Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)

Arraignment hearing for retired Homer judge bumped to late June

Margaret Murphy, who served as a superior court judge, is accused of perjury

A Tuesday arraignment hearing for Margaret Murphy, a retired Homer district court judge, was postponed until late June until Murphy returns from out-of-country travel. Murphy was charged on April 28 with one count of perjury by a Kenai grand jury.

In Alaska, perjury is a class B felony committed when a person “makes a false sworn statement which the person does not believe to be true.” The indictment alleges that Murphy committed the crime of perjury last November at or near Homer.

Included in the indictment is a list of witnesses examined before the grand jury, which include David Haeg, a local activist who has previously accused Murphy of judicial bias. That accusation stems from Haeg’s 2004 conviction of crimes related to a hunting trip in McGrath. Murphy presided over that trial and Haeg’s sentencing.

Of the 12 witnesses named in the Kenai grand jury’s April 28 indictment, eight are also named in a March 2021 memo from the Alaska Court of Appeals upholding Haeg’s conviction. Three are former attorneys for Haeg.

Prosecuting the case against Murphy on behalf of the State of Alaska is Anchorage attorney Clinton Campion, of the firm Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans & Filippi, LLC. Campion is a former chief assistant to the Alaska attorney general, a former district attorney for the State of Alaska and a former district attorney for the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office.

Murphy was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon at the Kenai Courthouse, however, that hearing was postponed until the end of June at the request of Campion.

Campion said Tuesday that he moved to postpone the arraignment hearing because Murphy is currently out of the country. The hearing was rescheduled until the end of June, he said, because Murphy expects to return to the United States in mid-June.

On Monday, Kenai Superior Court Judges Kelly J. Lawson, Jason Gist and Lance Joanis recused themselves from the case.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

CORRECTION: This story was corrected to stay that Kelly J. Lawson was one of the judges to recuse themselves from the case and to say that Murphy was a district court judge. The Clarion regrets the errors.

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