Last night, Jerry Sandusky, a long-time Defensive Coordinator for Penn State’s football team, was convicted of 45 counts of abuse spanning ten victims and faces a sentence that could eclipse 400 years in prison. Karl Rominger and Joe Amendola, Sandusky’s attorneys, are now claiming that they were “unprepared”.
Jerry Sandusky’s attorney Karl Rominger, on his WHP 580 Saturday radio show, said he and attorney Joe Amendola tried to get out of Sandusky’s case the morning of jury selection, not feeling adequately prepared.
Judge John Cleland denied the request, Rominger said.
Cleland had repeatedly denied requests for continuances and the trial approached. Sandusky’s attorney said they only had a few months to try to get through all the evidence — thousands of pages of documents — prosecutors acquired over the three-year grand jury investigation.
I do not doubt, based on various reports from the trial, that Sandusky’s attorneys were not well-prepared. All indications are that the prosecutors ran an excellent ship while the defense appeared to flounder. The problem with this excuse — and that’s precisely what it is — is that we’re not talking about speeding tickets or simple assault charges. It was clear from the initial filing of the 51 assorted counts of abuse that the state was playing for keeps.
Why, then, if Amendola and Rominger knew they were falling behind, didn’t they call for backup? With Sandusky’s not-insubstantial wealth at their behest (and why on earth wouldn’t he use every penny of it to try to keep himself from rotting in jail?) they could have nearly hired an entire law firm of junior attorneys and paralegals to do trivial things like, say, read police reports.
“Sue Paterno’s name was only on that list because her name came up on one of the police reports, for no important reason whatsoever,” Rominger said. “We would have taken her off the list if we had actually had time to read the report where her name showed up.”
Given the court’s unwillingness to provide continuances, it seems that adding staff would have been a reasonable option, and given the number of out-of-work attorneys who would probably kill to have this case on their resume (to say nothing of having a job at all) it simply could not have been all that difficult to find willing participants.
I have no doubt that Rominger and Amendola were unprepared; what I can’t figure out is why on earth they’d advertise that fact in an interview as though it was anyone’s fault but their own.