Who Is Judge Ellen Ceisler? Writer Notes ‘Deteriorated’ Courtroom During Philly Priest Abuse Trial; Judge Has Radical Connections

Ellen Ceisler Philadelphia Ralph Cipriano

Another biased judge? Philadelphia's Ellen Ceisler oversees a 'deteriorated' courtroom,
says trial writer Ralph Cipriano

In the high-profile criminal trial of Philadelphia's Msgr. William Lynn and Fr. James Brennan last summer, attorneys for the accused priests were left facing a judge, Teresa Sarmina, who was so unfair and biased that she was actually described as "often mistaken for a member of the prosecution team."

Months later, attorneys for Fr. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero, the defendants in the current criminal trial, were surely hoping to fare better with a different judge. Unfortunately, Judge Ellen Ceisler does not seem to be living up to her duty of overseeing a fair and impartial trial.

The courtroom "needed strong direction"

Veteran writer Ralph Cipriano, who has by far provided the best, in-depth coverage of the Philadelphia clergy trials, reports a disconcerting exchange from the trial proceedings on Thursday. It is an exchange that indicates that Ceisler – like Sarmina before her – may be another pro-prosecution partisan.

Cipriano describes the scene when Philly D.A. Mark Cipolletti was questioning ex-priest Edward Avery, who recanted his guilty plea under oath to abusing a 10-year-old back in the late 1990s:

"The prosecutor [Cipolletti] was no longer interested in what the witness had to say, frequently cutting off Avery's answers. Defense lawyers reacted by falling all over themselves to make objections, saying that the prosecutor wasn't letting Avery finish his answers. This was true. Sadly, the judge meekly went along with the charade, and the result was the prisoner frequently was silenced.

"And many in the audience wondered what else Avery might have to say. But instead they were treated to more oratory from the prosecutor.

"Cipolletti went into one long discourse about how abuser priests like Avery had betrayed the faith of young boys who made the fatal mistake of trusting them, prompting McGovern to stand up and ask the judge if it was time for closing arguments, because Cipolletti was certainly making one.

"I'm ready to give my closing as well, the defense lawyer told the judge.

"That won't be necessary, the judge told McGovern. The situation in the courtroom, however, had deteriorated, and plainly needed strong direction, but none was forthcoming from the bench. For a fleeting moment, some defense lawyers in the courtroom, which included a former member of Lynn's defense team, may have actually missed M. Teresa Sarmina, the prosecution-friendly but no-nonsense judge who presided over the Lynn trial."

Apparently, Ceisler is demonstrating a lack of ability – or will – to control her courtroom. Meanwhile, prosecutors seek to run wild.

This may be a troubling sign.

Who is Ellen Green-Ceisler?

Judge Ellen Green-Ceisler was elected to the bench in 2007. A former Philadelphia Assistant D.A. herself, she is also the ex-wife of a powerful public relations manager, Larry Ceisler; yet the two apparently have remained close enough that he helped to heavily fund her election campaign.

In her 2007 campaign to serve on the bench, Ceisler scored endorsements from a number of radical organizations, a number of whom openly oppose the Catholic Church on several hot topics.

Among the groups to endorse Ceisler were the "Liberty City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club Outfront! PAC"; the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women (Philadelphia NOW); and Americans for Democratic Action (ADA).

Regarding her endorsement by the Liberty City LGBT Group, Ceisler filled out a questionnaire for the organization, in which she stated her firm support for gay marriage and gay adoption.

The question now is whether Ceisler's connections with these radical groups will interfere with her duty to give a Catholic priest and a former Catholic schoolteacher a fair and impartial trial which the Constitution guarantees them.

Stay tuned.


  1. KenW says:

    As I take a mental inventory of the right and fair and impartial judges that I have known about, one quality in them is consistent: no one ever really knew what that judge's political leanings were. 

    Same goes for journalists.

  2. jim robertson says:

    Radical groups? LOL You may not agree with gay people and our rights as citizens. You are welcome to do so. After all we are so terrible Boo! are you scared of me yet? Come on it's not the era to play bully on the school yard.  We are people who have to live and die condemed to the same reality of being a human animal as YOU. We are you. Well maybe not Delphin. But really. Come on to quote Rodney King "Cant we all get along?"

    By the way I'm a radical and I believe human beings are individually and collectively important . All of them important.

  3. David says:

    Your assertion is that Judge Ceisler is "demonstrating a lack of ability – or will – to control her courtroom" and  "does not seem to be living up to her duty of overseeing a fair and impartial trial". Didn't she allow the defense to cross examine Avery?

  4. Delphin says:

    Poor, poor J-Rob, he has it bad; I have probablly invaded his dreams by now.

    Sorry, dear boy, I am taken-

  5. Paul Deon says:

    you must be watching a different trial.

  6. jim robertson says:

    Taken by your delusions of attractability, Luca Brazi?

  7. Delphin says:

    And, this is one demonstration (of dozens) of why you have the angry left hating the Right(eous)….


    That hatred (envy) permeates every Good that humans seek, whether it is wealth, religion, morals/ethics. Ever notice how angry (unhappy) the left is as compared with the Right?

    Here's why….


    Who's happier than a faithful Catholic?

  8. jim robertson says:

    It couldn't be the Right's lower I.Q.'s that make them so "Happy" could it?

    But then you sure weren't happy after the election.

    No happy Protestants or Jews or Muslims or Athiests only happy faithful Catholics. They are the most happy, because after all happiness is a competition.

    I know some Hari Krishna's who are delerious with real joy.  But no it's probably Satan.

    • jim robertson says:

      The right's really not happy when workers organize either. That's a big un happy time for the right.

      But if you don't have workers with enough capital or credit to buy what you produce what then? And what happens when the majority of people start acting in their own best interests rather than in the boss's best interest? While the workers kids become less and less necessary have less and less options and the 1% gets more and more and more.  You and yours get less and less and less. How happy will the right be then?

  9. Delphin says:

    Well, we're actually starting to see the light of leftist truth ("(99% vs. 1%") now slowly leak out of our resident radical.

    It (his phony crusade) is so much more than about deviant homosexuals acting out in our Church. It is all about developing a wedge (or a wedgie in their "rainbow" world) between the Church and her faithful. If we can pry the faithful from their Church and their Lord, our God, the lefties can pick them off and put them on the path to worshipping their new Messiah, the Second Coming "hisself", Mr. Obama. This way, we have a whole new enslavement (in that what is old, again, is new, again) that affords the lazy-lefties permanent retirement bennies.

    When you have a committed leftist (read communist, socialist, anarchist here) at the helm of the mightiest democratic (well, until now, anyway) nation that ever existed, well, you've really got something, now- don't you?

  10. jim robertson says:

    Warner Brothers could use you. A new Looney Tunes character.

    I've said I was a communist with a small c. It's no secret Sen. McCarthy. Am I now or have I ever been? the answer is yes. Who cares? So what? Do I belong to a party? No.

    If you were a 20 year Army vet? What were the first 2 letters of your service i.d. #? Where did u you serve in the empire? What was your M.O.S.?

    I served in the U.S. Army Headquarters in the Canal Zone, Panama from 1966 to 1968. I was drafted and left as a Specialist E 5 and got the good conduct medal.

    • jim robertson says:

      And if you think the 1% is some leftist fraud check the stats. As I should have said before, if you represent the best America has to offer. This country has no hope. None at all. Mozzel tof!

  11. jim robertson says:

    As far as my position on SNAP goes. The father of Public Relations was a man called Ivy Lee, he worked for John D Rockefeller and through giving away dimes turned J,D. Rockefeller  from the most hated man in America ; to a kindly old patriarch just passing out dimes to children. Hence the world of P.R. Managing a situation by bringing attention to that situation and controlling the spin. And SNAP has behaved exactly like that. Exactly!

    • jim robertson says:

      Ivy Lee created the first press release. Which SNAP has used exactly the way Lee used it: News breaks. SNAP calls a press conference and too the world it looks like victims are speaking through SNAP. So that it became the "voice of victims".

      Utter nonsense! If we victims did not choose SNAP to be our "voice" then who's voice is SNAP?

  12. Michael Harrelson says:

    This is some of the worst court reporting that I have ever seen. I have been following the case in legitimate news sources and there seems to be a consensus that Judge Ceisler has been doing a fine job. Based on what I've seen from this case, I would agree. Also, not a single group mentioned could be considered "radical."

    Do your homework next time you want to trash a public official. 

  13. Delphin says:

    Sounds like the truth may be leaking out of her Highness' Court since there is at least one honest reporter observing those dysfunctional proceedings and willing to publish. And, those endorsements of El's are certainly not mainstream organizations, which makes them radical to mainstream Americans. Your point of reference may be skewed.

    But, you might be right on one point, Judge Ceisler may be doing a fine job IF doing a fine job is railroading another priest for the greater leftist cause that aims to scandalize their arch enemy, the Catholic Church.

    And, since when are public officials immune from criticism? Sounds rather lefty-ite to me, well, unless you're hammering a right-winger, at which time, all is fair.

    Perhaps applying your "advice" to the treatment INNOCENT until proven guilty victims of religious persecution, as may be the case in Judge Ceisler's courtroom, is warranted.

    What is your idea of "legitimate news sources", Rolling Stone, Philly Inquirer, Huff Post or NY Times?

  14. jim robertson says:

    To finish something re: Pub in the last thread.

    As far as Cipriano and the Beasly firm goes . I've asked Ralph twice if the Beasley firm has any fiduciary connections with the Church. No answer. (Just like Delph's 20year military career)

    You believe that outside forces political; the press; religious insiders trying to change the Church  have "influenced " these Philly trials but when I say from a far more logical place that there is influence occuring yes but also from the Church and it's "connected" friends.( Hey I didn't make up the money laundering being done by the Church for those "friends" And everyone know's who runs "heroin' supplies in and out of prisons) So I'm the one living in a fantasy??? Hardly.

    And please can you, Pub, lay off the ad hominums, really . Both you and Delph only make yourselves look bad. And since you, Pub pretend to be so "top drawer".  Could you start behaving like a gentleman?lady?.


  15. jim robertson says:

    P.S. And as far as me being a "plant' by the Church. To what end?? How would the Church benefit from me and what I say? Come on brains. Explain that.

  16. jim robertson says: