Sandusky defense wins ruling on use of subpoenas
The state alleges that Joe Amendola, defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky, improperly revealed the names of the 10 alleged victims in subpoenas.
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The defense attorney for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had until Thursday to file his response to accusations by the attorney general's office that he was misusing his subpoena power.
Less than four hours after the 18-page filing was made, McKean County Senior Judge John M. Cleland ruled in Mr. Sandusky's favor.
Still outstanding, though, are several motions to quash the subpoenas in question, filed by the entities that received them.
Those are expected to be disposed of at a hearing Wednesday in Centre County Common Pleas Court.
Mr. Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the case June 5 in Bellefonte.
Judge Cleland gave no explanation for denying the commonwealth's motion, which had asked the court to restrict defense attorney Joseph Amendola's use of subpoenas.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan accused Mr. Amendola of improperly revealing the names of the 10 alleged victims in subpoenas issued to a number of entities, including the Pennsylvania State Police, the Penn State University police and local school districts.
"The commonwealth need not underscore to this honorable court the spectacular irresponsibility of treating secret information in that fashion," Mr. McGettigan wrote in his motion.
But in his response, Mr. Amendola denied any wrongdoing, saying that revealing the names and dates of birth of the alleged victims was "absolutely necessary."
He also claimed that he followed Judge Cleland's order by making sure those receiving the subpoenas knew that the names were to remain protected by including a copy of the court's order.
"The defendant, his counsel, and the rest of his defense team have taken every reasonable step possible to maintain the anonymity of the accusers ... despite the fact that, with [them] now all being adults, the defendant believes his efforts to maintain their anonymity was not legally required but done as a courtesy to the commonwealth and at the direction of the court."
He further alleged that the prosecution doesn't have standing to challenge the subpoenas. Instead, that right belongs only to the entities receiving them, Mr. Amendola wrote.
As far as the breadth and scope of the records he is seeking in the subpoenas, the defense attorney claims they are necessary because the attorney general's office has repeatedly withheld discovery from the defense.
He, specifically, listed three instances where he said prosecutors withheld information -- regarding criminal records of alleged victims, police reports and alleged false reports made by one of the accusers.
Mr. Amendola said in his filing that the attorney general's office provided him criminal records for the person identified in the grand jury presentments as Victim No. 10, but those records fail to show that the man has been convicted of robbery and that he served a state prison term.
In addition, Mr. Amendola accused prosecutors of withholding 72 pages of a Penn State University Police Department report involving the person identified as Victim No. 6.
Mr. Amendola also mentions in his filing the person identified as Victim No. 1. The defense claims it has repeatedly requested information about "false statements and allegations" that person made, including that an "unknown adult male related to the Second Mile had approached him in a bathroom at his high school.
"This allegation by Accuser/Alleged Victim 1 was rejected by high school personnel following an investigation into this matter, and school officials determined that no intruder had entered the high school," Mr. Amendola wrote.
In addition, he accuses the attorney general's office of failing to provide information about accusations made by the same person that someone in another car tried to run him off the road "which was determined to be unfounded by the Pennsylvania State Police trooper who investigated this accident.
"The defendant maintains these types of issues and this type of information is critical to the preparation of his defense and is directly related to the credibility of commonwealth witnesses who will testify against him at trial."
In addition to his response, Mr. Amendola filed another motion seeking additional discovery.
Judge Cleland issued a second order directing the commonwealth to turn over discovery as previously required, and said that any additional questions on the matter will be discussed at the hearing Wednesday.
First Published May 4, 2012 3:51 pm