On Friday, February 23, 2024, Newsbreak reported that a California judge is facing investigation over claims of making anti-Semitic remarks and violating ethics standards.

According to the report, Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Murphy allegedly made controversial comments about Jewish people during a court case in March 2022. The case involved a dispute between two attorneys, one of whom was Jewish. A transcript from the proceedings showed Judge Murphy stating that he had “never appreciated Jewish attorneys” and accused them of obstructing court orders if unfavorable and using their religious identity to avoid sanctions.

The attorney present in court, Peter Rittenberg, filed a complaint with California’s Commission on Judicial Performance after hearing the remarks. Rittenberg described the comments as “textbook judicial anti-Semitism” that were “deeply painful and personal.” Judge Murphy later sent an apology letter to Rittenberg admitting his comments about Jewish attorneys were “insensitive” but Rittenberg felt the apology was inadequate.

This wasn’t the first time complaints were made against Judge Murphy. In 2021, another attorney accused him of gender bias and misconduct, saying he laughed at her and undermined her arguments during a hearing. The Commission on Judicial Performance then began investigating the new allegations against Judge Murphy relating to anti-Semitism.

News of the investigation drew strong condemnation from Jewish community leaders. The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League called Judge Murphy’s reported comments “deeply disturbing” and said anti-Semitic stereotypes have no place in court.

Famous attorney Alan Dershowitz demanded Judge Murphy resign, arguing his alleged biases likely impacted his handling of cases. If found guilty of misconduct, Judge Murphy could face repercussions ranging from a private letter of admonishment to public censure and even removal from his position on the bench.

The investigation comes at a time when California courts seek to increase diversity and reduce bias. It remains to be seen what disciplinary actions may be taken as the independent Commission on Judicial Performance reviews the allegations made against Judge Michael J. Murphy.



Source: Newsbreak