The sad saga of the Berry girls (Holly Brewer and Heather Berry) and their mother, Sarah Poisson, is well known to most longtime posters here, having been featured prominently on the JW abuse shows on television, notably at length in the ones in the UK (BBC Panorama, "Suffer the Little Children", July 2002) and Canada (Fifth Estate, "Spiritual Shepherds", January 2003). The civil suit they brought against the WTS in the New Hampshire state courts was referred to.
That suit was going well in pretrial motions and depositions, etc., until it was dealt a serious and potentially fatal setback by a decision made by the judge in June 2003, which was blaste--er, discussed--in these threads:
(This time period, late June 2003, was, as you may recall, the same time period when the decision in the Vicky Boer case was finally handed down, so this significant event may have been lost in the numerious threads about that).
The Berry girls' attorneys announced their intent to appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Well, the showdown in the NHSC is finally set!The hearing (oral arguments) of the appeal is set for the afternoon of Wednesay, October 20, 2004, as shown on the court's oral argument calendar posted on the web:
(case is at the very bottom of the page. Holly Brewer is incorrectly referred to as "Holly Berry." but maybe that's because the name was already that way in the court record. "Pro hac vice" is legalese for an attorney from another state's bar who is assisting.)
Note that the NHSC even posts audio files of oral arguments at some point after the argument session (perhaps a few weeks later). It should be interesting to hear each side make its case before the justices.
NOTE: SInce Bill Bowen of Silentlambs wants to testify as an expert witness for the Berry girls (when and if the case reaches trial), a deposition of him was taken by the WTS attorneys in June 2003, and he was none too pleased with the experience, as discussed on this thread:
After arguments, when the decision will come is anyone's guess, of course, but the general trend appears to suggest a decision by late spring 2005 at least.
As a side point: Judge Groff was blasted in the threads above, but after looking at a number of appeals of decisions made by him (or by juries in jury trials that he presided over), it appears, roughly, that the NHSC has upheld those decisions about 75% of the time. So it does appear that he generally knows how to read the law in the right way.