VIERA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
A Florida judge accused of punching an assistant public defender during an altercation outside the courtroom has issued a public apology as he returned to the bench on Monday.
Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy was professional as he handled his first case back in court, following a four-week leave of absence. In an apology letter to county residents, he wrote that his actions on June 2 may have "tarnished the reputation of the entire judiciary."
Following the incident with Andrew Weinstock, Murphy took a paid leave of absence and received anger management counseling.
A court spokeswoman says Murphy will now handle civil cases. He'll work mainly in his chambers at the Titusville Courthouse unless there's a trial or hearing involving multiple parties.
Murphy's boss, Chief Judge John Harris, called the incident "intolerable" and allowed Murphy to take a month off and attend anger management counseling.
"I fully understand that I have violated the trust you place in me, and I know there is a long road ahead to win it back," wrote Judge Murphy. "My leave of absence has allowed me to slow down, reflect, and work on my personal and professional shortcomings. I seek to ensure that this sort of unacceptable behavior will never happen again."
The Florida Bar Association has opened an investigation into Weinstock over the altercation, who returned to his job just one day after this incident. Meanwhile, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates judicial misconduct, is holding confidential proceedings regarding Murphy's role in the incident