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Jerry Sandusky: Bail and jury issues on agenda in sex-abuse case

February 8, 2012 |  1:23 pm

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, left,  with his lawyer.
The child sex-abuse case of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky returns to  court  Friday, with jury composition among the issues on the agenda.

In pretrial motions filed this week, the defense is seeking to modify the bail requirements for Sandusky, and the prosecution is seeking a jury from outside the county. Lawyers on both sides were not immediately available to comment.

Sandusky is accused of abusing boys over a 15-year-period, which he has repeatedly denied. The charges and ensuing scandal led to a major shakeup at Penn State, where some of the incidents were alleged to have taken place. The late football coach Joe Paterno was fired during the scandal, as was the school president.

According to reports of the filings, the state is seeking to create a jury pool from people outside the county, a move designed to protect their case from a tidal wave of pretrial publicity. That publicity could conceivably taint the pool of deciders.

The defense opposes bringing in out-of-towners, saying that those potential jurors also probably have seen, heard or clicked on the flood of stories. The defense suggests that a trial delay might be a better cure for the problems associated with pretrial publicity.

Sandusky’s response on having residents comprise his jury comes as the prosecution argues that the 68-year-old former coach should be ordered to stay inside his house. Neighbors and teachers at a nearby elementary school have said he has been standing outside and watching children at play.

Since posting $250,000 in bail, Sandusky has been under house arrest and electronic monitoring at his him in College Park, Penn. The defense is asking the court to allow Sandusky to have supervised visits with friends and grandchildren and to allow him to travel to meet with his lawyer and investigators.

“House arrest is not meant to be a house party,” Senior Deputy Atty. Gen. Jonelle Eshbach wrote in the state’s papers. “In order to allay the genuine fears of the community, defendant should be confined to his house.”

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-- Michael Muskal

Photo: Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, left, walks with his attorney Joe Amendola, right, in December as he leaves the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. Credit: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

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