“This is simply not a case where trial counsel’s inability to review before trial all of the discovery material produced can be said to have resulted in a ‘structural defect’ that made the lack of a fair trial a virtual certainty,” Cleland said in a written ruling.In a post-sentence motion, Sandusky's defense counsel argued seven different issues which I have summarized below:
1. Not enough time to prepare for trial
2. Jury erroneously instructed regarding failure of victims to file a prompt complaint
3. Jury erroneously instructed regarding consideration of defendant's character
4. That the two "erroneous instructions" above impaired defendant's defense
5. That McGettigan improperly commented on Sandusky's failure to testify at trial
6. That the "excited utterance" of James Calhoun was admitted in error
7. That all charges should have been dismissed because of lack of specificity.
All motions were denied.
With regard to issue number 2 (victims failure to file a prompt complaint) Judge Cleland writes:
"the practical reality is that the standard prompt complaint charge does not take into account the complex and myriad factors that might cause a child victim to delay in reporting an assault, or in comprehending the long-term significance of the assault, or even a child's motivation to protect the person who assaulted them. No one who has had the slightest experience with child sexual abuse or given a whit of thought to its dynamics could conclude that failure to make a prompt complaint, standing alone, is an accurate indicia of fabrication."This, coupled with the ruling in the Poly Prep lawsuitwill hopefully help future survivors on the statute of limitations issue that plagues many victims of child sexual abuse.
Poly Prep attorneys argued that the suit, filed in Brooklyn federal court, should have been dismissed because it was filed long after the statute of limitations had expired. But U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block, in what may be a watershed moment for sexual abuse survivors ruled in August that portions of suit could proceed because administrators may have lied about when they said they did not become aware of the abuse allegations until 1991.You can read Judge Cleland's full written opinion here:
Opinion Addressing the Defedant's Post-Sentence Motions