BELLEFONTE — Jerry Sandusky’s defense team will be able to refile its motions to dismiss the case as prosecutors turn over more evidence from their grand jury investigation into the former defensive coordinator.
That was among the decisions Senior Judge John Cleland made in a ruling Thursday that followed a brief hearing last week to address the defense’s pre-trial motions. They included dismissing the case, sequestering the jury and asking prosecutors to turn over information about uncharged criminal behavior.
Cleland denied the defense’s request to dismiss the case without prejudice, which means the defense can refile that request later.
But Cleland’s decision wasn’t unexpected. Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, asked the judge last week to dismiss it without prejudice. Amendola cited the continuing grand jury investigation and his plan to refile should prosecutors turn over more evidence.
The judge didn’t rule on sequestering the jury, instead delaying the decision to a time closer to trial. Amendola made the request for a sequestered jury, saying he didn’t want the jurors exposed to the publicity and daily reports of the testimony during the trial. The prosecution didn’t object.
Cleland did approve the defense’s request for individual voir dire — a process by which attorneys will question potential jurors one by one at jury selection to determine if they can be impartial and fair. Doing it one by one will likely lengthen the time needed for jury selection, which is scheduled to start June 5 and expected to go for several days.
Among the other decisions, the judge ordered:
the prosecution to turn over a written statement about uncharged criminal misconduct against Sandusky that came from the grand jury investigation.
the defense to notify the prosecution of an alibi defense;
the prosecution to give the defense the prior criminal records of the state’s witnesses.
Sandusky is facing charges for allegedly sexually abusing 10 boys. The former Penn State defensive coordinator coach maintains his innocence and is on house arrest awaiting trial.
Earlier this week, Cleland issued a gag order, telling lawyers on both sides of the case they can’t comment on the case with the media.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.