ORLANDO, Fla., June 3 (UPI) -- A judge in Florida allegedly punched a public defender repeatedly after a verbal altercation led the two to step outside the courtroom to exchange blows.
Judge John Murphy and public defender Andrew Weinstock got into a heated exchange in front of a packed courtroom Monday, before Murphy asked Weinstock if he wanted to "go out back," which Weinstock did.
Weinstock felt Murphy was trying to pressure him into waiving his client's right to a speedy trial; Murphy seemingly thought Weinstock was wasting his time.
"You want to set it for docket sounding, set it for docket sounding. I'm not waiving in any case. This is an emergency created by the state," Weinstock said.
After Weinstock made it clear he would not would the right to a speedy trial, Murphy responded by threatening, "You know if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now. Stop [ticking] me off. Just sit down. I'll take care of it. I don't need your help. Sit down."
This didn't sit well with Weinstock, who defended himself saying, "You know what? I'm the public defender I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my clients."
Then Murphy issued the challenge, which was promptly accepted.
"I said sit down. If you want to fight lets go out back and I'll just beat your ass."
The two can be seen stepping away from the bench and the sightline of the camera where, according to witnesses, Murphy grabbed Weinstock and landed at least one blow clean to his face.
Court deputies broke up the fight and separated the two. Weinstock was promptly reassigned and has declined to press charges. Murphy returned to the bench to a round of applause from the still-packed courtroom.