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Sandusky Has Every Right To File An Appeal

Calum Hayes |
January 13, 2013 | 10:59 a.m. PST


Jerry Sandusky was convicted of multiple=
Jerry Sandusky was convicted of multiple=
This article presents an opinion of the Sandusky case that very few have any desire to hear. I will preface it by stating that if Jerry Sandusky is in fact guilty he deserves every year he will spend in prison and more. But what if he isn’t guilty? That is the question Mr. Sandusky’s attorneys are asking in their appeal of his conviction.

Mr. Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, has filed an appeal of Mr. Sandusky’s conviction. He cited a lack of time to prepare for trial, as well as errors in the prosecution’s charges to the jury, as reasons for the appeal. In response, many have cried "foul" at the idea of Mr. Sandusky being granted an appeal. He was convicted of crimes so heinous that it is easy to forget that he still has rights.

However, in the appeal, Amendola states that in the month before the trial, he received over 6,000 pages of paper and dozens of disks containing pertinent information. In the midst of receiving all of this information and preparing his legal arguments, Amendola’s office copy machine, which he used to guard against leaks of confidential material, broke down. This caused Amendola to order his staff to sift through the 6,000 pages of materials they had just received, as opposed to look for potential collaboration among witnesses.

While I cannot definitively say whether or not there is legal precedent for an appeal on these grounds (something that is required), I am willing to believe that Mr. Amendola would not have filed the appeal if there were not. The prosecution noted that all the pertinent information Amendola received could fit into one large cardboard box. If that is indeed the case, we must ask ourselves why the prosecution sent the rest of the information when it was not pertinent. Was the prosecution in fact trying to prevent Mr. Amendola from a thorough examination of evidence that would have allowed him to better search for collusion among witnesses?

These aren’t popular things to say. However, they were issues raised by Amendola the day before the trial. This isn’t a last gasp Hail Mary by a convicted man’s lawyers. Amendola went to the judge the day before the trial and stated that it would be unethical for him to go to trial with his lack of adequate preparation, only to have that request denied. What is the harm in hearing this in trial, now that the defense is adequately prepared? Our legal system was not designed to put guilty men in jail; it was designed to keep innocent ones out.

There is a reason this country clings to the mantra, “innocent until proven guilty.” What if there is evidence that still needs to come to light? If Mr. Sandusky is in fact guilty of these crimes, as the court has previously ruled, the appeal will do no harm and he will go back to prison where he belongs. However, if Mr. Sandusky is in fact not guilty of these crimes, this appeal makes all the difference in the world. This is not to accuse witnesses of lying, or to make the claim that Mr. Sandusky is in fact innocent. It is simply to say that there is no downside to letting this appeal happen. Mr. Sandusky has every right in this nation to file an appeal, if he and his attorneys feel he was not granted a fair trial.

There is a reason the law in this nation is not based on what is good, or what we feel is best. It is based on what is just and what is right, because those are quantifiable things. They do not share the arbitrary nature of definitions of "good," or people's feelings. If the court unjustly ruled against Mr. Sandusky, he has every right to file an appeal, no matter how it makes you feel.


Reach Contributor Calum Hayes here; follow him here.



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