If the court filings are any indication, Msgr. William J. Lynn’s appeal of conviction on a child endangerment count will be as hard-fought as last year’s 11-week-long trial where a Philadelphia jury found him guilty for his supervisory role in the child sex-abuse scandal involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
On Friday, just days after Philadelphia media reported on Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina’s 235-page opinion affirming Lynn’s conviction and her handling of the landmark trial, lawyers for Lynn filed their response in Pennsylvania's Superior Court, faulting the judge for virtually every key ruling she made.
The 21-page response by Thomas A. Bergstrom and Allison Khaskelis, Lynn’s appellate lawyers, asks the Superior Court to overturn the conviction of the 62-year-old cleric and argues that Sarmina wrongly allowed city prosecutors to charge Lynn under the broader 2007 amended child endangerment statute.
Say what you will about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, the man was something of a naturalist.
After four weeks of testimony at the 72-year-old doctor’s murder trial, the witnesses’ one consistent description of the interior of Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic at 3801-05 Lancaster Ave. was lots of plants and animals.
Photos of the four buildings that were combined into the West Philadelphia clinic show plants in almost every free space and countertop. There were one or more cats that had the run of the building and, dominating the waiting room, were huge glass tanks containing Gosnell’s collection of angel fish and turtles.
Kermit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society clinic has been a fixture at the corner of 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue since 1979.
But maybe not much longer.
Authorities say the landmark building – actually four buildings, 3801 through 3805, that Gosnell renovated and turned into a maze of rooms for his family medical and abortion practice – has seriously deteriorated since Feb. 18, 2010 when a state-federal task force raided and closed the facility.
Some readers may remember the post earlier this month about Andrei Govorov, the Philadelphia prosecutor who decided to intervene in a loud, angry confrontation on the Broad Street Subway and got pummeled for his trouble.
Well, Govorov was back in court last week to testify at the preliminary hearing of his alleged assailant, Kamile Ladson, 30, of West Oak Lane. From Govorov’s viewpoint, probably the best that can be said is that Ladson was held for trial on aggravated assault and other charges and Govorov left the hearing without a concussion.
Over the objections of the prosecutor and rulings by Municipal Court Judge J. Scott O’Keefe, defense attorney William D. Hobson focused on the role he suggested Govorov played in causing his own assault.
The resume is impressive.
Only child of a middle-class Philadelphia family, 1959 graduate of Central High School, undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College. A medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia followed by four decades of practicing community medicine among the poor including the creation of a drug half-way house in Mantua and a teen aid program.
Married with six children including a professor at a storied New England university, a surgeon in San Francisco, aspiring actor in Los Angeles, a college student and teenager in high school as well as a woman brought into the house as a child and raised as their daughter.
In the beginning, there was anti-abortion and pro-abortion.
Then, in the years after 1973’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, semantics and politics took over and anti-abortion became “pro-life” and pro-abortion became “pro-choice.”
Two weeks spent watching jury selection for the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell makes me wonder if the terminology is evolving again.
As “Law & Order” has taught a generation of television viewers, “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.”
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Andrei Govorov is going to have to pick a team.
Last Thursday evening, Govorov’s decision to intervene in a loud, escalating confrontation on the Broad Street Subway ended with him being assaulted but also managing to restrain his attacker in a head-lock until SEPTA police arrived to make the arrest.
When a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury on Tuesday acquitted all 12 Occupy Philadelphia protesters arrested in a 2011 Center City bank sit-in, it was a personal vindication for the defendants.
For the seven lawyers who represented the 12 for 16 months -- free of charge -- it was a professional vindication of the concept of “pro bono” representation and the work of what became known as the Occupy Philadelphia Legal Collective.
The Occupy demonstrators were charged with conspiracy and defiant trespass in the Nov. 18, 2011 sit-in inside a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 17th and Market Streets in Center City.