A physical fight involving a Brevard County judge and a public defender had to be broken up by court deputies on Monday, according to WFTV. The fight occurred during a hearing in which Judge John Murphy was presiding and public defender Andrew Weinstock was an attorney.
Judge Murphy has been accused of punching Weinstock both exchanged words during the hearing. Murphy reportedly pressured Weinstock to get his client to waive the right to a speedy trial.
“You know, if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now,” Murphy said to Weinstock. “Stop pissing me off. Just sit down.”
In the video of the hearing, which is embedded at the bottom of this post, Weinstock says, “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.”
Murphy then asked Weinstock to go to the back hallway, where there are no cameras. This is where the physical encounter occurred.
“If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass,” Murphy said to Weinstock before the two men leave the courtroom.
The camera in the courtroom was able to capture audio of the fight despite not catching video of it.
Blaise Trettis, the supervisor for Weinstock, said that the public defender thought the two would discuss the issue in the hallway. This did not happen and punches were thrown by Murphy.
“The attorney said that immediately upon entering the hallway he was grabbed by the collar and began to be struck,” Trettis said. Trettis is the 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.”
It took two deputies to break up the fight. Weinstock was assigned to another area so he and Murphy would not have to work in the same courtroom again.
“I will catch my breath eventually,” Murphy said. “Man, I’m an old man.”
Murphy was not taken into custody and it seems as if no charges will be filed. The public defender’s office said that the incident will be reported to the Florida Bar.