We can now dare to hope that Father Gerald Robinson may get a new trial. A hearing is now set for January 22, according to coverage in the Toledo Blade.
It was a "pretrial conference" that was held this week, or so the hearing was characterized. To me, a pretrial conference implies there may be a new trial.
He deserves one. So much evidence was withheld from the defense and jury in his first trial that a new trial is, in my opinion, the only fair response to the revelations of prosecutorial misconduct that followed the spring 2006 guilty verdict in his case.
In Father Robinson's case, the prosecutors are guilty of professional misconduct in improperly withholding crucial evidence. This is not a matter of my opinion; the facts are cut and dry and the law is very clear. Much evidence was lost, destroyed, or simply not turned over.
The FBI-trained profiler's report was suppressed. In Sister Pahl's murder case, Dr. Harley Stock examined the crime scene evidence. He generated a profile of the murderer as (in my words) a Coral Watts-type of killer. His report was produced after Father Robinson was convicted. He would have made a helluva rebuttal witness for the defense - had they been told of his opinion.
It is, without question, prosecutorial misconduct for the State to hide a report from an FBI-trained profiler whose profile does not fit the State's theory of the case. Don't take my word for it. Some prosecutors in Colorado who also withheld an unhelpful FBI profile were censured by the Supreme Court of Colorado just last year.
By failing to turn over the profiler's report, the Colorado high court said, the prosecutors "directly impaired the proper operation of the criminal justice system." Read the official report here. For more analysis of a flypaper-like case, see The Hartman Report.
Other suspects and forensic tests were suppressed in the Robinson case. There were at least two other suspects, but the jury never learned of them. It is blatant misconduct for the State to hide evidence of other suspects -- and the forensic testing which the State conducted pre-trial.
That is how people are wrongfully convicted, such as Joshua Kezer, who went to prison for murder before news of other suspects came out, along with DNA evidence found under the victim's fingernails that did not match him. See commentary by Jonathan Turley on that case.
I will most definitely be there on January 22 to hear what the judge has to say about this case. I'll be there early, as I do not want to have to take a seat behind a prosecutor who is an embarrassment to the bar.