Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy has been appointed as a Business Court Judge to replace Judge Albert Diaz, who is leaving the Business Court for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. All of Judge Diaz’ pending cases were assigned to Judge Murphy by Judge Tennille in an Order signed December 23rd.
I have never appeared before Judge Murphy, who sat in Mecklenburg County, so the only information I can give you about him results from a Google search. But If you go down the same Google road that I did, be aware that Judge Calvin Murphy, who did play basketball in college, is not the same Calvin Murphy who played point guard for the Houston Rockets.
The Mecklenburg County Bar News reported in 2005 that Judge Murphy had been elected President of the North Carolina State Bar for the 2005-2006 term. He described his presidency as one "focused on professionalism." He graduated from Davidson College in 1970, then served as an intelligence officer in the military, and graduated from North Carolina Central Law School in 1977. He serves on Davidson’s Board of Directors. He was an assistant district attorney in Charlotte from 1977 to 1982, and then had a criminal defense practice.
Judge Murphy was originally appointed as a Special Superior Court Judge by Governor Easley in 2007. Senator Kay Hagan had recommended Judge Murphy for a federal Western District District Court Judgeship last year.
At that time, a former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Burley Mitchell, described Judge Murphy as a "solid, proven judge and [an] excellent legal technician" with "a calm, dispassionate demeanor in court."
Judge Murphy’s most highly publicized decision involved the First Amendment protection he gave to the identities of readers commenting on line about on line news stories. He said that news sources did not need to disclose the commenters’ identities because they were protected by North Carolina’s "shield law." There was a thorough discussion of that decision earlier this year on Brooks Pierce’s Newsroom Law Blog.
I found no record of any business cases decided by Judge Murphy which were appealed. What I did find were 31 criminal law cases decided by Judge Murphy which were appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals,
I am looking forward to writing about Judge Murphy’s decisions while he is sitting on the Business Court. He starts with a full caseload.