Tuesday, July 10, 2012


(Please note that this is the second post today. The prior one is the next installment of the Roger Lancaster book.)

A local attorney has just put up an assessment of the Lynch-Lindner case dynamics on the ‘San Jose Mercury News’ blog site. I have recently put up two essays on this Santa Clara trial. You can read them here and here.

You can read the attorney's bit  here .

I don’t quite agree with it.

In CA, he notes, the difference between felony and misdemeanor A&B is the severity of the injury inflicted on the victim. For a felony the possibility of ‘great bodily harm’ is required, whereas for a misdemeanor-battery one need only touch somebody without their consent or “in a rude or insolent manner”.  But in the Lynch case, we have a self-admitted A&B that involved striking the victim and inflicting sufficient damage as to require EMS and stitches. And when you strike an elderly person, surely the possibility of great bodily harm is intensified.

So this attorney’s effort to claim that the jury was well within reasonable limits not to adjudge the A&B felonious is not – to my mind – credible. And that’s without considering the facts admitted by Lynch (the lie concocted to gain ‘access’ to his victim, wearing gloves, asking the victim to take his glasses off before he whacked him) which indicate – to my mind – deliberate and premeditated A&B.

The attorney then raises the point that the jury can easily be forgiven for not trusting a case where the victim’s (Lindner) testimony cannot be considered. But in this case there was no doubt as to the fact of the A&B (the defendant Lynch himself admitted it) or the extent (as far as we know; old folks can develop problems later on since their physical systems are more fragile) of the injuries resulting from the defendant Lynch’s actions. And, as I said, it seems pretty evident that some amount of planning on the part of the defendant went into this entire attack.

Thus too, this attorney leaps far too optimistically (and – I think – slyly) to the conclusion that once Lindner had taken the Fifth (about the sex abuse alleged to have happen decades before) then the jury was justified in not trusting the prosecution’s case because the star-witness/victim was unreliable. But you didn’t need the star-witness’s testimony since you had a) the medical reports and police reports and b) the defendant Lynch’s own admission that he had committed the crime. With all that, what more did the jury need to know to adjudge the Charge(s)?

Thus too this attorney’s marvelously (and slyly) disingenuous statement that without Lindner’s testimony the prosecution could barely place Lynch in the room, “much less how the priest had come to suffer his injuries”. Willy Tango Foxtrot? But Lynch admitted to going there and hitting the priest; and how else would the priest have gotten his injuries?

And the attorney admits that the jury was sympathetic to Lynch from the outset because the defense had been allowed to play Lynch’s videotaped dramatic story-telling about the 1975 assault as part of the defense’s initial presentation. But as I have said in prior comments, this was completely irrelevant material to the trial at this stage; it might have been legitimately introduced in mitigation at sentencing if the jury found the defendant guilty, but it was utterly irrelevant and prejudicial at the opening of the trial – and especially if Lindner had always denied it and the allegations contained in Lynch’s story had never been investigated and their veracity somehow established. The operative legal theory apparently inherent in the presentation of the Lynch story at the outset was that if somebody is sufficiently victimized, then any violence they commit against their putative victimizer decades later is not really a crime; the tactical courtroom strategy – successful, apparently, in this case – is that the jury can be rendered sympathetic to the defendant for whatever reason.

The attorney then claims (and perhaps he has managed to get the jurors to talk to him, although they have remained resolutely silent in all other respects) that the jury didn’t think that Lindner’s injuries rose to the level of a felony. But clearly they do in terms of the statute; and if anybody had hit an elderly person on the streets of San Jose and that elder required stitches, would any jury consider that merely a misdemeanor? I doubt it very much. Which goes to show that the jury was looking not at the crime Lynch clearly committed (and quite probably with malice aforethought) in 2010, but rather at the unproven story Lynch was allowed to tell about alleged events in the year 1975.

The attorney then claims that defendant Lynch need never have taken the stand in his own defense (because of the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case above-mentioned) and that he did so – waittttt for ittttt! – merely because he heroically wanted to confront Lindner in court and tell his story – above and beyond the videotape – under the pains of perjury. But who is to say that Lynch didn’t perjure himself in telling the 1975 story? That story has never been tested.  And perhaps now never will.

“It was clear to the jury that everyone, including the prosecutor, believed that Father Lindner molested Lynch”, says the attorney. But this is slyly deceptive. Yes, the prosecutor clearly believed it – with what justification is another question altogether, and not an insignificant one – but aside from the prosecutor and the defense attorneys perhaps, what other relevant “everyone” were in the courtroom.? Except the jurors themselves. But the attorney apparently doesn’t want to impeach the jurors’ impartiality by saying that they were influenced by their belief in an unproven assertion claimed by the defendant as a justification for his crime.

And then the attorney finishes up his presentation by posing a couple of “difficult questions” of what the prosecution will now do next: retry Lynch on a misdemeanor charge or not. No matter which way the prosecutor’s office goes, the attorney bleats, somebody will be unhappy. Neat!

And yet the attorney’s presentation has clearly raised more questions – and more vital and compelling and fundamental questions – in trying to explain-away what happened in the case.

So my take on this local attorney’s presentation is this: he wanted to get everybody off the hook and make it seem that the Santa Clara legal system was precisely not a kangaroo process specifically tailored as a pretext for simply validating the principle that self-proclaimed victims can assault their alleged victimizers with impunity and malice aforethought, whenever they want, even decades later.

In the process, this attorney slyly tailors his assessment to let everybody off the hook: the defendant, the defense counsel, the prosecutors, and the jurors. All local folk, as is this local attorney.

And – but of course – leaving the actual victim of this (premeditated) crime, Lindner, as the mule, blamed for it all.

Phooey and baloney.  

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