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Convicted Pedophile Priest May Walk
Former priest, Donald McGuire may regain his freedom, says lawyer
Tom Pauken II (Pauken)     Print Article 
Published 2009-08-07 16:03 (KST)   
This article is lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>
Defense attorney Robert A. Maloney does not lack confidence, nor does he hesitate from cussing out a reporter for a joke, when he talks about the fate of his client, Donald J. McGuire, the former Jesuit priest, who is currently serving a 25 year sentence at a federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri.

"McGuire is going to walk," he said. "25 years in the slammer and he's going to walk. This is incredible."

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McGuire was convicted in a federal court in Chicago for engaging in sex acts with a minor during trips abroad in 2000, 2002 and 2008. He was also convicted in a Wisconsin trial in 2006 for molesting two students from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, during visits near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the late 1960's.

Maloney is fighting McGuire's case on appeal, and boasts that he has been a life-long friend of his client, and sincerely believes in his innocence. "We have a 99.9 percent chance of a lay down (victory)," he said.

He had spoken to McGuire on the phone as recently as the day before the scheduled interview, and said his client feels "enthusiastic" about his chances of being released from prison as a free man.

According to Maloney, McGuire's demise stems from a variety of reasons, but the most significant one was the so-called gross incompetence by lawyers previously representing him. Jerry Boyle was McGuire's defense attorney in Wisconsin and Stephen Komie represented him in Chicago.

As revealed in court documents, one week before the opening of the Chicago trial, McGuire made a formal request to the presiding judge, Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, asking that his attorney Stephen Komie, withdraw from representing him. "Anyone but Komie," McGuire stated in his request, since he felt that Komie was not adequately preparing for his defense.

Mike Larsen, McGuire's friend, sent an email, dated July 16, 2008, to Mary T. Robinson, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Excerpts read: "I was instructed to contact you in regards to suspicions of extreme misconduct by a Chicago-based attorney (Stephen Komie) who is supposed to be representing a very close friend of mine ... I am certain he is innocent (and have evidence to back up my assumptions as well as provide an alibi for his whereabouts)."

The letter offered many reasons as proof of "misconduct", but one alleged incident appears particularly damaging. "My friend faced extradition and the attorney demanded US$10,000 to stop it. He never showed up for court ... When asked what he did for the $10,000, he said it was for him to contact and ask a favor from (then) Governor Blagojevich, which is extremely difficult considering all of the political and legal issues he is facing."

Defense attorney Maloney explained that Judge Pallmeyer made a terrible judgment when she refused to grant another lawyer to represent McGuire at the Chicago trial. "That's tragic," he said. "A judge can't say that you can't have your own lawyer."

Hence, Maloney was not surprised when the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh-Circuit in Chicago issued its formal judgment on June 22, 2009 in favor of his client, by replacing Komie with Maloney as McGuire's lawyer. The appellate court also granted an "extension of time to file the record and appellant's brief."

Maloney anticipates that he'll win the case on an appeal and if not, he intends to fight it all the way up to the Supreme Court, since his client's sixth amendment rights were violated. He also cited a Supreme Court ruling to explain his confidence.

"Look it up literally, US versus Gonzalez and Lopez," he said. "The case was identical to the McGuire case...McGuire wanted me to represent him...we wrote a document to get rid of Komie as his attorney...Judge said no because she wanted to stay on schedule."

Maloney expressed no doubts that his client is innocent. "In my judgment, this is a gigantic story. Falsely accused priest gets his chance to tell his story," he said. "He had (incompetent) lawyers. This is the essence, if he had a chance to tell his own story and he would have had his own lawyer, he would have had a chance of winning...McGuire has friends all over the world."

Komie responded to OhmyNews in a telephone interview to address the allegations made against him. He said they were "false and absurd." He also claimed that he is still representing McGuire in the District Court.

In response to Komie's statement, a confidential source connected Maloney's office, said that Maloney has been trying to get the McGuire's legal files from Komie's office, but they have had no luck.

Maloney's office informed OhmyNews that his client intends to sue Mr. Komie for legal "malpractice." The McGuire Legal Defense Fund paid US$85,000 to Komie to represent the former priest in the Chicago trial. The lawsuit is demanding that Komie return the $85,000 he received on retainer.

"Isn't it interesting that he talks to a reporter," the confidential source said, "but he hasn't talked to us in the past three days."
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Tom Pauken II

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