Monday, May 01, 2006

Today's trial updates

David Yonke's update that I have to take issue with a part of it.

In reporting the testimony of Father Grob:

He also testified that the seal of confession is held so sacred by the Roman Catholic Church that a priest who reveals anything told to him by a penitent is automatically excommunicated.

I do not feel that is not an accurate representation of the testimony or Canon Law. Father Robinson did not directly name an individual or give identifying information. What he did was a violation of Canon Law and could have made him liable for punishment but not automatic excommunication. Father Grob even made this clarification when asked by the Defense.

It was interesting to see what portions of the almost two hour video of Father Robinson was selected by the various news channels. The "smirking" accusation seemed to be the top played as well as the point where it appears Father Robinson was praying when he was left alone in the interrogation room while the video continued to be taped. I don't know how that tape will affect the jury but I found it to probably be more beneficial to the defense. Note to anyone questioned by the police, smarter move seems to be to ask for an attorney.

I'm not sure if Mr. Konop's brusque almost rude questioning of the Toledo police detectives is going to win him points with the jury. Sometimes I think he goes a bit too far but then I'm not a legal expert. Anyone who agrees/disagrees I'd be interested on your take on that.


Anonymous said...

Court TV had someone commenting on the confession. I think he was a religion professor from UT. He said that the priest's saying someone confessed to him didn't necessarily mean the person did so in the sense that people may assume (i.e. not in the confessional). I don't recall his wording, but he meant there's a difference between conversation and a confession formally given to a priest. Sorry, but I don't know the terms for these things. I've not attended the Catholic church.

I thought the same thing you did about the video highlights that are being shown. They seem to speak to the priest's innocence more than to guilt.

Yonke's coverage of this trial is really starting to grate on me -- mostly because of his comments on TV, but also his calling the Chicago priest's testimony "chilling." No, it wasn't. It was pure speculation and very well could have no application to this case.

What interested me a lot was the spirited exchange between Detective Forrester and Alan Konop. Remember that report on the Chicago trip? Forrester had mentioned the name of one priest he met with there, and he said Grob was present, but he hadn't put Grob's name in the report. He danced around answering a direct question about whether the name was in the report. All he needed to do was say, "No." Instead he played word games and I think in that instance it served his client well for Konop to get testy. What the juror won't want to see is a police officer being anything but direct. Or so I think.

What I want to know about that exchange is who that other priest was and why he wasn't the one on the stand testifying about ritual instead of Grob. Did he refuse? Did he not say what the police wanted to hear?

Also, there was a slip of the tongue from Forrester when he was asked about that meeting and the name not being in the report. He said something like "that does not mean that he was not not there." The double "not" was interesting.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering... in his testimony Fr. Grob said that a blood stain on Sr. Margaret's forehead could be evidence of the killer making a sign of the cross on her, possibly mocking Last Rites. But a Blade article on the case from April 29, 2004 says that Fr. Swiatecki performed last rites on her?

Lisa Renee said...

Excellent point on the last rites and you are correct that Blade article does clearly state it was Father Swiatecki who performed last rites.

I don't think Father Grob was aware of all of the facts in this case and as was pointed out above, who was the other Priest and why wasn't Father Grob listed as being present if he was there in the reports.

The more that comes out I'm finding I'm asking more questions than feeling there are any answers.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting thing about the last rites: there's supposedly a partial blood transfer pattern on Sister Pahl's forehead -- one that is consistent with the medallion. If that's accurate and the other priest was the one who touched her forehead (I am right about that, aren't I? priests touch the forehead during last rites???), could he have had an item with a similar design on it (a ring, perhaps?).

The letter opener was a gift, Robinson said (I wonder who gave it to him); maybe that same person gave other items to others at the hospital -- items with the same design on them.

I know the prosecution is calling the letter opener with its medallion unique, but it's unlikely to be unique if it's a sourvenir from a place visited by the public.

Father Robinson was asked about who gave him the letter opener, but it was too hard to hear his response. That whole interview tape lets us hear little of him.

It seemed like Ross made the tape in order to have it used as testimony, saying things he might not be able to say on the stand. It's as if he's talking to the priest in a monologue and letting the priest utter a few words every so often, but not encouraging him to do any significant amount of talking. Looks like stagecraft to me. Not a search for information.

Lisa Renee said...

Father Robinson stated he got the letter opener as a gift from the Boy Scouts.

The blood print on Sister could have been from many different things considering her body was moved from the time it was discovered and the police arrived to start collecting evidence. I think blood transfer evidence like a bloody shoe print or a handprint that can be clearly identified is important but I think there is a certain amount of imagination being used as far as some of the blood transfer evidence being used in this case. Especially since everyone acknoweldged early on that the crime scene was seriously altered before there was a police presence.

I agree the two hour tape didn't do much either, except make me believe that police shouldn't be able to question someone like that without an attorney present. That to me wasn't questioning as far as trying to get information, he was trying to force Robinson into some type of confession.

Anonymous said...

"Last Rites" details - Annointing of the Sick:

The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament.