Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Philadelphia Priest Paedophile Trial : Father Brennan - Lets Hope We Do Not Have A Weak Jury.

Jurors in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case Monday sent a few more questions to the judge that took a few more passes over well-plowed ground.

Jurors then followed up those questions by re-hearing a two-hour transcript of the 2008 church canonical trial of Father James J. Brennan read into the record back on April 30th by Msgr. Kevin Quirk. The transcript told the priest's version of the night he was accused of allegedly attempting to rape 14-year-old Mark Bukowski.

By day's end, the jurors seemed stuck on the Father Brennan case. Meanwhile, the judge appeared crabby, the prosecutors seemed edgy and the defense lawyers couldn't be blamed if they were daring to dream about a hung jury.

The first question the jurors asked Judge M. Teresa Sarmina was, does a person charged with endangering the welfare of children have to be engaging in criminal behavior?

In response, the judge offered the example of a person who doesn't feed his child for a day. That person may not guilty of a crime, the judge said. But if that person doesn't feed his child for say, three weeks, that same person may be guilty of murder.

So the judge's answer to the jury's question was, "It does not have to be, but it could be."

The second jury question posed to the judge was, does a person have to know that their conduct is criminal in order to be guilty of committing a crime? It's that old argument over whether ignorance of the law is any excuse. The judge's answer: No, a person does not have to know what they're doing is criminal in order to be guilty of committing a crime.

Both questions were interpreted by courtroom observers to pertain to the Brennan case, where the priest is charged with attempted rape, and endangering the welfare of a child. The jurors were thought to have decided the Brennan case last week, and were perceived as moving on to the more complicated case of Msgr. William J. Lynn. But Monday's questions appeared to show that the jury was, at least for the moment, still bogged down on Father Brennan....read more