Flamboyant criminal defense lawyer William H. "Billy" Murphy, who was on trial yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court accused of wife-beating, now faces a contempt of court citation in Baltimore County for not appearing Tuesday to defend a client in Essex District Court.
Judge I. Marshall Siedler had cleared his docket for Mr. Murphy's case, which had been postponed several times since June 1992. The case involves a truck driver accused by county police of fouling a highway with oil, resisting arrest and traffic charges.
The Jan. 25 trial date was set last October, according to court records.
The judge, police officers and other witnesses waited for Mr. Murphy, a former Baltimore Circuit Court judge who relishes high-profile cases, but he did not appear and didn't call, Deputy State's Attorney Howard B. Merker said yesterday.
Judge Siedler issued a show-cause order and took the unusual step of directing the state's attorney's office to prosecute Mr. Murphy at a hearing at 1:30 p.m. March 22 in Essex District Court.
"I can't remember the last time that happened," Mr. Merker said.
Mr. Murphy declined to comment on the pending charge.
The original case involved Clement Miller II, a 50-year-old truck driver who lives in the 1100 block of S. Kenwood Ave. Mr. Murphy took over the case June 22 from his partner, M. Cristina Gutierrez.