Thursday, June 8, 2017

District Attorney: Lead Detective Joe Walsh Was A Rogue Cop

By Ralph Cipriano

The Philadelphia District Attorney's office, attempting to explain away damaging allegations of prosecutorial misconduct made by one of their own, today advanced the novel theory in court that Detective Joe Walsh was a rogue cop.

It happened at a status hearing this morning in front of Judge Ellen Ceisler. The 90-minute hearing was called by the judge to determine whether former schoolteacher Bernard Shero should be granted a new trial. Let's cut to the chase: he should. Because four years ago, Shero was unjustly convicted and sent to jail for the imaginary rape of lying altar boy "Billy Doe," AKA Danny Gallagher, the D.A.'s former star witness who has since been revealed to be a fraud.

If there was any "justice" in the criminal justice system, they'd let Shero out of jail yesterday. But the wheels of the justice system turn slowly. And they were spinning in reverse today when Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asserted that the D.A.'s office would challenge Detective Walsh at a future June 23 hearing, when Walsh is expected to testify on behalf of Shero's bid for a new trial, because Walsh's "credibility is suspect," Blessington said.

The assistant district attorney asserted that back in 2011 and 2012, when Walsh was out interviewing nuns, priests and teachers at St. Jerome's Church, the Northeast Philly parish where Gallagher falsely claimed he was raped three times, "He [Walsh] did that on his own," Blessington said.

Courtroom spectators burst out laughing, but the judge was incredulous.

Going Rogue
"He did that on his own," the judge repeated. Mr. Blessington, the judge said, are you telling me that during the district attorney's investigation of the crimes alleged by Danny Gallagher, Detective Walsh was acting on his own?

"I don't understand that," the judge said.

But Blessington didn't back down.

Walsh was acting on his own, Blessington continued to assert, when the detective was out interviewing all those witnesses who contradicted Danny Gallagher's cockamamie stories of abuse.

The witnesses that Walsh interviewed who contradicted Danny Gallagher included members of Gallagher's own family, such as his mother, older brother, and father.

Next, Blessington brought up former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, the lead prosecutor in the case. According to Detective Walsh, he repeatedly told Sorensen that Danny Gallagher wasn't a credible witness, and she replied, "You're killing my case."

Pretty damaging stuff. But in ADA Blessington's version of the story, Walsh was insubordinate to Sorensen.

"She asked him [Walsh] to do things that he didn't do," Blessington claimed.

Blessington did not say what those things might be. He has two weeks to dream something up.

Meanwhile, here's a suggestion for Shero's defense lawyers on how to handle Blessington's tall tale.

From 2002 to 2005, Walsh, a decorated former homicide detective, was assigned to the district attorney's office as the lead investigator when the D.A. was investigating sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Walsh became the D.A.'s expert on the archdiocese's so-called secret archive files, 45,000 pages hidden in a safe that chronicled decades of sexual misdeeds committed by some 160 priests against hundreds of innocent children. Then, Walsh retired in 2005.

In October 2011, First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann called Walsh and asked if he would be interested in coming back to work as a contractor to help the D.A.'s office prosecute three priests and a schoolteacher accused in the Danny Gallagher case.

At the 2012 trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, Walsh, as the D.A.'s expert witness, was on the witness stand for 19 straight days, testifying for nearly 100 hours.

Seriously, Pat?
If Walsh, the D.A.'s expert witness, suddenly went rogue, he was a contract employee. On any given day that Walsh allegedly interviewed a witness he wasn't supposed to, or he didn't follow an order from ADA Soresnen --- a rookie courtroom warrior who had never previously prosecuted a traffic stop -- the veteran decorated detective could have been fired on the spot.

But he wasn't. So that proves Blessington's rogue cop theory is a bunch of BS.

But that wasn't the only BS flying around the courtroom today.

Both the judge and ADA Blessington asserted that before the trial of Father Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, Walsh the rogue cop was allegedly "feeding" information to Mike McGovern, the lawyer who represented Father Engelhardt.

I happen to know from a variety of sources that this isn't true. Walsh never spoke to McGovern until after the Engelhardt-Shero trial was over, and both defendants had been unjustly convicted. Walsh called McGovern to ask what the hell happened.

If Walsh was feeding McGovern, McGovern would have continued to cross-examine Danny Gallagher about many factual discrepancies in his stories -- discrepancies laid out in Walsh's recent 12-page affidavit -- until the proverbial cows came home.

If Walsh was feeding McGovern, Engelhardt and Shero would have been acquitted.

At today's hearing, there was much arguing over precisely what Judge Gwendolyn Bright had found to be prosecutorial misconduct when she presided over the retrial of the Msgr. Lynn case, where her pretrial rulings are now being appealed by both sides.

Judge Ceisler tried to straighten things out by telling both sets of lawyers that she had called Judge Bright for clarification. And that Judge Bright had said that the prosecutorial misconduct she found was Detective Walsh's continued interrogation of Danny Gallagher, which supposedly went on for three hours. That involved Walsh questioning Gallagher about nine different factual contradictions in his crazy stories, and Gallagher responding by either saying nothing, claiming he was high on drugs, or telling a new story.

According to Judge Ceisler, the prosecutorial misconduct Judge Bright found did not include ADA Sorensen telling Walsh, "You're killing my case."

On his end, ADA Blessington argued that what Walsh was doing when he was grilling Danny Gallagher for three hours amounted to "trial prep."

"If there's a violation," Blessington said about the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct made by Walsh, "he's the violator," Blessington said about Detective Walsh.

George Bochetto, representing Shero, told the judge that in the Lynn retrial, Judge Bright was dealing with "the same exact detective, the same exact accuser, the same body of facts."

If Judge Bright found prosecutorial misconduct in the Lynn case serious enough to warrant a new trial, shouldn't Judge Ceisler in the Shero case also grant a new trial?

In the criminal justice system, Bochetto argued, defendants facing the same accuser, the same detective and the same set of facts deserve "equal justice."

If Detective Walsh was a bad actor, Bochetto pointed out, he's still a member of the prosecution team. And if there is any misconduct, the prosecution is stuck with it.

"How do any of us participate in that," Bochetto said from the defense table, about the misconduct in the case.

Bochetto also asserted that the grilling that Detective Walsh gave Danny Gallagher for three hours "was not trial prep." It was an attempt to "assemble evidence" and "build the prosecution case," Bochetto said.

But the prosecution "improperly withheld a lot of that evidence," Bochetto said. "This is wrong."

"This is their investigator," Bochetto said about Walsh. And so when it comes to the "type of shenanigans" that went on in this case, that's on them, Bochetto said about the prosecution.

On her part, Judge Ceisler conceded that Danny Gallagher's stories of abuse were "wildly inconsistent," and that she thought the prosecution had a difficult case.

Ceisler then bore in on Blessington regarding several factual discrepancies in Gallagher's stories that were detailed in Walsh's 12-page affidavit filed last month in court.

Danny Gallagher had claimed that he was raped by Father Engelhardt at an early morning 6:15 a.m. Mass at St. Jerome's in December, 1998. Was it true, the judge repeatedly demanded of ADA Blessington, that Gallagher's mother kept meticulous monthly calendars, and those calendars never mentioned a 6:15 a.m. Mass served by Danny Boy?

If it was true, Judge Ceisler told Blessington, then the Commonwealth's case was over right there.

It was true.

Gallagher's mother kept meticulous monthly calendars on her fridge, and during the entire 1998 year, those calendars don't mention any early morning Mass. During the first six months of 1999, those calendars also didn't mention any 6:15 a.m. Mass that Danny Gallagher served at.

Taken together, those calendars constitute the entire 1998-1999 school year, when Danny Gallagher claimed he was a 10-year-old altar boy in the fifth grade who was raped by Father Engelhardt. Danny Gallagher claimed he was raped in December 1998, but if he got the date wrong, but was right about the rape occurring when he was a fifth grader, the prosecution was in trouble. That's because on Mom's calendars, there was no mention of any 6:15 a.m. Mass served by Danny Gallagher during the entire 1998-99 school year.

So what do you do if you're a prosecutor, and the facts are against you?

Here, Blessington did some tap-dancing, claiming that Danny Gallagher's mother wrote some kind of a note on one of those monthly calendars, saying that a 6:15 Mass where Danny's older brother James was scheduled to serve at, must have been served by little Danny.

But here we come to a dirty little secret of the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

When Sheila Gallagher took the witness stand, the defense attempted to question her about what those calendars said.

Only the prosecution pulled the old switcheroo. That's right, instead of entering Sheila Gallagher's 1998 calendars as evidence in the case, the prosecutors entered Sheila Gallagher's 1999 calendars. And the note Blessington was referring to was written in a female's handwriting on a July 1999 calendar.

It wasn't the December 1998 calendar. And it wasn't any other monthly calendar during the entire 1998-99 school year when Gallagher was a fifth grader. It was a calendar from the month after that school year ended, in July 1999.

It's a shame nobody laid this evidence out in court today, but it's there in the files of the case. And after the hearing was over, Bochetto and his associate, Jeff Ogren, went looking for it.

From the bench, the judge said she was shocked that the defense lawyers didn't ask more questions during the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

About the calendars. About whether Danny Gallagher had walked to that 6:15 Mass where he was allegedly raped in the dead of winter, as Danny Gallagher had claimed to Detective Walsh.

Or was Danny Gallagher and his older brother routinely driven to and from Mass by their parents, as Gallagher's older brother told Detective Walsh. Even though the family lived less than a mile from the church.

The other detail the judge was upset about concerned a schedule of Masses at the church. Danny Gallagher had claimed that after he was raped by the two priests, whenever he noticed on the Mass schedule that he was supposed to serve a Mass with either priest who had raped him, he would switch services with another altar boy.

Another Danny Gallagher lie, which is all he really does.

But the priests at St. Jerome's told Detective Walsh that Danny Gallagher could have never known which priest was serving at what Mass, because there was a weekly schedule kept in the rectory, that Gallagher had no access to.

"That never came out at trial," the judge said about the Mass schedule. "That was shocking to me."

What might also shock the judge was another dirty trick that the prosecution pulled at the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

During his closing statement, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti devoted more time to attacking the credibility of Louise Hagner, a social worker for the archdiocese, than any other witness.

That's because Hagner was the person who was taking notes when Danny Gallagher first told his fantastic tales of abuse by three alleged assailants.

The Original Scene Of The "Crime Spree"
In his first stories, Gallagher had claimed he was anally raped for five hours, beaten into unconsciousness, strangled with a set belt, tied up naked with altar sashes, threatened with death, and forced to suck blood of the penis of one of the priests who just raped him.

Then, Gallagher dropped every one of those details when he told a completely new narrative of alleged abuse to the police and the grand jury. This time, Gallagher claimed he'd been forced to perform a strip tease, drink sacramental wine and engage in oral sex and mutual masturbation with his three alleged assailants.

But when confronted with his earlier fantastic stories, Gallagher claimed he was high on drugs when he told those stories. And ADA Cipolletti claimed that Hagner couldn't be trusted.

"She couldn't keep track of her own lies," Cipolletti said about Hagner, as he argued that she had no credibility.

But Cipoletti knew better.

Before the Engelhardt-Shero trial, Cipolletti and another prosecutor, Evangelia Manos, had interviewed Judy Cruz-Ransom. She was a second archdiocese social worker who was in the car with Hagner the day Danny Gallagher voluntarily got in and told those wild stories of abuse.

Cipolletti and Manos had interviewed Cruz-Ransom before trial, and knew that she had independently corroborated every detail of Hagner's story. Including the details that Gallagher had appeared sober and seemed to be fake crying when he told the social workers his violent and crazy stories of abuse.

But the prosecutors never told the defense about their interview with Cruz-Ransom. It was disclosed in a civil case where Danny Gallagher sued the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for damages, and Cruz-Ransom was deposed.

That's the kind of dirty tricks the prosecution pulled in the Engelhardt-Shero case.

And, as demonstrated by ADA Blessington today, the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams will continue to keep pulling dirty tricks, such as asserting that Detective Walsh was a rogue cop.

While Bernie Shero rots away in prison.

"My guy's still sitting in jail," Bochetto complained during today's hearing. While the lawyers continued to argue the finer points of the law.

Rufus: Still At Large
Let's have another trial, Bochetto said, but this time, let's have a fair trial.

Before Shero "dies in jail," Bochetto said.

That was the fate of Shero's co-defendant, Father Charles Engelhardt, who died in prison in 2014.

The priest's dying declaration, as made to a fellow prisoner: "I am an innocent man, who was wrongly convicted."

Let's hope and pray that Bernie Shero is more fortunate than Father Engelhardt.

And that somebody in charge puts a stop to this farce.


  1. So the case has been continued until after Seth Williams expected sentencing date? Let's assume he spends the Fourth of July working on his sentencing memo, and Judge Diamond finds it in the public interest to sentence him "forthwith."

    1. Rufus is not going to make it behind bars. I don't think he has the intestinal fortitude.

      He'll most certainly be in protective custody where none of the others can get to him because of his law enforcement background.

  2. Excellent reporting. The DA's office even turns on their own people to maintain this farce.

    1. It is a farce. Jack you are one hundred percent right about that.

  3. Somebody ought to tell the Inquirer there's a helluva story going on.

    1. The Inquirer knows there is a helluva story going on but they are powerless to act, it does not fit into the prosecution's use for them.

      Revealing the prosecutions faults no matter how outrageous is not permitted at the Inquirer.Turning a blind eye has resulted in death and the destruction of many, many lives.

  4. Ralph - another job well done. You are truly doing God's work.

    I enjoyed the part where Blessington suggested the 'rogue' investigator and the courtroom erupting in laughter. What a flaccid, implausible, childish explanation - a last ditch effort on the part of a supposedly seasoned, but desperate prosecutor. It isn't even a good joke.

    I didn't know about the calendar 'sleight of hand' trick, and I hope that the lawyers will interject this into their briefs.

    Will stay tuned! Hopefully Ceisler's ruling will soon 'make our day'.

    Best Regards,

    Joe Burch

    1. Thanks, Joe. The nonsense never ends. Apparently, in the criminal justice system you can never say you're sorry. You can never admit you got into bed with a bad witness and perpetrated a fraud on the public.

      It's much easier to keep lying and come up with more distractions. If one defendant wasn't already dead and another rotting in jail it wouldn't be so painful to watch.

  5. let's see, deliberately withholding Detective Joe Walsh's interview notes from the defense attorney's prior to trial

    deliberately inserting the wrong calendar year at trial to the court/Judge Ceisler, probably the handiwork of ADA Mark Cippoletti who was the lead DA in the Shero and Engelhardt case.....he used that wrongful verdict as a springboard to a job with the feds...

    Walsh has already testified, been deposed, did a lengthy affadavit etc etc..

    now Blessington labels him just a rogue detective..

    reminds me of the movie "Philadelphia" where the foreman says to his fellow jurors, why do those men now say he was a subpar lawyer, a bum no less....when at the same time, they gave him control of their most important case to litigate...

    Joe Walsh I'm sure was an "excellent investigator", a crackerjack detective whose expertise was "sexual abuse cases" like this one...

    withholding his investigation notes and interview file of Danny Gallagher was done deliberately, was done maliciously, was done criminally by the DA and the assistant DA's so they could wrongfully convict those innocent men in those trials....

    it's time to right these wrongs Judge Ceisler and grant Bernard Shero a new trial....

    1. Sure sounds like prosecutorial misconduct even if Walsh never existed. At best, the prosecution committed prosecutorial misconduct by concealing investigatorial misconduct. It's still misconduct for crying out loud.

      My money is on Ceisler running out the clock on this one. With her foot in the Commonwealth Court door she is not going to make any decisions that garner media attention. This will bog down in continuances unless/until the Superior Court picks it up, where presumably it will go down in flames.

    2. @anonymous 2:47 - You could be right. These judges and prosecutors are just politicians who want to exploit someone else's misery to help them climb the next rung of (what they perceive as)the success ladder.

      Ceisler had a golden opportunity to fall back of Bright's prosecutorial misconduct ruling and end this charade then and there. Bam - down with her gavel!

      Instead, she punts. She asks for more briefs and supposedly gives the prosecution another month to provide theirs. WTF?

      Philadelphia Jurisprudence = death by a thousand cuts.

      Inky = deliberately blind, deaf and dumb monkeys.

      Shero, Englehardt = (expendable)victims, collateral damage.

    3. The Inquirer wasn't even there in the courtroom. They also ignored Walsh's affidavit.

      As far as they are concerned, none of this is happening.

  6. Not at all surprising on any level.

  7. Memo to Judge Ceisler:

    There was no mention in the media about Avery going south before the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

    The first article ever written about this topic is right here:

  8. I find Judge Ceisler’s recent comments to be ingenuous, to say the least. NOW she comes out to say that she thought at the onset that this was going to be a tough case for the prosecution to prove, that Shero’s and Engelhardt’s lawyers didn’t ask that many questions, and so forth.

    WHAT? Judges are supposed to be interested in ‘justice’, are they not? If Ceisler had serious doubts during the trial, why didn’t she herself intervene as did her colleague Sarmina when she questioned Dr. Fisher to ‘amplify’ his testimony at Monsignor Lynn’s trial?

    Also, in the interest of ‘justice’, why didn’t she give the defense more time to serve Doe’s brother instead of supposedly saying that her calendar was booked? She told McGovern she was "upset when you did that and it's coming back to bite you now.” Her booked calendar contributed to Father Engelhardt’s untimely death.

    Why did she allow the charges to be improperly read at the beginning of the trial saying that she would ‘correct’ this later? No big deal, right? (It apparently was, considering the quality of the jurors).

    Why was the late former judge DeFino – a ‘consultant’ paid by Rufus Williams, nattily attired with a flower in his lapel – doing in her courtroom? Was he there to prop up the judge, somehow influence the jury, or what?

    Why did not Ceisler simply refuse to accept the guilty verdict? After all, she was there, saw everything that happened, and was also surprised when the jurors announced the guilty verdict.

    Isn’t getting to the truth part and parcel of ‘judging’?

    I always thought it was.

  9. The problem is that outside of a bribe, nothing a judge can do with respect to a decision is misconduct. The ones that get booted get booted for conduct outside of their decision making.

    It does not sound like there's a bribe in this case.

    1. @anonymous 6pm

      Thanks for your reply. I don’t believe that there was any bribe. What appears likely – however – is undue deference to Rufus Williams and his band of (ends justify the means) prosecutors.

      Consider Judge Bright who found that there was indeed enough evidence of prosecutorial misconduct to warrant a Lynn mistrial (which the Supreme Court had already afforded him), but somehow just not enough to thoroughly quash a subsequent re-trial. So, Bergstrom has to appeal this to the Supreme Court under the grounds of protection from a double jeopardy situation.

      Delay of game with no penalty - - - except for the Sword of Damocles dangling over Lynn’s neck.

      Then, when Judge Ceisler is presented with the very same information and set of circumstances from a peer Common Pleas judge – what does she do aside from appearing incredulous when the court erupts in peals of laughter at Blessington’s totally absurd ‘rogue cop’ fantasy?

      Well, she also punts – requesting those infamous blue backed ‘briefs’ from both parties. IMHO, she had every right (and perhaps even obligation) to ring the curtain down then and there on this protracted miscarriage. But she didn’t.

      Another delay of game, this time with a dead priest penalty and the sword over Bernie’s neck.

      You just can’t make this stuff up, can you?

  10. Ralph, whatever happened to the civil lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese and Father Andrew McCormick?

    1. Still winding its way through the courts. Trevan Borum is defending Father Andy. And this time, it's all about the money.

    2. Any chance the archdiocese folds like the Billy Doe case and hands over a blank check?

  11. Ralph, didn't Judge Ceisler actually say in court last week that it was kind of suspicious that James Gallagher, Jr's absence during this entire trial (and he dodged that supoena that was sent to the only address on record, that being his parents home in NE Philadelphia)...he was a lawyer by that time most likely unwilling to take the stand and testify that his brother's stories were absolute lies, his brother's interest in drugs occurred after starting high school, certainly not while attending St. Jerome's school where he participated in sports, etc...
    he would have had to commit perjury so the DA's made sure he disappeared while the trial

    now here's the million dollar question, if Ceisler suspected something was done to hide Danny Gallagher's son, why did she rule against the defense attorney who wanted more time to bring James Jr into court?

    Ceisler sure seems to have opened many doors now, but the biggest one might be Blessington's claim their investigative expert detective's interview was done "rogue", apparently without supervision, nor involvement from Sorenson

    time to get the entire pack of attorney's, both sides, as well as detecitve Joe Walsh into court on that witness stand and see which one can lie the most...

    1. She did say that. But if she really believed it, and the jury even asked what happened to the brother, she should have slowed the trial to a halt until they brought the brother in.

    2. Ralph, it wasn't coincidence James Gallagher Jr wasn't in the courtroom during the Engelhardt/Shero trial nor at the sentencing hearing when Ceisler gave those 2 men, Engelhardt and Shero death sentences for crimes that were never the case of Fr. Engelhardt, it was an actual death sentence .....

      ADA Mark Cippoletti got away with murder in Ceisler's courtroom repeatedly and now it's public record they used a different calendar year as evidence to deceive that jury into thinking danny gallagher served an early mass with Fr. Engelhardt when he alleged he was assaulted and now it's on the record that they deliberately witheld Joe Walsh's entire set of pre-trial interviews with Danny Gallagher that Sorenson and Cippoletti knew (and Seth Williams knew) would put that case in jeopardy......

      sure adds up to "Prosecutorial Misconduct" in my book.....

      balls in Ceisler's court now to do the right thing in the Shero appeal for a new trial.....

    3. @anonymous 11:01

      I think it's a lot worse that just prosecutorial misconduct. IMHO, it's a very serious criminal matter that contributed to Father Engelhardt's untimely death, Bernie Shero's humiliation / incarceration, and the extortion of 5 million dollars from a (make it go away) Catholic Church.

      What charges could be applied? Well, for openers not try: Malfeasance, Defamation, Malicious Prosecution, Perjury, Depraved Indifference, Reckless Endangerment (Father Engelhardt).

      The DA's office needs to be thoroughly investigated with regards to this case. Maybe some brave ADA who really believes in an impartial judicial process where everyone plays by the 'rules' will have the courage to come forward with some incriminating evidence.

      With the feds so interested in Seth Williams these days, I find it hard to believe that they haven't investigated this particular case.

      Now, if Snowden worked for Rufus.................

  12. The trouble with the Inky running with the prosecution's lies prior to a trial not only taints the jury pool but it corrupts the judges on the cases. Judges are aware of a media blitz against a defendant , in addition to asking prospective jurors if they could be impartial judges should decide if they could be impartial as well.

    Nothing should be printed prior to a trial against a defendant, the government does not need any more of an unfair advantage. The prosecution systematically feeds damaging information to the media to help win their case and make trial an easy victory.

    Without the Inky admitting they are part of the prosecution and stopping the practice of condemning a defendant ,there is not much hope for justice.

    1. @anonymous 2:58.

      Good point on corrupted judges. But, even if said judges claim impartiality, how does one know that they are telling the unvarnished truth unless - of course - their conduct during the trial proves otherwise - - - after which it’s too late for any timely relief.

      One case in point would be judge Sarmina, whom lawyers have reportedly dubbed 'Max Mary' based upon how she dishes out punishment. Was she truly impartial with Monsignor Lynn??

      Anyone remember during the Lynn jury selection process when Sarmina opined “Anybody that doesn’t think there is widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is living on another planet.”? To any person with normal intellectual faculties, this is an unmistakable indication – a big red flag - of obvious prejudice.

      Allowing Sarmina to officiate at the Lynn trial was tantamount to letting the rabbit carry the lettuce home from the grocery store. I believe Lynn’s lawyers asked her to recuse herself, which – of course – she did not.

      Sarmina also took it upon herself from the bench to ‘amplify’ an alleged victim statement during Lynn’s trial. Unbiased?

      Sarmina allowed the introduction of the 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse to be admitted as evidence against Lynn. They dated back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born, and took up at least 25 days of the 32-day trial. Unbiased?

      Probably mollified by two stinging Superior Court reversals – Sarmina imposed draconian house arrest conditions on Monsignor Lynn when he was released from the slammer. Unbiased?

    2. Sarmina was part of the prosecution, in my estimation all judges or most are part of the prosecution. She should have been forced to step away from that trial, she was not impartial and should not have been on the bench.
      Most judges are former prosecutors which is a terrible disadvantage to a defendant. Most people relish when a judge passes discriminator comments from the bench, as the public has been drenched in lies for months and years before a trial, they think a judge is being tough on crime but all they are showing is that they too have been contaminated by the media as well.

      How do defense attorneys allow the media to condemn their clients, how can a judge condemn a defendant before all the facts are heard. How can the media not see the damage they are doing to defendants.

      I would love to see trial lawyers ban together to stop the practice of allowing the INKY and all media outlets from printing any derogatory articles about a defendant before trial,whatsoever.

      Prosecutors that feed articles to the media for the purpose of condemning a defendant do it with criminal intent.

    3. @anonymous 10:23PM

      This post brings to mind the oversight powers and responsibilities of the President Judge for the Philadelphia Common Pleas Courts.

      I believe that one of charges is assigning the cases to the respective judges. I remember reading somewhere in the internet that Sarmina lobbied actively her for the Lynn / Avery / Shero / Engelhardt / Brennnan trial as she wanted to add her ‘tough on crime’ position to her judicial resume as a spring board to better judicial jobs – but the President Judge later denied this.

      Now, if Sarmina wanted to make a name for herself, she certainly accomplished that goal, most especially with the judges in the Superior Court. Karma!

      All jesting aside, what does the President Judge actually do??

      Did she intervene when the defense lawyers requested Sarmina’s recusal in the Lynn trial? I don’t think so.

      Did she chastise Sarmina when she was almost 6 months late sending her ‘opinion’ and trial records on the Lynn conviction to the Superior court? You got me. Check it out for yourself 2171 EDA 2012.

      Did she step in the Engelhadt / Shero trial when Ceisler adamantly refused to stop the trial so that Doe’s brother (who later admitted that he had received the subpoena when he returned from his out-of-town trip) could testify? Dunno.

      The judicial system assumes that judges are above reproach and will operate honestly and without prejudice. Isn’t that why they are called ‘honorable’?

      Inasmuch as trial judges are supposedly subject to the same penalties for perjury as are parties in the cases over which they preside, maybe the judges themselves should be ‘vetted’ before their trials start as are the jurors - - - just to see if they have any prior knowledge of the case in question which could impair their impartiality.

      Could this be a job for the President Judge?

  13. Besides fake news about defendants the Inky can be accused of "leaking" info from the prosecution to damage a defendant's chances of a fair trial. Words matter, they matter to defendants, to juries and to judges.

    Inky ..Be part the solution not the problem, stop printing the prosecution's side only and admit when you got it wrong. No wonder no one has faith in anything anymore, the truth does not seem to matter.

    Do research find out how many prosecutors lie to get a conviction and how many innocents are in jail for non-existent crimes. By continually taking the prosecution side you show where your loyalties lie, not with the citizens of our region but with the prosecution.

  14. Ralph, if as you report Detective Walsh was on the witness stand for 19 straight days in the 2012 trial why didn't he bring up the matter of prosecutoral misconduct. It seems very strange that a so called decorated veteran detective would allow himself to be on the witness stand for such a long period of time and not reveal his misgivings concerning the matter in front of the court. Is perjury an issue here? Why did it take 5 years for Walsh to come forward? Have you asked him? Is there any investigation into his past cases where he may have given false testimony to gain convictions for Seth Williams? Or was Walsh a contract employee who was willing to lie as long as he was employed by Seth Williams? Just some thoughts. Which Walsh should be believed?


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