Panel Fires Judge Who Resigned

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In a case of you can’t resign, you’re fired, a state judicial commission announced Thursday that it had removed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick B. Murphy from the bench for willful misconduct, even though Murphy tendered his resignation.

The state Commission on Judicial Performance, which reached its decision during a closed meeting Wednesday, charged Murphy with malingering, excessive absenteeism and attending a Caribbean medical school while on the judicial payroll.

The same day commissioners made the decision, officials with Gov. Gray Davis’ office and the courts announced they had received a resignation letter from Murphy.


Even so, the commission voted to remove and censure Murphy and bar him from receiving new assignments to any California state court. The censure is maximum discipline for a former judge.

Murphy, who resigned citing ill health, could not be reached for comment. He claimed several illnesses--including a phobia of the bench--kept him from his duties. But during more than 400 sick days since 1996, the commission noted, Murphy had enrolled in the medical school, a chiropractic college and taught at a law school.

The commission wrote, “Judge Murphy in claiming sick leave when he was not disabled and lying to his presiding judge, engaged in willful misconduct that displays moral turpitude and dishonesty.”