MA Judge Who Won Big Libel Case Leaves Bench On Disability


Massachusetts trial judge Ernest Murphy, who won a $2 million libel verdict against the Boston Herald and is facing a possible reprimand and fine for writing threatening letters to the newspaper, has agreed that he is disabled and will not return to the bench, reports the Boston Globe. The state’s Supreme Judicial Court accepted an agreement between Murphy and the state Commission on Judicial Conduct that says the 65-year-old judge is “permanently disabled from performing his judicial duties” and will no longer sit as a judge in Massachusetts.

Murphy, who has said he suffers from post-traumatic stress as a result of his long legal battle with the Herald and stories the newspaper wrote about him, has been on a paid leave of absence since July 30, 2007. Murphy, a lawyer for 30 years before his appointment to the bench in 2000, came under attack in a series of Herald articles in 2002 that portrayed him as soft on criminals and insensitive to victims. One story alleged the judge had instructed lawyers during a conference in his chambers to tell a 14-year-old rape victim to “get over it.”


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