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DA declines to prosecute ex-judge Albert “Pat” Murdoch

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday confirmed that it will not press charges against Albert S. “Pat” Murdoch, the former presiding criminal judge in the Second Judicial District, on allegations that he raped a prostitute in July 2011.

No one was available in the DA’s office Wednesday to explain how prosecutors arrived at that decision. However, Murdoch’s attorney, Ahmad Assed, said in a statement that he is not surprised by the ruling.

“While we are pleased that District Attorney Pacheco, after a review of factual allegations, has decided not to pursue a case against Judge Murdoch, we are not at all surprised. Judge Murdoch has maintained his innocence throughout this ordeal, and the decision not to prosecute is a small measure of vindication,” attorneys Assed and Richard Moran said in the statement. “It is unfortunate that a fine public servant, who served our community for so very long, had to be dragged through the mud based solely on groundless accusations.”

APD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Murdoch, then 59, was arrested at his office July 19 and charged with forcing a prostitute — whom he had allegedly paid on other occasions —to have oral sex, and with intimidating a witness.

The 23-year-old woman, who police said is an admitted prostitute, said Murdoch had paid her for sex on eight occasions, according to a criminal complaint.

Albuquerque police said at the time that they suspect the woman was trying to extort Murdoch after surreptitiously videotaping him.

Even then, police acknowledged the alleged extortion, in addition to for her failure to report an assault, could hurt the case against Murdoch.

However, police maintained throughout that they had a strong case against the judge, and that the alleged victim was “credible”.

Less than a week after his arrest, Murdoch retired from the bench after 26 years.

Murdoch graduated from University of New Mexico Law School in 1978. He started his legal career as a public defender the next year. Less than a decade later, he was appointed to state District Court, at the time, the youngest person ever appointed to the District Court bench.

Check out more of the Journal’s coverage on this case here.

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