While Byron Murphy was serving a 15 year sentence for robbing a Mesa, Arizona Radio Shack, he filed a pro se prisoner’s civil rights complaint against the F.B.I. and Special Agent Joe Gordwin, Jr.  Although the trial court issued its August 15, 2006 Order dismissing Mr. Murphy’s civil rights complaint, it permitted him to file a first amended complaint.

Mr. Murphy’s first amended complaint alleged that his wife had an extramarital affair with Special Agent Gordwin and that Special Agent Gordwin had taken her to meetings to scare her into continuing the affair.  Mr. Murphy further alleged that his life and those of his family members had been threatened by Special Agent Gordwin and that Special Agent Gordwin had tampered with a criminal case against Mr. Murphy.

In its September 11, 2006 Decision, the trial court finally dismissed Mr. Murphy’s first amended complaint on the ground of legal insufficiency.  Mr Murphy appealed this dismissal by filing a Notice of Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Ninth Circuit then affirmed the dismissal of Mr. Murphy’s complaint in its December 28, 2007 Judgment.  Five months later, Special Agent Gordwin however, was indicted in U.S.A. v. Gordwin, United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Index No. 2:08-cr-00535. 

As more fully set forth in said indictment, an East Valley Tribune article and a press release, Special Agent Gordwin is suspected of committing six counts of “honest services” wire fraud, five counts of making false statements and seven counts of witness tampering.  Among other things, the indictment alleges a cover-up and that Special Agent Gordwin even misused an FBI vehicle for an "improper intimate relationship".  The indictment’s most notable allegations may however, be what Mr. Murphy’s First Amended Complaint had also alleged: that Special Agent Gordwin made threats; tampered with Mr. Murphy’s criminal prosecution; and had carried on an affair with Mr. Murphy’s wife.

Copyright 2008 Fred L. Abrams