No Evidence of Paterno Involvement in Cover-Up, Prosecutor Says
One of the prosecutors deeply involved in the conviction of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky does not believe the alleged cover-up of his sexual abuse involved head coach Joe Paterno. According to published reports, and a forthcoming interview on 60 Minute Sports, Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina could not link Paterno to the alleged concealment of abuse based on a thorough review of the evidence. That last part — reviewing the evidence — strikes me as interesting, because it often goes overlooked. There are some prosecutors who never let a little thing like evidence stop them from obtaining an indictment. In some cases, they even use their so-called proof to convict innocent men and women — our lawyers see it all the time. What can a fair and balanced review of the facts do for the lives of those under scrutiny? Everything.
Public Opinion Can Ruin Reputations and Careers
For Paterno, the allegation that he did not do enough to prevent Sandusky’s predatory behavior led to ouster from a head coaching position he held nearly to his death. The charges created deep rifts in the school’s fan base, its faculty, and its student population. The fact of the matter is the man, according to those who would have charged him with a crime, was not involved in obfuscating abuse or obstructing an investigation. Those realities have not healed the damage done by the scandal, and it may do nothing to restore Paterno’s tarnished reputation. Public opinion, were he still alive, would have skewered the man’s ability to pursue other career opportunities. Innocent, and yet still guilty.
Ethical Obligations to Review Evidence
The state has an ethical duty to review the evidence presented to them by law enforcement and test its authority. Doing so allows them to avoid the kinds of actions that put men and women through the criminal justice system when there’s absolutely no reason to do so. Satisfying the public’s desire for justice is no reason to charge an innocent person with a crime. Giving in to that pressure represents a serious violation of our most basic standards and can lead to disbarment. Just ask Mike Nifong, the former North Carolina prosecutor who charged half the Duke lacrosse team with rape only to see the charges dismissed — but not before the good names of the players were dragged through the media mud. Nifong was later disbarred after a review revealed serious holes in the investigation and evidence of malicious prosecution.
Trial Attorneys are Always Ready
Getting charges dismissed brings a sense of pride to every criminal defense attorney — at least it better. Charges dismissed means the client doesn’t need to go through the justice process any further, and the other side can never bring charges related to that matter again. To accomplish that goal, counselors must stay ever at the ready to catch evidence and testimony that doesn’t add up, and hold the other side accountable for daring to bring it into the courtroom.
If you’re facing criminal charges, you need experienced criminal defense lawyers working with you to uphold your rights. Our law firm has represented thousands and features former prosecutors and district attorneys. We know the law. Call us today to get the immediate help you need.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
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As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.