New Mexico RCFL Supports High-Profile Case Involving the State's Top Criminal Judge

State District Judge Pat Murdoch retired from office after being arrested on 7/19/11 and charged with sexual assault — digital evidence may play an important role in the case and the New Mexico RCFL is doing its part to assist investigators.


8/8/11 – New Mexico RCFL Supports High-Profile Case Involving the State's Top Criminal Judge

State District Judge Pat Murdoch retired from office after being arrested on 7/19/11 and charged with sexual assault. There are many questions yet to be answered, however, the Albuquerque Police Department — a participating agency in the New Mexico RCFL (NMRCFL) — is leading the investigation and striving to separate fact from fiction, based on the evidence before them. Assisting them in this effort is the NMRCFL — one of 16 Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories which comprise a national network of full service digital forensics laboratories and training centers.

Each RCFL is devoted entirely to the examination of digital evidence in support of criminal and national security investigations. The FBI funds and administers the RCFL Program, however, each RCFL is managed by a coalition of participating agencies who assign their personnel to work as Examiners in the laboratory. The NMRCFL's participating agencies include the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, FBI-Albuquerque Division, New Mexico State Police, and the University of New Mexico. Each RCFL follows a well-defined quality assurance program which ensures that the highest quality services are provided to law enforcement, and the examination results are repeatable and verifiable.

According to press reports, Judge Murdoch allegedly contacted the woman, an admitted prostitute, and met with her approximately eight times. She secretly videotaped one such encounter. A detective with the Albuquerque Police Department learned about the existence of the videotape through an informant, and purchased the DVD recording for $400. Shortly thereafter, the Albuquerque Police Department executed a search warrant at the judge's residence and seized several electronic devices which are being examined at the NMRCFL.

Judge Murdoch is charged with sexual assault and intimidating a witness — he has not entered a plea to the charges and his lawyers stated he is a victim in the case. The investigation is ongoing.

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