Dover defense attorney objected to questioning
Q. You didn't raise money for Pandas and People anyplace other than your church, did you?
MR. GILLEN: Your Honor, objection. To the extent that Mr. Harvey is trying to create an inference that by asking at church, there's some sort of religious plot, I believe the question begins to burden Mr. Buckingham's ability to associate for the purpose of his free exercise. I mean, where he asked -- you know, if he asked the church, if that's where his friends and community is, that's his business. It's improper to try and draw some inference to that.
THE COURT: Well, that's argument. That's not an evidentiary objection, is it?
MR. GILLEN: Well, I think it's an evidentiary objection to the extent that he's seeking to elicit this information to support the inference proposed by his question.
THE COURT: I'm still hearing argument. I'm not hearing an objection --
MR. GILLEN: Well, and I don't wish to argue.
THE COURT: -- based on the rules of evidence. I understand your point, and it might be argument, it might be valid argument. Under the circumstances, I think the question is fair. He asked him did he raise money at any other place than his church.
MR. GILLEN: Yes. And my purpose is in suggesting that the thrust of the question to create that inference is improper because he's trying to make it look as if there was some sort of religious mission when he asked his friends.
THE COURT: Well, that goes to the weight that I'll give it. It's a bench trial. I mean, I still don't hear something that's grounded in the rules of evidence.
MR. GILLEN: Well, I guess I'm saying he does have a First Amendment privilege to free exercise, and I think that Mr. Harvey is -- the thrust of his question right now is to burden his ability to associate and ask his co-religionists to support something he thinks is worthwhile.
THE COURT: Unless I missed something, though, the First Amendment privilege that he has that you're citing to doesn't act as a bar to answering that question. Do you think it does?
MR. GILLEN: Well, I think it does border right on the limit because it is creating this inference that would be a burden on his free exercise right. If people weren't free to do what he's done, to ask, or if it could be used against them later, it would be a burden on their ability to go in front of any congregation and ask support for any number of things.
THE COURT: I don't see it, but let's hear from Mr. Harvey.
MR. HARVEY: Your Honor, I don't in any way mean to infringe upon this man's religious freedom in any way, but if he's going to take the stand and claim that he had no religious purpose in the actions of the school board and then they took up a donation at a church, I'm entitled to explore that to show that he, indeed, had religious purposes.
THE COURT: I think it's a fair question in the context of this case and in the line of questions that Mr. Harvey has already asked, so I overrule the objection. Do you remember the question, sir?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
THE COURT: All right. You can answer the question.
I certainly disagree with Harvey's statement, "if he's going to take the stand and claim that he had no religious purpose in the actions of the school board and then they took up a donation at a church, I'm entitled to explore that to show that he, indeed, had religious purposes." Taking up a donation at a church is not evidence that Buckingham lied when he claimed that he had no religious purpose in the actions of the school board -- money is raised at churches for all sorts of things, both religious and non-religious. Judge Jones said, "I still don't hear something that's grounded in the rules of evidence," but the Federal Rules of Evidence gives judges broad discretion in excluding evidence:
Rule 403. Exclusion of Relevant Evidence on Grounds of Prejudice, Confusion, or Waste of Time
Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Rule 611. Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation
(a) Control by court.
The court shall exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to (1) make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth, (2) avoid needless consumption of time, and (3) protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
Anyway, Buckingham's evasiveness in answering questions at his deposition was in response to questions of doubtful propriety. IMO, accusations that Buckingham lied during his depositions have made a mountain out of a molehill. I was surprised and dismayed when the PBS NOVA program "Judgment Day" reported that "Jones recommended to the US Attorney that he investigate bringing perjury charges against Buckingham and Bonsell for lying under oath." Judge Jones lied when he claimed through a spokesperson that he has a policy of not commenting publicly about the Dover trial, and he falsely pretended to be impartial and then said in a commencement speech that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders believed that organized religions are not "true" religions. Physician, heal thyself.
Anyway, I really liked the way Buckingham made a monkey out of that lousy shyster Harvey. Their courtroom exchange in my article "Did Dover Defendants Lie?" reminds me of Bud Abbott's and Lou Costello's comedy routine "Who's on first?".
Labels: Kitzmiller v. Dover (new #1)