Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sandusky's lawyer has it all wrong.

The Jerry Sandusky tragedy is fascinating and I have strong feelings on several aspects of the case.  I rarely state my opinions as to the strength of high profile cases in the news, even in private conversations with friends and family.  I make arguments all of the time, but I never really state my true opinion.  My profession requires me to argue positions with which I do not always agree, so in private I try to hone those skills by taking the unpopular or opposing view, just for the sake of argument (it makes for interesting dinner conversations at parties!!).  Oftentimes I don't even have a personal opinion.  I just make the arguments based on the facts presented, or based on who is paying the retainer.  If you asked me whether Casey Anthony should be sued in civil court for the wrongful death of her daughter, I would say "I don't know, who do I represent?"

But for this case, I am going to make an exception.  I think he's guilty.  The reason I feel so comfortable making that proclamation seven days into a two year process is that Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, went on national television last night and let everyone know that his theory of the case is completely wrong.  They're already focusing on the children.  Supposedly, they have several alleged victims who will say that the abuse never occurred.  He's way off base with his theory of the case however.  

This case, ultimately, will not be about children.  Children can be manipulated.  Their memories can be impeached or even recreated, especially by veteran defense attorneys under the hot lights of cross-examination.  This case, however, will be about adults.  Independent, third-party, adult witnesses who have already testified under oath in front of a grand jury!!  For Sandusky and Amendola to appear on live television last night to proclaim their innocence is completely absurd.  If the only witness was a ten year old child with a history of behavioral problems, maybe you proclaim your innocence and beat the kid up on cross to raise reasonable doubt.  

But that's not what's going on here.  Here we have an independent witness who is a 36 year old assistant college football coach.  We also have two detectives who surreptitiously listened to Sandusky spill his guts to the mother of one of his victims.  Of course, the defense strategy will be to try to exclude that recorded telephone admission from the trial.  Then they'll impeach McQueary's credibility ("You then immediately called the police, didn't you Mr. McQueary?"  "WHAT?!?!?!  YOU WAITED 10 YEARS TO CALL THE POLICE?!?!!?).  So, based on the knowledge publicly available at this point, it may not seem like too much of a stretch for Amendola to think that he can win this case if he has strong doubts about the admissibility of the telephone recording and if he thinks that McQueary is not a credible witness.  

But it's way too early for a lawyer who was hired only five days ago to declare that anyone is innocent.  Again, we are seven days into a two year process.  35 more victims may come forward next week....with pictures.  The police might uncover surveillance video from some random parking lot on campus which shows Sandusky having illicit relations with a poodle.  We don't know at this point.  Anything is possible. Not even I, a rouge blogger intent on inflaming the masses, can argue for Sandusky on this one.  All we do know is that they just committed to a defense that they're going to have to stick with for the next two years.  And it's going to take a lot more than one kid recanting his accusations for Sandusky to prevail in this case.  

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