"Computer glitch" led to publication of PSU report!?!

Submitted by Section 1 on November 12th, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Here's a very interesting look at the PSU investigation from the perspective of Pennsylvania Governor Corbett, who was the state's Attorney General when the grand jury investigation began in 2009.  As reported in the New York Times:


What was so amazingly weird to me is the second to last full paragraph of the story.  That a "computer glitch" (no other explanation offered) was the reason for the report being made available to the public. A computer glitch !?!?

As  lawyer myself, I have been wondering for days why we had been given a view of the grand jury's written report, which isn't a formal charging document, but we had not seen the formal indictment, which I gather might have been filed under seal.  (Filing under seal in a case like this would not be uncommon nor improper, although I make no personal judgment about this case.)  Usually, grand jury reports are not released but charging documents -- indictments -- are publicly filed.

This is an interesting veiwpoint, and some mildly astonishing and unexplained info about the case.

I'm amazed at how badly Penn State as an institution has handled this.  It looks like the confluence of politics, through the governor's office, and a university administration that is so eager to protect itself from any political incorrectness that it will do almost anything, the costs be damned.

Now, granting the obvious -- that the allegations made against Sandusky are appalling and as serious as can be -- I see a lot of evidence of a hasty overreaction on the part of Penn State with respect to everything else.  In the calm light of day, with Sandusky's innocence presumed as a matter of law, and no indictment of anyone other than Sandusky, Curley and Schutlz (the latter two for perjury only); why wouldn't the fair and proper thing to have been to suspend everyone named in the report; Curley, Schultz, Spanier, Paterno, McQueary, etc., with full pay pending a fair investigation of what really happened? 

I am reading the Penn State blogs and among the calls for riots, and the pleas for everyone to stop rioting, and the pledge drives for victimized children... among the few sensible posts are the ones that circle around to detailed analysis of what has really happened and due process for Joe Paterno.  I sit in judgment from afar, not being any sort of a Penn State fan.  To me, the Nittany Lions belong in the Big East or something.  But I do relate, to the home-team bloggers who probably know more about their program than the reporters who are on national tv spouting off about what Penn State should be doing.  Sort of something I learned from being an active part of the Michigan blogosphere, 2009-10...


Section 1

November 12th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

I'm not saying anything about that background.  Which might indeed be why more information about the astonishing "computer glitch" mention desperately needs more explanation.

(U-M grad and Wisconsin Law Prof blogger Ann Althouse also asks for that explanation.)

But the common thread is that the whole episode -- right up to today, if you ask me -- has been just a laughable Keystone Kops exercise in Crisis Management Fail.

Section 1

November 14th, 2011 at 9:30 AM ^

"Computer glitch" was a quote; the phrase drawn directly from the New York Times.  And the quotation marks were absolutely necessary, inasmuch as I can't possibly vouch for whatever was meant by that term.

Since I not only have doubts about what was meant by "computer glitch," and since it is a quote from other published material, it is not an unneccessary quotation.  It is a perfectly neccessary quotation.  The quotes draw attention to the phrase as that of another, with some meaning left unclear.


November 12th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

I don't get what you're saying.  That Penn State leaked the grand jury report?  Because honestly, speaking from the viewpoint of the reputation of the school, the appearance of the report is the worst thing that could have happened.  To begin with, the calls for Paterno's head would've been a small fraction of what they were.


November 12th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

My understanding is that the report was filed incorrectly by the court (or the court's computers). No conspiracy theories here....it happens.

As far as PSUs crisis management, it seems all the 'innocent' parties have complied willingly with the actions taken and nothing here screams "rushed to judgment"...they all knew it was only a matter of time once the report came out.

Section 1

November 12th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

I truly don't know anything about how to explain the "computer glitch" story.  I am not presuming anything, or prejudging anything.

I tend to agree with you, by the way.  Had there been a simple indictment of Sandusky, absent the grand jury report, I really think that Joe Paterno might be coaching today.  Who knows; it all might utlimately affect the B1G championship race(s).

That Curley and Schultz were indicted too makes it all yet more imponderable.  I really don't know.  But what a train wreck.

One guy at Black Shoe Diaries posted this, which I suppose everybdy would now agree with:  "Penn State football as we knew it is gone."


November 12th, 2011 at 12:57 PM ^

You've got Paterno, Curley and Schultz testifying that they were told something that was bad enough for them to ban Sandusky from bringing kids on campus yet they didn't report it to the police. That's enough moral self-incrimination for me to know that these guys don't deserve the jobs they had.

Section 1

November 12th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

But grand juries are very odd legal creations.  Witnesses usually appear without lawyers;  they answer questions from one -- prosecutorial -- side.  Gand jury reports are the product of that.  Indictments are different, and I'd be surprised (although everything about this surprises me) if the indictement(s) mention Paterno.  I suppose that the Curley indictment does mention Joe Pa.

Don't get me wrong; I am not arguing a defense for Paterno.  All that I am suggesting is that it was a very weird, short-circuited process that led to his firing.  As opposed to an administrative suspension pending investigation.  It is going to be a lawyer's dream.  Many lawyers' dreams.


November 12th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

if you're thinking wrongful termination, good luck with that.  i'm sure psu could find many other   things that joepa and the administration covered up in the past.  and i doubt joepa wants to take the stand and defend his actions here or other potential issues.

joepa will have to spend his remaining days defending the civil lawsuits that will be coming his way.


November 12th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

Why are we still talking about this? its game day Michigan is playing the Illini and your posting about something that has already became annoying lets post stuff about how Michigan is going to make this year a 10+ win season and about how awesome it is that our basketball and football teams are both top 25 teams.


November 12th, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

Nope what im saying is this small storyand this happens all over the country and its only a big deal due to Joe Pa. Its become old news and its annoying. I cant watch ESPN without them talking about this every 5 minutes. CNN was blowing it up to. I feel bad for the victims but there are hundreds of thousands of victims all over the world. Why isnt thei rstory just a big? I think its stupid to report like this. So no I could care less if you watch, listen, attend the game I don't care this board has blown up with PSU crap the past few days. Its become old and annoying news. I just wish everyone would shut up and not talk about it or if they did talk about all the other victims of sexual abuse. If its not about Joe Pa and its about the victims then why does everyone still talk about Joe Pa. 

Chunks the Hobo

November 12th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

An interesting read with a critical take on the Pennsylvania AG from a professor who closely tracked the appalling prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke lacrosse case:


More here:


I think it's an important perspective to keep in mind that prosecutors and police too often abuse their authority and do not always deserve people's trust... I would like to say they always have justice in mind, but it's simply not the case.

So it could be a "computer glitch" or it could be something else.  Who knows? Only time and an interest in the truth will help sort out the facts from the assumptions.


November 12th, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

and maybe it takes a lawyer to understand it. But this, RE the fact that the victim in McQueary's shower room story has not been identified:

If there is no crime victim in this situation, there is no crime

Is this supposed to mean it never happened? That it's cool for Sandusky to continue parading his "proteges" on the PSU sidelines for eight years after he mysteriously retired from PSU? This guy (linked above) sounds tendentiously contrarian, to me. He sounds like a lawyer, for what it's worth -- after he pounds the technicalities with aggressive ferocity, all the reader is left with is a sense of confusion and uncertainty. If you have to defend the indefensible, this is the way to do it; this is what a lawyer does.


November 12th, 2011 at 9:46 PM ^

I actually wouldn't bet against Linda Kelly being disbarred at the end of this whole thing. She's singlehandedly turned this trial into a sham that won't seem just even if Sandusky really did what he's been acused of doing. How the hell are they going to be able to select an unbiased jury now?

Section 1

November 12th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

I didn't change it.  As I understand it from the MGoAuthorities, my imposed signature remains in place until after today's game.

It is all about retribution and rehabilitation for my past crimes, whatever they may have been.  You think I've been rehabilitated?


UM Fan in Nashville

November 12th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

Rehabilitated?... Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.

Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society, to—

 I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?

Section 1

November 12th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women,kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." 

He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington." 


November 12th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^

I can tell you that every time we file something under seal, its an adventure. Inevitable some secretary always manages to file the wrong thing. Not saying that's what happened here, but I wouldnt be surprised.


November 12th, 2011 at 1:34 PM ^

I clicked on a thread with PSU in the title and found an article about PSU.

Some will rush to judgement, with the so-called media to the fore.

The bleating of the self-righteous will suggest that anyone who is not learning how to tie a hangman's noose is supporting evil.

Truth will out.



November 12th, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

Section 1, 

Do you anticipate that the testimony transcript will leak at any point? That seems like it might shed great light on how Paterno was questioned, and the exact extent of his knowledge via the assistant who witnessed the 2002 act.

I can't imagine a prosecutor worth his suit and tie wouldn't grill him for specifics on what exactly he was told and the reasons for choices he made with that information.


November 12th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

The coverup becomes worse than the crime, or so they say.  Certainly in the case of Tatgate that was true.  The behavior of PSU in this matter has been simply bizarre.  How could no one possibly have pursued this further in either 1998 or 2002?  It certainly smells like a coverup, particulary in the latter instance.

So now it completely blows up with the Grand Jury indictments.  The PSU administration is caught with their pants down (no pun intended).  So what do they do either than diddle themselves for several days before finally realizing that the shitstorm is a hurricane with them hiding in straw huts?  Fire a couple of guys who appear to be part of a conspiracy of coverup, but JoePa stays on?  WTF?

They finally get their shit together, fire JoePa, and who gives a shit about how they did it as he was clearly trying to impose his power at PSU by the declaration of retirement at end-of-season and don't spend a minute on me?  Total power tends to corrupt, and this is a clear indication of how that concept operates.

We are only at Chapter 1 in this saga and further disclosures will make it only get worse.  On the other hand, the lives of who knows how many boys/men have been ruined by this?  How can anyone make it close to being right for those kids?  And some dumbfucks are praying on JoePa's front yard this morning?

So the devil named Sandusky claims innocence.  Dude, there was an eye witness and we hope you enjoy the rest of your life confronting the same evils that you imposed on powerless young boys.