Over the last several years, we as a nation have come to know — quite intimately — law and order as it is practiced in the state of Florida. There was the overly emotional judge who broke down during the Anna Nicole Smith custody hearing; the trials of Ted Bundy, during one of which he proposed marriage to a witness — and she accepted; the trial of Casey Anthony, whose daughter apparently no one killed; the trial of George Zimmerman, which found that possession of Skittles and Snapple a lynchable offense; the trial of Michael David Dunn, who shot and killed a young man yet managed to be found guilty of attempted murder but not murder. And who could forget the judge who sentenced a man to take his wife on a date.
Florida’s judicial system is obviously complex and something lesser minds struggle to comprehend. But every once in a while we legal laymen get a lesson in law we all can understand. This time, that lesson comes courtesy of Brevard County Judge John Murphy.
Hear all that commotion off camera? That was public defender Andrew Weinstock getting a sentence of ass kicked.
“The attorney said that immediately upon entering the hallway he was grabbed by the collar and began to be struck,” said Blaise Trettis, public defender of the 18th Judicial Court. “There was no discussion, no talk, not even time for anything. Just as soon as they’re in the hallway, the attorney was grabbed.”
It’s quite possible that Weinstock, being a longtime public defender, has a history with Murphy. Also, I’m no legal expert, but I have seen enough Dick Wolf-made television shows to know that judges don’t like it when they’re not addressed as “Your Honor” or “Judge.”
No matter the reason for the brouhaha, on behalf of the other 49 states in the union, I thank Florida for its well-earned title of weirdest state in America.