Stephen Murphy III

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Stephen Joseph Murphy III (born September 23, 1962, St. Louis, Missouri) is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and a former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2005-2008. He is also a former nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

On March 9, 2005, aged 42, Murphy began serving as the United States Attorney in Detroit, Michigan, pending full Senate confirmation, which occurred on June 8, 2005. He replaced presidentially appointed United States Attorney Jeffrey Collins, and served continuously in the position as a presidential appointee until he took the bench on August 18, 2008. During his term, Murphy developed innovative programs to address national security and child protection issues. He worked to build office morale and to strengthen the US Attorney's ties with federal and law enforcement, and with the community at large. He served as chair of the local US Attorney General's Anti-Terrorism Advisory Committee and of the Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area ("HIDTA") group.[1]

Murphy prosecuted the case against Nada Prouty, one of the CIA's top anti-terrorist agents. This case was covered by 60 Minutes.[2]

On June 28, 2006, Murphy was nominated with Raymond M. Kethledge by President George W. Bush to fill two vacancies for the state of Michigan on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Murphy was to occupy a seat made vacant by the death of Susan Bieke Neilson. At the time, the Senate was controlled by the Republicans. After the Democrats regained control of the Senate in November 2006, Democratic Michigan senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow balked at confirming any more Bush nominees from their state to the Sixth Circuit.[neutrality is disputed]

On April 15, 2008, as part of a deal to unblock the logjam, Bush renominated failed Clinton nominee Helene White to the Sixth Circuit, more than eleven years after her first nomination. She replaced Murphy as the nominee to fill Neilson's empty seat, while Murphy was nominated to replace Judge Patrick Duggan on the U.S. District Court, a vacancy that had sat unfilled since 2000. In return for White's renomination, Levin and Stabenow agreed to allow Kethledge to be confirmed as a circuit court judge, and Murphy to be confirmed as a district court judge.

Kethledge, Murphy and White received a joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 7, 2008, and were voted out of committee on June 12, 2008. On June 24, 2008, all three were confirmed. Kethledge and Murphy were confirmed by voice vote. "It's a huge thrill and an enormous honor," Murphy told the Detroit Free Press in an article that was published on June 26, 2008.[3]

After a collegiate career at Marquette University, Murphy attended the Saint Louis University School of Law, where he edited the law review, served on the Moot Court Board, and won a fellowship in public law. His achievements there paved the way for selection as a litigator with US Department of Justice through the Attorney General's Honor Program, along with subsequent success as an Assistant US Attorney in Detroit and a member of the General Motors' Legal Staff working on internal investigations and "white collar" matters.[4]


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