Laura DeCrescenzo forced-abortion lawsuit updates

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Gottabrain Member

    But it's a damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    Laura had an abortion - I'm sure med dox and witnesses confirm. Scientology claims to help people. So if they take it all out, that doesn't make sense. Whaat - no session afterward? No consultation beforehand? Then there would be nobody at all at COS to say one word against Laura's testimony, would there...

    That in itself is damning evidence. They can't just create something new out of nothing, either, or it would have already come up in the court case.

    There are also Laura's personal records and those of her witnesses which may very well contradict whatever they shred or fabricate.
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  2. wolfbane Member

    It is not as cut-n-dried as you make it seem and they are trying to get the ruling overturned, not the law.

    What you are missing is that the law, in California, seemingly leans in the cult's favor. And since the Superior Court did not give any written explanation whatsoever behind why they ruled against Scientology, it seems like they pretty much left it wide open for the state Supreme Court to do the dirty work of sorting it out.

    There is a tidbit in the CA Supreme Court Amici Letter, and throughout all the Scientology motions, that struck me as odd until I read up on things: that the clergy half of the clergy-penitent privilege gets to hold the privilege (IOW, the minister/auditor gets to say that it is their privacy at stake.) The Amici Letter especially makes this seem painfully twisted because on pgs 8-9 it makes the claim that the auditor, Examiners (case supervisor) and DofP are acting as the penitent when they pass the PC folders around.

    IANAL, but this did not seem right to me. I know of a recent hit-n-run manslaughter case in my state, where the defendant was found guilty and when it came time for sentencing she waived her right to the clergy-penitent privilege so that her priest could testify on her behalf regarding her deep sorrow and remorse expressed during a confession for what she had done. It didn't help her get a lighter sentence because the priest was not happy being put on the spot, expressed disdain at the whole thing and wasn't really supportive of the recommendation for leniency since he totally agreed with the prosecutor that remorse didn't trump guilt in a court of law. Nonetheless, it was not his privilege/privacy being sacrificed - it was the penitent - and her right only to waive it.

    California and a few other states do not work ^^This way. Here's the tl;dr layperson version of why:

    Clergy-penitent privilege falls under civil rules of evidence code. At the federal level, the law is "not enacted" so apparently it falls back on the applicable state statute if one exists. Otherwise, the guideline written is fuzzy and states " The clergyman may claim the privilege on behalf of the person. His authority to do so is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary." From Federal Rules of Evidence 506 - Communications to Clergymen

    From Wikipedia - Priest-penitent privilege in the USA–penitent_privilege#United_States_of_America

    Guess Where California falls? In one of the 6 states that makes it a two-way street.

    From Summary of the Rules of Evidence, under the "XIII. PRIVILEGES" section : SUMMARY OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE.doc#Priv

    From CAL. EVID. CODE § 1034
    From CAL. EVID. CODE § 912
    Moral of the story: California's Rules of Evidence are wishy-washy, they cater to allowing multiple parties to claim privilege thereby stomping on the rights of patient/penitent to waive it. If this case was filed in one of the 17 states that specifically grants the privilege to penitent only, the argument to release the PC Folders during discovery would be a slam dunk. Or, if the case was filed in one of the 25 states where exactly who holds the privilege is fuzzy, they would have a decent chance at winning the argument in their favor.

    And the real bite in the ass is - even if the cult did NOT have the religion card to play, and auditing was treated as psychotherapy counseling files, the auditor would still be able to claim privilege in California and be able to negate the patient waiving it.

    IOW, they are splitting hairs that are split in half to begin with. So it's no wonder the Superior Court ruled without explaining 'why' they ruled that way... chickenshit tactic to avoid getting neck-deep in the muck of it all imo.

    Thus it comes down to DeCrescenzo proving privilege/confidentiality was broken by the files being viewed by non-clergy and consent to disclosure making the clergy end of the privilege null and void. And since it's the Sea Org, everybody is clergy because they are all members of a religious order.
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  3. wolfbane Member

    In the Allan Cartwright Declaration, the claim is made that they went through everything listed in the privilege log and supposedly handed over anything that was not related to auditing. (paragraph number 10, pdf pg 4)

    In the Plaintiff's Objection to Cartwright Declaration, Objection #9 disputes this claim on the grounds of "Lacks foundation; lack of personal knowledge; speculation; misstates contents of privilege log; vague; hearsay; irrelevant."

    So they may, or may not have, differentiated between auditing vs. ethics files.
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  4. DeathHamster Member

    I wonder about that.

    Scientology also has their ministers course to become an actual Scientology minister or reverend. The Sea Org might be a "religious order", but the members aren't automatically priests/ministers/reverends without that course.

    It'd be a laugh if their empty PR ministers course bit them in the ass.
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  5. wolfbane Member

    I wondered about that as well. But the dox read as if they are not using that course to determine "clergy" but whether or not the person who viewed the files was a trained auditor, or an auditor in training.

    So the fact that many SO get very little training might be another/similar way it bites them in the ass. But they have to prove somebody in the list of 259 people who seen the files was not trained/being-trained to be an auditor.

    Question for GottaBrain or another ex on that thought - what is the likelihood of an Ethics Officer not being an auditor?
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  6. DeathHamster Member

    If CoS had 259 trained auditors in one place, I'd be extremely shocked. Some orgs don't have any.

    Since it's CoS claiming priest-penitent privilege, shouldn't they be required to show that all 259 were qualified?
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  7. Gottabrain Member

    ^^ COS is counting all of BlackRob's FB drones at least twice.
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  8. wolfbane Member

    Good Question. I do not know the answer to it. But it seems reasonable to assume neither the appellate court, nor the Superior Court, bought the bullshit claim 259 people were all auditors/ministers since they both ruled in favor of the Motion to Compel. Hopefully, the state Supreme Court does too, or they refuse to hear the case and the Superior Court ruling stands unless appealed to the US Supreme Court.

    FWIW, what the dox say...

    Laura's 1pg Declaration makes two brief statements in this regard. Paragraph numbered 4 is just a generic regurgitation of how PC folders work in regards to any of her seniors seeing them and she admits that she knew that. Paragraph numbered 5 drops the bomb that she reviewed the 259 names, and she states:
    Next stop - bizarro world. Popcorn required.

    In the CSI Evidentiary Objections to the DeCrenzo Declaration, they levy the same type of objections (heresay, lack of foundation / personal knowledge) against the statement in paragraph 4 that the Plaintiff raised against the McShane and Cartwright Declarations (which the cult claimed weren't even valid objections that could be raised under Evidentiary Code - lulz). But they didn't say jackshit diddly squat about paragraph 5. At least not directly. However, somewhere in the Cartwright-related dox there is a passing remark stating that with Laura's 13 yrs in the organization, 259 people working on her case files is not that unusual.
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  9. moarxenu Member

    Kudos to wolfbane for smart research and sharp thinking.

    It has come home to me how significant the confidentiality claim is in California specifically with its density of major headquarters and Sea Org members not to mention Hollywood celebrities.

    This is definitely complex. The superior Court on the best interpretation may not have chickened out, but realized perhaps that any decision they might make would be appealed by CSI and that the issue has significant impact on not just CSI but other organizations.

    If I understand the procedure correctly what we can expect next is a response from Team Laura.

    I am wondering how they will respond. I don't have wolfbane's magisterial command of the dox but this looks the most recent full statement of Team Laura's arguments, which I expect they will reiterate and build on:

    DeCrescenzo v Scientology Opposition to Motion to Compel Reply (Feb 2013)
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  10. wolfbane Member

    Yes. And there is two additional twists of related interest to keep in mind...

    First is how CA evidentiary code compares to other states where we have a major SO base. In Florida, we have the same fuzzy issue that the federal guideline has (WTF does it mean the clergyman can claim privilege on behalf of the person and the room for interpretation that opens up). In NY, where the very first clergy-penitent precedent was set and led to it being enacted rather than absorbed from Brit land common law, the penitent only has the right to hold/waive privilege.

    So what happens in Laura's case won't necessary apply to cases filed in other states, except for the manner in which the cult tries to fight it since this is the fight where the laws are definitely in their favor - if they can't win it in Cali, they don't stand a chance anywhere so they have to pull everything they got out of their bag of tricks. Thus, it's nice to have the Superior Court dox in the public domain (especially the Cartwright non-legal-savvy SO Legal Director har har fish out of water gasping for air shenanigans) so that the cult's appellate strategy can be studied for future reference if this issue of "I want my PC folders" comes up again elsewhere.

    Second is what might happen if the CA Supreme Court takes a pass on reviewing the case. And this is where we likely need a real lawfag to comment cuz I'm just guessing here: Apparently CSI can file to get the US Supreme Court to consider reviewing the case if the panel of state supremes take a pass on the current petition motion. However, it would appear the federal law does them no good (not enacted since this area of privilege is specifically left for the states to decide). So a decision at the US Supremes level would still be looking at the same thing the State Supreme court is looking at - did the clergy end of jointly-held privilege get broken due to lack of confidentiality / consent to disclosure.

    Additionally, there are very few areas of law that are specifically left up to the states to decide how they want to handle them. And it's my understanding that US Supreme Court typically treats those areas as a hands-off / not our problem / we haz bigger fish to fry type of deal. IOW, chances of getting a US Supreme Court review of the Motion to Compel appeal are slim to none, and would only serve the purpose of being a delay tactic. (Which the cult might do anyway, just because they can.)

    Not quite. Most state supreme courts work on a discretionary review system similar to the way the US Supreme Court does, with only certain types of cases (eg: constitutional issues or capital punishment) getting an automatic (mandatory) review.

    So the way I understand it, Laura's case is in limbo until CA State Supreme Court decides whether or not they will accept the petition that CSI filed for reviewing the lower appellate court decision. (From Wikipedia State Supreme Court: )

    What happens after the State Supreme decision to accept/deny the petition for review is probably best answered by a real lawfag. But in my estimation the gist of it seems to be that if they accept the petition, there is no trials & no new evidence - just a review of the massive fking case file fwd'd on from Superior Court. (Which includes all the key stuff we now have in the public domain, plus several hundred pages for the 2 MAJOR filings of Exhibits 1-42 submitted by Laura's team on Feb8 that we do NOT have copies of, plus all the other misc. administrative huff-n-puff stuff shown on the docket.)

    Then the panel decides in favor or against the Motion to Compel ruling and the case will likely get remanded back to the lowest level trial court to pickup where they left off in the original case. Unless by chance the supremes opt to nit pick how the Superior Court handled things and bounce it back there for more appellate actions. (Not sure if the latter applies in Cali, in my state it does & it's common for our state supreme court to render tedious rulings that basically say "we'd love to decide this but the lower court farked it up badly and these steps need redone, a new lower appellate court decision rendered and then you can come back and try again later.")
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  11. eddieVroom Member

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  12. Well, now I'm really intrigued by the fact that the law in question applies not only to religious organizations, but also to medical doctors and "evil psych" therapists. What happens when a patient charges one of these other practitioners with criminal malpractice? Is the accused doctor/therapist allowed to keep the patient's records secret, even when the patient wants them admitted into evidence?

    Or has the question just never come up before? Is this case gonna open up a way bigger can of worms than even we imagined?
  13. bott Member

    Good question.

    Does priest / penitent privilege apply when the the penitent wants the files admitted to court?

    Priest / penitent privilege is supposed to protect the penitent, not the priest.
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  14. wolfbane Member

    No. You keep confusing the fact that it is not the evidentiary laws being challenged, but simply the appellate ruling upholding the Motion to Compel granted by the trial court.

    The main argument the cult is bawling over (from the lower appellate court since the Superior Court gave them no supporting info on their decision to bawl about) is that one specific case precedent (referred to as "Archbishop" in the recently released dox) was applied incorrectly to render that decision.

    How it was applied incorrectly is beyond my lawfare comprehension level, but the Superior Court dox we have so far read like the cult went stark-raving mad over the decision not going in their favor. So by the time they hit the 2nd appellate level (Superior Court) Scientology was well into overdrive mode spewing bullshit reasons out of both sides of their mouth as their head spun round and round.

    This is the same BAD misconception I originally had. The priest-penitent privilege is setup to protect whoever a given state says it protects.

    Most states have not defined it to specifically protect the penitent ONLY, 17 states have. And 6 states decided it was a two-way street that protects both clergy AND penitent equally. California is one of those states, and they even went several steps farther and said the doctor half of doctor-patient privilege, and the lawyer half of lawyer-client privilege, etc. etc. gets the same right to privilege as the other party. So when there are joint-holders of privilege, they both have to mutually agree to waive it in order to get it waived.

    In Laura's case - they don't agree so the additional stipulation applies that if someone who holds the right to privilege pissed it away by breaking confidentiality they also sacrificed the right to claim it. (Like a de facto waving)

    Yes. That is exactly the issue DeCrescenzo is fighting to have upheld - the Motion to Compel discovery of her auditing files because the trial court deemed the "privilege log" file the cult submitted (a document referred to as "Exhibit 43" that we do not have, and is currently barred from public release, which defines all the stuff they are claiming is under privilege and doesn't have to be handed over during discovery) was full of shit, they couldn't withhold it under the clergy end of privilege.

    DeCrescenzo's argument is that the cult wiped their ass with the clergy end of privilege and flushed it down the commode when they allowed approx. 259 Sea Org members to see/access Laura's files.
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  15. Anonymous Member

    *IF* the CA Supreme Court accepts the petition for review, these dox will acquired and released for mass consumption.

    Revisit Tikk's post from March 20, 2013 where he sheds some light on those issues:
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  16. amaX Member

    You're so on top of things that I thought you never slept. I'm glad to hear that you rest.
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  17. wolfbane Member

    Nice! /bows
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  18. Anonymous Member

    Vote: Wolfbane for new Tikk!

    Seriously: Nice work Wolfbane, thank for the analysis!
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  19. wolfbane Member

    Thanks. But I am no Tikk. I miss Tikk. I miss Tikk so much, I cheated on my analysis and found my own lawfag IRL. Then commenced to pick an external brain that helped me understand why the priest-penitent issue was so damn complicated when it seemed like it should have been fairly straightforward.

    The additional dox inspired me. Just seeing the huge difference in Laura's 1 page Declaration versus all the blah blah blah Cartright and McShane put forth made it readily apparent there was more to the Motion to Compel appellate case than what it seemed when we only had the McShane Declaration. So I got curious. ;)
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  20. wolfbane Member

    Bumping from page 1 ITT for tracking purposes...
    April29 was a weekending date, so it was impossible for the petition to get accepted and listed in the court's weekly summary (which gets posted a few days after the weekending date) of cases accepted for that week.

    However, it should show up soonly and the weekly summaries can be checked on this page:

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court docket has been updated to reflect the massive dox drop of the appellate case file (3 doghouses worth) has been logged in:

    Woof. Woof. Woof.
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  21. moarxenu Member

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  22. eddieVroom Member

  23. Excuse me if this question has already been answered (or thrash me soundly about the head and shoulders as you see fit), but Laura was 17 years old at the time of her abortion, right? A minor.

    So was she legally emancipated, or was the Sea Org standing in loco parentis?

    And does (or should) the distinction matter in this case?
  24. Damn! Never mind. She was emancipated by virtue of her marriage.

  25. Random guy Member

    Picking external brain, usually a good move.
  26. wolfbane Member

    Another update to Supreme Court Docket:

    05/08/2013 Answer to petition for review filed - Real Party in Interest: Laura Ann DeCrescenzo Attorney: Raphael Metzger

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  27. The Wrong Guy Member

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  28. Random guy Member

  29. wolfbane Member

    Bwahahahahahahhahaa (gasp) ha ha ha! Best. Lawfare Smackdown. Evar.

    Things that made me lol:

    The Cartwright declaration is full of fail. And footbullets. "Inadmissible" is such a lovely word.
    (see: )

    The cult's postulates about what they claim the Archbishop case precedent says is epic fail. And has even more footbullets.

    Just cuz they stamp CONFIDENTIAL on a PC Folder doesn't make it so.

    They are trying to redefine the statutory definition of privilege to suit their needs is full of fail because it violates the Establishment Cause of the 1st Amendment... something they alleged was being done to them with this ruling.

    Funderberg - FTW! Pg 12 - I about pissed myself. The cult cited an unpublished opinion that was not to be used as a case precedent. Grasping for straws. Yes they were. Also, "Funderberg" is the new word for "massive fking footbullet" as far as I'm concerned.

    Raphael Metzger, Esq. rocks. <3 <3 <3
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  30. OTeleventy Member

    This is my favorite part of the DeCrescenzo reply to Scio's Petition [bolded]:

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  31. wolfbane Member

    My favorite part is the size of the whole thing. Seriously... as in the actual length of it. I've been boning up on how this whole "petition for review" thing works in California from this handy FAQ page:

    And I noticed this bit:

    What are the requirements for the form and contents of petitions for review?
    The cult's petition was 30 pages long, and 8,389 words. So they milked it for all it was worth.

    Yet Metzger's reply is 18 pages long at 3,744 words, and it turned ALL their major arguments upside down, and in some instances - used their own arguments against them. What a beautiful sight to behold.
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  32. BlooAnon Member

    Favourite part out of Tony's article:

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  33. wolfbane Member

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  34. wolfbane Member

    Things worth knowing...

    What is a petition for review?
    How does the Supreme Court decide whether to grant a petition for review?
    IANAL, but it seems to me that "uniformity of decision" is not an issue here because the trial court, the appellate court and the superior court are all in agreement on Team Laura's motion to compel. And in regards to settling "an important question of law," the petition response lays down a short list of solid arguments that the cult is trying to fabricate interpretations of evidentiary code that go against how it was originally legislated.

    When will the petition for review be decided?
    April 29 (date filed) + 60 days = June 28, 2013.

    What happens if the petition for review is denied?
    Also, much rejoicing, happy dances and adult beverage toasting!

    What happens if the petition for review is granted?
    Popcorn stocking required.

    If a petition for review is granted, when must briefs on the merits be filed?
    So another 60 days max. Possibly a lot less.

    (If granted...) When will oral argument be scheduled?
    When, exactly, might that be?
    It's a little tricky because Cali has 3 locations the supremes trot around to (Sacramento, LA and San Francisco). From the Los Angeles venue of Supreme Court Calendar:

    We're looking at September 3-6, October 7-11, November 4-8 or December 2-6 as possible 2013 court dates *if* it goes to oral arguments. Or it could roll over into 2014 depending on how much backlog the court has by the time the briefs of merit get filed.
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  35. Random guy Member

    My extremely unfunded gut feeling says the Supreme Court will say noU!
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  36. wolfbane Member

    Same here.
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  37. OTeleventy Member

    You know what? My bet (and I suck at this) is the supremes take no oral argument. Just a gut feeling.
  38. wolfbane Member

    After reading Team Laura's reply to the petition, I have the same gut feeling - they won't accept the petition, ergo no briefs get filed and no oral arguments heard.

    Initially, I wasn't so sure due to the way the cult twisted the Archbishop case precedent around and round and round some more. That, plus the fact California is fk'd up in the way it gives the right of claiming privilege to both sides.

    But imo the big smackdown in the petition reply is the point made that that out of all different types of privilege, the legislature specifically EXCLUDED priest-penitent privy in the confidentiality exceptions for third party disclosure. That was the downfall of the Archbishop case, as it will be in this one because that precedent was indeed applied correctly by the appellate courts.
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  39. wolfbane Member

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  40. McLOVIN_1982 Member

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