Loading
Lawyer in infanticide case accuses Catholic judge of bias over his religion

.- An attorney in Michigan defending a woman charged with smothering her newborn daughter to death has claimed that a judge’s Catholic religion and affiliation with Ave Maria Law School will color his judgment. The lawyer argued the judge’s work at the school was equivalent to attending a Ku Klux Klan meeting while trying a black man.

In October 2008 the body of a newborn girl was found in a plastic bag beside the bed of Emily Portellos. Now aged 29, she is accused of smothering her newborn and is on trial for first degree murder.

Her lawyer, Henry Scharg, has claimed his client has learning disabilities and did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth in her bedroom in an unassisted breech delivery. According to the Detroit Free Press, Portellos said the delivery was not painful and that she went to sleep afterwards.

She told authorities her baby was born limp and was not breathing, but tests showed the newborn’s lungs were functioning at birth.

Scharg has argued that the infant’s death was the result of Portellos’ pregnancy denial, a psychological condition. He said her actions amount to manslaughter at most.

He has also charged that trial judge Dan Ryan may be biased in the case because of his affiliation with Ave Maria Law School.

According to the Catholic League, on March 1 Scharg was angry that Ryan was taking vacation time to teach at Ave Maria on Mondays. A transcript from a Monday hearing on Judge Ryan’s fitness quotes Scharg as saying “This is the equivalent to an African-American man being on trial and the judge taking Mondays off to attend Klan meetings.”

Bill Donohue, Catholic League president, criticized the attorney, saying:

“Scharg has no business representing anyone. To compare an accredited Catholic law school to a racist terrorist organization is more than despicable—it constitutes rank anti-Catholic bigotry.”

In Donohue’s view, the remark was so egregious that it warrants “severe punitive sanctions, if not disbarment.” The Catholic League has filed a formal complaint with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Committee regarding the comments.

At a Tuesday hearing Judge Timothy Kenny ruled that Scharg’s argument that Judge Ryan was biased was “not persuasive,” the Detroit Free Press reports.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: