Sandusky Waives Preliminary Hearing

Submitted by State Street on December 13th, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Well, per twitter Jerry Sandusky and his lawyer just waived his preliminary hearing just before it was scheduled to begin.  This may indicate that he is open to a plea.  Seems to contradict everything he has said in the past.  

Could he have been intimidated by the prospect of facing his accusers?  Maybe what he has done was finally beginning to sink in?

Hope this guy gets locked up for life.



Two Hearted Ale

December 13th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

Does anyone have a good estimate of what kind of time Sandusky is facing? I'm guessing none of the individual charges could get life; if that is the case is he looking at 50 years? 100? 150? Could he reasonably plea down to, say, 40 and serve 15-20?


December 13th, 2011 at 4:58 PM ^

I looked at the Pennsylvania state codes. I don't recommend this to anyone. I remember from the indictment that Sandusky is being charged with at least a number of counts of Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse. That carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in Pennsylvania. If any of the children testify that they were seriously hurt or harmed in any way as a result of this, he can be charged with the life offense. He's also being charged with a laundry list of more minor felonies and misdemeanors.

This doesn't mean he will necessarily serve the maximum on any of these counts, but on such a high profile case, a judge or jury would probably consider it. Not that it's going to matter anyway, because there are so many counts racked up against Sandusky that the time he does do is going to take away any of the life he has left.

Son of Lloyd Brady

December 13th, 2011 at 8:48 AM ^

This happens more often than you think. The defense knows what the prosecution has against them and has already heard the testimonies in front of the grand jury so they decided to waive the hearing.


December 13th, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

Sandusky would be plead guilty (or possibly no contest) to at least some of the charges in exchange for other charges being dropped and/or an agreement from the prosecutors to ask the judge for a lesser sentence than they otherwise would.   Sandusky might also ask to be sent to a minimum security prison or bargain for some other term.


Steve in PA

December 13th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

I worked in Lock Haven today, hometown and scene of Victim #1's assaults.

Sandusky's lawyer is indeed trying to plea this case.  He knows that no matter what, his life is over.  Even if by some twisted circumstance he beats this, he is and should be a parriah.

Word around town is that he's looking to serve in a min security lockup and knows full well he's never going to get out.  In exchange, Victims 1-10 will not have to testify in court unless they want to at his sentencing.


December 13th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

It's real common to waive, and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with an intent to plea bargain down the road. Oftentimes it's strategic on the defense's part. Many times, you DO NOT want to hear what the victims have to say. The defense already has access to witness statements and grand jury testimony. If a witness shows up at a hearing a testifies, that testimony is locked in forever, and can be used against the defendant at trial. But if no testimony occurrs, then the witness must appear for the trial. Sandusky's lawyer has already said he thought some witnesses wouldn't want to testify. By waiving your exam, you're hoping maybe witnesses will change their mind between now and trial. It's kind of a long shot, but what else choice does Sandusky have now?


December 13th, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

What hasn't been considered yet is that it makes sense for Sandusky's end to keep as quiet about everything as possible. The more this is in the media, the worse he looks (obviously). So if he wants a jury pool that consists of people who haven't already decided that this guy is gonna spend life in a super-max, he (or his lawyers) will try NOT to air more of his dirty laundry on national media by providing the prosecution to reiterate the horrific accusations.

I think they're hoping that the last few people who live under rocks and haven't heard about this stay that way. Futile? Maybe. But as the other posters have said, it serves no purpose for the defense and can only generate more bad publicity for this cretin.


December 13th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

According to the State College newspaper, the prosecutor says there will be no plea bargain.  Of course, that could change.

Prison for child abusers is not going to be a lot of fun.  I would imagine that Sandusky will have to kept away from the general prison population wherever he ends up or he won't have a very long life span.


December 13th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

But why would he agree to a plea? At his age, almost ANY deal is going to be a life sentence. What does he gain by a plea?

The only scenario I could see where he would plea is if somehow it will save his wife from prosecution, but I have not seen any inkling from AG about prosecuting her.


December 14th, 2011 at 6:43 PM ^

perhaps into a minimum security facility could prevent him from spending the waning years of his life getting the same thing he has been dishing out. 

In a max security prison, child molesters are the very bottom rung of society and are treated extremely poorly by other inmates, regular beatings and the expectation of providing various services being par for the course. 


December 13th, 2011 at 8:59 AM ^

Completely normal thing for a defense to do.  The burden of proof is far lower than at trial, his defense would know he's going to be bound over for trial.  No use having the prelim.


December 13th, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

Dude could still plead guilty to all charges in an attempt to show culpability for his actions.  It won't save him a life imprisonment (which as stated above, is horrendous for child abusers) but could help soften the public opinion of a guy with some obvious major psychological issues...

His Dudeness

December 13th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

Pretty standard. Also, i know it is very difficult to do in this day and age, but let the man have his day in court. As of this moment he is an innocent man.  If proven guilty then we can talk about how horrible he is and how he should burn and etc. etc. etc. This country is so frightening with its legal system and media machine in tandem.


December 13th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

As a prosecutor, one additional thing that happens at the prelim is that charges are often added.  Sometimes testimony is brought out that support additional charges and the prosecutor moves to have the charges added.  At least that is how it is in Michigan.  If you put kids through having to testify at the prelim, you better be prepared to have some charges added. At that point you are playing hardball. That is why alot of prelims get waived.   If the defense is going to be really aggressive the prosecutor will add everything and the kitchen sink at the prelim.  I'm not sure how it would have been in Sandusky's case because it is so political but I bet they would have added some additional charges if they had to go through with the prelim.  I think he has 40 or 50 counts now, and to be honest the sheer volume of charges is more for show than anything else.  I'm not sure how Penn's sentencing guidelines work but in Michigan after you plead to 3 or 4 felonies the additional counts do almost nothing to enhance the guidelines.


December 13th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

I worked at a District Court in Michigan over the summer, and I was surprised to see that, well over half of the time, the prelims that I had the opportunity to watch were waived.  Also, doesn't the Prosecutor have the opportunity to demand that the prelim take place?  I remember one prosecutor saying that, even if the defendant had waived the prelim, she would have gone ahead with it anyway because she had some pretty seriuos charges to add.  

Either way, Sandusky waiving the prelim definitely doesn't seem out of the ordinary.  


December 13th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

Most Prelims are waived as the burden of proof is so low they are generally a formality.  CSC prelims are probably the ones that get run most of all.  If they are waiving the prelim, they have to be confident a plea will worked out.  As a prosecutor you can demand the prelim be held but when you have lots of victims I think you try to protect them to some extent.  You don't want to put them through testifying if you can avoid it.  It is often brutal for people and particularly kids to go through.  One other thing is Michigan is there is a possibility of a remand.  Sometimes negotiations can fall apart and the case can be sent back to District Court for prelim.  I can't imagine that would happen in this case.  I would bet anything this ends in a plea bargain.  This will be a defacto life sentence for Sandusky, but there may be some negotiation as to where he serves his sentence.  Not all prisons are equal.  Being a child molester is about the worst thing you can go to prison for.  I would bet the remainder of his life would be in solitary for his protection.


December 13th, 2011 at 5:08 PM ^

You also have to remember that a waiver is essentially what a prosecutor is shooting for anyway at the preliminary exam. The prosecutor just needs to get the case from point A to point B. The defendant is usually thinking about long-term strategy, so sometimes a waiver is the best outcome for everyone involved. Even if a prosecutor could add charges if they demanded an exam, the saying goes "one in the hand is better than two in the bush."


December 13th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

This defense lawyer is insane, his argument is that it doesn't make sense which everyone agrees with which is why it is so disgusting it happened, just because healthy normal person would have told someone doesn't mean they didn't, there are just so many falllacies in this guys argument.


December 13th, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

Sandusky is a pretty bad liar. In the NYT (I think it was NYT) you see Sandusky squirm and look in every direction except the interviewer. And his lawyer had to jump in and answer a question for him because he was practically admitting guilt again with the attraction question.


December 13th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

What happens if he does cop a plea?  Does that mean that all the parties that participated in the coverup walk away clean?  Isn't a trial necessary here to ferret out exactly who knew about this Monster and looked the other way?

I'm concerned that he'll plead guilty and all the enablers will be allowed to continue on "business as usual" with no repercussions.  And that sickens me almost as much as Sandusky himself.


December 13th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

I know this might not be your speciality, but if you were a Sandusky victim, what standard has to be met in order to sue everyone who ever wore a "PSU Football" shirt? Do you have to prove that Paterno and Co. were knowingly allowing these rapes to continue, or is it enough that any reasonable person should have known, ect.?


December 13th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

It seems (easy for me to say) that it will be pretty easy to show that Paterno, for example, knew or should have known that Sandusky was a child molester and that Paterno continued to allow Sandusky to bring children to PSU facilities and be alone with them there.   What's unclear to me is whether he had a legal duty not to allow this given his (imputed) knowledge...My guess is that PSU as an institution is open to liability more than Paterno or any given person is.  It seems more likely to me that PSU the institution had a duty to behave differently than it did than Paterno (in his individual capacity) did.  I don't know PA law, though, as far as one's duty to report child abuse.  I've never been clear from the news reports whether anyone has a duty to report suspected child abuse or whether only people in certain professions have such a duty.  I'm guessing it's the latter, but I don't know. 


December 13th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

The victims may be able to circumvent the duty issue via the Civil Rights Act and the state-created danger doctrine.  The argument would be that PSU and its administrators created a dangerous situation when it allowed Sandusky access to university facilities with children when they were allegedly aware of his past actions.  This is not the easiest cause of action to prove, but may provide an avenue for recovery if there is not a duty to report under Pennsylvania law.


December 13th, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

For criminal prosecution, if thew law states a particular person is required to report it to their superior, then everyone but the top person on that ladder is in the clear, so I guess the President not reporting it to police would potentially incur criminal charges.

In a civil case for damages, they would most likely look at who ever is being sued and try to decide if their actions/lack of action amounted to a tacit approval of the abuse, thus allowing it to not only occur in the current reported case (cases? 1998 vs. 2002, not sure what was know when yet) but to continue for subsequent victims. This works for suing anyone privy to the information that did not report it to police, as well as any organizaton they were employed by that was providing access/continued access to children or facilities where the abuse occured. 


December 13th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

I don't know what kind of beneficial plea deal he could look for in this case though. He almost certainly will be looking at life for his age even on a plea and reductions in financial penalties will be useless for all the civil suits unless he was unreal indemnification from a cooperative Penn State and Second Mile. Maybe some advanced stipulation to assignment to one of the Federal Prisons with sex criminal treatment programs where he is less like to face abuse from the general inmate population?


December 13th, 2011 at 10:32 AM ^

This merits a response.  People often assume that a pedophile who molests boys is inherently (or at least more likely to be) attracted to men.  This is false.  Pedophiles are in fact much more likely to have heterosexual attractions to women when it comes to their orientation toward adults, this even if their preference with children is boys.   I'm pointing this out b/c child molestation is sometimes used as a reason for discrimination against gay men.  It should not be.  If you were just going by statistics, you'd be better off with a gay man looking after kids than a straight one. 


December 13th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

but, if guilty, the Death Penalty should apply to Sandusky AND Penn State Univerisity.  Tear down all the buildings, close the school, sell the land to Donald Trump for a shopping mall.

Let Penn State fade away into obscurity.  May we NEVER forget the victims.  May God bless them for the rest of their lives.


December 13th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

Agree on all counts except our collective attention span is that of a five year child unfortunately.  If this SOB plea's then we'll be all spun up for a day or two then it'll fade away as something new takes it place.  How are things in Haiti, for example?  That got boring to the media about a week after the quake so based on the coverage I'm guessing everything is fixed right up good as new. And Japan?  Wall to wall coverage while that Nuke plant was potentially melting down but since that got under control (allegedly) then no news from the land of the rising sun.  I guess everything got put back as it was there too.

Unless the hammer comes down HARD during a trial this will likely fade away like everything else does as we turn our national outrage elsewhere.


December 13th, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

Unless a bunch of people open up their check books, there are going to be civil cases that drag on about this for a long time.  The national media might lose focus, but I think it will be hard for followers of college sports not to be aware.  The spotlight stayed on the Catholic Church for years.