Thursday, May 11, 2006

Father Robinson found guilty

The jury did not take much time in deliberating - however that is their verdict.

Cheering and applause broke out when this was announced outside of the courtroom.

37 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

The cheering and applause IMO was in very bad taste.

There are no winners in this.

Lisa Renee said...

Well, I think we know who cheered and I agree it's nothing to cheer about. Nor does it have anything to do with that particular group.

He's never been charged with the accused sexual abuse from the letter that started the case being reopened, nor has that investigation even been focused on.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Agreed.

And, until now, I never even thought of THAT group, for the reason you stated.

Lisa Renee said...

I have to say I think no matter the verdict, you'd think that this was so important that they would deliberate more than four hours yesterday, and two and a half hours today.

I'd like to hope if I were facing a serious charge that the jury deliberating my fate thought it was important enough to really consider.

That's the only part of this that really bothers me. I felt there was a chance that the jury could still believe he was guilty especially using an alternate weapon. I don't see how they could have believed it was the letter opener given the logistics of the wound depth. But maybe they didn't focus on that.

Hooda Thunkit said...

The Blah story states that Robinson was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life. Isn't that kind of unusual?

The Prosecution is droning in the background, as I type this; not exactly gloating, a bit smug maybe.

Hooda Thunkit said...

By alternative weapon, do you mean the misssing scissors?

Lisa Renee said...

No, it was stated earlier that if he was found guilty sentencing could happen immediately after.

I can't help thinking about the movie the 12 Angry Men, it reminds me how easy it would be for a jury to make a decision based on an initial reaction. I guess this jury didn't have a Henry Fonda.

:-)

Lisa Renee said...

Yep, I think the missing scissors might not have helped the defense. Not to be a legal arm chair quarterback because I'm sure enough of that will happen, but that was a concern I had, that they did to me prove reasonable doubt that Father Robinson used the letter opener to kill Sister but not that he didn't kill her at all.

historymike said...

Judge Osowik said that the decision to immediately impose sentence was based on two factors:

1. The sentencing guidelines have not changed in the 26+ years since the murder;

2. There was a desire by all parties to avoid any more of the media circus that has accompanied this case.

I think everyone is tired of this case (at least in Toledo) and wants to move on.

Anonymous said...

This verdict sickens me.

The proposed motive was a joke, but not a funny one.

A sad, sad day.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I'm not tired of this case and I don't want to move on. I want there to be a successful appeal.

Anonymous said...

Have been reading this all with great interest. Just got off the phone with my mom who was a juror. Even though I did not agree with the verdict, I am confident the jury deliberated on the facts and within the 6-page guidelines that the Judge gave them. Just in our quick conversation, it seems there were only a few things the jury did not hear, but most things they did, and made their decision on those facts. My mom did mention that she thought the defense did a really poor job and that if there is an appeal, that would be why.
Thanks for doing this site. It was interesting to follow along.

Lisa Renee said...

I can understand you feeling that way anonymous. It's always the hope that somehow during a trial that answers come out. That there is a real resolution. Circumstantial evidence cases are difficult ones and especially when a verdict is reached this quickly it makes people wonder. Unfortunately I don't think this ended up with a clear resolution, doubt is still there and unless Father Robinson would decide to make a statement or someone else came forward? I have a feeling this is how this is going to end, as it is now with people believing he is guilty, people believing he is innocent.

Lisa Renee said...

I realize you support your Mom, yet I have to say even if she felt the defense did a poor job? A murder happened and a man will now spend his life in prison.

I think that should take more than the time they spent. You don't select a verdict because you had an issue with the defense team. That does however create grounds for an appeal. It could be said that the Jury based their verdict on some bias against the lawyers rather than considering the evidence.

historymike said...

Personally I cannot say one way or another. As a journalist I have interviewed people who were convinced he was a guilty murderer as well as people who believe he was an innocent scapegoat.

If I were on the jury, seeing what I saw, I would have voted for "not guilty," but only because the case seemed too circumstantial.

I am glad I was not on that jury...

Lisa Renee said...

Having watched almost the whole trial with the exception of the few witnesses that did not want to be audio or video taped? I'd have to say I would have voted not guilty as well.

I can't say I necessarily agree with the standard of circumstancial evidence having the same weight as physical evidence but even with that being the standard given as part of the Jury instruction I think there was reasonable doubt.

That is however the way our Jury system is set up, and this again raises questions on the whole Jury system. Especially for trials like this one where quite a few jurors were excused due to the suspected length of the trial. Realistically we do not have a very large pool of jurors and in some situations that can have a direct effect on the outcome.

I'm not dissing this Jury despite my feeling they should have deliberated longer, but this has been a factor in other cases and especially in grand jury cases that go on for months.

Anonymous said...

Woah, woah. Juror's kid here again.... I didn't say that the jury selected a "verdict because [they] had an issue with the defense team" per se; however, because the defense didn't seem to do a very good job for Father Robinson, the jury was left to deliberate only on the facts that they had been given. My mom said she often thought "What are you doing to this poor man?" while the defense was harping away on something that she thought was irrelevant. Of course, the jurors do not talk over the case with each other until the Judge hands it to them, so my mom didn't discover until yesterday that some of the jurors felt the same way. The defense seemed to focus on items that the jury felt didn't have much merit in light of the things that the prosecution had highlighted.

I didn't detect any "bias against the lawyers" as you suggested.

Although I would NOT go so far as to say the jury felt that Father Robinson didn't get a fair trial, I think they all thought the prosecution did a much more thorough job of presenting its case.

Regardless, the facts as the jury knows them were what decided the case. The facts don't change no matter how long you take to think about them. If the facts are the facts today, they'll be the facts next week, too.

And when I say "the facts", I mean the facts that the jury knew and was legally allowed to consider. Not the facts that we all think we know from reading or watching the coverage.

Based on the facts that I THINK I know, I still think they made the wrong decision.

Lisa Renee said...

I didn't mean you proved that with what you said your mother related to you, but that it could be used as a reason for appeal.

That does demonstrate there was a belief the defense did not do a good job. Which raises the question if the Jury or in this case the Juror expressed an opinion of the Defense that if the Defense done a better job there would have been a possible different outcome.

That's where I was coming from, sorry if I didn't make that clear. I was taking it to the step of progression as far as how that could be grounds for appeal.

That's if they even appeal and if one is granted.

merle said...

The reason for the immediate sentence is that the court had only one sentence available, life with parole eligibility after 15 years.In my 14+ years as a criminal defense attorney the judge has always revoked the defendant's bond following a trial and taken them into custody.
Further, thank you for the kind words on this blog regarding my analysis. I will be providing analysis at 4 and 10 this evening on Fox36

Lisa Renee said...

Thanks Merle! Hopefully you saw the comments Tiffany wrote about you. I appreciated your coverage and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading. It annoys me however, that people assume that we will find out "what really happened" just because a case goes to court. Did we really find out what happened in the OJ Simpson case. Not really. Just as in this case we didn't really find out what happened, just what people think happened. What I find un-nerving, (as a practicing Catholic) was the fact that this holy priest, originally, lied to investigators about a confession. And he never left his apartment? Odd that several people saw a priest that morning. Unfortunatly, we may never know what "really happened".

Lisa Renee said...

That is true, I think hoping for a real conclusion is a natural human tendency. If you go back and read the original reports at the time of the murder the only person who stated they saw someone did not see a priest. That was part of the reasonable doubt aspect I know for me is why there was no mention of seeing Father Robinson during any of those early police or media reports.

While it's pure speculation, I can tell you that if I saw a Priest near the area of a murder and I told my significant other about it, I would have mentioned a name if I knew who that person was. Again for me, I found these statements to not be that credible since they were not made at the time of the murder, not even as a brief mention. Especially since it was stated Father Robinson was a suspect back then. You'd think that would have been something that would have been clearly asked.

Lisa Renee said...

I don't think the Defense went into the false confession issue deep enough. While I agree with you that a priest shouldn't lie, I also don't think any of us know what we would do after being questioned for that long of a time period. Would I grasp for something to just make this stop? Maybe, I also would have demanded an attorney so that it would have stopped. I think his attempting to cooperate ended up causing more problems for him. Same with the more recent two hour video. I don't think he was informed he was going to be video taped. Had he demanded an attorney none of that would have happened either.

Anonymous said...

COURT TV has reported that the cheering in the hallway was from family members of the prosecution team and other members of the prosecutor's department.

Lisa Renee said...

13 reported that the cheering took place outside when the verdict was announced.

Lisa Renee said...

It's also been reported elsewhere that a member of the group told Father Robinson she hoped he rotted in hell.

If the defense family members cheered as well or if 13 misreported it? That's just as inappropriate.

A person died and another person will most likely die in prison, this isn't some type of a sports contest where you score a "win". They have every right to be proud of their respective family members but not that. And yes, I would say the exact same comment had Father Robinson been found not guilty and had his supporters acted like that.

McCaskey said...

This story is really far from over, appeal situation aside.

The story now should go forward to focus on whether there was a coverup and/or collusion between police officals and the local diocese after the murder took place.

Lisa Renee said...

Maybe, I'm just not sure how much of that can be covered from a blog aspect.

That is a point I should consider though since there has been so much speculation as to that.

McCaskey said...

QUITE ALOT OF SPECULATION, including among police personnel and officals who were around at the time. Potentially, this aspect is bigger that the murder itself and subsequent trial for the community. Alot of time has passed, people have died, memories fade and its a story many people don't want delved into, so it probably will simply go away.

historymike said...

Bill Frogameni, a freelance writer covering the trial for Reuters, saw the "rot in Hell" comment differently than did Court TV:

After the verdict was read, one of Robinson's supporters left the court in tears. She turned to Claudia Vercellotti, a local leader of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, who had helped reopen the case, and told her, "I hope you rot in hell!"

Bill covered this case from beginning to end, and was in the courtroom, so I trust his version better than what was relayed to the Court TV hosts in New York.

Lisa Renee said...

Just as inappropriate and that's how these situations get so messed up. People focus and report on side issues that have nothing to do with the actual case.

Lisa Renee said...

(Which I'm guilty of at times too)

Anonymous said...

The bastard gets better than the sister did. At least he gets to live.

Anonymous said...

There is a GOD and I think HIM for giving those jurors the strength and courage to find "Father" Gerald Robinson GUILTY of the murder he committed 26 years ago. May he burn in HELL!!

Lisa Renee said...

There is a God, and he will judge and his judgement is much more important than a jury.

I almost deleted your comment because I think what you wrote was very inappropriate. I do however have your IP address and if you write anything like that here again? I will delete it. I don't care if you believe he is guilty or not. I hope whatever caused you to post something like that here is resolved for you. It's got to be hard to live with that much hatred.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Anonymous said... What I find un-nerving, (as a practicing Catholic) was the fact that this holy priest, originally, lied to investigators about a confession.

As a non Catholic my immediate thought was that he DID hear a confession and that talking about it was the mistake he made; which he tried to repair by saying he had not told the truth. I can even conceive that he might have been handed a bloody murder weapon which he cleaned to protect the person making the confession. The seal of the confession is strong indeed - he may well be serving time for hearing the confession and not for a crime.

Anonymous said...

fact or fiction/the only way i will believe the priest is guilty is he would have to look me in the eye and tell me that.i believe and have reason to believe this was a rage killing committed by an 18 year person .what ever his connection was to the nun her bed side manner so to speak was a contributor in her death.i would like to have a list of all the people the police talked to after the murder,my bet is i would have a match to that name,there,also a dna match.the lawyers,police aren,t receptive to my view,statistics tell me some one somewhere will agree with me at some point in time.if you think rockrt scientist prevailed in this case think again.the priest in this case is not guilty.bad mouth and call the priest names all you want that doesn,t make him guilty.