Judge han­dling San­dusky’s ap­peal re­moves him­self from the case

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

HARRISBURG >> The judge who has presided over Jerry San­dusky’s crim­i­nal case for five years is­sued a sternly worded or­der on Fri­day re­mov­ing him­self from the for­mer Penn State as­sis­tant coach’s ap­peal.

Judge John Cle­land said he was tak­ing him­self off the case be­cause San­dusky’s lawyers have raised ob­jec­tions to Cle­land’s role in a De­cem­ber 2011 meet­ing in a ho­tel the night be­fore San­dusky waived a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

“The de­fen­dant’s at­tor­neys have im­pugned the com­pe­tence and in­tegrity of es­sen­tially ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with the grand jury’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the de­fen­dant’s con­duct, the de­fen­dant’s trial and con­vic­tion, and these post-con­vic­tion pro­ceed­ings,” Cle­land wrote . “Now they have cho­sen to im­pugn the in­tegrity of the court it­self.”

Cle­land said the ac­cu­sa­tions against at­tor­neys, judges, ju­rors, in­ves­ti­ga­tors and vic­tims were out­side the bounds of the le­gal pro­fes­sion and should be re­viewed by the state board that han­dles mat­ters of lawyer dis­ci­pline. San­dusky’s ap­peals lawyer, Al Lind­say, de­clined to com­ment, as did a spokesman for the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice.

San­dusky, 72, was con­victed in 2012 of 45 counts of child sex­ual abuse and is serv­ing up to 60 years in pri­son. He has pre­vi­ously lost a round of ap­peals to the state Su­pe­rior and Supreme courts and is cur­rently seek­ing a new trial un­der the state’s Post-Con­vic­tion Re­lief Act, which is lim­ited to claims of con­sti­tu­tional vi­o­la­tions, newly dis­cov­ered ev­i­dence or in­ef­fec­tive coun­sel. His ap­peal in­volves all three types of claims.

At is­sue is a meet­ing held at the Hil­ton Gar­den Inn in State Col­lege the night of Dec. 12, 2011. It was at­tended by Cle­land, San­dusky lawyer Joe Amendola, state pros­e­cu­tors Joe McGet­ti­gan and Jonelle Esh­bach, and District Judge Robert Scott, who had been ap­pointed to pre­side at the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing sched­uled for the next day.

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