Judicial Temperament is an Essential Part of the Administration of Justice

Angry male judge in a courtroom striking the gavel and pronounces sentence. Focus at front y very shallow depth of field

A judicial review panel is recommending a four-month suspension for a Florida judge who was captured on video berating and threatening to assault a public defender.

In findings released Wednesday, the six-member Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission found Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy guilty of violating various judicial canons, including being “dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others.”

The panel also recommended a fine of up to $50,000, a public reprimand and Murphy’s continued participation in a mental health therapy program.

Murphy is accused of hitting former assistant public defender Andrew Weinstock outside a courtroom last June after they exchanged words over whether Weinstock’s client could have a speedy trial.
The Florida Supreme Court will decide on the final punishment. It often adopts the panel’s recommendations.

This article is originally contributed by Associated Press.

You may think so what this judge is taking such a stance toward an attorney (who probably deserves to be treated this way). But think again. This attorney is representing a client’s cause that can be significantly and negatively affected. This is certainly not tolerable.

From my litigation experience, appearing before a judge who lacks such personable quality can be quite distracting. This experience is worse if the bench officer does not follow the mandate of the applicable law.

Personally, I can careless if the judge dislikes me for any reason. But, I do not take lightly (and no attorneys should) if the personal animosity toward me, in any way, jeopardizes my clients’ interests. However, to view the big picture, my clients’ interests are of the utmost importance, I will bend to protect clients’ rights, at my own personal expense.

Thus, in any professional setting, we all should look at the big picture and act accordingly.

Incidentally and fortunately, in California, any litigant has a right (one time) to challenge and to request to remove a judge (who may be unfavorable to your claims). This procedural safeguard can at times ensure fairness and avoid bias.

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