Imagine being in court and seeing a trial attorney get into a rough and tumble tussle with the presiding judge!
Well, deputies actually had to break up a fight between Judge John Murphy, of Brevard County, Ga., and attorney Andrew Weinstock. The two men engaged in a feisty verbal exchange during court proceedings Monday, but it quickly escalated into a fight that took place outside the court. Some of the back-and-forth that lead to the incident was captured on video, WFTV reports.
In the video, Murphy and Weinstock get into a war of words about a case that involved a defendant’s refusal to agree to waiving a speedy trial. Weinstock is heard telling the judge, “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.”
Murphy, apparently annoyed by the attorney’s response, shoots back, “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.” Weinstock, refusing to back down and in a confrontational tone, informs the judge, “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.” Murphy, who appears to be losing patience, threatens the attorney. “I said sit down,” he said. “If you want to fight lets go out back and I’ll just beat your ass.”
Both men storm out of the courtroom and begin brawling in a nearby hallway. The fight is not actually viewable but loud banging can be heard on the video.
Public Defender Blaise Trettis told Florida Todaythat the men went into an area behind the courtroom typically used by judges and jurors. “The lawyer said as soon as he got in the hallway the judge grabbed him by the collar and began punching him in the head.” Trettis said Weinstock tried to stop the attack, and courtroom bailiffs came into the hallway and pulled the two apart.
After the fight, Murphy, who has maintained an upstanding image to date, is the only one seen returning to the courtroom. The judge resumes his role and states to those in attendance, “I will catch my breath eventually.” The people in the courtroom applaud.
Trettis says criminal charges likely will not be pursued.