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#452306 - 11/03/13 01:25 AM Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa
catfish86 Offline
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Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Ohio
It is far from a given that any case is accepted at a state Supreme Court, but the issues being raised could be huge precedent. Particularly I am speaking to the refusal of the trial judge to issue a jury instruction that forces the jurors to consider that a lengthy delay in reporting by the victim significantly reduces credibility. The judge's reasoning was that long delays in the case of CSA has valid reasons well established in the psychological community that DO NOT indicate a greater likelihood of deception. This is an ongoing issue in prosecution of sexual crimes. Anytime a top court renders a decision it can be a watershed decision.
Sandusky appeals to PA Supreme Court
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#452314 - 11/03/13 07:46 AM Re: Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa [Re: catfish86]
Suwanee Offline
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Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 686
Loc: Southeast USA
I completely understand the legal ramifications if and when the PA Supreme Court takes up the matter of jury instruction and victim credibility vis--vis delays in reporting.

Still, I just wish this disgusting POS would rot quietly in prison.

Will
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#452352 - 11/03/13 02:41 PM Re: Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa [Re: catfish86]
Still Offline
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Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6361
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
If he appeals elements of the law, findings against him will surely bolster the effective arm of enforcement and prosecution.

Elements of defense must come from ill-applied law...or errors in same.

One thing I hope we do see is "duty to report" laws changing or being reinforced into titanium columns of life in this nation.

"Not reporting" needs to be SO hideous a choice, that the idea of protecting one's little rock-star job with Penn State will look immeasurably stupid.

Thus, I hope all these turds-at-the-top who squelched the crimes will take their cases to the Federal Dist Ct level, or even higher. But there's a lack of jurisdiction diversity, so it will likely never go further than the slam of the PA State bars.
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#452834 - 11/07/13 11:52 PM Re: Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa [Re: catfish86]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 588
Loc: VA
I doubt that the PA Supreme Court has the power to review trial evidence de novo, so it can't review the credibility of trial witnesses. That's a determination of fact that (in a criminal case) has to be made by a jury. However, legal issues like jury instruction are fair game, if the appellant preserves the right to appeal them.

John

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#452853 - 11/08/13 05:44 AM Re: Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa [Re: catfish86]
catfish86 Offline
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Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Ohio
Exactly John, they are determining the applicability of the jury instructions as to how the jury is to assess the witnesses.
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God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#453184 - 11/10/13 11:45 PM Re: Sandusky could produce important precedent for csa [Re: catfish86]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 588
Loc: VA
catfish:

The jury instrux are supposed to be only about the law, not the facts. E.g., the instrux tell the jurors what factual elements of the offense the prosecution is supposed to prove, and then say: If you [jurors] believe, based on what you've heard in court, that the defendant did [whatever the elements are], you should find the defendant guilty. If the judge were to instruct the jurors not to believe a witness or how much to believe, the prosecutor should leap to his/her feet and move for a mistrial.

IOW, it's (supposed to be) solely the jurors' decision whether to believe a witness and to consider facts like delay in reporting. This is one reason there's often a psychologist-type as an expert for the prosecutor or plaintiff in CSA cases--to persuade the jury that puzzling things, like delay in reporting and a child's changing from denial of CSA to admission, do not make the complaining witness less credible in these cases.

It's been a while since I read the Sandusky trial transcripts, but I don't recall anything as outrageous in the jury instructions as the judge instructing the jurors on the value of expert testimony about delay in reporting. Of course, counsel are free to rag on the opponent's witnesses (at the proper time!), but once the court has qualified an expert to testify, the expert may testify on the state of knowledge in his/her field. Then it's the jury's sole prerogative and duty to assess the value of the testimony.

I think the judge was correct to refuse to tell the jury that they shouldn't believe a prosecution witness. Amendola was free to do so during cross or in his closing statement, but the judge isn't supposed to take sides.

At this point, let's just hope that the PA Supreme Court doesn't vacate the conviction and remand the case for more proceedings! Who wants to endure THAT? Peace!

John (Esq., but I don't play one on the Web)

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