Judge Ellen "Maximum" Morphonios, 73, a Florida judge who took her pet chimpanzee to the office and was known as "Time Machine" for her long sentences, died of stomach cancer here Dec. 22.
She got her nickname "Maximum" for the 1,000-year sentences she gave robbers and rapists.
Judge Morphonios was known for her idiosyncrasies: decorating her chambers in lavender, moonlighting as talk-radio personality "Lady Ellen" and taking Toto, her chimpanzee, to work.
She once sentenced a robber to 1,197 years in prison after he urinated on the courtroom floor. She made him leave without his pants.
When another defendant's mother passed out on the floor, Judge Morphonios continued with her business. "Next defendant," she said. "Step forward. Step over the body."
Mensa, the organization for people with high IQs, says in a profile of notable members on its Web site that Judge Morphonios was a model who passed an exam that allowed her to enter law school without an undergraduate degree.
Before becoming a judge, she was the prosecutor of Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors, after he allegedly exposed himself before 10,000 people at a 1969 Miami concert.
He was convicted the next year of indecent exposure and use of profanity but was acquitted of lewdness and public drunkenness. The guilty verdicts were appealed, but Morrison died in 1971 before the case was resolved.
Judge Morphonios presided over the trial of football player Eugene "Mercury" Morris on cocaine trafficking charges in 1982 and sentenced the former Miami Dolphin great to 20 years. He served four years before being granted a new trial, then pleaded no contest to a reduced charge. Judge Morphonios sentenced him to time already served.
She first retired in 1991 amid Operation Court Broom, a judicial corruption investigation. She was investigated but not charged. Three colleagues were convicted. In 1997, she returned as a part-time judge but retired months later after a state board questioned why she had not reported an alleged bribe attempt.
Judge Morphonios, who was born in North Carolina, came to Miami in 1947. She worked as a secretary while attending the University of Miami law school. After graduating, she became a prosecuting attorney before winning election as a county judge in 1971. She retired as a Miami-Dade County circuit judge.