We believe very strongly in a person’s right to trial, and to their right of appeal after that, but jeepers, it would be nice if Jerry Sandusky’s story would go away for awhile. It won’t, of course:
Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer faced skeptical questioning Tuesday from three judges on the Pennsylvania appeals court over his client’s request that they order a new trial in his child sexual abuse case.
The arguments made on behalf of Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, include that his lawyers didn’t have time to prepare for trial, that a prosecutor made improper references to Sandusky not testifying and that the judge mishandled jury instructions. The Superior Court judges did not indicate when they would rule.
Attorney Norris Gelman told the panel of three judges that the trial judge was wrong when he declined to tell jurors they should consider the lag between the incidents of sexual abuse and when the victims told authorities.
“None of them, none of them made a prompt report,” Mr. Gelman said. “And the time that elapsed between the molestation and the initial report is striking.”
At least one of the judges appeared skeptical. When Mr. Gelman said that judges are supposed to tell jurors to consider a lag in reporting as one factor in assessing the credibility of a witness, even when that person is a child, Senior Judge William Platt interrupted.
“The comment to the instruction says otherwise,” the judge said. “The instruction is not appropriate where a child or a person otherwise incapable by mental infirmity of promptly reporting the incident is the alleged victim.”
Gelman, a former Philadelphia prosecutor, is known for defending Ira Einhorn, dubbed the “unicorn killer,” when the counterculture leader was tried in absentia in 1993 for the 1977 murder of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. Gelman spent four years fighting Einhorn’s extradition fromFrance following his arrest in 1997 after 16 years on the run. Einhorn was returned to Philadelphia in 2001, retried, convicted and given a life sentence.