Penn State Travesty and a New Trial for Jerry Sandusky

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New Trial for Jerry Sandusky

Attention: Lori Falce, Centre Daily Times; Mark Scolforo, Associated Press; Charles Thompson,; Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer

And all other media reporters who write about the Jerry Sandusky case. 

We, the undersigned, petition for a new trial for Jerry Sandusky.  We are addressing this petition to those in the media who have covered the Sandusky case, in hopes that you will be willing to look at additional facts that contradict the standard Sandusky narrative, and that you will write about our petition effort and its growing number of supporters.

Regardless of whether we think Jerry Sandusky is innocent or not, it is clear that he received a rushed trial in an atmosphere of intense media frenzy in which many of the potential jurors admitted, during the jury selection, that if they found Sandusky “not guilty,” they would have faced a great deal of criticism and pressure at home and at work.  Many also made it clear that they had already judged him guilty in their minds.

Sandusky’s main lawyer, Joe Amendola, was not only ineffective but often acted as if he were working for the prosecution. He and his co-counsel Karl Rominger unsuccessfully petitioned Judge John Cleland for continuances because they were overwhelmed with 12,000 pages of discovery material, in addition to being unprepared in almost every other way.  In his opening statement, Amendola unforgivably told the jurors that the prosecution had “overwhelming evidence” against Sandusky.

In fact, the only evidence against Sandusky for the first three years of the case were the allegations of Aaron Fisher, “Victim 1,” who at first said only that Sandusky had hugged him to crack his back, with both of them fully clothed.  It took frequent therapy sessions to get him to say, eventually, that there had been oral sex.  

Similarly, the additional seven young men who testified at the trial all changed their stories repeatedly.  Almost all initially denied any abuse.  Repressed memory therapy, a discredited pseudoscience, was involved in unearthing new abuse memories, as well as leading police interviews. Money was also a possible motive for these young men, all of whom had been in the Second Mile program because of their troubled, often impoverished backgrounds.

There are many other issues that demand a new trial, beyond the glaring ineffectiveness of Sandusky’s trial counsel.  There was arguable prosecutorial misconduct, especially when prosecutor Joe McGettigan claimed that Victim 2 was “known to God but not to us,” even though he knew that Allan Myers was that young man.

In addition, there were at least two grand jury leaks.  Evidence was allowed at trial derived from double-hearsay in the case of a janitor named Jim Calhoun, who had actually denied in a taped interview with the police that he saw Sandusky abusing anyone, though Amendola failed to introduce that evidence. 

Judge John Foradora will rule on whether Jerry Sandusky gets a new trial, on the basis of ineffective counsel, new post-trial evidence, or constitutional violations.  All three of these apply to this case.  Sandusky’s current lawyers, Al Lindsay and Andrew Salemme, covered most of these issues in their 254-page Second Amended Post-Conviction Relief Application .

For all of these reasons, we believe that Jerry Sandusky deserves a new trial.

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