Three weeks after Judge John Cleland denied all of Jerry Sandusky’s post-trial motions, Sandusky and his attorneys filed a notice of appeal with the Pennsylvania Superior Court, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Sandusky's attorneys are asking the Superior Court in Harrisburg to overturn Sandusky's conviction and grant him a new trial.
The former Penn State defensive coordinator was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October after being convicted on 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing boys.
Two of the main arguments from defense counsel are that the defense did not have enough time to prepare for trial with the vast amount of discovery material given to it before trial, and that during closing argument of the trial, the prosecution “improperly commented on the defendant’s failure to testify at trial,” according to court documents of the appeal.
Defense attorney Norris Gelman said that the filing of the appeal is the next step in requesting a new trial for Sandusky. Sandusky’s other attorneys, Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger, did not return a request for comment as of press time Thursday.
State College Defense Attorney Matt McClenahen said that, in general for most cases, it is unlikely that someone will be granted a new trial.
“Only a small minority of cases [will be retried] because most often the trial court gets it right,” McClenahen said.
McClenahen said the next step in this process is that Judge Cleland will issue an order directing the defense counsel to file a statement of matters complained of an appeal, which will be a numerical list where the defense will state all the issues it will raise in the appeal.
Then, Cleland will write an opinion stating why he ruled a particular way during pre-trial, trial and post-trial motions with respect to the issues the defense states in the appeal, McClenahen said.
The defense and prosecution will then file separate briefs and the Superior Court will schedule oral arguments, which will be broadcast on Pennsylvania Cable Network, McClenahen said.
The purpose of oral arguments is for the three-judge panel on the Superior Court to better understand the point of the arguments made by the defense and prosecution, McClenahen said.
The three-judge panel will then take the arguments under advisement and send an opinion out via email to the attorneys usually three to four months after the oral arguments were first made, McClenahen said. If the appeal is successful, the case will be remanded for a new trial, McClenahen said.
Director of Communications at the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Ellen Mellody did not return a request for comment as of press time Thursday.