Monday, May 24, 2004
High Court Orders Former Judge Murphy Disbarred
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court has ordered that former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy be disbarred, effective yesterday.
In November, State Bar Court Judge Robert Talcott recommended disbarment for Murphy, who resigned from the bench while on the verge of removal in 2001. Murphy did not petition for review of the recommendation.
Talcott cited the ex-jurist’s “egregious” misconduct in collecting a judicial paycheck for 120 weeks while on sick leave between 1996 and 2001. Murphy asked to enter the State Bar Court’s diversion program for lawyers with mental health or substance abuse problems, but then failed to appear at a hearing to determine his eligibility for that program or for trial on the disciplinary charges.
Talcott’s findings largely tracked those of the Commission on Judicial Performance, which censured Murphy in 2001 and barred him “from receiving any assignment, appointment, or reference of work from any California state court.”
Talcott noted that Murphy was absent from Sept. 20, 1999, until April 3, 2000; stopped working for good as of June 8, 2000; and resigned on May 4, 2001. He chronicled Murphy’s activities during the time he was supposedly too sick to work: teaching one or two night law classes a week, serving as an instructor at a Citizen’s Police Academy in Baldwin Park, completing pre-med physics and chemistry courses at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles, and attending classes at a school of medicine on the island of Dominica in the West Indies from January to April of 2000.
Talcott rejected Murphy’s claim that he was indeed ill, suffering from various maladies including a “phobia” regarding judicial service. The medical evidence did not support that contention, the State Bar Court judge said.
Talcott also found that Murphy lied to Rolf Treu, then the presiding judge of the Citrus court, about the state of his health.
Murphy was elected to the Citrus Municipal Court in 1992. He became a Superior Court judge through unification in 2000, returning from the Caribbean island nation of Dominica to take the oath of office after all of his former municipal court colleagues from around the county had done so.
After leaving the bench, Murphy remained on inactive status with the State Bar until July 2002. The State Bar initiated disciplinary proceedings three months later.
A docket entry on the Supreme Court Web site noted that mail to Murphy was returned this month with the notation that it could not be delivered or forwarded.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company