Florida Bar investigates attorney after fight with judge in Brevard courtroom

Judge accused of throwing punch at public defender

VIERA, Fla. - The Florida Bar is investigating an attorney who was involved in a conflict with a judge last week at the courthouse in Viera that ended in profanity and violence.

Assistant Public Defender Andrew Weinstock and Judge John Murphy got into a heated exchange June 2 and it ended with a deputy breaking up a fight between the two.

Spokeswoman Karen Kirksey said the state agency opened a file on Weinstock, but she would not elaborate, saying open investigations are confidential. ?

Kirksey said the investigation begins when the agency sends an attorney a letter. The attorney then has 15 days to respond.  She couldn't say when the process started for Weinstock.

"But I can confirm that a file is open," Kirksey said.

Murphy, meanwhile, agreed to seek anger management counseling during a temporary leave of absence, according to court officials.

The fight began with a debate over a client's right to a speedy trial.

"If I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now," Murphy said. "Stop pissing me off. Just sit down. I'll take care of it. I don't need your help. Sit down."

"I'm the public defender, I have the right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my clients," Weinstock said.

"Sit down," Murphy said. "If you want to fight, let's go out back and I'll just beat your (expletive)."

"Let's go right now," Weinstock said.

The two went into a hallway, where Murphy allegedly grabbed Weinstock by the collar and started hitting him, according to the public defender's office.

Although off camera, the two can still be heard yelling at each other, with one of them saying, "You want to (expletive) with me?"

A Brevard County sheriff's deputy stopped the fight.

The participants refused to press charges and no arrests were made.

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