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Federal Judge In Kansas City, Kansas, Resigns Following Reprimand For Sexual Harassment

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Julie Denesha
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The Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas, where Murguia has served as a judge since 1999.

A federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, who was publicly reprimanded last year for workplace misconduct is resigning after more than 20 years on the bench.

U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia tendered his resignation effective April 1, 2020, in a letter to President Trump that was released by the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon.  

“In recent months, it has become clear that I can no longer effectively serve the Court in this capacity,” Murguia wrote in the brief, three-paragraph letter. “I therefore tender my resignation with a heavy heart and profound apologies, out of respect for the federal judiciary, my colleagues, my community and – most importantly – my family.”

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Credit U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
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U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia

An accompanying release by Chief Judge Julie Robinson said that Murguia’s cases will immediately be reassigned to other district judges of the court. It said Murguia will not be eligible for a pension or any retirement benefits.

In September, the Judicial Council of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed Murguia a rare public reprimand for sexually harassing court employees, having an affair with a felon who was on probation and being “habitually late” for court meetings.

Murguia apologized for his conduct and pledged not to engage in inappropriate conduct in the future. He had continued serving on the bench.

Earlier this month, four members of the House Judiciary Committee said in a letter that the reprimand of Murguia had documented “very troubling” behavior and questioned whether court officials had done enough to protect court employees from sexual harassment. The letter sought more details about the Murguia case from court officials.

Murguia, who was born in 1957, was nominated to the federal bench in 1999 by President Bill Clinton to fill the seat vacated by Judge Sam A. Crow. He was confirmed by the Senate and has been a federal judge since September 1999. He was the first Hispanic federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Murguia, who grew up in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kansas, comes from a prominent family. His younger sister Mary Murguia is a federal appeals court judge in Arizona and another sister, Janet Murguia, is the president and CEO of UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of La Raza.

Murguia is divorced from Ann Brandau-Murguia, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents and a former commissioner for District 3 of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas.

Before becoming a federal judge, Murguia was a lawyer in private practice and then a Wyandotte County District Court judge from 1990 to 1999.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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