Former Alaska District Court Judge Faces Trial After Perjury Indictment: Court to Decide Fate in Landmark Case

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Arguments were heard on Monday in the case of former Alaska District Court Judge Margaret Murphy, who was indicted last year on a perjury charge. The hearing took place at the Nesbitt Courthouse in Anchorage, with the court considering whether to proceed with a trial. If convicted, Murphy could face up to 10 years in jail and a fine.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthew clarified that he would not make a decision on Monday, as the purpose of the hearing was to hear arguments from both the defense and prosecution. Judge Matthew emphasized the importance of ensuring that the legal process adhered to established principles.

Represented by Attorney Timothy Petumenos, Murphy’s defense argued for the dismissal of four grounds for indictment. Petumenos contended that the evidence presented violated the rule of admissibility, with deliberately inadmissible evidence included in the proceedings. He urged the court to review the exhibits presented to the grand jury, claiming that they would reveal more instances of inadmissible evidence.

Petumenos further argued that the grand jury should not have proceeded with the indictment, as the evidence presented failed to meet the lowest standard of proof set by the law. Additionally, he asserted that the grand jury did not have the required quorum and that the indictment lacked specificity regarding the crime.

Clint Campion, representing the State of Alaska, responded by stating that the instructions and evidence presented to the grand jurors accurately reflected the record and had been properly submitted to the court. He highlighted that the perjury charges emerged after correspondence between Judge Murphy and the Alaska Commission for Judicial Conduct revealed discrepancies in her testimony.

The case against Murphy stems from an offense allegedly committed in November 2022 while she was serving as a district court judge in Homer. Although this case involves a single perjury charge, it is part of a broader protest led by the Alaska Grand Jurors Association. The association contends that Murphy’s alleged perjury is just one example of corruption within the Alaska judicial system and demands a wider investigation and increased independence for grand juries.

Judge Matthews announced that he will thoroughly review the case and issue a written statement within the next 30 days. The next hearing for Murphy’s case is scheduled for February 22 at the Nesbitt Courthouse.

In summary, arguments were heard in the case of former Alaska District Court Judge Margaret Murphy, who faces a perjury charge. The defense argued for the dismissal of several grounds for indictment, citing violations of admissibility and procedural failures. The State of Alaska maintained that the grand jury process was conducted properly and highlighted the evidence of discrepancies in Murphy’s testimony. The case is part of a larger protest by the Alaska Grand Jurors Association, which alleges corruption within the state’s judicial system. Judge Matthews will review the arguments and issue a written statement in the coming weeks.