Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts October 2012

30 to 60 to Life

It's finally over - except that, technically, it's not. But, for all intents and purposes, it is over. Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced to prison for his sex crimes against boys. The sentencing went down this past Tuesday in Centre County Court. Sandusky could have received a much longer sentence. But, he's 68 years old, so his sentence of 30-60 years is, for all intents and purposes, a life sentence.

Just prior to sentencing, Sandusky was declared to be a Sexually Violent Predator, a finding which he did not contest. What it means is that if he ever gets out of prison on parole, Sandusky will have to register under Megan's Law. That's IF he ever gets out.

You can read the sentencing order HERE. It breaks down how much time Sandusky received for each of the 45 counts on which he was convicted.

HERE you can read the statement Judge Cleland read just before he handed down his sentence. In the statement, he takes Sandusky to task for a statement he (Sandusky) made the night before sentencing. THE STATEMENT was broadcast on the radio and transcribed in print. The posted link includes both the audio and a transcript. Cleland obviously read it or heard it and writes, "Regarding your broadcast statement I can only say that like all conspiracy theories it makes a leap from the undeniable to the unbelievable."

Judge Cleland also took into consideration letters written to him by Sandusky and his wife, Dottie. You can read those letters HERE. In the letters, the couple blames everyone from the police to their adopted son, Matt (you know, the one who says he was molested by Sandusky and was prepared to testify to that effect). Nowhere does Sandusky take responsibility for his actions.

Sandusky's lawyers are expected to appeal on the grounds that a) they didn't have enough time to prepare an adequate defense; and b) they just did a horrible job. I'm not an attorney, but I don't see where they'll have much chance of a successful appeal. The preliminary hearing was delayed at least once, and when it did finally happen in February, Sandusky's attorneys chose to waive it. In other words, they gave up a good chance to hear before the trial what some or all of the victims intended to say. By waiving the prelim, they also gave up a chance to perhaps see some of the prosecution's other evidence - such as letters that Sandusky wrote to the victims. The judge did grant one trial delay of about a month, but after waiving the prelim, I find the "we didn't have enough time" defense rather weak.

As for the "we just suck as lawyers" defense, I don't think that will go very far, either. Joe Amendola and Karl Romiger have reputations as fine lawyers. Just because their strategy didn't work, that doesn't mean they were inadequate. Quite frankly, I don't know what they could have done to change the outcome of the trial, especially after Sandusky refused to testify (which Amendola says he did in order to keep Matt Sandusky from testifying as a rebuttal witness for the prosecution). I suppose an appeals court could see things differently, but I don't think Sandusky's odds of winning an appeal are very good.

On a personal note, I would have liked to see Sandusky get a longer sentence - just because it seems like something longer than 30-60 is warranted. Had Sandusky been a younger man, the judge may have issued a longer sentence. However, in this case, 30-60 should suffice.

On a final (for this post, anyway) note, a man's claims that Sandusky was involved in a larger pedophile ring do not seem to have much credibility. The Philadelphia Daily News reports HERE that the man has a history of trying to insert himself into prominent cases and gets angry when he's not believed.

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Point to Ponder

I found out through Facebook last night that Ray Koons had died. Who, you ask? Only one of the most respected and popular teachers to ever grace the halls of Lehighton Area High School. His popularity made him an invited guest at many class reunions, including the 20 year reunion of the LAHS Class of '84.

I don't know specifically how long Mr. Koons taught, but I think it's fair to say that anyone who went to LAHS in the 70s, 80s or 90s knew Mr. Koons. Some students knew him through the classes he taught; others may have had him as a coach; still others may have just met him in the hallway, probably as he was telling them to stop screwing around and get to class. Whatever the circumstances, when Mr. Koons talked, you listened.

For my part, I can only remember having one class with Mr. Koons - Federal Government during my junior year. One of my favorite memories of the class was listening to everyone (me included) sing the Schoolhouse Rock song as we wrote down the words to the Preamble to the Constitution.

The other memory that stands out is of the recurring "Point to Ponder" assignments. Every week or so, Mr. Koons would require us to write a few paragraphs concerning a thought-provoking phrase. I don't remember anything specific, but they would have been along the lines of this quote from Plato: "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." Your job was then to write four or five paragraphs about what the statement or thought meant to you. In other words, it was an exercise in critical thinking (and in writing).

I'm sure there were students who didn't like that kind of assignment. And, maybe there were even a few who didn't like Mr. Koons. But, I did, and I hope those other people learned to appreciate Mr. Koons as a teacher and as a man.

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