Tag Archives: Penn State

From Yardbird.com – Paterno takes the fall

A large part of the legacy of the Penn State/Sandusky scandal has been lost this week with the passing of legendary coach and Penn State benefactor Joe Paterno.  The what he knows and when he knew its and what he should have dones are now forever academic.  We posited that Paterno was, to a degree, a victim of the Penn State/Good old boys network of attorneys, politicians, and judges who have been acculturated to control and conceal institutionally damaging information.  This has been discussed in the Margo Royer matter as well.  All that will be further said at this point is that Pennsylvania has lost a larger-than-life man whose legacy may have been unfairly tarnished by those to whom responsible charge of the information was entrusted.

Bill Keisling of Yardbird Books has published a well-researched analysis of the Sandusky scandal in the larger context of the political use of the Office of Attorney General by Governor Tom Corbett, with detailed discussion of the primacy of the bonusgate scandal.  Keisling explores in detail how Corbett dedicated untold resources to the political prosecution of legislators in comparison to the deliberately impotent effort to investigate the Sandusky allegations, and the real costs involved in both.

To the extent that Pennsylvanians feel a sense of lost dignity to accompany the loss of an institution in Pennsylvania for half a century, Keisling’s article suggests that our own Governor may bear the brunt of the blame.  The entire article follows:

http://www.yardbird.com/joe_paterno_takes_the_fall.htm

Thank you.

Sundusky update through yardbird.com

We have received this update from Author Bill Keisling of Yardbird Books on his efforts to study the anatomy of the Penn State/Sandusky scandal, with further efforts coming:

Busted: Behind the Sandusky arrest Narcotics agent nabs Jerry Sandusky ‘Tom didn’t want to do it’

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett made it clear to his staff that he did not want to pursue the pedophile case against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

“Tom didn’t want to do it,” one Corbett associate explains.

A separate investigation involving AG office narcotics Agent Anthony Sassano in November 2010 finally broke the Corbett-imposed logjam in the Sandusky case.

Agent Sassano got a hit on Sandusky on his PACE computer database system and discovered that the former football coach was also supposedly under investigation for a pedophile complaint by Corbett’s heretofore-inactive state trooper, and prosecutor.

To read more visit:

http://www.yardbird.com/busted_narcotics_agent_nabs_sandusky.htm

or read a detailed insider’s timeline of the case here:

http://www.yardbird.com/corbett_sandusky_psu_timeline.htm

Penn State/Sandusky prediction: pleas 3 – trials 0

This post represents only the views of its author, and is in the nature of a New Years’ prognostication for 2012, with certain implications on themes that have been discussed on this site.  It was not offered sooner because of the urgency of the Conklin matters, which have been reported about, and will continue to be followed.

The prediction, as suggested in the title, is that Jerry Sandusky, and the two other fellows – Tim Curley, Athletic Director, and Gary Schultz, head of campus police – will make plea agreements to end their cases, and that there will never be another evidentiary hearing or trial related to these matters.   Sandusky can already be convicted on the testimony of McQueary, a couple victims, and Sandusky’s odd public statements – the Costas one alone sealed that fate, and the New York Times one is further relevant for these and other purposes.  Although the charges have not been studied, it is likely that the charges against Curley and Schultz have room for appropriate reduction in the plea bargain process, and that neither of them would face jail time – Barry Bonds recently avoided jail time, and he went to trial. Sandusky will likely have to do some time in jail, but there would appear to be no direct benefit to any of them to take a trial, and huge downsides on many levels – Paterno testifying, Spanier testifying, Courtney testifying, victims being further subjected to the process etc, etc, etc.  There are huge motives on all sides, including Corbett’s, for these matters to be resolved quietly, and that is the prediction  – pleas 3 – trials 0.

The prediction is made with the further admittedly aggressive suggestion that the foregoing is, or will be, an engineered result.  Call it a “conspiracy theory” if you must, it certainly would involve one, or call it an effort to urge a look at this case that will do complete justice, but there are themes that have already been discussed generally and specifically herein, including our Penn State/Good old boy’s network article, that are suggested by the circumstances, and, whether or not the prediction proves correct, will continue to be developed.  The prediction is just an opinion, of course, the questions that give rise to it are these:

How and Why was the existence of the grand jury proceeding leaked to the Patriot News in March 2011?

Did whoever leak it know that “victims” may go out and “lawyer-up”, as they say, to seek civil suits for damages?

Did they know that financial motives affect testifying victims’ credibility?

Did they know that some people with financial motives may actually try to concoct stories?

Why did they not know of these other victims through the “investigation”?

How and why did the grand jury indictment wind up in the Patriot News?

How does Marty Carlson get next-day, state-wide coverage of slanderous accusations about Bailey?

Why doesn’t Bailey get access for his response?

Why put Bailey’s picture in the Patriot with an eye-patch he wore for a couple weeks a few years ago when he was having a health problem?

Does the Patriot News have some kind of access to the courts, or vise versa?

What kind of media access do prosecutors and former prosecutors have?

Why don’t we ever hear more about other grand jury proceedings?

How often and when are they used?

Why would Sandusky’s attorney allow him to go on national television and answer questions about his sexual attraction to young boys?

Did anybody who is involved in these cases have any interest in Sandusky doing national media appearances, without knowing what he was going to say?

Do they know those statements can be introduced against him at trial?

Why was the grand jury apparently suspended during the Corbett gubernatorial campaign?

Do they realize the names that will be on the witness lists for these trials?

Did any of them contribute to Corbett?

Do they know that Harrisburg will be a media circus for weeks, and Penn State under the spotlight of international attention?

Why was the Sandusky preliminary hearing, which he allegedly decided to waive on the morning it was scheduled, held in Bellefonte, while the others, where there was testimony, were held in Harrisburg?

Why is the new attorney general already not running for re-election?

The questions could continue, and may continue as they arise.  Of course, the answers to all of these questions are not within the power of any private citizen, save Patriot News editors, as to parts, to answer, but they all are reasonable.  They suggest themes that we will continue to develop, and as they develop, maybe those questions will be answered.  We have no interest or preference, incidentally, in the matter of pleas or trials, only that justice be done, that no one else gets hurt, and that all the proper people be brought to justice.

Thank you

Penn State lawyers and federal courts (“the good old boys network”) have role in Sandusky scandal

The immediate story being covered by this site is the attack on the law license of Don Bailey, and the damages and injuries being suffered by his clients, as reflected in the unprecedented filings that have recently been made, and as discussed in our November 5, 2011 post.  The primary purpose of this site, however, as set forth in our Welcome page, is to address the condition of the legal system, lawyers and courts, in Pennsylvania, and central Pennsylvania, in particular.  No better context can be set to study the condition of that system than that presented, not only by the Sandusky scandal, but by the role of Penn State and its attorneys in the courts.  The conditions of secrecy and control that led to the Sandusky travesty are ultimately permitted or rebuked by the courts, particularly the federal courts, whose power is immense in regulating cultural and political climates.  Penn State and its lawyers have had remarkable success in the federal courts, notwithstanding evidence of record, examples of which we will bring you, that show similar patterns of secrecy, sometimes to ruthless degrees, that demonstrate that control.  For now, we comment on the Sandusky case.

The indictment of Jerry Sandusky notes that in 1998, allegations of misconduct were reported to Wendell Courtney.  This did not surface until 2011.  Courtney is a partner in McQuaide, Blasko, a State College law firm, with a tradition at Penn State more enduring than Joe Paterno.  Courtney has also been counsel for Sandusky’s Second Mile organization.  McQuaide, Blasko handles most, if not all, of the civil rights and related litigation in the state and federal courts against Penn State.  A McQuaide partner, and prolific litigator, James Horne, is the current president of the Middle District Federal Bar Association, a position that requires close work with President Judge Kane, and Conner and Jones as well.  He was nominated and installed as president between 2009 and 2011.  The investigation under Tom Corbett is believed to have begun in 2009, then there was a hiatus until after Corbett was elected governor, and the investigative grand jury resumed in 2011.

In 1999, Sandusky retired, and the renowned coach and heir-apparent to Paterno, then only 55 years old, disappeared from the scene.  Paterno recalls a meeting with Sandusky in 1998 where he informed Sandusky that he would not become the head football coach at Penn State.  Sandusky was a hot nationwide commodity, with talk even of coaching in the NFL, and could seemingly have written his own ticket, but he never coached again.  There is no mention of what Wendell Courtney did with the information he was provided in 1998, and what, if any, relationship it bore to the end of Sandusky’s illustrious coaching career, at its zenith.

Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment

In 2002, Joe Paterno reported information he received from a graduate assistant about the misbehavior of Sandusky to the athletic director.  Although not expressly stated, it is reasonable to assume that the information was also communicated to counsel for both Penn State and Second Mile – the incident was believed to involve one of the Second Mile youths.  Corbett later became Attorney General.  No action was taken until 2011 despite the fact that the graduate assistant had witnessed a graphic violation of a child by a legendary coach on the staff of THE legendary coach, at Pennsylvania’s most prominent public institution in 2002. Additional violations allegedly occurred, again per the grand jury report, in 2005-06 and 2008.  It is abundantly clear that there was information of reprehensible criminal activity concealed in 1998 by Wendell Courtney, and that there was additional clear and unequivocal evidence of similarly graphic criminal activity concealed in 2002, and no real inquiry into how this concealment was allowed to happen.  Untold numbers of children were allegedly violated by a known predator, and a lawyer could have stopped it – a lawyer closely-connected to the courts.

It was not again until 2008 that matters were reported publicly about Sandusky, but, conspicuously, these reports did not come from anyone in the Penn State circle.  These reports came from a rural Pennsylvania high school football coach who had received information concerning some very disturbing behavior – the kind of behavior known to Courtney in 1998, and to him and many Penn State administrators in 2002.  It is believed that, through the advice of attorneys, an institutional decision was made to keep the Sandusky secret a secret forever, and that but-for the report from the high school outside of Penn State’s control, the facts would have continued to be engineered to conceal the truth, letting Sandusky continue to molest children, if that is what happened, as long as it was “not on our campus”.   The implications of a secret of this nature are unspeakable here.  The matter resurfaced in 2008, and again, even under the watchful eye of our then-Attorney General Tom Corbett, was allowed to go into a hiatus until after he became governor.  Corbett, also an attorney, has some more pointed questions to answer too.  Did Spanier and others contribute to his campaign?  Why the hiatus in the investigation of a child predator?  Were there any victims during that hiatus?  Etcetera.

The relevant point to this post relates to the principle of “acculturation” in the legal system.  In the kids-for-cash scandal, the element of acculturation was specifically cited as an obstacle to investigating the breakdown in the courts.  This was mentioned in Bailey’s King’s Bench Petition (see Bailey docket post).   It relates to the point raised by Bailey throughout that skewed loyalties motivated by politics, status, and even personal relationships, have gravely compromised equal access to justice.  This climate of acculturation, where loyalties are to the power structures which sustain the attorneys, slowly allows attorneys to turn a blind eye here and a blind eye there to actions that would otherwise dictate more direct intervention, in service to the “institution”, and the power structures that maintain it.  These are not easy things to negotiate legally, and professionally, and demonstrate why the role of the attorney, and service of that role with integrity, is so vital. When attorneys grow up professionally through these systems, they fight to maintain their personal positions, among service to other loyalties, and are acculturated to protect much, much more than the specific interest of their client in every cause at issue.  The Sandusky tragedy unfortunately illustrates the harm that can result.  We will continue provide you with examples of this principle, as we already have.  This is the essence of the problem in Pennsylvania.

Again, it is likely that Paterno at some point did convey the information he received to an attorney in 2002.  The attorney/client privilege, a vital individual protection in a system with integrity, may limit any ability to know much more than this.  To illustrate the point of this post, however, we will assume that such communication occurred.  If Paterno communicated to counsel what he testified to the grand jury, it is reasonable that Paterno was informed that he has satisfied his legal obligations.  This is what the grand jury concluded.  This is where the acculturation comes into play.  In 2002, there would already have been something to protect – the 1998 secret – which was kept to protect the institution and power structures.  The 2002 information threatened the 1998 secret, which institutionally demanded be kept secret for the same reasons.  Counsel with an institutional secret to protect would naturally instruct the purveyor of the information that since his legal duty had been satisfied, he need not and should not discuss it again with anyone, and that the attorney would take all action deemed appropriate.  Reasonable persons would heed that advice, trusting that they had placed the information in the right hands – their attorney.  Through this dynamic, if it is accurate, numerous crimes of the most heinous nature imaginable had now been covered up, and numerous more were allowed to happen.  Paterno, McQueary, and others surely did not forget what they had seen and heard, and these things were left to fester, and whether, over time, they had a duty to follow up is a moot point because the climate had been set by the institutional secret.  The longer such secrets are kept by the individual, the more daunting the prospect of being the one person to bring down the institution.  This is surely not the only such secret maintained by Penn State and its lawyers, and this is how cultural tones are set.

The hallmark of the climate of acculturation is secrecy, and secrecy is the theme of whistle blower litigation, and other civil rights litigation.  Penn State dominates the culture of central Pennsylvania, and the federal court judges in Harrisburg have sprung forth from this same climate of acculturation, through state political circles.  These courts have demonstrably protected, at least tolerated, efforts to conceal misconduct by state actors and their attorneys.  This is the “good old boys” network, and Penn State and its lawyers are big players in that network.  The good old boys network is what has given rise to the civil rights law network, and we believe both networks are working toward competing principles – equal access to justice for all in the latter case, perversion of justice for a select few in the former.  In the Sandusky case, the good old boys network has caused grievous harm to untold numbers of innocent children, and the civil rights law network will continue to shine the light on the conditions that allowed it to happen.  We will bring you specific material relating to Penn State, and other matters that touch upon our overall theme, as this mission continues to be fulfilled.

Please read on about the unprecedented action taken by Don Bailey’s clients, and allow this post provide you with some context as to why Don Bailey, and the clients he represents, are not treated with favor, as we have suggested, and has Don has suggested for years.

Thank you.