The trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky began with jury selection this week, a mere seven months after he was indicted. A jury of seven women and five men will hear testimony concerning the sexual abuse allegations against the former coach.
Defense attorneys requested additional time to prepare the case and their request was denied by the judge. In the latest news report, it was announced that numerous seated jurors actually have some connection to Penn State. In fact, one juror has been a professor there for twenty-four years. Another is a current Penn State student, entering into his senior year. Yet another juror has had season tickets to the Penn State football games for decades.
Legal experts are now questioning whether these ties to the university will help or hurt Sandusky. The risk for the defense is that jurors will see Sandusky's behavior as hurting the name and image of their beloved school and they will blame him for it.
Had such charges been brought here in South Florida, it is highly unlikely that they would be pushed to trial so quickly. It is imperative that before a person is tried for any crime, but particularly for a crime which carries such a severe penalty, that he have an adequate time to prepare a defense. If Sandusky was pushing for the trial, then by all means, he should have a speedy trial. But where the defendant is asking for additional time to prepare and it is denied by the court, there is a potential error there. Should Sandusky lose at trial, he may have an issue on appeal built right in.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what his jury comprised of Penn State loyalists do when it is time to deliberate.