Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Man Without Civil Rights

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The man in the mustard-colored prison jumpsuit apologized in court to the judge for not being able to show remorse for his crimes. But the most notorious pedophile in America had a good reason for not playing along with the well-worn script in his case -- "because it's something that I didn't do," the inmate told the judge.

Jerry Sandusky, still protesting his innocence, was back in court last week to be re-sentenced after the latest official screwup in this ongoing travesty of a case. An appeals court had ruled that the trial judge hadn't properly applied mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines when he put Sandusky away the first time back in 2012 for 30 to 60 years.

But in the grand tradition of the Pennsylvania judiciary, circling the wagons, a new judge, the Honorable Maureen Skerda, gave Sandusky the exact same sentence that he got the first time around -- 30 to 60 years in jail. The message from the Pennsylvania judiciary was unmistakable -- we may have screwed up the details, but when it comes to Jerry Sandusky and the rest of the defendants in the so-called Penn State sex scandal, the U.S. Constitution doesn't apply, and neither does the Bill of Rights. Lock 'em up and throw away the key.

The most nauseating moments of the criminal proceeding at the Centre County Courthouse came when Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Buck, representing a corrupt office that has a shameful track record in this case, charged Sandusky with several new crimes allegedly committed in jail.

Buck the crusader told the judge about Sandusky's shocking prison transgressions  -- not returning his meal tray, objecting to being moved out of his cell, and complaining about phone calls that he wanted to make.

"It's failure to take responsibility, claiming that he is the victim, which is a theme throughout this case, and it's his rights that are being violated," the sanctimonious prosecutor told the judge.

Sorry Ms. Buck, but Sandusky and his lawyers have a point; his constitutional rights have been shamefully violated, as have the constitutional rights of all the other defendants in this case.

Let's briefly review the shocking behavior of the authorities who are responsible for putting Sandusky away for life, and crucifying three former Penn State administrators for an alleged crime that turned out to be unconstitutional.

One of Buck's glorious predecessors is former deputy Attorney General Frank Fina, a lead prosecutor in the Sandusky case. Fina is presently before the state Supreme Court, and it's not because he's representing a client. Fina's in danger of losing his law license because of his overzealous misconduct during the Penn State investigation.

What did prosecutor Fina do? In the secrecy of the grand jury, by bullying a defense lawyer and hoodwinking a judge, Fina cynically worked to deprive the three other Penn State defendants of their constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer.

Cynthia Baldwin, former counsel for those same defendants, is also presently before the state Supreme Court. She's facing public censure for her misconduct in betraying her own clients at Fina's command, by testifying in secret before the grand jury against those clients.

Why did Baldwin violate the most sacred duty of any lawyer? Because Fina the overzealous and unprincipled bully had threatened her with indictment.

And what about Judge Skerda's predecessor, the original trial judge in this case, the Hon. John Cleland? He wasn't around because he had to recuse himself from the case.

Now here's a jurist Pennsylvania can be proud of. Cleland's the judge who oversaw the mad rush to convict Sandusky in just seven months after his arrest. How did the judge pull that off? By trampling on Sandusky's constitutional rights.

Before the trial started, Sandusky's defense lawyer tried to get the trial postponed so he could wade through 12,000 pages of grand jury transcripts he had just received only 10 days before the start of trial.

The defense lawyer begged for a continuance, telling the judge that he needed time to read the files and find out what Sandusky's accusers were saying about him; he also needed time to subpoena witnesses.

But the judge said sorry, we've got a schedule to stick to, so no delays.

"We can't prepare . . . I felt like Custer at Little Bighorn for God's sake," Joseph Amendola, Sandusky's original defense lawyer, testified during an appeals hearing.

Jerry Sandusky had a constitutional right to a fair trial, but in order to save Penn State football, which was being threatened with the death penalty by the NCAA, Sandusky had to be convicted and sitting in jail before the start of the 2012 college football season. To top off a deal that PSU had struck with the NCAA to voluntarily take their lumps, but save the Nittany Lions from extinction.

Jerry Sandusky also had a constitutional right to confront his accusers, but Judge Cleland took care of that too.

The night before the preliminary hearing in the case, the only opportunity where Sandusky's lawyers would have had the right to confront his accusers, the eight young men who claimed that Sandusky had abused them, Judge Cleland convened an unusual meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn. At the meeting, with the prosecutors nodding in agreement, the judge talked Amendola into waiving the preliminary hearing.

So the Pennsylvania railroad that Sandusky was riding on could stay on schedule.

After he recused himself, the Hon. Judge Cleland was replaced by the Hon. Judge John Foradora, who presided over the appeal hearings where Sandusky was denied a new trial. To pull that off, Judge Foradora had to turn a blind eye to all of the shocking unconstitutional transgressions of the judges, prosecutors and other authorities in the case.

And why did Judge Foradora have to step down? Because an associate was being investigated by the state attorney general's office.

Let's not forget the other rampant misconduct and malfeasance in this case.

The cops were caught on tape conspiring with a defense lawyer to lie to one of the alleged victims, to extract the testimony they needed to convict Sandusky.

The therapists in the case relied on recovered memory therapy, such as hypnosis and guided imagery, that is completely unscientific and banned as testimony in other jurisdictions.

The victims in the case, civil and criminal, made no contemporaneous reports of abuse. Most came forward after PSU waved the white flag of surrender to the NCAA. And every plaintiff's lawyer in Pennsylvania was trying to get in on the gold rush at Penn State.

All of these alleged victims told improbable and constantly changing stories that were never vetted by anyone.

Indeed, the trustees at Penn State, who completely abdicated their responsibilities, wrote out $118 million in checks to 36 alleged victims in the case without doing anything to vet the truthfulness of the claims.

We're talking about lie detector tests, interviews with private detectives, depositions by lawyers, examinations by forensic psychiatrists, background checks, etc. None of this was done by anybody at Penn State. Instead, they just wrote out checks to put the scandal behind them.

By the way, wasn't it interesting that none of the so-called victims in the case showed up at the courthouse to confront their alleged tormenter after they all got paid?

There is such a stench that hangs over this case, a stench that comes from greedy plaintiff's lawyers and clients who didn't even have to give up their real names in order to hit the lottery.

The stench also emanates from the attorney general's office, where unprincipled prosecutors running wild during the Sandusky case were repeatedly leaking grand jury secrets to investigators at the other ongoing and supposedly independent probe at Penn State being conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The prosecutors in the AG's office were also guilty of deliberately twisting the words of their star witness to fictionalize the grand jury presentment, and create the false headline allegation that Sandusky had supposedly been witnessed raping a 10-year-old boy in the shower. Then one of the prosecutors, according to the testimony of that star grand jury witness, deliberately leaked the presentment to prejudice the jury pool.

Eighteen years later, however, no victim of the infamous shower rape has ever came forward -- his identity was "known only to God" the prosecutor told the jury. And a previously unknown but contemporaneous federal investigation back in 2012 not only determined that the facts of the alleged shower rape didn't make any sense, but also that the only alleged star witness to the crime, former assistant Penn State football coach Mike McQueary, simply wasn't credible.

And we're supposed to believe that even though they did everything wrong, the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania somehow got it right when it came time to re-sentence Sandusky?

Like the plight of another defendant in this sorry case, former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Sandusky's only hope is to get out of Pennsylvania. And find a federal judge who may have read the U.S. Constitution.

On May 1st, Spanier was scheduled to report to the Dauphin County Prison at 9 a.m. to serve his sentence after being convicted on one misdemeanor count of child endangerment. But the night before, a federal magistrate ruled that all the previous judges and prosecutors who had been involved in the case had violated the U.S. Constitution. How'd they do that? By charging Spanier with an alleged crime in 2001 under a state child endangerment statute that didn't get passed until 2007.

You can not try a person for a crime ex post facto, or after the fact, the federal magistrate said, if that law originally didn't apply to him. Or to the other two Penn State administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who were bludgeoned into pleading guilty and going to jail for the exact same unconstitutional crime.

It was something that every judge and prosecutor associated with the Spanier case had completely missed, or willfully ignored.

Like Spanier, Sandusky's only hope is to get his case out of Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, there's one last culprit that needs to be called out in this debacle.

The media. When Sandusky went on trial, 240 reporters were there along with 30 TV trucks. The mindless mob provided hysterical, uncritical coverage of an unconstitutional spectacle that was a travesty of justice.

And for the past seven years, despite a steady stream of documents that have leaked out testifying to the malfeasance, incompetence and outright corruption of what happened at Penn State -- such as the 110-page report on the federal investigation that found McQueary to be not credible -- the media has stubbornly refused to take a second look at the Sandusky case.

Why? Because, like the judges of Pennsylvania, the media has also circled the wagons. To hide their own malpractice and corruption.


  1. "...the U.S. Constitution doesn't apply, and neither does the Bill of Rights. Lock 'em up and throw away the key."

    I thought exactly the same thing when I first heard Sandusky got the exact same sentence.

    I'm not so sure that if PA appeals Spanier's case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court that they might not overturn the constitutional ban on retroactive laws for Spanier.

    In a similar case in 2003, Stogner v. California, the Supreme Court ruled just 5-4 for the plaintiff, who was accused of sex abuse after the statute of limitations (SOL) had expired. He had been convicted based on a retroactive extension of the SOL passed well after the original SOL had expired.

    Given the dozens of cases where the Roberts' court has overruled Supreme Court precedents, I wouldn't be surprised if they allowed retroactive laws to apply to accused child molesters or their accused enablers.

  2. I was surprised that Sandusky's lawyer did not emphasize the janitor hoax. This was Fina's greatest coup...creating a fictional victim in order to drag Paterno and the football program into the fiasco to enhance the media frenzy. Fina had a janitor perjure himself to state that he did not report it due to fear of Joe Paterno. Problem is, it was his supervisor that was responsible to report such an incident to campus police. NOBODY questioned this, nor brought up the fact that the janitors were represented by the Teamster's Union. Fear of Paterno, indeed! This story had more gaping holes than the surface of Yucca Flats, but the media went along with it like puppets on strings. My cat would have smelled this out. A child of 12 would have smelled this out. Nobody else had any olfactory capability.

    1. Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola, was in way over his head. He never tried a child sex abuse case before. Sandusky should have dumped him after he got Sandusky to give the disastrous TV interview, which was later used as key evidence against him.

      One of the most laughable examples of Amendola's incompetence was when he told reporters that anyone who believed Sandusky sexually abused boys should phone 1-800-REALITY. That number was actually a gay sex line!

      The fix was obviously in for the judge in Sandusky's appeal not to rule he had inadequate counsel.

  3. The janitor hoax was quite the coup. And Sandusky's lawyers were so overwhelmed they didn't know the state troopers had interviewed the janitor who, it was claimed, supposedly saw another shower sexcapade, and asked it was Sandusky that he saw in the shower, and the janitor repeatedly said it wasn't.

    And Sandusky gets convicted of that too. Justice on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

    1. Frankly, I think that the janitor was drunk as a skunk. The key issue is that the supervisor was responsible for reporting to campus police. That dog did not bark. Suborned perjury on steroids! Fina's masterpiece.

    2. Was Cleland in on the hoax? You betcha! Any jurist who allows highly prejudicial hearsay with no corroboration is in it up to his neck.

  4. Delta Force would have executed him with hardly a thought.

  5. Based on the disposition of the charges against Fina that will be decided by the challenged PA Supreme Court, would that not be grounds for Sandusky to be granted a new appeal and a new trial?

    As much as the media invested in crucifying Penn State, they now have a better crusade in bringing down the Royal Family and Prince Andrew.

    The Prince may have been Epstein's Linebacker Coach.

    Louie Freeh might emerge again as the Epstein Saga Unfolds.

    1. The ethics charges against Frank Fina only dealt with his misconduct in the Curley-Schultz-Spanier case. Fina told the grand jury judge he would not violate attorney-client privilege when he questioned their lawyer, Cynthia Baldwin, then he did it anyway. Several charges against C-S-S were thrown out because of Fina's misconduct.

      I don't think they will get too far with Prince Andrew as he is a foreign national. He doesn't have to talk to U.S. prosecutors. With Epstein dead, it will be difficult to make a case against any of his powerful friends, like Prince Andrew, President Trump and Bill Clinton. Had he lived, he could have testified against them all in return for a lesser sentence. That was a strong motive to murder him in prison.

  6. Or Epstein like a loyal soldier chose to hang himself to die a legally innocent man and protect his estate.

    1. The London Bookies are doing a brisk business on the speculation and date of Prince Andrew's passing.

      Only a mere coincidence, they say, if knifed by a misunderstood and freed Islamic Terrorist.

      The future as seen through the lens of a Soros DemonRat Krasner Judicial System.

  7. Let us not forget that Baldwin's daughter was involved in a fatal traffic accident at about the time she flipped. That case has disappeared into the abyss. Here out West,the media would have been all over it. Another slight of hand by Frank (The Rat) Fina, or just a random lapse by the "Inky"??

    1. Cynthia Baldwin also killed a motorcycle rider in a car accident and got three tickets. The family threatened to sue but there was never much news coverage. I can't even find any online articles about the car accident at this point.

      I suspect Baldwin's lawyers got to the family fast with a settlement and NDA. She probably did the same thing for the daughter.

  8. Yeah right, greedy plaintiff's lawyers forced Penn State to write out checks...maybe they knew that further investigation would lead to a worse outcome.

    1. Penn State decided to bring in the same guy who did the 9-11 settlements and handle it without consulting their insurance company. The insurance company later balked at paying the overgenerous settlements Penn State arranged without vetting the claims. Penn State did not get complete reimbursement from the insurance company but I don't believe they ever revealed how many millions, or more likely tens-of-millions, the insurance company did not pay.

      Why would Penn State pay millions more to do the settlements themselves when they already paid an insurance company to handle those kind of claims?

    2. All that tells me is that the decision makers determined that if they went to trial they would lose even bigger and the institutions already tarnished reputation could be destroyed beyond repair. People here need to accept that the settlements were paid to PREVENT a hearing in order to save the university because the hearings would not have exonerated Sandusky or anyone else involved...

    3. And how can that be determined if neither the trustees, nor the lawyers, nor any private detectives, nor any psychiatrists personally interviewed anybody to find out if any of it were true?

      You're really missing the point but maybe you're an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. First you investigate, then you settle if you're going to get killed. But the trustees went into panic mode, abdicated their responsibilities and let PR people make the big decisions.


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