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Judge Challenges Lawyer to a Brawl

An unusual brawl broke out in a Florida courtroom as a judge and an assistant public defender came to blows. Video footage clearly shows the judge, John Murphy, instigating the fight with public defender Andrew Weinstock. The pair started arguing about whether Weinstock's client would waive his right to a speedy trial. Judge Murphy was trying to convince the defender to waive, but the defense lawyer was not having any of it. Judge Murphy said, "You know, if I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now. Just sit down." Weinstock responded, "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." On the video, the judge then appears to ask Weinstock to come to the back hallway, an area where there are no cameras, which is where the fight apparently broke out.

"if you want to fight, let's go out back," Murphy tells Weinstock before the pair head off camera. There were no images of the fight, but the video does capture sounds of scuffling and several loud thuds. Two deputies broke up the fight, and the attorney was immediately reassigned to another area so he and the judge would not have to interact with each other. Judge Murphy agreed to take a leave of absence so he could seek anger management counseling.

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