State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Out-of-County Judge to Preside Over Paterno Case

by on June 07, 2013 6:40 PM

If and when the Paterno family's lawsuit against the NCAA goes to trial, we know one thing for certain -- there will be an out-of-county judge sitting on the bench. All of the Centre County judges have been recused from the case.

Pennsylvania state court officials said a request was submitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, and a judge from outside this area will be appointed. 

The Paterno family, along with 20 other participants, sued the NCAA on May 30. They are asking a judge to void the consent decree that sacked Penn State with its sanctions that include a $60 million fine, a significant loss in football scholarships, a four-year football postseason ban and all wins vacated under former head coach Joe Paterno between 1998-2011. 

Court officials could not say why the judges recused themselves. However, with so many well-known people involved in the lawsuit, it's possible that all of the judges knew at least some of the plaintiffs personally.

This is not the first time an out-of-county judge was appointed to a case originating in Centre County where either the plaintiff or defendant was formerly an employee of or affiliated with Penn State. 

Last year, McKean County Senior Judge John Cleland heard Jerry Sandusky's case. He sentenced Sandusky, 69, to 30-60 years in prison for his sex crimes against children. 

Sandusky was a former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team.

Former Penn State wideouts coach Mike McQueary sued Penn State for $4 million in October in a whistleblower, defamation and misrepresentation lawsuit. His case has yet to go to trial but Chester County Judge Thomas Gavin was assigned to his case. 

Warren County Senior Judge William Morgan is hearing The Second Mile's case, which is seeking to transfer its assets to a Houston-based charity and close its doors for good. Sandusky founded the charity for disadvantaged and at-risk youth in 1977.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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