Former Homer judge arraigned on perjury charges
Former Judge Margaret Murphy could face 10 years in jail if convicted
KENAI, Alaska (KTUU) - A former Homer judge was arraigned Friday on charges of perjury. Former District Court Judge Margaret Murphy faces a maximum of 10 years in jail plus a fine if convicted.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews presided over the arraignment via Zoom. Murphy was represented by her attorney, Jeffrey Robinson, with independent prosecutor Clint Champion also present. The specifics of the perjury charges were not immediately clear, but it is known that a grand jury has been investigating the case for several months.
Judge Matthews, noting that the courtroom was full, promised the next hearing would be held via Zoom in accordance with the public’s interest. Among those in attendance were members of a group that has been protesting judicial corruption at the Kenai Courthouse.
Due to the nature of this case, three judges recused themselves from the case, as did the courthouse staff. From a Kenai courtroom, Judge Thomas addressed the defendant’s attorney.
“This is an arraignment. The purposes of an arraignment is simply to advise the defendant about the charges and to make sure that she’s got a copy of the charges, take a plea, and figure out what the next steps are going to be,” Matthews said.
Judge Matthews then asked if Murphy’s attorney wanted the charges read in court.
“Judge we’ll waive reading an advisement and enter a not guilty plea,” Robinson responded.
“So a plea of not guilty to the charge of perjury will be entered on behalf of Ms. Murphy,” Matthews said.
The judge then told the court the penalty Murphy could face.
“I need to tell, because this is a Class B felony, Ms. Murphy, the maximum penalty is 10 years in jail and $100,000 fine,” Matthews said. “Given your background, I’m sure you’re aware of these.”
Murphy remained silent during the hearing and was released on her own recognizance and will be required to stay in contact with her attorney. A pretrial conference is scheduled for August 11 at 10 a.m., which will also be televised on Zoom. Matthews will be the assigned trial judge, and a trial date has yet to be determined.
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