Ellen Morphonios

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Judge Ellen James Morphonios (September 30, 1929 – December 22, 2002) was a Dade County, Florida Circuit Judge, remembered for having prosecuted rock star Jim Morrison (The Doors) for allegedly exposing himself in her early days as a prosecutor. She was nicknamed "Maximum Morphonios" for the long sentences she routinely handed down to violent criminals.

A native of Hyde County, North Carolina, Morphonios was a former model and beauty queen who passed a Florida exam that allowed her to enter law school without an undergraduate degree. She was also a member of the international organization for people with intelligence quotients in the top 2%, Mensa.[1] Judge Morphonios was a member of the National Rifle Association and was an excellent marksman. She appeared on many talk shows, including Donahue, Oprah and 60 Minutes, and was a frequent guest panelist on CNN.[2]


She wrote an autobiography in 1991, Maximum Morphonios: The Life and Times of America's Toughest Judge (ISBN 0688091555).


Morphonios retired following a series of corruption allegations that targeted a number of Dade County judges. Despite efforts by the federal government, no allegations against Morphonios were ever substantiated. She returned briefly to the bench in 1997.[3]


Ellen Morphonios died on Sunday, December 22, 2002 from stomach cancer.


  1. ^ "Prominent Mensans". Mensa International. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  2. ^ Oliver, Myrna (2002-12-26). "Ellen J. Morphonios, 73; Idiosyncratic Judge". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  3. ^ Sutherland, John (2003-01-06). "John Sutherland on Judge Ellen "Maximum" Morphonios". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 

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