It’s funny. With all the controversy surrounding sports entertainment nowadays, from the steroid and shooting scandals to the NBA lockout, you’d think that there couldn’t be any more controversies left for it to broach. Well, as we all know now, we were quite wrong.
The latest turn of events in the ever-fascinating and disturbing Jerry Sandusky child molestation saga is that the disgraced retired Penn State assistant coach has waived his chance at a preliminary hearing. The report is shocking seeing as how Sandusky can’t seem to keep his mouth shut about his case nor able to keep his foot out of the same hole. NPR has done a great job of laying out a timeline of Sandusky’s case. Not only is it an informative look into the sheer madness and scale of the allegations, but it also gives a lot of insight into what Sandusky’s defense attorney is going to do next. And based on everything that’s going on, Sandusky is likely looking to take a plea bargain.
You see, the best piece of evidence we have that suggest Sandusky’s defense attorney is thinking plea bargain is his latest decision to waive the preliminary hearing. To most, this decision may seem contrary to the notion of accepting a plea because as Sandusky’s attorney, Joseph Amendola, states, the decision was more tactical rather than a concession towards any guilt. Amendola has told the press that his decision was due to the inability to challenge the credibility of the witnesses against his client. Though this is certainly a valid consideration seeing as how the prosecution’s case against Sandusky is one that essentially hangs on credibility, the fact of the matter is that Amendola would still have been able to cross-examine each of the witnesses.
Furthermore a preliminary hearing is important when one is preparing for trial as the hearing is the first line to any good defense. The reason is because a preliminary hearing establishes whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. It’s also the first time where evidence can be formally heard and, more importantly, excluded. Waiving it is usually a sign that one doesn’t hold much confidence in their case. And in Sandusky’s situation, there’s a lot to not be confident about.
Why should Amendola be worried about winning at trial? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sandusky is looking at an uphill battle here. Just take a look at his formal indictment. The text will make your head spin. Some of the allegations from the victims sound like something straight out of Deliverance. I won’t recap them here as I have enough nightmares, but if you’re interested, feel free to Google it. It’s all over the internet. However, the point is that should Sandusky be crazy enough to even go to trial, he’s going to get torn apart based on the shock value of the anticipated witness testimony alone. Not to mention the fact that his bizarre statements to the media have likely tainted most people against him.
But getting a trial from an unbiased jury might not be his biggest problem. Much likely recent fallen governor Rod Blagojevich, even if Sandusky somehow gets the jury to be hung, the prosecution isn’t likely to stop trying to prosecute the case against him. His only way out at trial is either a not guilty verdict, which right now is looking nigh impossible, or to plea bargain his way to a better sentence. And at Sandusky’s age, I would think that most men in his position would be looking at their own mortality and likely wouldn’t like the idea of dying behind bars – which a guilty verdict at trial would certainly give him.