Feb 20, 2020 1:00 AM

Federal judge in KCK resigns following reprimand for sex harassment

Posted Feb 20, 2020 1:00 AM
The Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas, where Murguia has served as a judge since 1999. Julie Denesha
The Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas, where Murguia has served as a judge since 1999. Julie Denesha

By DAN MARGOLIES
Kansas News Service

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.”

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

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.

Continue Reading Little Apple Post
Feb 20, 2020 1:00 AM
KHP found 18 pounds of cocaine hidden during traffic stop
Jesus Gonzalez-Molina

TOPEKA, KAN. – A man was sentenced this week to 52 months in federal prison for smuggling 18 pounds of cocaine to Kansas, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

Jesus Gonzalez-Molina, 30, Pomona, CA., pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. In his plea, he admitted he was driving eastbound on I-70 through Shawnee County when he was stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Troopers searched the 2007 Toyota 4Runner he was driving and found a hidden compartment containing the drugs.