Jury Won’t Be Sequestered; Sue and Jay Paterno Listed as Possible Witnesses
Jury selection in the child sexual abuse case of Jerry Sandusky began this morning at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
220 prospective jurors descended on the Centre County Courthouse around 8:30 a.m. The original jury pool of 600 was trimmed down via questionnaire. Shortly after the proceedings were underway, a pool reporter notified the media that Judge Cleland has decided not to sequester (protect from the public, media, etc.) the jurors.
“The people selected to be jurors in this case literally hold justice in their hands,” Judge Cleland said. He added that he “trusts” that the selected jurors will abstain from consuming media and updating their social media profiles during trial.
The pool reporter also said that most of the jury pool is middle-aged and caucasian, some even donning Penn State related apparrel.
Shortly after proceedings began in Bellefonte, Penn State released a statement saying it will not comment on the specifics of Sandusky’s case. “We are hopeful… that the case proceeds quickly and provides answers we are all seeking.”
After Judge Cleland addressed today’s jury pool, 40 were randomly selected to move on to stage two where attorneys can question the them. The names of alleged victims and possible witnesses were read to the potential jurors to see if they personally knew any of them. The defense mentioned Sue and Jay Paterno, Graham Spanier, Mike McQueary, and Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter, Sara Ganim, as possible witnesses. After some were excused during stage two, 10 remaining potential jurors moved on to stage three.
Slightly before noon, about half of the 220 were sent home and told to come back tomorrow; the hundred or so others are still inside the courthouse.
Prospective jurors were told that the trial is expected to last at least three weeks.
Three jurors were selected this morning. One is a 24 Caucasian male whose father works for Penn State. Two middle-aged Caucasian women were also chosen, and one — juror #3 — has had Penn State season football tickets since the 1970s. Juror #3’s husband also works in the former medical practice of John McQueary, Mike McQueary’s father who is a potential witness.
Nine more jurors are yet to be selected, plus four alternates. The process will resume at 1:30 pm.