Joe Amendola: Due process not served

adanahy@centredaily.comOctober 10, 2012 

— Due process of the law means having enough time to prepare for a trial even if others want to put it behind them, Jerry Sandusky’s attorney said.

Speaking after Sandusky’s sentencing Tuesday, attorney Joe Amendola said the defense needed more time to prepare for trial, and that will be one of the grounds for appealing the former Penn State football coach’s conviction on 45 counts of sexually abusing boys. Amendola questioned why the attorney general’s investigation went on for three years before Sandusky was arrested.

“If Jerry was such a beast, such a monster, why didn’t the attorney general arrest him with the first investigation? Get him off the streets, rather than allow him out for another three years while they investigated,” he said.

Attorney General Linda Kelly defended the handling of the case Tuesday, calling the criticism that the office, previously led by now-Gov. Tom Corbett, took too long “baseless.”

“Although the Sandusky investigation was largely completed by the time I became involved as attorney general, it was apparent to me that the use of the grand jury was an appropriate means of investigating the matter, that considerable time and effort had been expended to move the investigation to the point where it was ready to be charged, and that all of the dedicated professionals involved wanted only a just outcome in the case,” Kelly said in a statement. “There was no other agenda.”

Amendola also questioned the motives of Penn State leaders, saying they want to put the case behind them, including their efforts to settle out of court with Sandusky victims before the trial of former university administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. They are scheduled to go to court in January on charges they perjured themselves in their testimony to the grand jury investigating Sandusky.

“In my opinion they want to move on,” Amendola said of the university board.

“That’s great, but not at the expense of due process, not at the expense of someone else’s rights,” he said.

Due process, Amendola said, “includes the concept of being able to properly and adequately prepare your defense before you show up in court,” Amendola said.

He said the defense team had to sort through thousands of pages of documents and didn’t have time to get some information, such as phone records of witnesses to find out if they were in communications with each other. He said the jury consultant the defense attorneys wanted to use was tied up with another case, so they had to select a jury without her because Judge John Cleland wouldn’t delay the trail.

“These are the types of things that go into the due process concept,” he said.

Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy.

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