Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
smac97

Man on Convicted of Murder Accuses LDS Church of Interfering with His Trial

Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, consiglieri said:

Thanks for the recap of that story, Spencer.

I think the Church would find itself in less hot water if it could keep its hired legal eagles from messing with things that don't concern them.

Let the freaking bishops testify.  Do not meddle.

The Church should NOT be interfering with anybody's testimony in a criminal proceeding.  Lesser minds would call it witness tampering.

But this does sound similar to an interview I heard recently regarding Church attorneys coming down to coach witnesses prior to an interview with CPS in an accusation of child molestation at church.

The Church is going to end up learning the hard way that this type of legal gamesmanship will land them in hot water.

So, is that the legal advice you would give if you were a Church attorney?  No regard at all for cleric-penitent confidentiality?  Or am I misinformed, Counselor?

Edited by Robert F. Smith

Share this post


Link to post

I find it unlikely this guy knew four bishops and a missionary very well and was counseled by all of them. This was a kitchen sink defense. If you throw enough guys with ties and a title maybe he will not seem so bad, then the witnesses were not effusive enough in how nice a guy the rapist-murderer was and so clearly they were tampered with.

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

So, is that the legal advice you would give if you were a Church attorney?  No regard at all for cleric-penitent confidentiality?  Or am I misinformed, Counselor?

I seem to have to keep repeating that the cleric-penitent privilege does not belong to the cleric, but to the penitent.

In LDS terms, the member can invoke the privilege to keep the bishop from testifying regarding a confidential communication, but the bishop cannot invoke the privilege to keep the member from testifying about the same communication.

Once the member waives the privilege, the bishop is no longer bound by the privilege.

The legal advice I would give if I were a Church attorney would be for the Church attorneys to refrain from involving themselves in litigation and/or investigations and telling witnesses would they should or should not say.  This has nothing to do with any privilege.

This is for the attorneys actually involved in the case to bring up in court.  If the member wants to claim the privilege, it is up to the member's lawyer to object to any attempt by the prosecution to call a bishop to testify regarding a confidential communication.

This is not that situation.  This is the defense calling the bishop to testify.  This waives the privilege to the extent the defense is asking about otherwise confidential communications.  This also does not seem to be the case here.

There is no excuse for Church lawyers to be sticking their noses in.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, consiglieri said:

I seem to have to keep repeating that the cleric-penitent privilege does not belong to the cleric, but to the penitent.

In LDS terms, the member can invoke the privilege to keep the bishop from testifying regarding a confidential communication, but the bishop cannot invoke the privilege to keep the member from testifying about the same communication.

Once the member waives the privilege, the bishop is no longer bound by the privilege.

The legal advice I would give if I were a Church attorney would be for the Church attorneys to refrain from involving themselves in litigation and/or investigations and telling witnesses would they should or should not say.  This has nothing to do with any privilege.

This is for the attorneys actually involved in the case to bring up in court.  If the member wants to claim the privilege, it is up to the member's lawyer to object to any attempt by the prosecution to call a bishop to testify regarding a confidential communication.

This is not that situation.  This is the defense calling the bishop to testify.  This waives the privilege to the extent the defense is asking about otherwise confidential communications.  This also does not seem to be the case here.

There is no excuse for Church lawyers to be sticking their noses in.

Thanks for setting me straight, Counselor.  I am wondering also whether the LDS legal team may be concerned with future accusations of failure of due diligence by bishops, stake presidents, or other officeholders, in either civil or criminal litigation over issues of family counseling and advice, molestation, or the like.  The LDS Church has had to pay some large judgments in such cases.

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Thanks for setting me straight, Counselor.  I am wondering also whether the LDS legal team may be concerned with future accusations of failure of due diligence by bishops, stake presidents, or other officeholders, in either civil or criminal litigation over issues of family counseling and advice, molestation, or the like.  The LDS Church has had to pay some large judgments in such cases.

Sorry for sounding condescending.  My wife keeps telling me I need to work on that.  She is right.

There was a report a few months ago regarding an allegation of a young child from Primary being sexually molested by an adult in the church bathroom.

The ward Primary president was contacted by CPS for an interview.

Prior to the CPS interview, Church lawyers met with the Primary president and "prepped" her for the CPS interview.

She was told to not say that it is "Church policy" to do this or do that, but to make sure she said that this was the way they did things in their ward.

The idea was to obviously shield the Church from liability.  (This was coming to light when the Church declared publicly it had the "gold standard" of child protection.)

This is the type of witness interference I feel the Church should avoid.

If it is not the Church's policy that is the problem, it is not the Church's policy, regardless of how a ward Primary president may phrase it. 

It is the practice of witness interference that is going to bite the Church in the fanny.

It is a similar practice I see being alleged in the murder case under discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
26 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

Sorry for sounding condescending. 

.....................................................................   

Didn't sound condescending to me, Counselor.  I appreciate good legal advice.  Sounded professional to me.

Share this post


Link to post
59 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

This is the type of witness interference I feel the Church should avoid.

If it’s not tampering (18 U.S. Code § 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), how is “interference” similar (legally), and if legal, and if different strategies apply to different situations. why proscribe it?

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, CV75 said:

If it’s not tampering (18 U.S. Code § 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), how is “interference” similar (legally), and if legal, and if different strategies apply to different situations. why proscribe it?

 

Look at it this way.

I know law enforcement is investigating a crime, or that CPS is investigating a child molestation complaint.

As part of the investigation, I know that law enforcement or CPS is going to be questioning witnesses.

I also know that what the witnesses say could possibly implicate me in the crime or civil action.

Would it be a good idea for me to meet with the witnesses ahead of time and tell them what they should and should not say when they are interviewed?

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

Look at it this way.

I know law enforcement is investigating a crime, or that CPS is investigating a child molestation complaint.

As part of the investigation, I know that law enforcement or CPS is going to be questioning witnesses.

I also know that what the witnesses say could possibly implicate me in the crime or civil action.

Would it be a good idea for me to meet with the witnesses ahead of time and tell them what they should and should not say when they are interviewed?

Of course it does, if it doesn't constitute witness tampering under the applicable federal or state statues.

Share this post


Link to post

A lawyer who doesn't know the answers his client will give is a fool of a lawyer.

Share this post


Link to post
19 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

A lawyer who doesn't know the answers his client will give is a fool of a lawyer.

A lawyer who inserts himself into a criminal or civil investigation and tells witnesses what they should say is a bigger fool.

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Of course it does, if it doesn't constitute witness tampering under the applicable federal or state statues.

If I tell a witness what to say in a government investigation, am I tampering with the witness?

These are fires that ethical attorneys don't even want to get close to. 

Share this post


Link to post
17 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

A lawyer who inserts himself into a criminal or civil investigation and tells witnesses what they should say is a bigger fool.

Maybe. There is a difference between putting words into someone's mouth, and helping them use the correct words.

Share this post


Link to post
29 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

If I tell a witness what to say in a government investigation, am I tampering with the witness?

Of course it depends (are you?)! What statutes addressing witness tampering apply?

My question, which you've only addressed by inviting me to consider "tampering," was about "interfering." What statutes addressing witness interference apply (per your statement above, which prompted my question)?

29 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

These are fires that ethical attorneys don't even want to get close to. 

Unless they are really, really ethical!

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not an expert on the applicable statutes, but I don't see how it would be witness tampering for the Church to make it clear to a person in advance that if he chooses (or is compelled) to testify as a character witness, he is not authorized to do so as a representative of the Church and he should not state or imply that he is. The Church, like any entity, is certainly entitled to define who does or does not represent it in a given instance.

And it seems to me that an implied official support by the Church is the very thing defense attorneys are trying effect in this instance, probably expecting that such support would carry a lot of weight in the minds of jurors in this locale. They should not be allowed to do so,

Edited by Scott Lloyd

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, consiglieri said:

I seem to have to keep repeating that the cleric-penitent privilege does not belong to the cleric, but to the penitent.

In LDS terms, the member can invoke the privilege to keep the bishop from testifying regarding a confidential communication, but the bishop cannot invoke the privilege to keep the member from testifying about the same communication.

Once the member waives the privilege, the bishop is no longer bound by the privilege.

The legal advice I would give if I were a Church attorney would be for the Church attorneys to refrain from involving themselves in litigation and/or investigations and telling witnesses would they should or should not say.  This has nothing to do with any privilege.

This is for the attorneys actually involved in the case to bring up in court.  If the member wants to claim the privilege, it is up to the member's lawyer to object to any attempt by the prosecution to call a bishop to testify regarding a confidential communication.

This is not that situation.  This is the defense calling the bishop to testify.  This waives the privilege to the extent the defense is asking about otherwise confidential communications.  This also does not seem to be the case here.

There is no excuse for Church lawyers to be sticking their noses in.

Partially true depending on jurisdiction. Generally the penitent is the holder of the privilege and can waive it but even in those cases the clergy may decline to testify depending on state law. No idea where Utah is on this.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, thesometimesaint said:

Maybe. There is a difference between putting words into someone's mouth, and helping them use the correct words.

I wouldn't want to have to explain the "difference" to the jury when I am on the stand charged with witness tampering.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I'm not an expert on the applicable statutes, but I don't see how it would be witness tampering for the Church to make it clear to a person in advance that if he chooses (or is compelled) to testify as a character witness, he is not authorized to do so as a representative of the Church and he should not state or imply that he is. The Church, like any entity, is certainly entitled to define who does or does not represent it in a given instance.

And it seems to me that an implied official support by the Church is the very thing defense attorneys are trying effect in this instance, probably expecting that such support would carry a lot of weight in the minds of jurors in this locale. They should not be allowed to do so,

Are you saying that a bishop is not an official representative of the Church?

That strikes me as somehow odd . . .

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Didn't sound condescending to me, Counselor.  I appreciate good legal advice.  Sounded professional to me.

Thank you for the kind words.

Now here is another problem that is very troubling in the context of the CPS investigation of child molestation at Church.

Church lawyers spoke to the ward Primary president before she was interviewed by CPS.

They told her to make sure she did not say the procedures that were followed were Church procedures, but that the procedures were just what they did in the ward.

Obviously the lawyers are representing the Church and protecting the Church's interests in this questionable practice.

But what are they doing to the Primary president?

They are setting her up for civil liability so the Church can escape.

This is worse than unethical.

 

Share this post


Link to post
41 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

Are you saying that a bishop is not an official representative of the Church?

That strikes me as somehow odd . . .

Are you saying that a bishop acts 24/7 as an official representative of the Church? And that he does so even after being released or in instances when he is specifically instructed not to?

That strikes me as odd.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

Thank you for the kind words.

Now here is another problem that is very troubling in the context of the CPS investigation of child molestation at Church.

Church lawyers spoke to the ward Primary president before she was interviewed by CPS.

They told her to make sure she did not say the procedures that were followed were Church procedures, but that the procedures were just what they did in the ward.

Obviously the lawyers are representing the Church and protecting the Church's interests in this questionable practice.

But what are they doing to the Primary president?

They are setting her up for civil liability so the Church can escape.

This is worse than unethical.

 

What if the procedures were in fact not Church procedures but were indeed local and specific? Are you saying they should allow or instruct her to lie?

That strikes me as worse than unethical. As does an intent on the part of some opportunistic class-action attorney to go after the perceived church of deep pockets of latter-day saints for policies it in fact is not responsible for.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

What if the procedures were in fact not Church procedures but were indeed local and specific. Are you saying they should allow or instruct her to lie?

That strikes me as worse than unethical. As does an intent on the part of some unscrupulous plaintiff's attorney to go after the perceived church of deep pockets of latter-day saints for policies it in fact is not responsible for.

This is how the LDS Church makes cannon fodder of its members.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, consiglieri said:

Thank you for the kind words.

Now here is another problem that is very troubling in the context of the CPS investigation of child molestation at Church.

Church lawyers spoke to the ward Primary president before she was interviewed by CPS.

They told her to make sure she did not say the procedures that were followed were Church procedures, but that the procedures were just what they did in the ward.

Obviously the lawyers are representing the Church and protecting the Church's interests in this questionable practice.

But what are they doing to the Primary president?

They are setting her up for civil liability so the Church can escape.

This is worse than unethical.

What if those lawyers are merely acting ethically in prepping a witness for testimony as any defense or prosecution legal team legitimately does?  Should the ward primary teacher or president be allowed to twist slowly in the wind without counsel?  Or should the LDS Church simply pay legal fees for a counsel of their choice in order to keep themselves at arms length?

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, consiglieri said:

This is how the LDS Church makes cannon fodder of its members.

Or how our opponents make much ado about nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, consiglieri said:

I wouldn't want to have to explain the "difference" to the jury when I am on the stand charged with witness tampering.

I'm not all that convinced that the O.J.Simpson jury could explain anything.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...