Three weeks after Jerry Sandusky’s defense team argued for a new trial for the former Penn State defensive coordinator, senior Judge John Cleland on Wednesday denied all the post-sentence motions that were filed on behalf of Sandusky, according to court documents.
Amendola testified during an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 10 at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte that there was nothing he would have done differently in defending Sandusky, even though he said the
defense team was “overwhelmed” by the amount of material given to them before trial, as previously reported.
“Based on trial counsel’s testimony it has been clearly established the defense is not able to prove any actual prejudice flowed from the court’s denial of the continuance motions,” Cleland said, according to court documents.
While Cleland acknowledged that the amount of discovery material produced before trial might have been “vast,” he said the post-trial review of the material done by the defense showed it would not have caused the defense to proceed differently during trial,according to court documents.
“This is simply not a case where trial counsel’s inability to review before trial all of the discovery material produced can be said to have resulted in a ‘structural defect’ that made the lack of a fair trial a virtual certainty,” Cleland said, according to court documents.
Norris Gelman, one of Sandusky’s attorneys, said the defense team plans to file an appeal with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania within two weeks.
“The appeal will renew claims for a new trial in the Superior Court,” Gelman said. “Much of that will be in the context of Judge Cleland’s opinion.”
Gelman said the defense team will essentially argue the same claims they did during the evidentiary hearing, but the argument will be woven into and integrated with the court’s opinion.
State College attorney Matt McClenahen said that it’s normal procedure to argue most of the same claims in appellate court as were argued in district court.
He said one aspect that differs in appellate court, however, is that arguments will be made in front of three judges instead of one.
“You almost always have a better chance in appellate court when you have new judges looking at it,” McClenahen said.
One thing Gelman said the defense team will certainly use to help in their appeals process is a statement lead prosecutor Joe McGettigan made June 21 during closing arguments, which implied Sandusky’s silence during his trial was a clear sign of his guilt, as previously reported.
“He had the complete capacity to exonerate himself at the time,” McGettigan said, according to the trial transcripts.
McClenahen said that McGettigan made a “rookie mistake” by saying that, as it is the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during his trial, as previously reported.
The Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the court documents filed Wednesday.
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