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Pa. Supreme Court Denies Sandusky's Request for Appeal

by on July 24, 2019 4:45 PM

Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition from Jerry Sandusky to hear his arguments for a new trial.

Sandusky, who was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012, had asked the state's highest court to review a Superior Court decision from February that rejected his post-conviction relief arguments for a new trial. The former Penn State football assistant coach had raised more than 20 issues alleging ineffective counsel by his trial attorney, Joe Amendola.

The Supreme Court's one-page order appears to put an end to Sandusky's seven-year appeal effort at the state level.

Al Lindsay, Sandusky's post-conviction attorney, has said that if the state Supreme Court declined to take up Sandusky's case, he would take it to federal court.

The Superior Court decision from earlier this year did, however, order that the 75-year-old Sandusky's sentence be vacated and a new one imposed. He is currently serving 30-60 years in state prison, but the three-judge Superior Court panel ruled the lower court's sentence improperly imposed mandatory minimum sentences. The opinion cited two Supreme Court decisions that found mandatory minimums to be illegal when elements of a crime that would give rise to an increased sentence are not presented to a jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case will be returned to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas for the new sentencing, but that has been on hold pending Sandusky's continuing appeal for a new trial. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General told the Associated Press that the re-sentencing can now proceed.

At the Court of Common Pleas level, specially-presiding, out-of-county judges have overseen the case since 2011. Most recently Jefferson County Judge John Foradora denied Sandusky's Post Conviction Relief Act request for a new trial in 2017, setting in motion the appeals to the state's higher courts.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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