Sandusky Trial Manipulation Tricks

There were two interesting bits in the Jerry Sandusky trial.

First, the police asked leading and manipulative questions to witnesses.  The police said “X said that Sandusky did Y to him.  Did Sandusky do Y to you?”  When you manipulate witnesses like that, it’s very easy to get a bunch a witnesses telling similar stories.  However, in this instance, it’s an example of “Framing someone who is actually guilty.”

Second, the judge dismissed 3 counts, before the jury started deliberating.  What kind of message does that send to the jury?  Superficially, the judge is saying “These 3 counts have insufficient evidence.”  There’s also a hidden meaning.  The judge is implicitly saying “I think there’s enough evidence for the remaining counts.”

By dismissing some counts, but not all of them, the judge sends a hint to the jury that he thinks there’s enough evidence for the remaining counts.  The judge should wait until after the jury deliberates, and then overturn if the jury made excessive convictions.

That’s two interesting points.  First, the police can manipulate witnesses to testifying in a certain way.  If enough people repeat a lie, you can fabricate memories.  Second, the judge can manipulate a jury into voting guilty, by dismissing some, but not all, of the charges.

5 Responses to Sandusky Trial Manipulation Tricks

  1. I think he wouldn’t overturn excessive convictions, but he would have to declare a mistrial. He was probably front running that possibility.

    • It’s very hard to win an appeal. There’s a legal principle called “harmless error”. The appeals court says “The trial judge made a mistake, but the defendant was obviously guilty, so it’s a harmless error.”

  2. Anonymous Coward June 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    > There’s a legal principle called “harmless error”.

    A very long time ago (measured in decades) I once had access to something worth say 50, 000 USD.

    It was taken away from me, but just before it was taken away from me, the regulator was unilaterally changed from party A to party B.

    I did query this and I was told party A was changed to party B due to a correction of an administrative error. No detail was given how this administrative error was found, why it was found just days after a certain event and no paperwork was provided to back up their claim. I had documentation saying party A was the responsible one.

    I went to a lawyer and was told that they were obviously lying, but it wouldn’t have made any difference!!!!! As you sue in civil court for money (and nothing else), I had no claim.

    But the big question is they obviously changed from party A to party B for a reason. And what reason was that?

    A few years later in a discussion with an acquaintance, I was told that I should have sought out a lawyer in a different city as the ones in the city in question were a small group and would never do anything that would create waves.

    • Once, when I did a rollover from my employer’s 401(k) to an IRA, my ex-employer stole $3500 from my account! There wasn’t anything I could do about it.

      • Anonymous Coward June 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

        This happened decades ago. I was very shocked at the time. It involved a world famous organization.

        All I needed was a lawyer to write them a letter and start asking questions. Who found the administrative error? What documentation did they have to suggest this? Isn’t it suspicious that the routine checking for this error happened within days of someone having a motive to take what I had rights to?

        It would have caused a s***-storm. But I guess the lawyers knew they would make powerful enemies.

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