April 09, 2005

Ex-Priest Shot by Alleged Victim Gets New Trial on Abuse Charges

Los Angeles Times

From Associated Press

BALTIMORE A judge granted a new trial to defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell on Friday. The conviction on charges that he molested a boy who shot him years later was thrown out less than two months after a jury found the former priest guilty.

Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger agreed with defense arguments that jurors should not have heard prosecution witnesses testify about other alleged victims of Blackwell, 58.

In a case where "credibility is a critical issue," Berger wrote, the witnesses "improperly attempted to enhance the credibility of the state's critical witness by injecting references to other victims."

In a hearing earlier Friday, defense lawyer Kenneth W. Ravenell argued that references that two Baltimore Police Department investigators made to other alleged victims made it impossible for his client to get a fair trial.

Posted by kshaw at April 9, 2005 07:52 AM