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Lynn case: The jury is out, still

Jurors often deliver verdicts on Friday afternoons, and that's what I was expecting for the trial of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia. But, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, don't expect a verdict soon:

Jurors at the landmark clergy-sex abuse trial of two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests signaled Thursday they may be far from a verdict: The panel asked to take Friday off and to arrive late next Monday and Wednesday if they are still deliberating.

The jurors cited personal and family commitments. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina granted the request, according to her staff.

No one can say that this jury, which began deliberating last Friday, is rushing to judgment in the trial of the first U.S. church official charged with a crime for his supervision of priests who sexually abused minors.The panel has asked a lot of good questions, especially about the law regarding conspiracy. I wouldn't read too much into jurors' questions, but it is certainly clear that the members of this panel are taking great care.

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015).



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That this jury is so thoughtful is possibly a tribute to them. I don't know what it says about the respsctive cases and charges.However, with this amount of time in session, I wonder if it is simply a hung jury and no decision will be given. Then what to expect? They wish for a recess adn some dates are proposed whihc sems to say they're willing to struggle on, but one has to wonder...Personally, I predict either an acquittal or a hung jury at this point. They may be wrestling with how much Lynn could do nd basically accept his claim that he wasn't in charge and tried his best. Easier to blame a dead cardinal... Must the judge accept this if there is a hung jury?Is that true? Is that just? It may simply be what is possible. But I believe that the culture there will change either way...

One can only speculate, but I would guess that if the jury was deadlocked, that would have been reflected in a note by this point.

Thank you. You may have a far better sense of that. If that's so and they're struggling around conspiracy or some other issue, they are surely trying very hard. I have appeared for jury duty four times in my life but never been even questioned, so I don't know how that goes from personal experience. I know the prosecutor invoked "Twelve Angry Men." -- always a great movie, but I must admit that "The Runaway Jury" was my favorite courtroom/legal drama. How realistic is another question, I know. This jury, I imagine, is so aware of its truly historic status. That is a burden to bear.

All it takes is one "loyal" Catholic on the jury to result in a hung situation. Nullification comes to mind.

In my extremely limited service on one jury, what felt like a long deliberation was not much over evidence and testimony but mainly a sign of disagreement among the jurors on values. Clearly different views existed about whether the immaterial human impact involved was a big deal or a little deal. Perhaps coincidentally, the split was between a majority who had lived a few decades of adult life and a minority who hadn't been through one yet. Eventually, agreement was reached, but coldly logical rationality played a limited part in the process.

Whether Lynn himself is guilty or innocent in the eyes of the law, it's pretty clear what answer should be given about the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Even though it may maintain it did nothing illegal, the question of morality is something else again. Abortion, after all, is perfectly legal. Or, as a former President once put it, "I am not a crook."

Nicholas is correct - the outcome may be legal justice -either way - but what is our sense of justice for Philly's ecclesial leadership?

There could be other cases. I wonder whether the little fish was tried first to see public reaction to the revelations about the big fish.

The bishops are unsettlingly entrenched in stonewalling on this. The longer that goes on, the more I wonder about what they are hiding in their silence.

The bishops are stonewalling on this. No doubt about that much.As to what they are hiding in their silence, they may be hiding Vatican involvement in the ways that they dealt with allegations of sex abuse made against priests.Nobody has yet proven that the Vatican was involved in coordinating the ways in which the bishops dealt with allegations of sex abuse made against priests.However, nobody has yet disproven it.The bishops do make periodic reports in person to the pope and the Vatican -- every five years, I believe. When the bishops visited the pope and the Vatican, the Vatican could have advised the bishops -- perhaps without leaving a paper trail -- about how to handle allegations of sex abuse made against priests.Up to the present time, bishops have had exalted views of bishops and of priests. The exalted view of priests contributed, at least in part, to how bishops dealt with allegations of sex abuse made against priests.

Now ten days and counting on the possibly "hung" Philly jury -Mr. Cipriano has a nice take on that today and various possibilities (and blame for all the major players).But, we hardly talk about the Sandusky trial -rolling right along to quick conclusion.Sandusky is a walking dead man IMO. His lawyer's attempt to explain his letters (conduct?) by immaturity sends shivers, but should send a message to Catholics about perps.But the real important thing to note behind that is the institutional falures in the matter.And the power of institutions to check it. Are you listening Abp. Chaput or is your heart set again on fighting SOL legislation, like so many of your comrades in regalia?As NYT pointed out today, the Markey bill looks dead again the power of institutions is still too out of balance.We can talk as much as we want about "balance" between prophecy and instition in our Church, but the situation to arrive there IMO is quite grim.I do not think the Lynn verdict, one way or no way at all, will affect it.

Looking more and more like a hung jury if Cipriano's report is accurate.Then a retrial?More dragging out all the ugliness?The Sandusky trial OTOH is moving rapidly to conclusion/What's interesting is that against this backdrop, SOL legislation is a hot topic and the Bishops are fighting hard against,(In NY, it's dead again apparently -killed in the Senate.)

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