Published: Jun 30, 2014 10:14 AM EDT

VIERA, Fla. (AP) - A Florida judge accused of punching an assistant public defender during an altercation outside the courtroom has issued a public apology as he prepares to return to the bench after a leave of absence.
    
Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/1qqiUPI ) reports that Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy wrote a letter of apology to the county's residents on Sunday. He wrote that his actions on June 2 may have "tarnished the reputation of the entire judiciary."
    
Following the incident with Andrew Weinstock, Murphy took a paid leave of absence and received anger management counseling. He was expected to return to the bench Monday morning.
    
A court spokeswoman says Murphy will now handle civil cases. He'll work mainly in his chambers at the Titusville Courthouse unless there's a  trial or hearing involving multiple parties.
    
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Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com

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