Could You Be Impartial?

The Herculean task of finding 12 men and/or women to sit on Jerry Sandusky’s jury is underway at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. The former Penn State football Defensive Coordinator is charged with more than 50 counts connected to the alleged molestations of at least 10 young boys over a 15 year period.

The trial is playing out in Centre County, home to Penn State University and The Second Mile, the charity founded by Sandusky more than 30 years ago. Prosecutors allege that Sandusky used the charity to prey on vulnerable at-risk boys.

Questions about whether or not an impartial jury can be found in Centre County have been floating around since the charges were revealed last November. The lawyers on both sides will face unique challenges in this case, as they try to weed through the list of potential jurors for a trial that is expected to take several weeks.

Robert Power, a law professor at Widener University in Dauphin County says he believes the court can find 12 impartial jurors, but that the process could take some time, certainly longer than in a typical case where voir dire can take as little as an hour or two. Power says even potential jurors with no ties to the university or any other aspects of the case may have formed opinions about it based on more than 6 months of intense media coverage.

The court has set aside this entire week for selection of a jury and the alternates. Testimony is not expected to begin before Monday, June 11th.