Petition for Review (September 9, 1991)

Petition For Review1

The Court of Appeal also conclusorily rejected the appellants’ arguments that they were entitled to a new trial, because the trial court had been prejudiced by the massive hearsay evidence admitted only to show Armstrong’s state of mind. This prejudice was demonstrated by the trial court’s generalized negative “findings” about the Church and its Founder, based exclusively on such hearsay evidence.3  Indeed, the Court of Appeal compounded the trial court’s error by itself writing its opinion in a way which suggested that Armstrong’s purported state of mind was, in fact, truth. For example, the Court of Appeal states that Armstrong “knew that persons attempting to leave [the Church] were locked up, … [etc.]”, thereby strongly suggesting

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3 Indeed, the Church was not permitted to rebut the hearsay evidence, since the rebuttal evidence would not have been probative of Armstrong’s state of mind. Thus the trial court, and indeed the Court of Appeal, were prejudiced by exposure to only one side’s hearsay evidence.

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the truth of such a statement.4
[…]
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4 It was, of course, far easier for Armstrong to “just allege” his state of mind than to prove the underlying truth of the matters. Subsequent to this trial, in a videotaped meeting with a Scientologist whom Armstrong was attempting to induce to sue the Church, Armstrong stated that it was not necessary that allegations against the Church be true; it would be sufficient to “just allege” them. See discussion in our original opening brief at p. 12, line
11; App. 294. Armstrong knew the utility of these tactics from his experience in this case: all he had to do was “allege” his “state of mind,” and such allegations became the “justification” for his tortious acts. And now, this Court has joined the trial court in setting forth these “state of mind” allegations as if they were gospel truth.(p. 9)

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CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated, the petition for review should be granted, and the case should be set down for plenary review.
Dated: September 9, 1991     Respectfully submitted,

Eric M. Lieberman
RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD,
KRINSKY & LIEBERMAN, P.C.
740 Broadway – Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10003-9518
(212) 254-1111

MICHAEL LEE HERTZBERG
740 Broadway – Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10003-9518
(212) 982-9870

Notes

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