In the latest development in the five-year-long battle between the Boston Herald and Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy, the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct on Tuesday issued a 24-page report recommending a suspension and fine for the judge who won a libel suit against the paper in 2005, the Boston Globe reports.
The suggested sanctions come in response to Murphy’s behavior shortly after the jury returned a $2.1 million verdict in the case. Murphy, using court letterhead, sent two messages to Herald publisher Patrick Purcell demanding a payment of $3.26 million because the paper had no chance on appeal. One of Murphy’s letters threatened that it would be a “BIG mistake” to show the letter to anyone.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will now make a final determination on the commission’s suggested $25,000 fine and 30-day suspension.