Monday, September 14, 2015

Billy Doe Case Back From The Dead

By Ralph Cipriano

Like a zombie that refuses to die, the Billy Doe civil case is still scheduled for trial at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9th, in Courtroom 480 of City Hall.

Many people assumed the case was over after Archbishop Charles Chaput caved and decided to settle with the notorious junkie hustler, but court records say the show will go on.

Msgr. William J. Lynn, and the estate of the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua have already been dismissed as defendants, as has the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But Billy Doe's lawyers are still pressing forward with what they hope will become a show trial against three remaining defendants in the case -- former priest Edward Avery, former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero, and the estate of the late Father Charles Engelhardt.

Avery and Shero remain in prison for sexually assaulting the former altar boy; Engelhardt died in prison last November.

But lawyers for Engelhardt's estate are still trying to clear his name, and they have gotten some help from a judge. On Sept. 9th, Judge Linda Carpenter granted an "emergency motion to compel the independent medical examination" of the plaintiff. According to the judge's order, Billy Doe has to travel from Florida to be examined at 10 a.m. Sept. 17th in the offices of Dr. Stephen Mechanick, a forensic psychiatrist in Bryn Mawr. And if Doe fails to appear, the judge ruled, Engelhardt's estate can apply for sanctions.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Judge Lets D.A. Out of Deposition

By Ralph Cipriano

Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams was scheduled for a deposition at 1 p.m. Monday in a defamation case filed against him by Police Officer Linwood Norman.

But yesterday in Common Pleas Discovery Court, Judge Idee C. Fox canceled the deposition because she claimed that the plaintiff's lawyer, Christopher D. Mannix, should have filed an order for pre-complaint discovery.

Mannix maintained that no such order was required, but the judge overruled him. The issue of the D.A.'s deposition, however, is far from settled because Judge Fox declined to enter a protective order sought by the D.A.'s office to prevent a future deposition of Williams.

"The D.A. is unavailable on Sept. 14, and given his understandably busy schedule, he is unlikely to be available for  a deposition at any point prior to the date on which Norman's complaint is due,"  wrote Assistant District Attorney Michael Scalera in a motion for a protective order filed Sept. 10.

In the motion, Scalera asserted that a protective order was needed to prevent "a busy public official" from "the annoyance, oppression and burden of submitting to a deposition based on nothing more than Norman's unfounded suspicion that the D.A. might have said something actionable about him at some point."