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What Legal Options Does Jerry Sandusky Have Left?

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is four years into serving a 30-year minimum prison sentence for sexually assaulting 10 minors over a 14-year period. He appealed his 2012 guilty verdict once already, and now he is appealing his conviction for a second time.

Sandusky’s appeal is based on a number of arguments, relating both to the actual facts underlying his conviction, the tactics used by law enforcement and prosecutors in building the case against him, and the alleged ineffective counsel he received in his legal representation during both his criminal trial and his appeal. His arguments are as follows:

  • Factual Innocence: Sandusky insists that he is innocent of all the charges leveled against him, and that the evidence leveled against him in the criminal trial was insufficient to support the finding of guilt. He is asking for new witnesses to be called who can provide support for his claims of innocence
  • Unconstitutional/Illegal Tactics: Sandusky maintains that the police used illegal tactics to collect evidence against him in violation of his constitutional rights. He also argues that prosecutors lied, withheld evidence that pointed to his innocence, and improperly leaked information from grand jury proceedings in order to find new evidence with which to prosecute him.
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel: Sandusky argues that his attorneys failed to uphold their duty to adequately present his defense at both his criminal trial in 2012 and during his appeal, and that, as a result, his conviction was wrongful and he should be granted a new trial or his charges should be dismissed.

Sandusky is appealing his conviction under Pennsylvania’s new Post-Conviction Relief Act which provides convicted defendants whose initial appeals process has ended with an additional opportunity to appeal based on arguments such as ineffective assistance of counsel, newly found evidence, and constitutional violations. If the Pennsylvania courts find Sandusky’s arguments to not be persuasive, he still has an option of filing a habeas corpus appeal under federal law.

Oklahoma and Federal Law Provide a Pathway to Appeal

Sandusky’s grounds for appeal are, of course, based on Pennsylvania state law, but most states have legal mechanisms in place for appealing a past conviction. In Oklahoma, the timetable for appealing a final conviction is very short, and remedies for appealing a conviction once that timetable has passed are limited. That said, federal and Oklahoma state law do provide avenues by which defendants convicted of crimes can obtain justice, either through a dismissal of the charges or a new trial.

Work With an Experienced Oklahoma Criminal Appeals Attorney

If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime due either to factual error, procedural error, juror misconduct, ineffective assistance from a lawyer, or some other appealable ground, it is important that you take action to appeal your conviction as soon as possible to avoid risking the loss of your legal options. J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, is a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City with years of experience in appealing criminal convictions before the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals. Attempting to file an appeal on your own may cause you to lose your chance to appeal a second time. Work with experienced Oklahoma criminal appeals lawyer Patrick Quillian to properly litigate your appeal.

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