Sandusky jurors include students from Penn State

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Sandusky jurors include students from Penn State

From Comcast SportsNet
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- The fast-moving jury selection for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial could wrap up quickly as lawyers try to fill the seven remaining slots on the panel. Twelve jurors and four alternates are needed, and nine were selected Tuesday. Twelve of the 40 potential jurors questioned Wednesday morning were excused, mostly because they said serving on a multi-week trial would be a financial hardship. Defense attorneys told the panel their witness list includes seven members of Sandusky's family, including his wife, Dottie, and two sons. Before jury selection resumed, defense lawyer Joe Amendola told reporters he was confident the nine jurors picked on Tuesday will give "us a fair shake." Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan, Pennsylvania's senior deputy attorney general, said that jury selection was "so far, so good." The five men and four women already selected include some people with strong ties to Penn State. They include a rising senior at the college, a retired soil sciences professor with 37 years at the university, a man with bachelor's and master's degrees from the school and a woman who's been a football season ticket holder since the 1970s. Others selected included a 24-year-old man with plans to attend an auto technician school, a mother of two who works in retail, a retired school bus driver, an engineer with no Penn State ties and a property management firm employee. Sandusky, 68, is fighting 52 criminal charges for alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. He has repeatedly denied the allegations. He faces potential penalties that could result in an effective life prison sentence. More than 600 jury duty summonses were sent out to residents in Centre County, the home of Penn State University's main campus. In questioning 40 prospective jurors Tuesday, about half said they or immediate family members worked at Penn State or were university retirees. One woman rented apartments to college students. Four knew Sandusky and two knew his wife. Sandusky's lawyer won the right to have jurors chosen from the local community, and prosecutors had concerns that Centre County might prove to be nearly synonymous with Penn State. Sandusky had helped build the football team's reputation as a defensive powerhouse known as "Linebacker U." His arrest toppled Joe Paterno from the head coaching position just months before his death from cancer, and some of the alleged attacks on children are said to have occurred inside university showers. One of the very first jurors to be seated wasn't just a season ticketholder since the 1970s: She said John McQueary -- a possible trial witness and the father of a key witness -- once worked with her husband. When Sandusky's lawyer sought to have her removed for cause, Cleland signaled he would need more grounds. "We're in Centre County. We're in rural Pennsylvania," Cleland said, noting that such connections "can't be avoided." Amendola opted not to use one of his eight challenges, and she joined the panel. Amendola did strike parents with children who are roughly junior high school age, similar to the ages for the alleged victims. All the jurors will have to say under oath they can be impartial. Prosecutors have claimed that Sandusky groomed boys he met through The Second Mile, the charity he founded for at-risk youth in 1977, then attacked them, in some cases in his own home or inside university athletic facilities.

The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.