Sandusky Trial: Why the Jury is Not Sequestered
BELLEFONTE – They filed in one by one, some wearing T-shirts, others long-sleeved button down shirts, standing in line before taking their seat on the bench.
The 12 men and women who will determine whether Jerry Sandusky is guilty on charges of child sex abuse then took an oath swearing to fairly hear all sides of testimony, and a judge answered the obvious question running through their minds.
How did I end up on this jury?
Judge John Cleland asked them to look at each other, see the wrinkles and see the youth, see the ties to Penn State, feel no shame in being a football fan, feel no shame in not giving a damn about football.
They are a cross-section of the citizens of Centre County, he said. Here is the conscience of the community.
And this was their first test: See eight boys, all preteen or in their early teens as their pictures were projected on a screen. See the smiles on six of their faces. See the dimples underneath their eyes. See the short brown hair, the light blonde hair, the bony necks, the blue eyes, the brown eyes, the one boy with making a puppy-dog face.
Look at the faces of innocence and feel nothing.
If the community can trust them to turn in a just verdict, Cleland said, he can trust them not to discuss the news.
Cleland held up a 368-page transcript of one day's worth of testimony in a different case. He then held up a 958-word newspaper article. Everything in the article was accurate, Cleland said.
But . . .
"The problem with reading stories," Cleland said, "... They are obviously incomplete."
Notepads and pens were placed in the juror bench. Cleland neither endorsed nor discouraged note taking. In fact, he guarded against taking too many notes because he wants the jury to observe the demeanor of those who testify.
The notes of the jurors will be destroyed by court staff at the end of the trial.