One day after Maryland Appeals Court Chief Judge Robert Murphy unleashed his "Irish temper" at a House subcommittee, its members fired back -- shooting down a five-year, $8.3 million master plan designed to speed processing of traffic tickets.
"Somebody should have given me a sedative yesterday," said Murphy, chief judge of the state's highest court, as the House law enforcement subcommittee prepared Tuesday to reject plans to upgrade the judiciary's computer system.
Murphy had appeared before the subcommittee Monday to explain why the judicial branch needed $630,000 in this year's budget to move its computer operations from Baltimore to Annapolis, and to purchase equipment to beef up its computer system.
But Murphy apparently irritated legislators by suggesting they did not bother to read the master plan, and therefore could not possibly understand it. He also told lawmakers they have little reading to do at home, compared with the workload tackled by the state's judges.
With that, Del. Eileen M. Rehrmann (D-Harford) slammed her thick budget book onto her desk, and told Murphy she "resented" his implications, legislators said.
"He's Irish," said Del. Paul Muldowney (D-Washington), said in defense of Murphy. "What's a little Irish temper among Irishmen?"
But the chief judge's outburst only solidified doubts the subcommittee had about the master plan.
"Is it conceptually flawed, or technically deficient? Or does it cost too much?" Murphy asked about his master plan. The answer was all three.