Why Waiving the Hearing Was a Smart Move
This morning at 8:29 a.m., as I sat in the second to last row in the Centre County Courthouse, I heard the two words that I always heard on TV.
It hit me, I was about to witness history in some form. Well, this time, history only took about a minute. Once I got word that Jerry Sandusky and Joe Amendola decided to waive the preliminary hearing, I was, as many others were, baffled. As in many of the days since November 4, when we learned of the Jerry Sandusky Scandal, I found myself asking the same question: Why?
As Jerry and Joe left Bellefonte, confusion soon turned into frustration. Many even went as far as to call Sandusky’s decision cowardice. But, after listening to Joe Amendola speak for the part of an hour, I realized something that it seems many others have not:
Like it or not, waiving the preliminary hearing was a good idea on his part.
Think about it: Sandusky basically muted the victims by not letting them testify yet. Canceling the hearing last minute allowed Amendola to use the national media platform to his advantage by holding an hour-long press conference outside of the courthouse. On a day where we were expecting disgusting and revolting testimonies to flood our Twitter streams, we were listening to Joe Amendola question the credibility of said victims. People quickly became flustered and disinterested. By noon, no one was talking about Sandusky, they were too busy talking about 1-800-REALITY.
I am in no way supporting Jerry Sandusky here. All I’m saying is that there might be a method to Joe Amendola’s madness. After you look past the emotional and frustrating feelings, it’s easy to see that this was a strategic and tactful move on behalf on the defense. Yes, its timing was an unorthodox move, but Amendola protected his client (Jerry Sandusky) from the media as well as the witness testimonies. Maybe the often criticized attorney isn’t as clueless as we all first thought.
Or maybe he is. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
2 Responses to “Why Waiving the Hearing Was a Smart Move”
Not a good legal strategy, really, especially when Amendola continues to make a mockery of respectable criminal defense attorneys. Sure Amendola wouldn’t be allowed to attack the credibility of the witnesses based on their background (in general this isn’t normally allowed anyway), but he would still be able to question them and start to plant the seeds of doubt with their testimony (in terms of whether they are generally a truthful person & are they speaking the truth on the stand). Further, he would get a better idea of what he was facing at trial.
In the end, I don’t think Amendola has his client’s best interest in mind. It’s pretty clear that he is trying to get as much publicity as he can, not for the defense of Sandusky, but rather for the sake of his own ego and business. Why else would he offer such weak and illegitimate excuses to waive the hearing? He cites that he prosecutor will cooperate with turning evidence & testimony over as soon as possible. Duh. It’s mandated that all information, aside from privileged, be swapped in a timely fashion before trial. If either side refuses, withholds, or deliberately prevents access to the evidence, they face sanctions from the court as well as severe repercussions for breach of ethical duty from the ABA.
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