Jerry Sandusky's Jury

The jury that will decide Jerry Sandusky’s fate conists of 8 people with direct ties to Penn State.

And we’re not talking about people who know someone who knows someone at at Penn State. Three of them are currently employed by the university. One is a retired faculty member. One is a current student. One holds undergrad and graduate degrees from PSU and one has been a football season ticket holder for 30+ years. And jurer number 12 served on some committee with disgraced former university president Graham Spanier, who resigned because of the Sandusky situation.

I don’t know whether these jurors are pro Sandusky or not, but how could they have been chosen as impartial? Do you suppose this is good for the prosecution, the defense, or none of the above? In an area dominated by Penn State, how did this trial not get moved?

*I posted this in MPSIMS because it’s not a pitting, it’s not a debate, and it’s only very vaguely related to sports. Please move where appropriate if necessary.

Which way does that cut, though? Is Sandusky still part of Penn State or is he an embarrassment to Penn State? In other words, if a juror is biased toward protecting Penn State, is the best way to accomplish that by acquitting Sandusky or by convicting him?

Well, that’s my question. Who benefits from that jury? You can’t help but think all those PSU ties means some jurors have their minds made up one way or the other already.

Apparently a lot of people were showing up for jury selection decked out in PSU gear, either as a show of solidarity or an attempt to be immediately dismissed from jury duty.

Nobody is pro-Sandusky. Their feelings towards Joe Paterno on the other hand, will be a different story.

I grew up about 2 hours away from that campus. Every time I entered a grocery store or a mall, I would see at least 5 people wearing Penn State gear. I’m betting they wore those clothes because they were clean.

Were any of the jurors holding cardboard tubes? That’s what would really worry me.

Yeah, I kind of feel like if these people are pro Paterno and pro Penn State, they might want to “prove” Sandusky never did anything wrong, which would clear Paterno’s name and record.

There was an article on Newsweek that said that Defense fought to prevent a change in venue. Its unusual because usually, the defense wants to move the trial. Looks like they got what they wanted with this jury, now we’ll just have to see if it plays out like the defense suspects it will

On the surface though, it doesn’t look good. Even though no one is pro-Sandusky, acquitting him may be a way to salvage Paterno’s memory and legacy, as if saying “Sandusky wasn’t guilty, so Paterno didn’t do anything wrong”. I suspect that was the defense’s calculation.

Think about it. If Sandusky is convicted, that would mean that officially and legally, Paterno did basically keep a child molester around kids for years and didn’t do anything to stop it

This was probably inevitable with the trial behind held in that area, and I also have no idea what it’s going to mean. But I am not sure loyalty to Penn State will mean anything because it can cut both ways: either he’s a good guy because he was a footbal coach or he betrayed PSU and destroyed Paterno’s career and deserves to burn in hell or whatever. I am even more doubtful that the ghost of Joe Paterno will affect the trial. People who think he was scapegoated blame Penn State, not Jerry Sandusky. When the trial starts, the jury will probably sit there and hear testimony from a bunch of guys who say Sandusky molested them when he was supposed to be supervising them on behalf of a charity. It’s hard for me to imagine one person in 12 (or 8) being so biased by a connection to Penn State that they won’t convinct if the evidence is there.

Yeah, but based on my (single) jury duty experience, people try really hard to put aside their biases. Now, at some level, they are going to affect you, but I think the average person does their best to achieve a fair result in the jury room.

See, this is what I was getting at about clearing Paterno’s name. It would be nice to think all those folks would be unbiased and it would be nice to think Paterno’s ghost won’t have any bearing. But if you know college football fans and if you know what Joe Paterno meant to that community, well, it’s hard to imagine how this jury got selected. I get that the area is rich with PSU connections, but 3 current employees, a current student and a 30+ year season ticket holder!?! If you were the defense you’d be crazy not to hammer home the point that “hey, Joe freakin’ Paterno didn’t think anything bad was going on. How you can you convict this guy?” If I were them, I would absolutely draw the connection that a Sandusky conviction = a Paterno conviction.

Huh. So they couldn’t get Sandusky himself on the jury, I guess?

Sandusky’s lawyer might actually be crazy, but I’m not sure he is crazy enough to drone on and on about the opinions of Joe Paterno, who was never in the room when any of this stuff happened, was not an expert on child abuse, said he was never really informed of what Sandusky was doing, and is not on trial, while the defense presents eight guys who say Sandusky molested them. It sounds like a horrendously bad strategy.

Heck, half those jurors might be witnesses too! :eek:

Can somebody 'splain to me a point of law here? Does the prosecutor have the prerogative to request a change of venue, or can only the defense ask for that? Usually, as noted up-thread, a change would be requested by the defense if the crime is too notorious and too well-known locally.

My WAG is that such a tied-in jury, in this strange case, would more likely be inclined to let Sandusky off (on the theory, described earlier, that absolving him also absolves, by proxy, Penn and Paterno). This is speculated as being exactly the defense attorney’s strategy, so he wouldn’t want to relocate.

By this same logic, the prosecutor should want to move the trial. Thus, my question. Does the prosecutor have this option?

And if so, why didn’t he request change of venue? Maybe he’s secretly pro-(Penn+Paterno+Sandusky) too. Or maybe he requested and the judge refused? Maybe the judge is biased?

No matter how anyone think it’s going to cut, this jury just doesn’t pass the smell test. And if they acquit, there will be no appeal because of it.

But see, you’re using logic and reason. I propose that hardcore college football fans (or really, hardcore enthusiests of any kind) lack those tools when it directly affects the very thing they worship. And I do mean worship, as in PSU and Paterno are practically religious figures.

Put yourself in the shoes of the Penn State student juror. If you are led to believe that the Sandusky conviction = Paterno conviction, there’s no way you can find him guilty and go back to school.

I don’t have a cite handy, but I heard on the radio that this is exactly what happened. Couldn’t say if the judge was biased, thought it wouldn’t matter or just wanted the publicity, but I’d guess the latter.

Once the change of venue was removed from consideration, such a jury pool was inevitable. Just about everybody in the town has a connection to the university. That’s what happens when you have a huge university in a relatively small town.

I think Sandusky’s (alleged) actions are considered a stain on the legacy of Joe Paterno and the University’s football program. As a Penn State graduate, I can’t imagine anyone connected with the University or supportive of Paterno or the program getting behind Sandusky. So to speak. I think the makeup of the jury means it’s all over for the guy.

And Paterno and PSU are not on trial. A guy who brought phenomenal shame on PSU and whose actions led to Joe Paterno’s firing is on trial. I think you’re being overboard is assuming that these people are irrational and stupid with regard to the school. Voting to convict Sandusky is not voting to indict Paterno.

Then why did the defense fight to keep the trial local? Obviously they also felt like getting a jury full of people with PSU connections would be more sympathetic. Joe Paterno is not on trial, but his opinion meant something. He’s not around anymore, but Sandusky’s defense listed Joe’s son and wife as potential witnesses. They’re going to try to tie Paterno into this thing and, irrational or not, I think that could be significant to the jurors with strong PSU ties.

I understand what the defense thinks: most people are going to want to string the guy up by his ankles, and maybe someone who cares about the guy’s achievements in football ending in 1999 will feel differently. I am disagreeing with you that there’s much of a chance that a connection to Penn State will get a juror to vote to acquit Sandusky if the evidence is there.

His opinion about football meant something. I don’t think the prosecution would have a hard time pointing out that he was not an expert on child abuse or child molesters, and that even if you believe Paterno was a sterling judge of character, he didn’t understand what was going on. If you’re one of those people who lights candles for Joe Paterno - which is not all Penn State alumni and not all of its football fans - a vote to convict this guy doesn’t have to say anything other than “Joe Paterno didn’t get it.”

Agree with this. Looks like they are handing out the brushs for an old-fashioned ‘Whitewash’.