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Posted by: George P Lee ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 03:18AM

I have seen online news that Monson has been issued with a subpoena or the way is cleared for him to be subpoenaed to answer questions about what he knew about sexual abuses in an Indian placement program decades ago.

So will or can they argue he is too old and frail to answer a subpoena?What avenues can they use to get out this? If Monson is too old and frail to have the capacity to remember any details of the cases of Indian children from reservations being placed in Mormon homes,thenn it calls in to question his abilty to manage church affairs that is supposed to be in charge of as a president or prophet.

Are there any lawyers here who can offer an opinion on this?What would happen if Monson wilfully refused to comply with a subpoena? Are the cops really going to go in to the church office building an arrest him?Most of the cops in Utah are Mormons.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 04:02AM

This very thing came up in the book, "Mormon Murders," and the answer was no. The church leaders will not be subpoenaed.

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Posted by: George P Lee ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 04:09AM

They managed to exert enough pressure on a prosecutor to drop a wilful murder charge and only allow Mark Hoffamn to be charged with fraud.The church denied this and says it was the prosecutors decision alone to not pursue murder charges.

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: January 07, 2017 06:10PM

George P Lee Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They managed to exert enough pressure on a
> prosecutor to drop a wilful murder charge and only
> allow Mark Hoffamn to be charged with fraud.The
> church denied this and says it was the prosecutors
> decision alone to not pursue murder charges.

In a plea bargain Hoffman pled guilty to two counts of second-
degree murder. He was charged with first-degree murder and
accepted a plea deal to avoid risking the death penalty.

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Posted by: Whiskeytango ( )
Date: January 07, 2017 07:05PM

The church's pressure in that case was on the plea bargain. There was overwhelming evidence to support a first degree murder conviction and a subsequent death penalty. GBH would have had to testify and lots of embarrassing details would have surfaced. Acccording to "Mormon Murders" GBH exerted pressure on the Prosecutor to offer a plea. It was clearly a pre-meditated murder case.

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Posted by: Lawyer ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 04:33AM

The issuance of a subpoena is not that big of an achievement. In many instances people suing a corporation or a government will routinely ask a court to issue one for the CEO or the president or whomever, and in many cases the court will.

The subject of the subpoena, however, can then fight against it. The grounds may include the fact that the CEO knows nothing of the alleged incident, was never involved, has some form of immunity, or (more commonly in civil cases) is too busy to participate in court proceedings. Venue also matters, naturally. That is why the church always tries to get these things moved to Utah, where the courts are more biddable.

But generally the president of the church will not be pulled into court. The burden of probable cause (for the plaintiffs in this case) that Monson was party to, or had intimate knowledge of, the specific instances of child abuse or of a general pattern will be hard to meet. Even if the plaintiffs get into a favorable court with a favorable judge, the church's lawyers will be able to fight this for a few years and very possibly till Monson's death.

I doubt very much that Monson would refuse to honor an upheld subpoena. He'd go to court if necessary and, probably honestly, say he doesn't know or remember a thing. But things almost certainly won't get that far.

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Posted by: poopstone ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 05:30AM

I'm not a lawyer but with any trouble with the Indian placement program, the church has good defense. The Utah government was together in this program. If the Indians want to go after the church, the church will say they were just going along with a State programs, and government policies are to blame. And it's been so many years, everyone is retired or dead. Statute of Limitations would favor the church of course.

I'm sure McConkie and Sons has everything all planned out. So I wouldn't loose too much sleep worrying about whether Monson or any other GA would suffer under the law.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 08:49AM

I love it, any time the police and courts exercise authority over mormon church leaders and the church leaders are forced to do something they don't want to do under threat of real penalties. Church leaders love to use terms like "witness, testimony, court (as in court of love)". But they run the other way -cowards- any time they are forced in to situations that hold them accountible for their actions.

The Mormon church can probably always evade the law in Utah. But with other states or foreign governments, the gloves are off. I was so much looking forward to seeing Monson appear before that UK Magistrate before he illegally slipped out of that fraud lawsuit. An arrest warrant against him for failing to appear would probably have been just as good since the church might have been kicked out of the UK.

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Posted by: Lawyer ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 08:33PM

Avoiding the UK Subpoena was not illegal. It was normal procedure. That fact does not change no matter how much one wanted to see Monson testify.

You see the same thing across the United States. There have been dozens of molestation cases against the church, church presidents have been subpoenaed many times; and they have not been compelled to appear in court.

The Hoffman case may have been unique in that Hinckley was demonstrably involved. In that instance the Utah forum may well have been essential to avoiding testimony. But in the vast majority of cases the plaintiffs can't make a reasonable argument that the president has relevant information. I think, in other words, you'll have a hard time finding any subpoena against a church president since polygamy that was sustained through the appeals process.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: January 07, 2017 05:05AM

I think you're right about the supoena. Somehow though, and I can't remember the details, the church did something illegal or some kind of dirty trick to get out of the lawsuit. Tom Philips mentioned something about how they won't be able to get away with that next time.

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Posted by: Lawyer ( )
Date: January 07, 2017 06:25AM

Yes, Tom and I have been at odds over that for a long time. I have great respect for the man and think the legal action was worth the effort in terms of publicity and as a precedent for challenges in other national jurisdictions where religion is not given as much deference as in the Anglo-American tradition.

Tom's account, as I remember it, is that the church got the subpoena quashed on illegitimate grounds, effectively that the new fraud act granted no exception for religions. The appellate authorities inferred a deference to religions that does not exist in the law. According to Tom, his attorney and some more senior experts agreed that the decision was wrong. And someone reported the incident to the prime minister's office.

If that recollection of Tom's experience is accurate, I feel he is incorrect on three points. First, a law is assumed to encorporate extisting constitutional limits whether it says anything about those limits or not. If a statute, for instance, announces a new penal schedule for various crimes, that statute will be read within the context of the restrictions on torture and other forms of discipline enshrined in constitutional tradition. Thus, any parts of the statute that violate the constitution are null and void from the start. If someone acts on the basis of that unconstitutional provision, the results will be set aside. The statute does not trump the constitution.

Second, if his attorney and other experts assured him that the case was decided inappropriately, that does not make them right. By definition they have a stake in seeing Tom succeed. Lawyers often commiserate, oftentimes sincerely, when their client suffers a setback.

Third, I'm not sure what reporting a bad decision to the prime minister's office means. I would presume that all decisions are forwarded to the cabinet routinely, analyzed by staff, and, if necessary, summarized and distributed. But I doubt the PM would get involved in any substantive way since he (she) holds a much broader portfolio and presumably has little time and energy to devote to obscure cases against obscure sects. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not sure I've ever heard a British PM criticize a court decision at all.

So in my reading, Tom or his lawyers perceived an absence of church exception in the new anti-fraud statute and inferred that they could therefore subpoena Monson. The appellate authorities simply insisted that the existing constitutional norms be enforced by quashing the subpoena. I doubt that the PM ever read or heard anything about the case.

I conclude again with two caveats. First, I may not recall the details of Tom's experience precisely and would be happy to be set straight. Second, I again think the case was worth the effort and will eventually encourage similar cases in countries with anti-clerical traditions in which religions are not granted special immunity. When one of those succeeds, much of the credit must go to Tom.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: January 08, 2017 07:24PM

So it looks like no matter how noble Tom's intent was, the legal system in the UK isn't capable of sustaining of a subpoena of Monson through to either an appearance or an arrest warrant for not appearing? Does this mean that the church can act with impunity in the UK because the law is too weak and the church leadrs know it?

I would like to believe that Tom's lawsuit at least gave the church a black-eye and that will keep them in order going forward for quite sometime yet. Of course, it doesn't matter what I want to believe if the belief is false. We've all been there.

So what is the truth of the matter? Was the church ever in much danger of taking the hit that a criminal conviction would have brought them with monson held in custody to pay for those crimes himself?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2017 07:38PM by azsteve.

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Posted by: Lawyer ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 03:14AM

It's probably helpful to put the subpoena process in its proper context.

It is easy to get a court to issue a subpoena. You don't need any evidence relevant to the case itself and really only need to show a court that the person in question might have relevant information. In a high proportion of cases against governments or corporations, top people are subpoenaed to testify. That is pretty much routine.

It is also routine for those organizations to defeat those subpoenas in court. The grounds on which a subpoena can be quashed are numerous, including that the subpoena is "unreasonable," "oppressive," "excessive in scope" or "unduly burdensome." In short, the church can rebut the subpoena simply by demonstrating that it would be "unduly burdensome" on Monson to travel to the UK. That is precisely what CEOs and cabinet ministers do. Faced with such an argument, it would be difficult for the plaintiff to persuade the court to compel the CEO of official to testify. It happens in some cases but rarely.

The other issue is freedom of religion. The US freedom is an extension of the UK's common and statutory law, but the two countries' provisions are quite similar. So the standard for enforcing a subpoena against a religious organization in the UK is considerably higher than for almost any other organization. Does this mean that UK law is "weak?" Not necessarily. It might mean that it is "strong" in the sense of preventing people from using the subpoena process to harass their enemies too easily. It may also mean that the UK takes personal freedoms like freedom of religion seriously.

I'd rather state it non-normatively: the UK and the US protect religion constitutionally and hence make it difficult to apply normal legal processes to religious organizations. That definitely makes those less attractive jurisdictions in which to sue the LDS church. But I'd have to add that even if we were just talking about a corporation, the chances of a court upholding a subpoena against a CEO in the US or the UK would be very low. It is not hard to get a subpoena and it is not hard to have one thrown out.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 10:22AM

I don't think Monson currently has enough awareness to answer the phone...

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Posted by: Anonomo ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 10:56AM

I doubt he would willfully refuse to comply with a subpoena, but his attorneys could move to have it quashed. I'm sure they could come up with some reasons that would stick.

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 12:20PM

Maybe he could call himself on a mission to Canada.

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Posted by: sb ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 12:24PM

Mormons leaders are slow learners. However there is one thing they learned from early leaders that they have not forgotten:

Don't say anything of substance, ever.

Don't prophesy, don't respond, don't make statements. Dont apprar in court. Everything you ever say better be vague, repetitious, run it by legal and PR and it is only for internal consumption.

As the old saying goes:

it is better for people think you are a prophet than to open your mouth and prove them otherwise.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2017 12:25PM by sb.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: January 08, 2017 07:34PM

The church is slow to learn lessons about morality or doing the right thing. But they are very quick to learn lessons that cost them money. Their next priority is to avoid any emberasment on the church.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 08:56PM

since it's got real power.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 09:13PM

My guess: The church will pay them off.


Ring Ring (Monson calling the Pope)

Pope: Hello

Monson: Hey. Mormon Monson here. How do you get out of child abuse cases?

Pope: Just say, "We regret this deeply and we beg forgiveness. We join in the pain of the victims and weep for this sin. The sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power."

Monson (taking notes): OK. Anything else?

Pope: Make sure your church is not incorporated as a single entity so you can simply show there is no "Mormon Church" because there is no such legal entity. Instead, the abuse happened in one of the thousands of unincorporated parts of the church. Presto. You abrogate financial responsibility for the abuse perpetrated by clergy on parishioners and wards, including children in the church's care who were subjected to sexual abuse.

Monson: What? But the Mormons are a huge corporation! We can't do that.

Pope: Bwhahahah. Amateurs! Good luck. Try going around kissing people's feet and being humble. It makes them forget the corporation and church role in cover-ups.

Monson: Hey, can I ship a few guilty Bishops off to the Vatican to avoid charges?

Pope: Sure. They'll fit right in.

Monson: Thanks for the advice.

Pope: No problem, kid. BTW, get better art.

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Posted by: canadianfriend ( )
Date: January 06, 2017 09:52PM

Monson is going nowhere. You thought OJ had good lawyers? Cowardice is the hallmark of Mormonism.

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Posted by: michaelm (not logged in) ( )
Date: January 07, 2017 07:45AM

Wonder if they will ask him if George P. Lee had been sexually abused while in the placement program?

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Posted by: escapee nli ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 08:35AM

Monson isn't alert and oriented enough to know about a subpoena. I imagine he may know his name, but that's probably about it.

Other Susan

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: January 11, 2017 09:08AM

When you get to be Monson's age, the old 'I don't recall' excuse for not answering damning questions becomes more believable. This is yet another reason for their gerentocracy.

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Posted by: readwrite ( )
Date: January 12, 2017 01:41AM

Of course not. He won't/ can't even answer his own consciousness! Non-existent-

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