Friday, January 22

PSU 3 and JUSTICE Won Partial Victory Today

Today's superior court ruling quashed some of the perjury, obstruction, and conspiracy charges for the PSU 3 and noted former AG prosecutor Frank Fina's unethical behavior

Ray Blehar

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released opinions that quashed several charges against former Penn State University (PSU) officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier.

Baldwin "incompetent to testify" 
The Court ruled that former PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin "was incompetent to testify" regarding privileged communications with the PSU 3.  Moreover, the Court ruled that none of the men were "properly represented by Ms. Baldwin" during their grand jury testimony as agents of the University.  

As a result of the violations of Baldwin, testimony given under her representation is not admissible.  As such, the perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy charges against Schultz and Spanier were quashed.  One count of perjury against Curley remained (because he did not raise the issue in his appeal), while the other two counts were quashed.

All three men still face a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse and two felony counts for endangering the welfare of children (EWOC), and one count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children.

Today's ruling did not address the merits of the remaining charges, however, they too will eventually be dismissed.   None of the men were mandated reporters in 2001 nor would they be included under the law today even with the revisions to the law after the Sandusky scandal.  

Additionally, the criteria for a conviction on EWOC would almost be impossible for the Commonwealth to prove.

Schultz attorney Tom Farrell noted:  .

"I think the Lynn case creates real problems for the

prosecution.  Further, I think this case is a much weaker 

case than the Lynn case, specifically in terms of whether any

of the defendants were in a position where they had 

supervisory responsibilities over children or over other 

individuals who had supervisory responsibility over


"PA  Corruption Network" Receives  A  Blow

Former prosecutor Fina called out for "highly improper" conduct in the matter
While today was a partial victory for the PSU 3 - and Penn Staters - it was also a partial victory for justice.

All three opinions noted that Former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina's conduct was "highly improper" for  improperly compelling Baldwin to testify against the PSU 3 without proper approval and for misleading Judge Feudale.

Feudale: "no babe in the woods."
Apparently the courts tended to ignore the fact that Judge Feudale is "no babe in the woods" either.  He was already tossed off the bench for his lack of judicial objectivity.  

It is also notable that Feudale also had a long history in overseeing child abuse cases.  

The evidence in the PSU 3 case indicates that he and Fina may have suppressed the PSU email evidence in order to charge the PSU 3 with failure to report child abuse and obstruction of justice.  

It's not going out on a limb to think that Feudale turned a blind eye to Fina's misconduct.

PSU explicitly stated to Fina that it did not waive privilege that existed between Baldwin and the PSU 3.   Moreover, Fina told Judge Feudale he would not question Baldwin about privileged matters.  

After making that statement to Judge Feudale, a significant amount of the questioning of Baldwin regarded confidential communications.   

Fina has been lauded by the PA media as a corruption fighter due to his prosecutions of the Bonusgate and Computergate show trials.  

Today, the curtain began to be pulled back.  The PA Corruption Network's abuse of the grand jury system and courts is being exposed. 

In closing, what does that say about those who are questioning AG Kane's selection of Maryland attorney Douglas Gansler to look into all matters around the email evidence?

Next:  Grand Jury Abuses


  1. I hope the decision stands on appeal but the PA court system is unpredictable. How could Judge Todd Hoover get it so wrong in the first place? The Superior Court should have rebuked Judge Hoover along with Frank Fina, Barry Feudale and Cynthia Baldwin.

    The Lynn case does not necessarily inspire confidence. Lynn had his conviction overturned on appeal but then the PA Supreme Court reinstated the conviction.

    Lynn had his conviction overturned a second time because most of the evidence at Lynn's trial was about child abuse by priests committed long before Lynn took office.

    Fina's boss in the Philly DA's office, Seth Williams, has appealed the decision. He indicated he will retry Lynn if the conviction remains overturned. DA Williams is also trying to keep Lynn in jail.

    1. Tim,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I reread Hoover's opinion last night and it left out that PSU (Mustakoff) did not waive privilege. In short, Hoover cherry picked information to keep these charges alive. One has to wonder what motivated Hoover do that.

      The tainted evidence in Lynn's case caused the jurors to ignore the law -- and decide the case on emotion.

      Here is the criteria for an EWOC conviction. There's no way this statute, especially Parts 1 and 3, is applicable to the PSU 3.

      § 4304. Endangering welfare of children.

      (a) Offense defined.--
      (1) A parent, guardian or other person supervising the
      welfare of a child under 18 years of age, or a person that
      employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he
      knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a
      duty of care, protection or support.
      (2) A person commits an offense if the person, in an
      official capacity, prevents or interferes with the making of
      a report of suspected child abuse under 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63
      (relating to child protective services).
      (3) As used in this subsection, the term "person
      supervising the welfare of a child" means a person other than
      a parent or guardian that provides care, education, training
      or control of a child.

      The recent overturn of the SERS pension ruling makes it clear that Sandusky was not an employee of PSU after 1998, thus he was not under administrative control or direction of the PSU 3. Part 1 doesn't apply.

      Part 3 doesn't apply because none of the men were supervising the child, nor was the child participating in a Penn State sanctioned activity. Sandusky's retirement perquisites stated he had personal use of the showers.

      These charges will be tossed at some point.

    2. Ray - I agree with you that the law doesn't apply to the PSU 3. It didn't apply to Lynn either, and the Superior Court agreed. But then the PA Supreme Court overruled them.

      PA judges just seem to ignore the law when it suits them.

  2. Thanks for your analysis Ray. You never disappoint.

    1. Carole,
      Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.

  3. Ray,
    Your ability to put all this together never fails to amaze me! Thanks, I will always be grateful for all that you do for the truth.

    1. Scott,
      Thanks for the compliment and for reading the blog.

      More to come.

  4. Ray,
    Another outstanding report. The key is politics. The law is secondary to the "good old boys" network. Convictions and public perception feed the Corbett/Fina PA Corruption Network. Contributions from judges provide the "cover" for illegal prosecutions.

    Where is Judge Hoover? He has been off the bench for months.

    1. Elroy,
      Thanks for your comment and the kind words.

      Judge Hoover, to my knowledge, was stricken with brain cancer and took a leave of absence.