If you’ve ever sat through criminal court proceedings, chances are you might have caught some heated exchanges between prosecuting and defending attorneys, or attorneys and witnesses. One thing you probably never expected to see or hear is a judge telling a lawyer he was going to beat an attorney’s ass. But that’s exactly what happened on June 2 in a Brevard County, Fla. courtroom when Judge John C. Murphy offered to meet assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock outside the courtroom for an old fashioned whoopin’. And the heated exchange between the two was captured on court video.
According to USA Today, tempers started flaring between the two when the judge asked the attorney how he wanted to proceed about waiving a client’s right to a speedy trial. If you watch the video accompanying this article, the assistant public defender seemed lost for words at first, but then proceeded to speak condescendingly and sarcastically to the judge. The judge didn’t behave much better.
The initial exchange between the two went like this:
"You want to set it for docket sounding, set it for docket sounding. I'm not waiving in any case. This is an emergency created by the state," the attorney says.
Murphy responds: "You know if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down. I'll take care of it. I don't need your help. Sit down."
"You know what? I'm the public defender I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my clients."
"I said sit down. If you want to fight lets go out back and I'll just beat your ass."
Unfortunately, as Weinstock and the judge exited the courtroom, we lost our video picture of the two. But you can still hear some commotion on the audio portion of the video. That commotion is reportedly Murphy grabbing the attorney in the hallway and punching him in the head. Another public defender, Blaise Trettis, said that the two men went down a hallway restricted for lawyers and judges.
On the video, while they are off camera, one of the men says: "I'm not kidding. You wanna [expletive] with me?"
According to Trettis, as soon as Weinstock got into the hallway, “the judge grabbed him by the collar and began punching him in the head." Trettis got into the middle of the two to try and break up the brawl, and was eventually successful with assistance from courtroom bailiffs. After the scuffle, the judge surprisingly returned to the courtroom and took his seat.
"I will catch my breath eventually," he says. Those gathered in the courtroom applaud.
Weinstock did not return to the courtroom after his brawl with the judge. As of this writing, no criminal charges have been brought forth against Murphy. Florida Today, who released the courtroom video earlier today, reported that the county courtroom was all abuzz about the video, but that Murphy was not present for court proceedings today.