Skip to comments.Attorney asked by judge to remove Ash Wednesday observance
Posted on 02/20/2010 6:28:41 AM PST by Free Vulcan
A Marshall County Attorney in the midst of prosecuting an attempted murder case was asked by the court Wednesday to remove a smudge of ash from his forehead, a Catholic custom done in conjunction with the beginning of Lent.
Conservative writer Ken Black of the Marshalltown Times-Republican reports that Paul Crawford, an assistant county attorney, returned to the courtroom following a lunch break with the ash on his forehead. Catholics place the mark, which is often done in the shape of a cross, on their foreheads as a sign of repentance. The ash itself is often a by-product of the burning of palm crosses from the previous year, mixed lightly with holy water and sacred oils. Many recipients of the mark will wear it until it naturally wears off.
Prior to the jury returning, an attorney for the defense objected to the marking, and indicated that it could influence the jury in the case.
Judge Michael Moon agreed and requested the Crawford remove the smudge before the case proceeded. The attorney did so and the case moved forward without further discussion or incident.
‘Paul Crawford’. a Catholic without conviction. UnF’n believable.< /s>
What’s to discuss? It’s prejudicial. The only way it wouldn’t be is if everyone in the court had ash on their foreheads.
He could have wiped it off himself without any prompting but this is a matter of religion and the judge had no authority to ask him to take it off.
So you believe that Muslim women should and could be asked to remove their head coverings in a courtroom setting because they are prejudicial?
However, Ali Baba can do as he pleases!
Yea,I wonder what would happened to da judge if it was a yar
mulke or turban?
What? Are you kidding?
But burkhas are ok.
Was the case about religion? How is the display of ashes prejudicial in a criminal or civil case NOT involving religion?
Matthew 6:1 - “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
Prior to the jury returning, an attorney for the defense objected to the marking, and indicated that it could influence the jury in the case. ... Judge Michael Moon agreed and requested the Crawford remove the smudge before the case proceeded*** For discussion. ***
Nah. I don't think I'll 'discuss' this. As if I follow the (cough) 'logical' progression of thought where this could (blank) lead, it just may get me banned.
And Saturdays are never a good day to get the zot. Plus it's Lent so I'm tryin' real hard to be nice.
Apparently you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...”
I'd really like you to lay out the logic behind your statement.
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.
How many times have we heard cases where a judge requested a jew to remove his yarmulke in the courtroom because the opposing attorney objected?
It’s bias, the judge was wrong, and the attorney was a coward to removing the ashes.
see my #17
Ashes on one's forehead are hardly a mark of "righteousness" - they are a public admission that one is a sinner.
And do you really think that is ever going to happen? I don’t. Likewise, no judge is ever going to ask a Jew to remove his yarmulke, or a Hindu the bindi on her forehead. Christians are the only people in this country who cannot freely exercise their religion and signal their religious beliefs.
The ashes on the prosecutor’s forehead are not evidence.
How are ashes on the forehead evidence?
"Are you suggesting, counselor, that the mark on Mr. Prosecutor's forehead is not a fact?"
[Judge stares balefully]
The attorney could have declined and asked for a continuance. Too bad he wiped them off his forehead.
Please--I realize that many people misunderstand this practice but receiving the mark of the cross in ashes is NOT a sign of outward piety. Rather, it is a reminder of our mortality. Sin entered the world through one man and death through sin--each of us is DYING. But the mark we receive is in the form of the Cross--the LIFE-GIVING Cross.
Further, the practice is not unique to our Catholic brothers and sisters. As a Lutheran pastor, I can testify to the power of the words "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." And even now I anticipate with joy the words of the Easter Vigil: "May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds."
Matthew 16-18 - "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
Can we expect objections to burkas, hijabs and scarves?
(1)Ashes on the forehead of the prosecutor are not "evidence" by any stretch of the imagination.
Was the prosecutor asking the court to enter his own forehead into the record as "Exhibit A"?
(2) Federal rules of evidence are not applicable in state courts, even if this were a matter of evidence which - it should be blindingly obvious - it is not.
“Are you suggesting, counselor, that the mark on Mr. Prosecutor’s forehead is not a fact?”
In order for the defense attorney to prove prejudice, he would have to provide evidence that the ashes are prejudicial. Merely pointing out the fact that the attorney has ashes on his forehead is not evidence.
Sure. And objections to bare feet, cigarettes, and Bozo the Clown outfits.
That should be Matthew 6:16-18.
I am not a Roman Catholic.
I do not believe the RC Church represents true Christianity.
That said, I find it disgusting that people are objecting to the wearing of ashes, by this lawyer, by Joe Bidet or anyone else.
That is a traditional observance in their faith and should be respected as such.
I agree. The judge had no authority to ask him to remove it. Very dangerous precedence. The FF would not be happy. (Founding Fathers).
I think the judge has the right and obligation to consider whether it would be perceived as prejudicial. His responsibility is to the judicial proceedings. The attorney did the correct thing in his response to the judge’s request. I suppose if the attorney had refused, the judge could have postponed the proceedings, or cited him for contempt. It was a non-issue and this is really a non-story.
My fiancee (non-Catholic) kept hinting at me to wipe my forehead on Wednesday evening, (”Isn’t it bad for your skin?” “It looks like dirt!”). He was not raised in the Catholic tradition and apparently doesn’t see that many people with the ashes. I found that surprising coming from that tradition, and previously living in a part of the country with many more Catholics,and particularly since I worked for 27 years in Catholic higher education and most of my former co-workers would have ashes too.
I simply explained that one usually lets them wear off naturally. He was perplexed at why I would do that, but didn’t say anything else.
Uh .. like ... never.
(And I'll leave it at that.)
If Crawford was a Catholic without conviction, he would not have gotten the ashes in the first place. However, it is a losing battle for an attorney to refuse to obey a judge’s order in court. Crawford could have ended up in contempt of court. I think that it was wrong for the judge to tell him to remove the ashes and perhaps the Catholics of Marshall County should vote against the judge the next time he runs for office since he is clearly prejudiced against Catholics.
Citing Rule 403 is not at all germane to the issue at hand. The ashes on the forehead were not introduced as evidence in a trial. Your cite is clearly off-point.
Let me try to clear up your confusion about "evidence." Ashes on one's forehead are evidence that one attended Ash Wednesday mass during one's lunch break. The issue is whether evidence that one attended Ash Wednesday mass during one's lunch break is admissible to a jury. It is not under Rule 403.
No, it may,repeat may, have been predjudicial, and no evidence was offered that it was. But the judges ruling absolutely denied the First Amendment right of Freedon of Religion to the attorney.
Please tell me you are not a lawyer. Please.
And your legal basis for expressing Freedom of Religion during a murder trial is?
Evidence must be admitted to a court. Facts are not.
Please see my #39.
That is a traditional observance in their faith and should be respected as such.
I tend to have more respect for what Jesus has to say about such practices. Just my opinion.
It also does not mean that you have not washed your face or "anointed your head" (something no one does these days unless they are a male model) that day either.
I would also point out that Jesus is a Jew and he fasted on Yom Kippur like every other observant Jew does. No Jew fasted in secret on Yom Kippur - it was a universal practice.
Similarly, among Christians, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday is a universal practice.
It is clear from the context of the Scripture passage that Jesus was talking about the Pharisaic practice of not just fasting on Yom Kippur - like everyone else - but fasting twice a week every week and making a big show of it.
It is clear that you do not.
If you respect someone, then you do not quote them out of context.
No need to be condescending, I live in the real world and know how it works. I also understand the difference between facts and evidence.
“Ashes on one’s forehead are evidence that one attended Ash Wednesday mass during one’s lunch break.”
Did the judge question the lawyer on what he did during lunch? If so, then it is evidence that he went to Mass. If not, the fact that he had ashes on his forehead is only evidence that he had ashes on his forehead.
He was no coward. He was the prosecuting attorney. Why take chances on a mistrial. Not a time to make a constitutional issue here.
This is bald anti-Catholicism. The judge would never have tried this if it involved a Muslim custom or practice.
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