Judge Refuses to Bow out of Philadelphia Clergy Child Abuse Trial

By Tony Hanson
CBS Philly
February 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) A Philadelphia judge today rejected a defense motion that she remove herself from the pending clergy abuse case (see related story) because of bias.

And there were some sharp exchanges in the courtroom as the defense suggested continuing bias by the judge.

The defense cited a statement by Judge Teresa Sarmina during a hearing on proposed questions for prospective jurors. The judge had said, "Anyone doesn't think there was widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is living on another planet."

But Judge Sarmina noted her use of the past tense in her comment that there was widespread sexual abuse and said the defense had twisted her words in its motion.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lindy objected, saying he had not taken the judge's words out of context, but she would listen to no further argument.

And during argument on another issue, Lindy wondered if they had won a single ruling, indicating that multiple rulings have been fundamentally unfair. He was warned by the judge not to raise his voice.


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