Jury selection is underway in the sex assault trial of former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky. And oh dear:
The pool reporter also said that most of the jury pool is middle-aged and Caucasian, with several people wearing Penn State jackets.— Onward State (@OnwardState) June 5, 2012
Centre County (pop 154,000) so small, that among first 40 possible jurors, four said they knew Sandusky, two said they knew his wife— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) June 5, 2012
Even a Penn State employee is among the potential jurors. And just imagine the atmosphere if Joe Paterno's widow or Jay Paterno are called to testify.
Also, jurors have also been told they won't be sequestered, which is great news for them but means they'll have to lock themselves in their basements with their radios off to avoid hearing outside coverage of the trial. Judge John Cleland had a tough decision to make here, and I'm far from qualified to question him, but it does indeed complicate the trial.
This is all in addition to the sheer spectacle of reading about Jerry Sandusky interacting with humans and responding to questions about horrible allegations. The AP report notes the accused laughed at the judge's jokes before looking down while the grisly charges were being read.
Certain circus elements are unavoidable here, simply due to the shocking nature of the alleged acts, the school's standing in the region and Sandusky's status as a decades-long member of the community. We'll just have to hope justice is the end result regardless.