85 public seats available for Jerry Sandusky sentencing next week in Bellefonte

mdawson@centredaily.comOctober 2, 2012 

— Get in line early if you want to be at the sentencing hearing for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky next week.

There will be 85 seats at the sentencing that are reserved for the public, county court officials announced today.

The sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 9 in courtroom No. 1 of the Centre County Courthouse. Public seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open starting at 7:45 a.m.

The public is not allowed to bring into the courthouse cellphones, laptop computers or other electronic devices.

The first part of the sentencing will be a hearing during which the prosecution will ask to have Sandusky declared a sexually violent predator. An assessment by the state's Sexual Offender Assessment Board recommends he be declared a predator, which would mean he has to register as a sex offender if he's ever released from prison.

Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola has said the former Penn State assistant football coach is working on writing his version of the events that eight young men testified about at his trial in June. It is not known if he will make a statement to the judge or the victims or if he will stay quiet.

The young men will have the chance to give victim impact statements, either in open court or submitted to the judge for his use when determining the sentence.

The 68-year-old Sandusky is facing what is likely to be a life sentence in a state prison given the number of counts. Amendola has said he likely will ask the judge to run some of the counts concurrently, so they do not lengthen the sentence.

Court officials made similar provisions for the public during Sandusky's trial. The crowd was accommodated except for the last two days of the trial, when people had to be turned away because there were not enough seats.

One side of East High Street beside the courthouse has been closed since the fire last month at the Hotel Do De, but it is expected to be reopened this week.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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