Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

ATTORNEY SAM’S TAKE ON THE JERRY SANDUSKY VERDICT

The verdict we had been waiting for came back on Friday night. It was not much of a shocker. Guilty of every count that was submitted to the jury.

The jury had deliberated on the 45 counts of sexually assault regarding 10 young boys for 21 hours. That may sound like alot of time to you, but in terms of a case with this much media coverage and 45 counts of this sexual nature, it was pretty quick.

Amazing how quickly folks can decide to send somebody away for…well…forever.

Jerry Sandusky, 68, hereinafter, the “Defendant”, now faces life in prison, though sentencing is weeks away. He had been under house arrest since last year but was placed in handcuffs and led from the court to jail after the verdict.

Despite my criminal defense-oriented corpuscles, from which you hear on a regular basis, I cannot say that I am surprised by the verdict. In fact, I don’t know anybody who was surprised by the verdict. The history of the abuses as described rang pretty true to anyone with personal or professional experience with these types of matters.

There remains one thing, however, that does remain surprising in this case. It is similar to what I was ranting about early last week.

We discussed the Defendant’s lawyer allowing him to give certain interviews to the press…one while the lawyer was present and one while he was at another location, although televised all by his lonesome. Both statements amounted to verbal suicide for the upcoming trial.

It just doesn’t look so great when someone accused of sexually assaulting many young boys has such a hard time answering tough questions like “Are you sexually attracted to young boys?” Stammering on one occasion and needing your lawyer to verbally belt you upside your head to remind you that, although you like “horsing around” with kids, you are not at attracted to them sexually does not leave potential jurors with the warm fuzzies.

The defense in this case elected to leave those statements untouched at trial as the Defendant did not testify. That may or may not have been a smart decision, although I can tell you that hinting to the jury in any way that the Defendant is going to testify but then not putting him on the stand is a big mistake. By the way, letting jurors on the panel who are familiar with the case and the people in it not a terribly wise move either when representing someone about whom these rumors had been present for a number of years.

However, there is something to be said for consistency.

The defense attorney in this case, who’s name I will not repeat here out of compassion, did not disappoint after the jury had the case. This is when he apparently announced that he would be shocked if the Defendant were acquitted.

Well, I guess nobody would know better than he as to how well conceived the defense strategy was. On the other hand, maybe some of the rest of us can too in this case.

For example, let’s look at how counsel tried to explain away alleged love letters which his client is said to have sent to the kids. The defense cast the letters as a product of “his histrionic personality disorder, a condition which can be characterized by inappropriately seductive actions in pursuit of attention and approval.”

Yes, that would certainly be totally inconsistent with guilt, wouldn’t it be?

This was apparently shortly after he made his argument to the jury which included, “I’ll be the first one to tell you that if he did this, he should rot in jail…But what if he didn’t do it? His life is destroyed. Don’t be fooled.”

Of course, said counsel also remained a stalwart detractor of his own defense and client after the verdict came. Consider the brilliant revelation regarding his client, as counsel explained that the Defendant “…indicated he was disappointed with the verdict…But obviously he has to live with it.”

As for his own reaction, counsel said, that he “expected the outcome because of the overwhelming amount of evidence against Jerry Sandusky.” He continued with, “We were attempting to climb Mount Everest from the bottom of the mountain…Obviously, we didn’t make it.”

Well, ok, I guess we can scratch a few potential issues for appeal right there.

Apparently, some of the stones of Everest included statements by the Defendant’s son Matt who announced that he, too, was a victim of the Defendant after the jury went to deliberate. Counsel says that, had the Defendant testified, the son would have been called as a rebuttal witness.

Well, that sounds good, but didn’t counsel know this prior to the trial? Also, the fact that the Defendant takes the stand and denies assaulting these particular complainants does not necessarily mean that the son’s testimony would be relevant and allowed.

But then, one has to wonder how much counsel could trust his client to be careful about his words. He would have at least had to have prepped him. It seems, however, from even before the trial, this doing so was not exactly a strength of this particular defense.

Look, hindsight is 20-20 and Nobody really knows what a particular attorney is dealing with unless one knows all the details, which I certainly do not. However, I can tell you that, from the onset of this matter, certain things seemed to be handled worse than wrong. It also strikes me that the trend seemed to continue.

Would it have made a difference in this case? This Boston criminal lawyer doesn’t know.

I can tell you this, though. If you or a loved one are charged with a crime, you had best be careful when you are picking an attorney. Many nonlawyers determine that this is not such an issue in their case because “the government has a weak case” or their innocence will necessarily carry the day all by its lonesome.

Most of these folks are serving rather long sentences.

I repeat the words of the attorney in this particular matter. Something that I agree with. Namely, “Don’t be fooled”.

To read the original article upon which this blog was based, please go to http://articles.boston.com/2012-06-23/sports/32370886_1_sexual-abuse-abuse-counts-jerry-sandusky

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