Sandusky attorney objects, again, to post-trial judicial order involving leaked discovery materials

By Jon Campisi | Aug 15, 2012

One of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky’s defense attorney’s has filed court

papers appealing the trial court judge’s order that he and his co-counsel turn over materials that were apparently given to media outlets in the middle of the former Penn State assistant football coach’s criminal trial earlier this summer.

Lawyer Karl Rominger on Aug. 10 filed something called a Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal at the Centre County Common Pleas Court.

The filing lays out why Rominger and his team believe Judge John M. Cleland erred in entering an order that the defense attorneys certify under oath with whom discoverable materials were delivered to who were not party to the criminal proceedings.

Cleland’s order back in June is believed to have been related to an interview that Sandusky’s adopted son, Matt, gave to police in the middle of Sandusky’s trial, an interview that was eventually leaked to the media.

In that interview, Matt Sandusky alleged that he, too, had been victimized by the elder Sandusky.

Prosecutors asked for a protective order under the belief that the materials were still integral to an ongoing grand jury proceeding; grand jury probes are secret.

The judge granted the commonwealth’s request.

Rominger appealed the order in July; prosecutors initially objected to the appeal, invoking procedural issues.

The court then directed Rominger to again lay out the specifics of his appeal, which he did last week.

In his filing, Rominger claims that the judicial order violates attorney-client privilege.

“The Court erred in ordering counsel to divulge information which is essentially and is in fact work product insomuch as revealing who counsel has shared discovery materials with and who counsel has sought the help of creates a situation where counsel is forced to divulge counsel’s thought processes and/or strategies insomuch as they may be gleaned by the court or any opposing party or counsel who reviews them,” the appeal reads. “The net effect of the Court’s Order is to invade the province of attorney work product. Counsel hereby invokes the privilege applicable to attorney client communication and work product.”

Rominger further argues that the court erred in retroactively imposing a protective order, since there were no prior prohibitions in place on the use of material gained in discovery, and therefore “no reason for the Court to inquire about the previous use of said materials.”

Rominger also asserts that the judicial order was one-sided, since it was only directed toward the defense and not the prosecution.

The filing claims the order should have been “fully reciprocal.”

“Presumably the Commonwealth could use that forum to shelter any embarrassing disclosures or wrong doing from the public eye, which creates a perception of unfairness and lack of public scrutiny,” the appeal states.

Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions, was convicted earlier this summer on 45 of the 48 counts of child sex-abuse against him.

He had been charged with molesting 10 boys over a 15-year time period.

Sandusky likely faces the rest of his life in prison following his pending sentencing.

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