Ellen Morphonios, also known as "Maximum Morphonios," was a no nonsense judge. Known for her long sentences and her good looks, having been a beauty queen in her early years, she took a harsh approach toward those convicted of criminal acts in her court.
They even did a segment on 60 Minutes featuring this tough no nonsense jurist. In a town otherwise known for its corruption, it was refreshing to know that "Lady Ellen" stood high and above the dishonesty that plagued the criminal justice system in Miami, particularly in the early 90's.
It had been uncovered that several state court judges had been taking bribes from dishonest lawyers, who wanted these judges to be lenient toward their criminal clients. Drug dealers, hit men, etc., were released from jail on bond in return for cash payments to these dishonest judges. "Operation Court Broom" resulted in the arrest and prosecution of judges and lawyers who were involved.
When offered a bribe by the late Raymond Takiff, a lawyer who had been caught and was now wired for sound, Lady Ellen stood up for honesty and integrity. Her response, "I don't do that anymore."
How refreshing to know that justice in Miami had at least one incorruptible individual who stood up for truth and decency.
Ellen set an example for others holding public office in Miami. Many still admire her.
With Ellen Morphonios's passing from cancer in December of 2002, some believed that the last incorruptible Miami-Dade County public official had passed on.