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#401780 - 06/26/12 04:27 PM Sandusky Trial: Sentencing
Chris Anderson Offline
Board of Directors

Registered: 04/22/12
Posts: 289
Loc: New York
During the Sandusky trial, MaleSurvivor Communications Committee Chair Thomas Hodson (who is himself a former attorney, trial judge, and is now a journalist) will be sharing with us some helpful explanations of the stages of a criminal trial. Our hope is that sharing this information here will help people better understand what is going on behind the scenes, and eliminate some of the confusion and uncertainty that will inevitably come up. Please follow our Twitter (@malesurvivorORG) and Facebook pages for more information and reactions as well.

Sandusky Trial: Sentencing

After a guilty finding, the next stage in a criminal trial is sentencing.

The jury finds whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty, but the judge is the person who pronounces the sentence facing the defendant.

Sometimes sentencing is immediate. However, in major cases, sentencing is often delayed for about a 90 day period before the judge convenes a sentencing hearing. This period is called the pre-sentencing phase. Sometimes a judge will order court staff or state correctional system staffers to prepare a written “pre-sentence investigation” about the defendant and the crimes so that a sentence can be tailored for a certain defendant convicted of certain crimes.

At the hearing, the defendant is present along with his legal counsel. The state is represented by the prosecutor.

Sometimes the judge will listen to oral arguments from lawyers from each side on what sentence might be appropriate. Sometimes the judge will allow the parties to present testimony to support a particular position to be argued about sentencing. That determination is within the discretion of each sentencing judge.

Sometimes victims will be able to testify, talking about the effect the crimes have had on them. Sometimes witnesses for the defense may testify about the defendant or the effect the case has had on the defendant’s family.

One thing, however, is NOT discretionary. Before the sentencing hearing is over, the judge always addresses the defendant personally – not through the defendant’s legal counsel. The judge always allows the defendant the right to speak openly to the public and to the victims before the judge imposes the sentence.

In the Sandusky case, it may be the first and only time that the media, the public and the victims (survivors) hear about the case from Sandusky’s own mouth. It might show whether he displays any remorse or grasp of the gravity of his crimes and the impact on each victim.

The judge will determine the number of years of incarceration assigned to each one of the 45 convictions in this case. He also can determine whether the defendant’s sentences on the multiple convictions will run simultaneously (concurrently) or consecutively…one after another.

Since Sandusky is facing a possible total of over 430 in prison and he is 68 years old, the difference between consecutive and concurrent is probably a distinction without a difference.

In Pennsylvania, the judge has the power to order special sentencing provisions in addition to the number of years of incarceration. The judge has many different options and may add some or none of these to the actual incarceration.

The sentence may include a provision for restitution for financial losses suffered by a victim (if any). Also, the judge could order that the defendant receive certain treatments – such as drug/alcohol treatment and/or psychological/psychiatric counseling. Under some circumstances, the judge may order the defendant to write each victim an apology. It is unknown whether the judge in this case will resort to these ancillary forms of sentencing in addition to the long years of imprisonment.
Please note, as of September 2016 I am no longer Executive Director. However due to a bug in UBB software that is still unresolved this label can't be removed.

#401782 - 06/26/12 04:39 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
This sentencing process can be a nervous time and a triggering time. Putting it all in perspective is important. Understanding the process is a step in that direction...Thanks for reading...

#401796 - 06/26/12 06:43 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
Just in...Judge Cleland banned the attorneys from disseminating information that is NOT in the trial record...Here is a good story on the ruling...

Edited by tshodson (06/26/12 06:48 PM)

#401801 - 06/26/12 07:35 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
Fascinating article about whether Dottie Sandusky deserves criminal sanctions in addition to her husband...

Edited by tshodson (06/26/12 07:36 PM)

#401809 - 06/26/12 08:55 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
Steve0123 Offline

Registered: 05/30/12
Posts: 80
Can anyone remember the last time a similar situation was so well publicized? The total bombardment of Sandusky on the TV was a huge trigger for me. I can't remember in the past any media coverage having the same effect on me, forcing me to think about my own life.

#401811 - 06/26/12 09:24 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
This situation had all the elements to make it a national story...local so-called hero, Penn St. football, young victims (survivors) and a David and Goliath type of storyline...the perfect storm and lots of triggers...

#401930 - 06/27/12 04:34 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
Will Jerry Sandusky be able to keep his state pension after sentencing...Some news reports say yes...It amounts to about $59,000 per year.

#402148 - 06/29/12 05:23 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
Napoleon Offline

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 190
Loc: Utah
If he was a scout master… The media would not have reported so much to protect the scouts. He would get a year or two with some probation after.

I hope he gets enough to never get out. But I have seen too many serial rapists get off with very light sentences. Two things: they were kids and they were boys… He will be out before he dies, mark my words…

�Your only limit within reason, is the one that you set up in your own mind.� Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success, 1925.

#402343 - 07/02/12 12:43 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
tshodson Offline

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 131
I wonder if the continual revelations about Penn St.'s involvement and Joe Paterno's involvement in a cover-up will impact the judge's decision in sentencing. I think Judge Cleland will stick pretty close to the book and just give "years" without any special provisions...I think Sandusky will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation at part of the pre-sentence report.

#402348 - 07/02/12 01:56 PM Re: Sandusky Trial: Sentencing [Re: Chris Anderson]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 756
Loc: VA
Defense lawyer Rominger said they were planning to challenge the use of hearsay evidence as to Victim 8 (in one of the "shower" episodes with an unidentified victim), and that if that conviction fell, all of them would fall.

Is that possible? If the appellate court throws out the convictions re Victim 8, do they have to throw out the rest? What connection does the hearsay evidence have to the other convictions?


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