Pa. Superior Court to hold appeals hearings in high-profile cases in Luzerne County

By Jon Campisi | Aug 30, 2013

Appeals hearings in three high-profile criminal cases have been moved

Appeals hearings in three high-profile criminal cases have been moved

from a northeastern Pennsylvania high school to a county courthouse.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court, one of two intermediary appellate bodies, has decided to move the three cases previously set for a special session at Dallas High School in Luzerne County to the Common Pleas Court in Wilkes-Barre, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Significant media and public interest in the cases sparked the move, the AOPC stated.

The three cases scheduled for appeals hearings are as follows: Commonwealth v. Gerald Sandusky, Commonwealth v. Michael Veon and Commonwealth v. Hernan Torres.

While other appeals cases on the Superior Court’s docket scheduled for this fall will still be heard at the high school as originally planned, the three public interest cases noted will play out at the Luzerne County Common Pleas Court on Sept. 17 beginning at 3 p.m.

The three jurists scheduled to preside over the three appeals are Superior Court Judges Jack A. Panella, Sallie Updyke Mundy and William H. Platt.

“The court’s purpose in holding sessions in community and educational settings is to make the work of the judiciary more readily accessible to the citizenry and to provide a learning experience to students and the general public alike,” Panella said in a statement. “To avoid possible disruption of those goals it is believed prudent to reschedule these cases to the county courthouse.”

Sandusky, a former assistant football coach for Penn State University, is currently serving out a 30-to-60-year prison term for child molestation.

His conviction last summer, which made international headlines because of his prominence in the Penn State football program, and also because of the brutal nature of the crimes against the underage boys, is being appealed, as is his sentence.

Veon, the former Democratic whip of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was charged along with others in the investigation dubbed “Bonusgate” in which prosecutors alleged that the lawmakers and their aides used taxpayer money for campaign purposes.

Veon, who represented a district in southwestern Pennsylvania, was ultimately sentenced to up to 14 years in state prison following his public corruption conviction.

He is appealing his sentence.

The Superior Court previously affirmed the three-to-six-month state prison sentence for Veon’s former aide, Anna Marie Perretta-Rosepink, who had been convicted of conflict of interest, theft of services, and conspiracy to commit conflict of interest.

There doesn’t appear to be an extensive public record of Torres’s case, but a criminal docket sheet appears to show that the Allentown, Pa. resident had been charged with a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence.

The specifics of his appeal, however, were not immediately ascertainable.

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