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Thomas Francis Murphy Edit Profile

federal judge

Thomas Francis Murphy was American federal judge. Bar: New York bar 1930. Decorated knight Equestrian Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Member Friendly Sons St. Patrick.


Murphy was born in Manhattan, where he attended Regis High School. His grandfather was a police officer and his father chief clerk of the city's Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity.


Bachelor of Arts, Georgetown University, 1927;Bachelor of Laws, Fordham, 1930;Doctor of Laws, St. Joseph's College, 1950.


He was an attorney in private practice until 1942. From 1942 to 1950, Murphy served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan. He became head of its criminal division in 1944 and in 1949-50 served as prosecutor in the two perjury trials of Alger Hiss, winning a conviction in the second after the first ended in a hung jury.

He was described at the time as "a lifelong Democrat". Murphy served briefly as New York City Police Commissioner from September 1950 to June 1951. After he resigned to become a federal judge, New York City Mayor Vincent Impellitteri said Murphy had laid the groundwork for ridding the department of corruption: "He had restored the self respect of police officers who had suffered through the greed of their corrupt comrades." In June 1951, President Harry S. Truman nominated Murphy to serve as a District Judge of the District Court for the Southern District of New York, succeeding Harold Medina, whom Truman named to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

He presided at a jury trial that determined that the Swedish sex film I Am Curious (Yellow) was obscene. He called it "repulsive and revolting" and ordered it confiscated, but was later overruled by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He also presided at the 1958 wiretapping trial of James R. Hoffa, the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

He moved to Connecticut in 1968. Serving in federal district court there, he presided at the trial of Vladimir Sokolov, a former Yale University instructor, who was accused of lying about his activities as a Nazi propagandist during World War II both when immigrated and when seeking U.S. citizenship. Murphy served as an active judge until 1970, when he took senior status.

He died in a nursing home in Salisbury, Connecticut, on October 26, 1995. Murphy's younger brother, Johnny Murphy, had a long career in professional baseball as a pitcher with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox and as general manager of the New York Mets.


  • Bar: New York bar 1930.


At the time of his appointment, the New York Times described him as "a reader of Proust as a change from law books" and said that members of all political parties greeted his appointment with such unaninimity as to suggest that he was "certain of continued tenure if he does the job expected of him".


Quotations: "a reader of Proust as a change from law books".


Member Friendly Sons St. Patrick. Clubs: Sharon Country.


Married Katherine F. Hotaling, June 28, 1957.

Thomas Michael Murphy

Susan Anne (White) Murphy

Katherine F. Hotaling