Sandusky trial pushed back until early June, judge cites 'logistical' issues

By Jon Campisi | Apr 2, 2012

The criminal trial against accused child molester Jerry Sandusky will be pushed back by 20 days, the judge presiding over the matter stated in an order released March 29.

Sandusky’s defense attorney, Joseph Amendola, had earlier submitted a request to have the much-anticipated trial postponed in order to give him more time to review pre-trial records and materials.

Amendola also asked to have many of the charges against his client thrown out, either because they were beyond the statute of limitations or because he couldn’t adequately prepare a defense to the charges given their perceived lack of specificity.

The order from trial Judge John M. Cleland states that the trial will be pushed back from its originally anticipated start date of May 15 to June 5. However, the order says the postponement had nothing to do with Amendola’s motion, but rather was done to accommodate various “logistical contingencies that have arisen.”

A hearing on Amendola’s other pre-trial motions will proceed as scheduled on April 5.

Meanwhile, prosecutors on March 29 filed their written response to Amendola’s motion seeking the dropping of criminal charges or trial postponement.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank G. Fina submitted the commonwealth’s response, in which prosecutors deny “any averment or implication” that the commonwealth is purposely withholding discoverable materials from the defense.

Fina also argued against the withdrawing of charges, writing that the fact that Sandusky had earlier waived his preliminary hearing showed that he conceded the “existence of a prima facie case supporting each count listed in the instant Information.”

“The Commonwealth submits he [Sandusky] cannot now be heard to complain the Information is insufficient, having conceded the ability of the Commonwealth to prove each count if submitted to a fact-finder,” the response states.

Prosecutors also denied that Sandusky’s due process rights would be violated should he be forced to proceed to trial at this point.

“Defendant does not point to a specific manner in which he believes his due process rights would be infringed upon, other than to complaint the Information is insufficiently specific,” Fina wrote. “As our Superior Court has held, ‘due process is not reducible to a mathematical formula and the Commonwealth does not always need to prove a specific date of an alleged crime.’ Additionally, indictments must be read in a common sense manner and are not to be construed in an overly technical sense.”

As part of his motion to dismiss the charges against his client, Amendola had argued that prosecutors hadn’t provided him with specific dates on which the alleged molestations were said to have occurred.

The prosecutors’ response also states that the commonwealth does not believe the statute of limitations was reached in any of the alleged crimes outlined in the case against Sandusky, since Pennsylvania law allows for the prosecution of certain crimes against minors well after the alleged incidents occurred.

Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions, is facing charges that he sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year time period.

The case sparked national outrage against Pennsylvania State University, which ended up firing its legendary football coach and the school’s president.

The coach, Joe Paterno, died soon after he lost his job.


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