What Not To Do At Jerry Sandusky’s Preliminary Hearing

Jerry Sandusky may have the mistaken belief, like many defendants, that he can “beat the charges” and have the child molestation allegations thrown out at next week’s preliminary hearing. Not likely.

A preliminary hearing is not a trial and all the evidence will not be presented. It is an evidentiary hearing by which the prosecution presents just enough evidence for the judge to find “probable cause” to believe a crime was committed to require a trial. And, generally, the defense does not put on any evidence or call any witnesses. Typically, it is a time for the defense attorney to get their first view of the prosecution’s evidence and if witnesses are called, an opportunity to size up the witnesses. It is not a time for the defense to grandstand, show their cards or even to conduct a devastating cross-examination of a witness. Those moves are best left for trial.

However, Sandusky’s lawyer is not your typical defense attorney. When most defense attorneys prohibit their client from talking to the media or anyone, he allows and has been present when Sandusky was questioned by the media. Even after Sandusky’s devastating response to Bob Costas question “Are you sexually attracted to young boys?”, he again allows, and, in fact helps Sandusky answers questions asked by a New York Times reporter. What was he thinking? How are these interviews in the best interest of his client? This is a good example of why attorneys don’t let their clients speak to the media or anyone. All of Sandusky’s statements can be used against him at trial, even if he never takes the stand. Not to mention, poisoning potential jurors and the court of public opinion.

But, maybe, Sandusky’s attorney is one of those rare birds who can successfully take the unconventional path. Or, is he simply in over his head? If he attacks the witnesses at the preliminary hearing, we will know the answer.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


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