Margaret Murphy, a retired Homer district court judge, is set to appear for an arraignment hearing on Friday, facing one charge of perjury.
The hearing will be conducted telephonically and will be live-streamed, according to Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews.
The indictment, driven by a Kenai grand jury, accuses Murphy of committing perjury during an incident that occurred last November in or near her hometown of Homer. She faces one count of perjury, a class B felony under Alaskan law. The grand jury investigation’s report has been kept secret.
Perjury occurs when an individual knowingly provides false information under oath. The indictment alleges that Murphy committed perjury during a specific event.
While details about the accusation remain unknown, the case appears to involve David Haeg, a local activist who has previously accused Murphy of judicial bias. The entire incident originates with a case that happened two decades ago.
In 2004, Haeg was convicted on a charge related to a hunting trip in McGrath, where Murphy had presided over his trial and sentencing.
Despite previous misconduct allegations made against Murphy by Haeg, the retired judge managed to overcome those accusations.
However, the current indictment poses a more significant threat, carrying a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
According to the records available, which are few, during a trial in which Haeg was the defendant, Judge Murphy asked the primary witness in Haeg’s trial — Alaska State Trooper Brett Gibbens — to chauffeur her around town during a trial breaks.
Haeg claims that Murphy and Gibbens could use that time together in the car to conspire about the case. Murphy has denied that.
Kenai Superior Court judges Jason Gist and Kelly Lawson, along with Deputy Presiding Judge Lance Joanis, have recused themselves from the case.