Jerry Sandusky attorney Karl Rominger says protective order ‘patently unfair’

mdawson@centredaily.comDecember 31, 2012 


Attorney for Jerry Sandusky, Karl Rominger exits the courthouse after the defense rested it's case Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Sansusky's sexual abuse trial, is being held at the Centre County Courthouse, in Bellefonte, Pa. Centre Daily Times/Nabil K. Mark

One of Jerry Sandusky’s lawyers called the trial judge’s order that he reveal to whom he gave discovery materials from the case “patently unfair,” the attorney wrote in appealing to the state’s Superior Court.

In court papers, Karl Rominger asked the Superior Court to dismiss John Cleland’s order, saying the McKean County judge who presided over the Sandusky case does not have the authority to make attorneys disclose privileged work-product materials. Rominger filed his brief in support of his appeal on Wednesday, the deadline set by the court.

Cleland’s order was handed down in June, after a police interview with Sandusky’s son Matt Sandusky was leaked to the news media. Cleland said it was to protect victims’ privacy by keeping materials not introduced at trial from being released to people not in the case.

Cleland said the prosecutors had to turn over the same information to the judge supervising the grand jury.

But in the appeal, Rominger said the prosecutors should be subject to the same standard and turn over their list to Cleland and not the grand jury judge.

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Rominger wrote. “Here an (o)rder possibly revealing (w)ork (p)roduct and other confidential communications and consultations is being applied to only one set of lawyers.

“This is patently unfair.”

This issue, which has gone on for six months, developed from a small but nevertheless eyebrow-raising part of the Sandusky case.

NBC obtained a recording of the Matt Sandusky police interview during the second week of the trial and aired it on national TV. In the interview, Matt Sandusky told police his adoptive father touched him inappropriately but not sexually.

The defense has said Matt Sandusky was going to testify for them, but the interview destroyed the adopted son’s credibility and thwarted their strategy to have Jerry Sandusky take the stand.

A jury went on to convict Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of abuse, and a few days after the verdict, Cleland called a closed-door hearing over the Matt Sandusky audio leak and issued the protective order.

Rominger is also challenging Cleland’s ruling, saying the order was reached by agreement. Rominger said they agreed to a “prospective” order.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola already has responded to the judge’s order, and his response was allowed to be filed under seal.

In November, prosecutors asked the Superior Court to throw out the appeal because Rominger had not met the court-imposed deadline. Rominger was given an extension, which he met Wednesday.

In a previous filing, Cleland wrote that the Superior Court did not have the jurisdiction to handle the appeal, but if the higher court took it up, he wants to have a chance to respond.

Sandusky is in solitary confinement, serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in the maximum security state prison in Greene County.

His attorneys are asking for a new trial on the grounds they did not have enough time to prepare their case. They will be in Centre County Court Jan. 10 for a hearing.

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service