On June 23, former Alaska District Judge Margaret Murphy pleaded “not guilty” to a class B felony perjury charge during her arraignment in the crowded Kenai Courthouse. If convicted she faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

Former Alaska District Judge Margaret Murphy

Murphy served as a judge in Alaska’s Third Judicial District, prior to her retirement in June 2019. Over the past year, she has been the subject of a wider Kenai Grand Jury investigation into allegations of systemic corruption within Alaska’s judicial system. Last year, she was subpoenaed and questioned about possible corruption from 2022.

Under state law, perjury is committed when a person knowingly “makes a false sworn statement which the person does not believe to be true.”

The arraignment was well attended by grand jury advocates from the Kenai area. A group  called Alaska Grand Jurors Association has been raising awareness of grand jury rights, as well as corruption in Alaska’s judicial system.

Murphy’s arraignment was celebrated by the group as a historic moment in the effort to root out corruption.

According to the Alaska Grand Jurors Association website, 53 people drove from “all over Alaska to view the arraignment.”

“This indictment is the result of a grand jury convened under the Alaska State Constitution,” the group stated. “It is and has been the right of the people to question the courts and other agencies for faulty processes and corruption. People drove from as far away as Talkeetna to listen to a hearing that lasted approximately 12 minutes.”

The group went on to claim that Murphy has been the subject of “many complaints” over the years.

“If you have had a case overseen by Judge Murphy, you may want to pay a little more attention to how this plays out,” the group’s website states. “Margaret Murphy is looking at a fine of $100,000 and up to 10 years in jail. This might seem like a lot but if you weigh the fact that her lies could have cost someone their livelihood, the tools for earning a living, or made someone a criminal, then in fact her lies probably cost a lot more than she will be paying if convicted.”

The group is encouraging any others who have credible allegations against Murphy to contact them at

Over the past year, the Kenai Grand Jury has investigated a number of judicial corruption allegations, which could result in additional charges against more government officials and judges.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews was assigned as the presiding judge in Murphy’s case, after all three Kenai Superior Court judges recused themselves.

The next step will be a pretrial conference, set for Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. This will be broadcast via Zoom.

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Former Alaska judge charged with felony perjury in packed Kenai courthouse

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.