DA Asks Pa. Justices to Reinstate Lynn Conviction
By Max Mitchell
March 11, 2016
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has asked the state Supreme Court to determine whether the Superior Court overstepped its bounds when it overturned the conviction of monsignor William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church administrative official convicted over conduct by other priests.
The District Attorney’s Office filed an appeal with the justices Friday in Commonwealth v. Lynn, arguing that the front-line appeals court had usurped the trial court’s power when it determined late last year that too much “other-acts” evidence had been allowed at trial. That decision from the Superior Court vacated Lynn’s conviction and ordered a new trial.
However, the appeal, filed by Hugh Burns Jr., chief of the District Attorney’s appeals unit, said the evidence was necessary and properly admitted, and the Superior Court should not have re-weighed it.
“As set forth in the dissenting opinion by Judge (now Justice) [Christine] Donohue, the majority analysis authored by President Judge Emeritus [John] Bender does not identify any abuse of discretion by the trial judge. Rather, it usurps the trial court’s discretion and reweighs the evidence,” the 33-page filing said. “Further review is warranted.”