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Judge Booted From Bench Wants Rehearing, Cites PTSD

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Less than three weeks after the Florida Supreme Court ordered his removal from the bench, a Brevard County judge is seeking a rehearing based on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Attorneys for Judge John Murphy argued in a document filed Monday that the Supreme Court should order "involuntary retirement" because of disability rather than removal based on misconduct.

Murphy faced discipline because of an altercation in 2014 with a public defender that was caught on videotape and went viral.

The Supreme Court decision said, in part, Murphy "threatened an assistant public defender with violence in open court, challenged him to a physical fight, engaged in the threatened struggle in which the two men had to be physically separated by a deputy, and reassumed the bench to handle cases where the defendants were without the presence of their attorney."

Murphy's attorneys have contended that he has post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from military service in Afghanistan. The motion for a rehearing said Murphy's condition should be treated as other types of disability.

"Had Judge Murphy developed early onset Alzheimer's that made him incapable of serving, that disability would fit squarely into this (Supreme) Court's precedent for involuntary retirement,'' the motion said. "Similarly, he certainly would be subject to involuntary retirement if a car accident caused traumatic brain injury rendering him disabled and incapable of service. Post-traumatic stress disorder, as determined by the VA (Veterans Administration) and this court, should be no different."

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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