"For the past two days, I sat 10 feet away from accused pedophile, Jerry Sandusky, his attorneys Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger; from the AG's office, Joseph McGettigan, III, (another attorney not pictured - Frank Fina I believe); and Judge John Cleland.
No pictures were allowed, but Art Lien, from courtartist.com was in chambers with me on day one and drew this scene to give you some perspective of what it looked like.
I arrived at the courthouse early Tuesday morning to ensure I would be one of the first five admitted as "Public." (I was second in line). The young gentleman who was first in line is starting Law School in the Fall at American University and is finishing up his studies at Penn State this summer.
We proceeded into the large courtroom and watched as all 209 prospective jurors were checked in. Around 8:45 a.m. the prosecutors, Jerry Sandusky and his defense team entered and sat at the front of the courtroom. Soon after, Judge John Cleland came in and spoke to the jury pool.
Typically, Judges will speak to them from the bench, wearing their robes - but Judge Cleland, instead, came in without his robe on and spoke to the jury pool standing in the front row of benches. He thanked them for their service and spoke about the history our legal system comes from, dating back a thousand years. I watched the jury pool's reaction to him with interest, and you could sense a palpable change in the atmosphere from "I don't want to be here" to "It is my civic duty to be here." Body languages changed as people leaned forward, captivated by his words.
Judge Cleland then explained that the selection process would be broken up into three parts. Phase I would be completed with the check-in in the large courtroom. Phase II would consist of blocks of 40 jurors being called into a smaller courtroom down the hall where they would be asked a number of general questions and answer by raising their cards (each juror was assigned a number to protect their identity). At this phase, some would be excused by the judge for financial hardships, medical conditions, and other factors deemed worthy by Judge Cleland. Finally, in Phase 3, one by one each juror would enter the scene above and be asked another set of questions by Judge Cleland as well as follow-up questions by both the defense and prosecution.
At the conclusion of this Q&A session, the judge would confer with the attorneys and let the prospective juror know right then whether they were selected or not.
An officer of the court approached the row of chairs we were sitting in and pointed to the young man sitting next to me. She said, "Judge Cleland has selected you to view Phase II of the trial." She then pointed to me and said "The Judge has requested you to be in chambers for Phase III."...
Once funded, we will work diligently to deliver the book in early 2014. We've stated a delivery date of April, but if all goes well, we hope to have Bearing Witness: The Jerry Sandusky Trial in your hands even earlier.