Often-late lawyer draws judge's wrath--and fineWhen William...


Often-late lawyer draws judge's wrath--and fine

When William H. Murphy Jr. phones the Anne Arundel County Courthouse to say he is running a little late for a hearing -- as he often does -- employees usually roll their eyes and ask, "How does he get away with it?"

Yesterday, the flamboyant defense lawyer didn't.

"Mr. Murphy, why are you late again?" Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner demanded with a hint of exasperation in his voice when he took the bench.

Mr. Murphy, a former Circuit Court judge who once ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Baltimore, apologized and explained that he had to rewrite and type a memorandum earlier in the morning because new information had surfaced in his case.

Judge Lerner was not impressed. "Well, as far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse," he said. "It's 10 o'clock, and it was set for quarter after 9. This happens all the time. I'm going to hold you in contempt and I'm going to impose a fine of $100 for being late."

He did not fare much better at the hearing. He asked for a new trial for his client, a convicted rapist. Denied. He asked the judge to grant his client probation before judgment. His client got seven years.

After the hearing, Mr. Murphy tried to lighten the mood as he asked the judge about the fine.

"Do you take Visa? Otherwise I'm going to have to write you a check," he said.

It worked. "No, I don't take Visa," the judge answered a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Man killed after entering home of off-duty officer


A District Heights man was killed early yesterday after he and two others forced their way into an off-duty District of Columbia police officer's home, Prince George's County police said.

Police said John Marcus Miller, 20, and two unidentified armed men knocked on the door of the officer's home in the 9900 block of Caltor Lane about 6:45 a.m.

They forced their way past the officer's wife, who had answered the door, police said. When she screamed, the officer grabbed his service pistol and went to investigate. Police said he fired several shots, striking Mr. Miller twice.

The other two men drove off in a small maroon vehicle with Maryland tags whose last three characters were "6-0-6," said Lt. Alphonso Hawkins.

The state's attorney's office will review the incident, police said. The name of the officer was not released.

Pasadena man killed in Lansdowne accident


Baltimore County police blamed speed, alcohol and driver error for an accident in Lansdowne yesterday that left a Pasadena man dead and two others injured.

Police said two vehicles were traveling east on Daisy Avenue at a high rate of speed around 2:30 a.m., and witnesses said they appeared to be racing.

As both cars attempted to pass a third, the driver of a 1984 Toyota Celica, David Dion Smith, 18, of the 7600 block of Pleasant Drive, Pasadena, lost control of his car and swerved off the road, destroying a chain-link fence and several mailboxes and street signs, police said.

A post from the fence struck and killed Paul Brian Michael, 19, of the 7600 block of 4th Street. Mr. Michael had been sitting in the back seat, behind the driver.

The car re-entered the roadway and was struck by another vehicle, a 1991 Ford Explorer van, driven by Sean Richard Daly, 20, of the 3200 block of Ryerson Circle, Baltimore County. He was alone in his car and uninjured.

The two other passengers in the Toyota, Susan Emrick, 19, and Shannon Lawyer, 18, both of Lansdowne, were treated for minor injuries at St. Agnes Hospital.

Mr. Smith was charged with driving while intoxicated.

The case will be referred to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office for investigation, authorities said.


* Baltimore police are preparing extradition papers for Richard W. Morris, a 24-year-old Baltimore man arrested Thursday in Los Angeles. Mr. Morris has been sought in the death of Ramon Aquino, whose body was found June 11 on the parking lot of the General Motors Corp. plant on Broening Highway. He had been shot twice.

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