Trials & Litigation

Wrongful death suit claims judge hit cyclists while driving for court-related work

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A New Mexico judge, who hit two bicyclists in 2019 on a highway with her 2015 Ford Expedition, has been sued for wrongful death.

Judge Shannon Murdock sits in the Torrance County District Court and has not been charged with a crime, KRQE reports.

According to the lawsuit filed by the family of Billy Weinman, a cyclist who died in the incident, Murdock turned over her personal cellphone to police at the incident scene but did not tell officers that she had a second, state-issued phone.

The lawsuit, filed March 5 in Bernalillo County District Court, also claims that the incident took place on a Saturday, and Murdock was driving in connection to a work meeting. Besides Murdock, it names the 7th Judicial District Court of New Mexico as a defendant. The amount of damages sought are not specified in the filing.

Murdock did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal interview request, which was made through the state court’s administrative office.

State police and the San Juan County district attorney’s office are handling Murdock’s criminal investigation, and the district attorney told the station that they expect to make a decision shortly, according to KRQE.

Karl Baumgartner was cycling with Weinman when the incident occurred and was also hit by Murdock, according to the complaint. Weinman died at the scene, and Baumgartner was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he was treated for a cracked vertebrae, broken ribs and a torn calf.

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