Judge Carlos Murguia reprimanded for sexual misconduct
"A years-long extramarital sexual relationship with a drug-using individual.”
In a rare move, the Judicial Council of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on Monday publicly reprimanded Carlos Murguia, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Kansas, for behavior very much unbecoming of a judge.
After receiving complaints about Murguia last year, the Tenth Circuit formed a special committee to investigate the claims. Among the committee’s findings were that Murguia has been “habitually late for court proceedings and meetings” and that “a repeated cause of this tardiness was Judge Murguia’s regularly scheduled lunchtime basketball games on days when he had hearings or trials.”
Ball is life. Go on.
Murguia also gave unwanted attention to female employees, engaging in “sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate text messages, and excessive non-work-related contacts, much of which occurred after work hours and often late at night.”
Murguia, who until recently was married to Wyandotte County Commissioner Ann Brandau-Murguia (herself no stranger to controversy) had a “years-long extramarital sexual relationship with a drug-using individual.”
The woman Murguia had an affair with was “then on probation and is now incarcerated (because of probation violations) for state-court felony convictions.”
In publicly reprimanding Murguia, the council noted that, though a sexual affair does not constitute misconduct in all cases, Murguia “placed himself in such a compromised position that he made himself susceptible to extortion.” (Emphasis mine.)
The council added that when Murguia was initially confronted with the allegations, “he did not fully disclose the extent of his misconduct. He tended to admit to allegations only when confronted with supporting documentary evidence. His apologies appeared more tied to his regret that his actions were brought to light than an awareness of, and regret for, the harm he caused to the individuals involved and to the integrity of his office. Moreover, his misconduct is very serious and occurred over a lengthy period.” Pretty damning stuff.
In a statement to the Star, Murguia said: “I apologize to my colleagues on the Court, all of whom I very much respect, as well as my former wife, Ann, and our children, my family, my friends, and the public. I regret that I had an inappropriate relationship with an acquaintance who was on state court probation.”
Lucky for Murguia, federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, and this public reprimand will be the extent of his punishment. Unless and until new complaints are filed, the matter is settled.