This past Monday is the first time the four priests who were arrested last month appeared in court, sources told a New York Criminal Lawyer. The priests all face charges of sexually abusing or endangering minors. While this court appearance was essentially a pre-preliminary hearing, there was considerable courtroom drama, as prosecutors and defense attorneys exchanged arguments over the validity of the charges and the payment of attorney’s fees with the presiding judge.
The proceedings left presiding Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes both exasperated and angry, as she ordered the attorneys to prepare and submit their arguments in writing and submit them to the court before they return for another hearing on the matter on March 25. One of the requests from the defense attorneys was for a preliminary hearing, which could have forced prosecutors to disclose at least some of what evidence they have against their defendants. The judge is expected to address that issue at the next hearing.
It appears that the incident that most agitated Judge Hughes is an incident with one of the defendants, a Manhattan Criminal Lawyer was told. The judge learned that one of the defendants had hired his own attorney. While that is no crime, what angered the judge is the defendant had gone to her in tears during the grand-jury investigation and stated that he had no money for a lawyer, in which case she then appointed a lawyer to his case. After the judge ordered the defendant to stand and give her an explanation, she forcefully exclaimed to him that he had lied to her. His lawyer then offered the explanation that the money was a loan from the priest’s brother. His attorney also offered the excuse that the man was nervous and had misspoken. In The Bronx and Brooklyn, sex crimes are seen as serious felonies.
The priest’s attorneys are making arguments that the Philadelphia grand jury that filed charges in this case actually did not have the jurisdiction to do so since the alleged crimes took place in two different counties. Prosecutors had already countered that argument by filing conspiracy charges the week before this hearing began.
Have you recently been drawn into the criminal justice system and do not know where to turn for help? Contact a New York Criminal Attorney today and they will stand with you and not allow you to become lost in the legal maze that lay ahead.The Office of Stephen Bilkis and Associates can offer you support and guidance as well as a free consultation when you contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW. We have offices in New York City, including Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx and in Nassau County, Suffolk County and Westchester County.