Remembering Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr.

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The Maryland Carey Law community mourns the passing of Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr. ’69. Judge Murphy taught Trial Practice at the law school for more than 40 years and served on the bench for over a quarter of a century. 

He was widely considered one of Maryland’s foremost experts in evidence, trial practice and appellate advocacy, and authored the first edition of the Maryland Evidence Handbook in 1985. In 2020, he co-authored the fifth edition with his daughter, Erin Murphy.  

“Judge Murphy left an indelible mark on the legal profession in Maryland and on our law school community,” says outgoing Dean Donald Tobin. “We are especially grateful for the years he spent sharing his knowledge and experience with our students.” 

Judge Murphy’s illustrious career included work as a jurist and practicing attorney in the public and private sectors. Following his 1969 graduation from Maryland Carey Law, he joined the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland as a staff attorney. In 1970, he was appointed an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore City and became deputy state’s attorney of Baltimore City in 1974. In 1976, he entered private practice with Russell J. White ’57 and was a partner in the Towson firm of White & Murphy.  

Governor Harry Hughes appointed Judge Murphy to the Circuit Court of Baltimore County in 1984, and in 1993, Governor William Donald Schaefer appointed him to the Court of Special Appeals. In 1996, Governor Parris Glendening appointed Judge Murphy as chief judge of that appellate court. Finally, Governor Martin O’Malley appointed him to the Court of Appeals where he served from 2007 to 2011. Upon retirement from the bench, Judge Murphy joined the law firm of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, where he headed the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice until 2021. 

In recognition of his many contributions to the legal profession, Judge Murphy received numerous awards and honors. They include the Maryland Carey Law Benjamin L. Cardin Public Service Award in 2010 and the Maryland Bar Foundation’s H. Vernon Eney Endowment Award in 2012. Also in 2012, he received the Maryland Access to Justice Commission’s Judge of the Year Award. 

Judge Murphy and his wife JoAnn, a former teacher and president of the Baltimore County Board of Education, were married in 1966. They celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary before JoAnn passed away in 2019.  

When Judge Murphy retired from teaching and private practice in 2021, Stephen Nolan ’76 and Richard Karceski, his dear friends and fellow members of the Dissenters Law Club in Baltimore County, joined forces to establish an endowed scholarship at Maryland Carey Law in his name.  

Launching this fall, the award will provide support for students with a particular interest in trial or appellate advocacy. In addition, the recipient will be invited to attend the Dissenters Law Club’s annual dinner to share insights from a student’s perspective. 

Nolan and Karceski were inspired to honor Judge Murphy for his dedication to the legal profession as a practitioner, educator, and judge. 

“Judge Murphy always has contributed generously to our profession,” says Nolan. “This is the least that can be done to recognize his dedication to Justice.” 

To contribute, visit the Honorable Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr. Scholarship