The assurance of an unbiased jury of one’s peers is the key to our system of justice. High profile cases which involve famous individuals or particularly heinous crimes often are stalled because the selection of a fair jury can be problematic. Add to the difficulty a town which is utterly synonymous with the university where the defendant worked, and the process can be difficult indeed.
Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of 68-year-old Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Penn State whose charges have brought infamy to a beloved coach and university. The Defense Counsel fear that an impartial jury may be impossible to seat, and asked that prospective jurors be brought from a different county. However much truth there may be to their fears, however, just which side stands to be favored is unclear.
Sandusky made national headlines when he was arrested on charges of molestation of boys he allegedly lured to the school or his home. Anyone who was not completely cut off from American media saw the charges multiplying daily. The final count of charges against Sandusky stands at 52. He is charged with grooming underage boys he met at his non-profit youth charity, gaining their confidence, then molesting them.
A significant issue in the jury selection is how inextricably the town and its citizens are tied to the university where Sandusky and Paterno worked. One might even argue the town exists largely because of Penn State. Most of the residents are employed directly or because of the college. A strong tradition and love of the football team may make it difficult for prosecutors to find jurors who will side against a former assistant coach. On the other hand, the nature of the charges could bias jurors who are parents against the defense.
Juror questions will be formulated to eliminate individuals who express an inability to judge the case fairly. The judge does not plan to exclude jurors simply because of ties to the university. Defense attorney Mike McMonagle indicated that the “nightmare scenario” will be if prospective jurors hide their true feelings.
Child molestation charges can seriously impact a defendant’s life. He may be disallowed from seeing his children during the trial, and may be forced to defend his case from behind bars. If convicted, he may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. If you are charged with child molestation, it is important to secure the services of a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has the experience and knowledge to fight for you. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience in various criminal matters. Call us today at (877) 466-5245.