If one remembers back on January 31st, mention was made by Philly.com that Lynn's conviction was reversed and a new trial ordered.
This was the same trial in which Msgr. William J. Lynn, an archdiocesan official, was convicted of child endangerment for his supervisory role investigating and recommending discipline against priests found to have sexually abused children.Since that time DA Seth Williams has appealed that previous ruling and lost.
Lynn, who turns 65 on Jan. 5, was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. He is serving a three- to six-year prison term in the state prison at Waymart in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
On Dec. 22, a Superior Court panel reversed Lynn’s conviction a second time and ordered a new trial. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has asked the full Superior Court to reconsider that decision, which is pending.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams lost an appeal in state Superior Court this morning in his crusade to keep Msgr. William J. Lynn behind bars.I find this very telling if reported accurately.
Williams had asked the full, nine-member court to review a Dec. 22nd decision by a three-court panel of Superior Court judges that reversed Lynn's conviction and ordered a new trial. But in a one-sentence decision released this morning, the Superior Court announced that the D.A.'s application "requesting reargument" of the case before the full court had been "DENIED."
In their most recent reversal, the same panel of three state Superior Court judges ruled that the trial court had "abused its discretion" by allowing 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse to be admitted as evidence against Lynn.
The 21 cases dated back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born, and took up at least 25 days of the 32-day trial. In his appeal brief, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, argued that the prosecution "introduced these files to put on trial the entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hoping to convict [Lynn] by proxy for the sins of the entire church."
The Superior Court judges agreed, ruling that the "probative value" of the supplemental cases "did not outweigh its potential for unfair prejudice, and that this potential prejudice was not overcome by the trial court's cautionary instructions."
In their decision, the Superior Court judges heavily criticized Judge Sarmina.
"None of the evidence concerned the actual victim in this case, and none of it directly concerned [Lynn's] prior dealings with either [former priest Edward V.] Avery or [Father James J.] Brennan," the Superior Court judges wrote, referring to the two co-defendants who were on trial with Lynn. "In this regard, the trial court has apparently mistaken quantity for quality in construing the probative value of this evidence en masse." The Superior Court judges further declared that the "probative value of significant quantities of this evidence was trivial or minimal."D.A. Loses Appeal In Msgr. Lynn Case; Bail Motion May Be Next | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog
See also:: Court stands by decision overturning cleric's conviction