Former JAG’s arraignment April 14
April 4, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. — The court-martial of Col. Michael Murphy, former head of the Air Force’s Legal Operations Agency in Washington, will begin with his arraignment on April 14 at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C.
Murphy lost both his command and his career on Nov. 30, 2006, after senior officials learned that his law license had been yanked by two states more than 20 years earlier.
Murphy is facing a general court-martial on nine counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman; one count of failure to obey a general regulation; and three counts of larceny greater than $500.
If convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum for each, Murphy could get up to 41 years in prison.
The convening authority for Murphy’s court-martial is Maj. Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of Air Force District of Washington.
Gorenc will select the members of the jury that will hear Murphy’s case — which must number at least five officers for a general court-martial — and he has the option of reducing any sentence they might recommend if Murphy is found guilty.
Murphy joined the Air Force Judge Advocate General, or JAG, corps in November 1983 and led a long and apparently successful career.
He practiced law everywhere from Soesterberg Air Base, The Netherlands, to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He served as commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General School in 2005.
But during a routine internal review, officials learned that Texas had disbarred Murphy, first for seven years in 1983, then permanently in 1985, for reasons of professional misconduct.
Looking further, they found that he had also been disbarred by Louisiana in 1984.
Murphy’s case led the Air Force JAG to stop using the honor system to trust its lawyers to self-certify annually that they were members in good standing of either a state or federal bar association.
Now all Air Force lawyers must offer written proof of membership.