Bringing You Up to Speed on the Sandusky Case


Disclaimer: I am by no means a legal expert.

The last few weeks have certainly been busy with numerous last-minute legal filings and motions. But now the big day is here. The Jerry Sandusky legal proceedings are set to begin this morning. Below are six points to bring you up to speed on the happenings in Bellefonte:

1. Jury selection begins today.

Starting this morning, the prosecution and defense will attempt to find 12 men and women who claim that they’re impartial to Sandusky’s case. Legal parties will sift through 200 Centre County residents per day until the jury is filled or the judge decides to move the case elsewhere. Seating an unbiased jury will certainly be a tall task given the widespread media attention and strong Penn State affinities. There is no definitive timetable for this portion of the trial, it could take three days or could take three weeks.

2.  The earliest the testimonial portion of the trial can begin is June 11th.

Although unlikely, if jury selection were only to take a few days, the trial would resume this upcoming Monday. A mid-late June trial start is more likely.

3.  Live coverage will not be permitted from the courtroom.

This one’s a game-changer, as far as media coverage goes. Judge John Cleland has been friendly to us tech-savvy reporters up until this point, allowing live-tweeting and electronic story filing from the courtroom…until now. On Friday, several media organizations filed a motion requesting to use “verbatim accounts” in their reports. In response, the judge ruled that there will be no live coverage at all while court is in session. No tweeting, no filing or posting stories, no transmitting information from inside the courtroom from here on out. So basically, your timelines will be flooded with repetitive info around the lunch and dinner hours for the next month or so.

4.  You can go to the Jerry Sandusky trial. Not kidding.

When the trial continues after jury selection, 85 members of the public are allowed to sit in on the proceedings each day. People are permitted courtroom access on a first-come, first-serve basis.

5.  How long will the trial last?

Like the jury selection timetable, there’s no sure way of telling how long testimony will last. Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan has said after a previous hearing that he expects the trial to last longer than two weeks. With the vast amount of victims and witnesses — not to mention the amount of deliberation it takes to reach individual verdicts on 52 counts — this trial could easily stretch into July.

6.  What happens after the trial?

I wish I could say that things will settle down once Jerry Sandusky’s verdict is met, but that simply isn’t the case. This summer’s trial is just one of three shoes to drop.

After the trial, comes the unveiling of Louis Freeh’s internal investigation. Freeh’s anticipated report should unearth any corruption within the Penn State administration. That report is expected before the beginning of the fall semester.

Similarly, the trial regarding Tim Curley and Gary Schultz should also occur sometime in early Fall. These events should provide significant revelations on exactly how secretive the then Penn State administration was. Throw in Mike McQueary and Graham Spanier lawsuits, add numerous expected civil cases, and only one thing becomes clear:

This thing is far from over.

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About the Author

Ryan Beckler

Ryan is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He is a Lion Ambassador who loves giving tours to prospective students. His favorite activities include distributing news and consuming Chipotle.

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