Saturday, June 30, 2012


(I will be putting up my next “Sex Panic and the Punitive State” Post in a day or two.)

While looking at the Philadelphia trial I came across a trial taking place currently out in Santa Clara County (just south of San Francisco).

This trial contains some verrrry interesting elements that seem to me not only interesting in themselves, but also indicate what may be disturbing new developments in matters relevant to the SO community and SO matters generally.

I am going to borrow heavily from comments on other sites (especially The Media Report site) and the ongoing reports from the San Jose Mercury News .

The trial is an Assault-and-Battery (A&B) trial, with the added Charge of A&B on an Elderly Person.

In a curious coincidence, the trial deals with an incident that took place in May of 2010, yet it comes to trial only in June 2012, almost simultaneously with the Philadelphia clerical abuse trial. This is an odd delay for a case in bosky Santa Clara County, where there isn’t the case-load of A&B and worse cases that you might find in a major urban jurisdiction.

In May of 2010, the priest, Jerold Lindner, now 68 – then 65, was tricked into coming down to meet a 40-ish male visitor at his retirement home, a religious facility in the hills above Los Gatos, CA. The priest had been sent there after, among other accusations of abuse, his Order had paid a quarter of a million or so to two brothers in 1998, as a settlement of their claims he molested them both in 1975. At some point (whether immediately or after a conversation of several minutes is in question) the visitor who had claimed to be a relative coming to inform the priest of a death in the family attacked the old man, punching him badly enough to require medical attention and stitches.

It now turns out that the attacker, William Lynch, was one of the brothers who had netted (after attorney fees) $187,000 each in 1998 in that settlement. (Fees of 30 percent are standard – you can do the math, plus expenses.)

The trial was derailed on opening day when the prosecutor told the jury in her opening address that her star witness (Lindner, who had been assaulted) would probably lie on the stand and say he didn’t abuse the two boys in 1975. (How could she know that or claim it officially since the 1975 incident never went to a trial and Lindner – as far as I can tell from the reports – has always denied the incident?  If he had already formally admitted his guilt, why on earth would he deny it now with any expectation he could get away with it?)

At that juncture, the defense quickly filed a motion for mistrial on the grounds that if the prosecution knowingly allowed perjurious testimony by one of its witnesses (who is, formally, the ‘victim’ in this case) then their client (the attacker, Lynch) is being denied due-process under the XIV Amendment.

And at this point today, then, the whole case may disappear in a puff of smoke on the basis of  truly weird behavior by the prosecutor vis-à-vis the victim of the charged crime, and a truly novel gambit by the defense to get their client off without a scratch (as it were). And, to my mind, the mutually-supporting weirdnesses happened so quickly that it almost seemed scripted.

But it gets worse.

The attacker gave a press conference at the ritzy Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco. His photo shows a well-kempt, well-dressed, self-possessed and well-nourished early-middle age Caucasian male; his remarks indicate an impressive ability to express himself; and the press conference was called to order, as noted, in the very posh surroundings of the 15th floor of the Mark Hopkins.

Yet the story he tells is that he was wrecked as a child and a human being from the night of a camping trip where Lindner allegedly molested his younger (age 4 at the time) brother and sodomized him (age 7 at the time): behavioral problems, alcohol abuse or worse – and all of it developing so suddenly that his parents couldn’t figure it out. “He totally broke me”, reports Lynch, and “I can’t stand to be living as me”.

Very much the Standard-Presentation.

But he claims he did not go to the retirement facility that day with the intention of beating the priest. (Left unasked, apparently, is why he chose to go at all.) He claims he was enraged when, without identifying himself (the old man had been told by the receptionist he was a relative), he asked the old man if he recognized him (after 37 years?) and then, when the old man apparently didn’t recognize him, Lynch – but of course – ‘lost it’.

What is going on here? A couple of things seem relevant to me.

Lynch claims that he had to take action because the Statute of Limitations never allowed him to pursue legal redress in the criminal justice system. And, he says, he couldn’t allow this man to go on potentially molesting others (although the old man is almost 70, overweight, and lives on a high hill outside of town).

The newspaper reporter opines that Lynch is “trying [Lindner] in the court of public opinion”. Which sounds very much like the gambit at Philadelphia: the trial is used as a pretext for just getting inflammatory accusations ‘out there’ in a free (except for the Philadelphia taxpayers) tsunami of publicity.

But Lynch also says “Honestly, I could kill him with my bare hands, but I really want the church to be accountable. We are coming into an era where these guys are being prosecuted." Which a) supports the idea that he had a criminal plan when he went alone to the retirement facility. And b) raises more questions because in 2010 it wasn’t so true about the prosecutions, yet – in a weird coincidence – it is true as the case (again, weirdly) comes to trial 2 entire years later, just about Philadelphia trial time. (Although I am guessing that if there was a plan, it would have been that Philadelphia would have been a slam-dunk, total success for the prosecution, and this case would have come down the pike a week or so after Philly wrapped up in a blaze of – as it were - glory.)

Cadres of SNAP-types have showed up to support him, and no surprise there.

This may well have to do with trying some agitprop to get the California statutes-of-limitations changed and/or drumming up some public approval for a wave of trials there.

But there’s just too much weirdness about the whole thing. But also a method in the madness. Lynch claimed he was willing to go to jail in order to protect others who might be molested. And yet his defense counsel quickly introduced a motion – after being given an amazing opening by the prosecutor who turned on her own ‘victim’ – and Lynch may well get the desired publicity without the conviction for an assault that surely seems no random event.

Worse – and I saw approving comments to this effect here and there in comments about the Philly trial – is this going to set off a wave of not-quite-random attacks by alleged victims against priests who have never been proven to have abused them? It will certainly garner publicity and ‘raise consciousness’ – which seems to be the primary objective.

Questions have been on my mind: why did Lynch go to Lindner's secluded residence at all? And why, after 37 years, or 14 years if you count from the year of the cash settlement. And how did Lynch track down Lindner in the first place?

And in another amazing coincidence: in mid-May, 2012, Santa Clara University (run by Jesuits, in Santa Clara, which is in the same county that this attack took place) held a victim-friendly clerical-abuse symposium. You can read it about it here .

The conference speakers included somebody from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as well as Fr. Richard Sipe and Barbara Blaine from SNAP. It was part of a publicity project for a new book out about the Catholic Clerical Abuse matter.

It's a curious coincidence: that an assault case takes 2 years to come to trial in a venue like Santa Clara County, and that when it does it happens to be almost contemporaneous with the Philly trial and a clerical-abuse conference run just down the road from where the assault was carried out.

The Conference, taking place in May 2012, clearly was not causally involved in the assault, which was carried out in May, 2010. But the trial started up after the Conference, and included in the trial is that odd prosecutorial maneuver and the defense's immediate deployment of a novel theory as to how Lynch might get out of any prosecution for his assault.

Here’s what I think happened in this case: from Day One two years ago it was a clear, open-and-shut premeditated assault and battery, but since the ‘victim’ was so odious in the eyes of even the prosecutors, the case was allowed to simply lie fallow as it were: nobody wanted to actually prosecute Lynch for the crime that he had clearly and deliberately committed against Lindner.

But along comes 2012 and there’s the Philly case and just down the road the Santa Clara University conference, and so it offers the prosecutors and the victim-advocacies a chance to make some hay while the sun was shining: bring the case, let the prosecutor open with a questionable gambit, and then the defense counsel can deploy a theory so legally remarkable that it’s hard to believe they hadn’t given it a great deal of thought beforehand. The end result is that a) the judge might toss out the case against Lynch or – failing that – then b) the case is brought in an atmosphere of heightened local public agitation about clerical abuse and Lynch will get a lot more traction from his ‘anger’ as a mitigating (or even justifying) element.

David Brinkley, in his book “Washington Goes to War”, recounts the story of an Army mule that fell down a ravine and was lost on field maneuvers in 1940 or early 1941. When all the paperwork was done, official reports indicated that the little beast had been carrying several tons of equipment: the regimental supply sergeant had seen in the mule’s death a sudden opportunity to clear off his books every piece of unexplained missing equipment the regiment had lost since the end of World War 1. And given the excitements agitating the country in 1940 and 1941, he got away with it.

And once again, it appears that no priest-abuse trial winds up being conducted normally.

As this  link shows, the trial judge threw out the defense (i.e. the attacker, Lynch) Motion for a mistrial. That Motion was the result of a zig-zaggy gambit whereby the prosecutor told the jury outright that Lindner (victim of the assault and battery) would lie under oath on the witness stand and would claim that he had never sexually molested Lynch 37 years ago. Although, as the article points out, Lindner has never at any time confessed to those accusations.

But then the judge also threw out the 40-minutes worth of testimony the priest (i.e. the victim, Lindner) had given last week as witness for the prosecution. When, according to the article, the priest suddenly invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer more questions.

I can’t see the legal relevance at this point in the trial of the whole (standard-script for the ‘victim’ narrative) bit about the alleged molestation in 1975. This is an assault-and-battery case and the only question is whether the attacker did or did not do so. And as far as I can make out, there is no doubt that the attacker committed the attack, since Lynch himself has admitted it publicly.

Stories about 1975 would be relevant in the sentencing phase, as potential mitigating (or justifying) factors that would reduce a sentence for the crime clearly committed.

But of course, all that has to do with conventional and upfront criminal process and criminal trials.

And this is a priest-abuse trial, which is something else altogether apparently. The frame, the focus, the publicity, and the spin have to be kept on the poor victim (of the abuse, not the assault and battery). Thus the abuse-allegation story from 1975 has to be kept up front immediately and consistently. Lynch, in this playbook, cannot be allowed to be seen as the criminal attacker; he must be kept ‘in frame’ as the victim and that goal must be achieved and sustained by whatever means necessary.

Perhaps Lindner realized that for priest-abuse trials there are different rules, and that strong forces were working toward turning the trial of the most certain assault-and-battery on him into a trial of him about allegations made concerning alleged events in 1975. (To get a sense of the time-frames here: 1975 is now 37 years ago; if you transfer the timeframes, then bringing such a gambit to court in 1975 would mean trying a man about an allegation that dealt with events alleged to have happened back in 1938; thus, say, from Gerald Ford’s administration back to FDR’s second term.)

Weird but also shrewd, I would say. The first legal mistake was in allowing (and considering to be relevant) the allegations about 1975. The question for 2012 is whether Lynch did or did not commit the assault-and-battery (quite possibly premeditated) in 2010. The trial of that charge need not be sidetracked by the sideshow of the allegations about 1975.

Unless somebody wants to argue that you can commit a criminal act but shouldn’t be held responsible and declared guilty for it if you were in enough “pain” (as they like to say).

But that, I think, is exactly what the usual advocacy suspects are working towards here. In addition, of course, to their abiding strategic objective of using any criminal case they can induce any prosecutor to bring, merely as a pretext – and as a ‘mule’ – to carry their various bits and stories  into the public eye. Such as happened in the Philadelphia trial.

And I would say that it is exactly this conflict between the actual requirements of constitutionally-conducted criminal justice and the requirements of the victim-advocate PR agenda that creates the abiding non-normality or abnormality in the course of these priest-abuse trials.

My guess is that Lynch is expecting that once all the legal dust settles, he will ‘walk’ – perhaps without any conviction at all – while his allegations get wide public airing and amplification in the media. Should the relevance of the 1975 allegations be put aside, and he is in danger of being convicted on two counts of (possibly premeditated) assault-and-battery and assault and battery on an elder, he might feel more open about discussing what party or parties might have advised him or even talked him into committing this crime. And I think that might make for very interesting courtroom drama indeed.

But for the moment, the prosecution has to go forward without a victim-witness to the assault and battery (although Lynch has already publicly said he did it in his press conference at the Mark Hopkins). And Lindner now looks like somebody who ‘took the Fifth’ – which in popular short-hand equates to being guilty.

Nicely, there is a photograph accompanying the article: it is of a youngish middle-aged man in business suit coming down a set of marble-steps looking every inch the successful, buff, healthy, and on-the-rise young gentleman of affairs; perhaps a stockbroker leaving the Exchange or new lawyer at a major firm; like one of the actors on “Mad Men’, maybe. You have to read the caption to be told that this is Mr. Defendant Lynch, last seen reporting himself as having a wrecked life and hating to be himself.

All in all, the judge took a stand for the integrity of the law: “Efficiency takes a back seat to due process” in criminal cases”. Which is profoundly accurate and true. But which has always stood in the way of the ‘efficiency’ of bringing satisfaction to self-proclaimed victims and creating more numbers and scare-headlines for their advocacies.

The thought occurs – and certain advocacy-type comments mention it – that Lynch shouldn’t be held responsible because he was dealing with ‘repressed’ material.

There are several significant complexities in the psychological and emotional assertions often made in connection with recovered memories of abuse.

First, it is conceptually and clinically essential to establish a clear line of causality between a causal experience that somebody undergoes and an action later taken (or a behavior developed) by that person. It is not sufficient clinically (any more than it is historically) to assert that since A happened and then B, then A caused B (let alone that if B happened, there must have been A to cause it). If a therapist is going to design a therapeutic regimen (especially if drugs were going to be prescribed, as is often the case nowadays) then the cause of the patient’s presenting problem has to be clearly determined. Otherwise one might prescribe drugs merely to reduce the symptoms, but could not address the actual experience that caused the presenting-problem.

Second, the idea of ‘recovered memory’ itself (for example: discovering only 40 or 50 years later that one had been abused, as the comment mentions) suffers profound problems as a clinical theory.

For one thing, the entire thrust of human information processing is that we remember noxious things, so as to avoid them. Thus, babies or toddlers do not forget what happens when they put their hand on a hot stove. Indeed, researchers have not even been able to identify any physical pathways in the architecture of the brain by which a vivid (or ‘traumatic’) memory can be forgotten, nor any neural repository in which such a memory can be stored. Let alone be stored, to be somehow recovered years or decades later, pristine and fresh and reliable as a current photograph. An infant who kept touching a hot stove would definitely be a candidate for neural examination and treatment because such a behavior would be a clear indication that the memory was not developing properly.

For another thing, it is very difficult to distinguish between a memory that has been stored and a suggestion that was – even unintentionally – received at some later date.

The memory is not a camera, but an active and constructive capability: meaning, it can put things together that may or may not reflect the actuality of what happened. Not long ago, for example, I arrived at a meeting without a thumb-drive I was certain I had put in my briefcase: I had a perfectly clear picture of having put it into my briefcase only an hour before. I searched the car, the briefcase, and retraced my steps all the way from the car to the conference room but it wasn’t there. When I got home that evening, there was the thumb-drive sitting on the desk, and yet I had had a crystal clear picture in my mind that morning of me putting the drive into the briefcase. Memory and expectation and desire somehow get bunched up and influence each other.

And this is even more true of ‘traumatic’ experiences. One of the most profound problems with adapting the military PTSD experience to various other types of experience is that the original diagnosticians, thirty and more years ago, encountered soldiers who precisely had intrusive memories, not lack of memories: the problem wasn’t ‘forgetting’ combat experiences; it was precisely that they could not forget the experiences. This signature presenting-problem of PTSD is 180 degrees opposite of what is nowadays claimed by ‘recovered memory’ theorists; whatever is happening nowadays should not properly be called ‘PTSD’ because the actual PTSD diagnosis involved the opposite dynamic, not the same dynamic as is theorized in ‘recovered memory’.

Lastly, it is of no small significance that we have not seen complaints of recovered-memory in other areas of human experience. So, for example, we have never seen a presenting-problem (or a lawsuit brought) because a person of any age (over 4 or 5) was a passenger in a motor vehicle in which the driver involved them both in a crash that caused deep injury; then forgot that; and then (as has been claimed in some abuse allegations) went back and rode as a passenger with the same driver having completely ‘forgotten’ the first accident. And then (as also has been claimed) repeated this sequence multiple times. And then finally, having forgotten all the crashes, suddenly recalls them all clearly years or decades later.

That being said, repressed emotions are indeed a reality, and such repression can distort emotions and result in behaviors later on. But again, unless one is under the age of 4 or 5 (before that the memory capability is not well-formed in the still-underdeveloped human brain) there is little chance of a traumatic experience being completely repressed. One might forget what a grade-school classmate looked like years later, until something brings that image back to mind; but it doesn’t work that way with memories of genuinely traumatic experiences.

I have seen it asserted that Holocaust survivors years later claimed that they did not recall their experiences of the camps, but those survivors interviewed were either very young when they underwent that experience or very old when they were asked to recall it, both extremes of the life-span where the brain’s abilities are not well-functioning as a matter of course.

Of course, what happens to a person in that first 4 or 5 years before the memory-capability has achieved a working-level of efficacy is not included here. But in that case, if the memory is thus at such an undeveloped level, it becomes a difficult question to answer: how does the person recall anything at all about the experience, and surely, the identity of somebody who caused the experience?

And to conclude, Lynch in May 2010 clearly wasn’t working on a repressed-memory. He might have had repressed emotions, for which he might well have sought therapy (I would be surprised if nobody suggested that to him in 1998 at the latest, especially if he attended victim-support groups). But in any circumstance, he is legally responsible for his actions in 2010 as a 42-year old adult. Unless he wants to mount an insanity (or ‘temporary insanity’) defense, but that would be a huge legal stretch.  It seems to me that once a person is aware of having undergone a traumatizing experience, then s/ he is under some responsibility to have at least a therapeutic check-up to see what’s up inside him/herself. Not to do so would be to neglect oneself, it seems to me.

But things have continued to develop in a curiouser and curiouser way in this very very odd but yet revealing case.

You can take a look for yourself here .  

I had originally said that there aren’t too many options for the self-admitted attacker (Lynch) who assaulted his alleged abuser-molester, Lindner, in May 2010 for an incident alleged to have happened 35 years before in 1975 (when the attacker was 7).

Lynch was clearly guilty of the A&B – and quite probably a premeditated attack at that – and in terms of his guilt there was no relevance to whatever he claims and alleges happened 35 years ago.

But now we see that there is another option that has been revealed: ‘jury nullification’. This is a rarely-mentioned common-law power held by juries: they can, if they decide to, refuse to support the Charge(s) against a Defendant regardless of the evidence. The jury can in effect say: We don’t think this Defendant should have to bear the legal consequences attached to the Charge(s) and it doesn’t matter if there is evidence or even a confession indicating that he did it.

There is now talk that this is the gambit the defense is going to play: hoping that the jury will ‘nullify’ the Charge(s) regardless of the evidence. Neat! Lynch walks and Lindner is – as the reporter said early on – “convicted in the court of public opinion”.

For this you would need a particular type of jury. By amazing coincidence all of this case takes place in bosky and Correct Santa Clara County, just south of San Francisco. And by more amazing coincidence this case is suddenly brought to trial (after an amazing two-year delay) just a month after a the local Jesuit university ran a victim-friendly (and thus SNAP-friendly) symposium and almost simultaneously with the tail-end of the Philadelphia trial.

Additionally, for that added dramatic oomph so helpful to the ‘script’, attacker-defendant Lynch claims that once he got into a room (under false pretenses) with his (intended?) victim Lindner, and had suddenly tossed out the Question (“Do you recognize me?”), the old man first “sagged” but then – and this is the pitch-perfect Hollywood bit – the old man suddenly “leered” at Lynch. And – but of course – it was exactly the same “leer” that Linder allegedly flashed that night 37 years ago (i.e. in the Administration of Gerald Ford). The only thing missing here is that Lindner twirled his handle-bar mustache and intoned “Bwa-ha-haaa!”.

If the powerful coincidences and the dredging up of the rarely-mentioned ‘jury nullification’ power don’t get your whiskers twitching skeptically, then the script-perfect  “leer” should help you realize that something verrrrry premeditated and well-planned is going on in this case and this trial.

This trial is, from a legal point of view, as urgently important as the Philly trial: if the jury ‘nullifies’ Lynch’s self-admitted (and quite possibly premeditated) assault-and-battery, then the precedent is established and allegators everywhere can consider themselves given a get-out-of-jail-free card: they can go and commit premeditated A&B on any priest or former priest (or any other person) whom they consider guilty of abusing them (in any way).

Further, in my view, it is impossible that these two trials (Santa Clara County and Philly) – are mere coincidences. The timing, the location, and the legal moves involved all combine toward the Objective of intensifying attacks (and now literally physical attacks) on the Church and priests and former-priests. Even as the actual numbers of formal allegations indicate that the reforms of the past 10 years have had substantial good effect.

And if somebody can get away with this against a priest, then can’t anybody get away with this against just about anybody else? And for whatever ‘victimization’ the ‘traumatized’ attacker feels justifies such an assault?

So I think what is going on in this case is tremendously significant.

First, it indicates far too much ‘coincidence’, and all of that ‘coincidence’ works toward reducing the rights of any accused SO (or – who knows? – any accused).

Thus that these priest-abuse trials indicate a heightened level of serious ‘strategizing’ and scheming, increasing and intensifying the possibility that vigilante type attacks can – with a delusional but putative legal legitimacy – be mounted on unproven ‘perps’ even as the numbers of sex-offense type crimes falls off noticeably (which is definitely indicated in the Catholic clerical abuse crisis by any count of fresh and formally reported allegations).

Thus the presumption that if you feel or believe or ‘just know’ you have been abused, then you have a clear path to wreaking your own vengeance even if the ‘legal system’ is too fuddy-duddy to buy your claims and your story.  And no jury of your peers will allow you to be prosecuted for it. Your pain justifies all.

And for that matter, with a precedent like this, what substantial barrier is left to deflect the delusional psychological belief that even if you bring a case and it fails, you can go out and effect your own ‘justice’ anyway? Or that any other concerned-person, deeply empathizing with your pain, might do the job for you?

Clearly, we see revealed here the foundational regression that has been present from the get-go in all of this SO Mania Regime agitation. So-called ‘victim-friendly’ legal philosophy has from Day One contained the dynamics of an almost-Medieval or Dark-Ages justice of vengeance that now may well not even respect the power of the Sovereign police/coercive authority; but rather returns ‘vengeance’ to those who feel they want to achieve it on their own.

Second, if the jury does nullify, then it is of national significance to all individuals accused formally of SO-related crimes, or – far more broadly – any individuals ‘A’ against whom any other individual(s) ‘B’ harbor(s) a belief (or fixed delusion) that A has sexually (or in any other way) victimized B.

On the basis of such a legal precedent as may well be the outcome of this trial in Santa Clara County, we could see an outbreak of individuals B attacking deliberately any person(s) A whom they believe has victimized them, even though such an allegation (or delusion) has never been proven in a court of law. And to commit such premeditated assaults with impunity, secure in the knowledge that any jury might well nullify whatever Charges might be brought against them as a consequence of their premeditated attack.

So very much remains to be done.


While this Santa Clara County case is receiving more publicity (because it serves the several agendas and purposes of the SNAP-types and their string-pulling political puppeteers) and while the Lynch assault is ‘telegenic’ for PR purposes because there is at least a material connection between the assaulter and the alleged SO victim, there is this far more lethal report (posted on the RSOL Monthly Digest here  ) from Clallum County, Washington, wherein two RSO’s were simply ambushed and murdered by a ‘concerned citizen’ merely because their names appear on that State’s Registry. The murderer claimed he had intended to kill even more RSO’s.

In this regard, I would also point out what I would call the Metaphor Fallacy: similar to the use of the ‘Holocaust’ metaphor I mentioned in my Eichmann essay of last autumn, there is a standard tactic of applying excessive and inaccurate metaphors to the experience of victimization of any sort, but especially alleged sexual-victimization: terms such as ‘soul-killing’ and ‘soul murder’ and such are applied to the consequences of such alleged sexual-victimization, and applied to even the least levels of such victimization.

Thus, for example, in this Santa Clara case the self-confessed assaulter (Lynch) claims that his life and personality were wrecked and ruined – psychologically and emotionally – by the abuse he claims to have experienced.

Even if his allegations are correct, he stands before the world today a well-nourished and nicely-clad adult, and if he is ‘dead’ it is surely only metaphorically.

And yet – as the Washington State case clearly indicates – the equation can be impressed on a suggestible mind that ‘death’ justifies death. The unjustified (although usefully exaggerative) use of ‘death’ metaphorically can create in weaker minds the illusion of ‘logic’ and ‘rationality’: if SOs ‘kill’, then it’s OK to kill SOs. If SOs have ‘killed’, then it’s only logical that such ‘killers' must be either equally-punished or stopped from ‘killing’ again.

And, as I said in the essay above, if now such a mind also realizes that jury-nullification of any criminal Charges ‘proves’ that it’s really and truly OK to kill SOs, then there is a profound pathway opened-up whereby more such vigilante justice can be meted-out by anybody sufficiently courageous and heroic and ‘concerned’, who also has access to a gun or any other weapon or tool (or, for that matter, a rock or a can of gasoline and a match).

This lethal consequence resided in the entire Registration scheme from Day One (recall my mini-series of essays from autumn 2009 on the  1995 New Jersey Poritz decision whereby that State’s Supreme Court justified the Megan’s Law ‘registry’ concept while piously (and treacherously and witlessly) pooh-poohing the possibility of vigilante justice).

Despite what might be the honest response of law-enforcement to such vigilante justice (we will apprehend and prosecute such vigilante murderers), the Santa Clara case is clearly heading toward the public deployment of ‘jury nullification’, which would greatly undercut any such honest and necessary efforts by law-enforcement and prosecutors.


I have come across articles on the Huffington Post and ABC that indicate a heartening development in this case: the judge is refusing to take the Philly-trial route and allow the admission of a phalanx of allegations and claims by others as to Linder’s abuses. Nor will he allow a Motion for a mistrial (the defense has made the Motion several times).

This puts the defendant (i.e. the attacker in this case, Lynch) in a tight spot. By refusing to allow the parade of stories from a passel of other allegants, the judge has “gutted” the defense attorneys’ strategy, say the attorneys themselves.

Which indicates – I would say – that all along this trial (like the Philly trial) was merely a pretext, constructed precisely and deliberately to somehow keep the ball rolling in the Catholic clerical abuse crisis by finding some way of getting old ‘stories’ publicized.

That SNAP filing of a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court at The Hague (remember that?) was, I would say, much the same thing:  the accusations of Vatican ‘torture’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ merely being the theatrical ‘hooks’ upon which to hang more ‘stories’ and the scientific ‘evidence’ from ‘surveys’ of Europeans who might well look forward to the Catholic-Clerical-Abuse litigation piñata setting up shop in their countries.

The judge – and this is a ray of sunlight indeed, speaking from a legal-principle and constitutional point of view even more than from a Catholic point of view – is having none of it. He is keeping this trial focused tightly and simply on the actual Charged crime itself.

The objections are very much Standard-Script: the judge is “silencing” the “voices” of the ‘victimized’ (although as always this requires you to presume without question that their stories are true, much as Lynch no doubt expected would happen in this case).

But there is a vital distinction between getting your voice ‘heard’ in the therapeutic forum and getting your voice ‘heard’ in the legal forum (especially in the criminal-legal forum). In the therapeutic forum, you are listened to empathetically with an eye toward the ultimate purpose of helping you process your experience and gain inner mastery of it. (Which, to a competent clinician, does not require ‘totally believing’ the presenting-story but rather working toward a better comprehension of how the presenting-story related to your interior state of psychic and emotional integrity.)

Whereas in the juridical or judicial or legal forum, your being ‘heard’ will require the deployment of the court’s authority against another Citizen, perhaps leading to some officially-mandated loss of liberty, property, or even life.  Thus in the legal forum you must present credible evidence of the ‘story’ that you are ‘voicing’. There is no other way to base the action of the court and the Sovereign authority of coercion. To do otherwise will not only open the door to misapplication or mis-deployment of that awesome and awful Sovereign authority, but will also undermine the legitimacy of the court and the Sovereign authority itself.

It is precisely here, I would say, that contemporary American ‘victim’ practice fundamentally confuses not only the issues but confuses itself. As you can see in the emotional tone of many comments on various sites, many folks cannot understand why courts don’t respond to their ‘stories’ as helpfully and with as warm an embrace as do members of a support-group or whatever ‘therapists’ or ‘experts’ might assure them that their ‘stories’ are true and thus good.

The courts cannot (or should not): the legal forum is not the therapeutic forum.

Vigilante justice – where persons who don’t feel they have been ‘heard’ decide to take matters into their own hands, such as was done in the Dark Ages – is a logical consequence of this confusion of the therapeutic and the juridical-legal forums.

And that is what Lynch – as best I can see – did. (He even wore gloves to this encounter he had deceitfully gained with Lindner; and admits that he lied with a cover story to get to Lindner, because otherwise he knew he could not gain “access” to him.)

But Lynch did more than confuse issues and exercise this new SNAP-related vigilante ‘justice’. He very much seems to have deliberately conceived and executed this planned assault that merges so neatly with what appears to be the new Phase of SNAP’s increasingly desperate attempt to keep the ball rolling.

But the whole scheme requires the collusion of the legal system. And while that happened to great extent in Philadelphia, it appears that it is not happening in Santa Clara. The judge is keeping the focus tightly on the Charges against the accused and the evidence that is directly relevant to those Charges.

This is how the legal forum is supposed to work. And despite several decades’ worth of ‘reforms’ that have worked toward diluting those first-principles of law, this judge is hewing to those principles and working to conduct constitutional (and evidence-based) justice.

In what may be a sublime irony, perhaps this judge found his own integrity reinforced by observing the shenanigans of the Philadelphia trial and deciding that such a ‘show-trial’ was not going to take place on his watch.

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