn’t reach Weinstock on Tuesday for comment.

The Associated Press, WFTV and WESH also have stories.

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