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Spotlight Report

Justice withdraws from transcript case

By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff, 6/11/2002

An Appeals Court justice yesterday withdrew from a dispute over the immediate release of transcripts and videotapes of pretrial testimony given by Cardinal Bernard F. Law and Bishop John B. McCormack, a move that could delay the public filing of the depositions for at least several more days.

Justice Gordon L. Doerfer said he recused himself after learning that one of the parties in the dispute is represented by Palmer and Dodge.

Doerfer worked for the Boston law firm from 1980 to 1991.

On Friday, Doerfer presided over a hearing at which church attorneys argued that Law and McCormack ought to be given 30 days to review transcripts of their depositions for potential errors before the transcripts are made public.

J. Owen Todd, Law's personal attorney, was also prepared to argue that videotapes of Law's depositions should be made public only in the event he is not available to testify at trial.

Attorneys for Law, McCormack, and the Boston archdiocese were appealing a decision by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Brassard, who ruled last month that transcripts and videotapes of pretrial testimony by Law and McCormack could be made public as soon as they are certified by court stenographers and qualified videographers.

McCormack, a former top deputy to Law, was named bishop of the Manchester, N.H., diocese three years ago.

Brassard's order stemmed from lawsuits filed by alleged sexual abuse victims of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley. Brassard's order contradicted an earlier ruling covering similar sexual abuse lawsuits filed by alleged victims of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan.


This story ran on page A28 of the Boston Globe on 6/11/2002.
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