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I mean, he deserves to fry, but so quickly?
June 18, 2012 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Why is the Sandusky trial moving so quickly? In my area the high profile cases seem to take months, if not years, to come to trial, and then the trials themselves take weeks or months. Sandusky's trial started last week and I believe the judge told the jury that they will likely have the case on Thursday. Explain?

Maybe I'm judging by a warped standard, but the highest profile cases in my area -- Southern California, so I'm thinking OJ, Rodney King-related, Menendez Brothers, Michael Jackson's, etc -- seemed to take forever to get going, and then the trials themselves were also slow. But the Sandusky trial is going at an extremely rapid rate, at least to my civilian eyes. Why is this?
posted by BlahLaLa to Law & Government (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would assume it's going quickly because there's not much evidence to review other than personal testimony.

In the other trials you mention, there was extensive evidence-gathering, police and detective work, crime lab or medical lab work that needed to be done, expert witnesses testifying about that lab work, etc.
posted by erst at 5:51 PM on June 18, 2012


The speed at which this trial is unfolding is definitely unusual. I live in PA and there's been a lot of coverage, and it's been pointed out repeatedly that things are moving fast. this video coverage gives a couple of reasons why - for one thing, the prosecution appears uninterested in keeping its witnesses on the stand for very long. Contrast the epic Kato Kaelin testimony with the Sandusky prosecutors putting each of their young witnesses on the stand for only a fraction of a day apiece.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:16 PM on June 18, 2012


It is fast, I agree. I assumed it is simply because what he is accused of is pretty indefensible, literally speaking. The victims are giving direct and specific (fairly recent) testimony and the witness saw something very specific.
posted by mamabear at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2012


There's actually a right to a speedy trial in the federal constitution, and also a pa state law that guarantees a speedy trial. Often the defendant waives his speedy trial right, either to have more time to prepare, or to drag things out. Maybe sandusky didn't waive and put the pressure on the state to move quickly.
posted by yarly at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2012


I imagine there's a high premium on protecting the identity of the individual victims, so aside from getting them in and out for testimony, they want this to fall off the front page quickly. It's hard to contain all the loose ends when a trial starts dragging out.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:36 AM on June 19, 2012


Not only does PA state law guarantee a defendant the right to a speedy trial, the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the same right. In my jurisdiction, that means that if you are charged with a crime, you must be taken to trial within six months of your arraignment (first day in court, basically). That clock can be reset by the defendant if he wants a new trial date or more time to gather evidence, but it cannot be reset by the prosecution. Generally, the prosecution wants cases to go to trial sooner rather than later -- otherwise evidence goes stale, witnesses and cops leave town, etc. So, if a case is actually going to trial soon after charges are filed, its usually attributable to a lack of delay on the defense side (though I say this as a former prosecutor, so I may be a bit biased...).
posted by craven_morhead at 6:59 AM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much for fair and measured statements and going to trial quickly. Today's revelation that his own adopted son Matt was set and ready to testify in rebuttal if he took the stand just turned the whole thing over to Nancy Grace for exposition.

I'm afraid he just OJ'd, and this will drag on for months.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:14 PM on June 21, 2012


Well he got convicted quickly, and the lawyer for Sandusky has complained that not a single continuance was given to review discovery or documents. The judge has moved to get this over with quickly, on the basis of not hurting the victims further. I doubt that will be good for appeal though.
posted by calwatch at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2012


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