Graham Spanier's first hand account of the injustices he endured at the hands of the Pennsylvania's corrupt criminal justice system and the dishonesty from former Penn State officials is an informative and infuriating read.
Spanier takes us on an informative journey of his somewhat tragic upbringing that spans two continents, to his distinguished professional career in academia and an advisor at the highest levels of government, both in the US and abroad, and finally to the unbelievable and infuriating experiences in his attempt to defend himself from overzealous prosecutors hell bent on jailing him for political purposes.
The prosecutors in his case routinely used the media to convict their targets in the court of public opinion, threatened witnesses with prosecution if they would not condemn the accused, ignored their ethical obligations to the legal community and the public at-large, and engaged in abhorrent behaviors that corrupted the entire criminal justice system in the Keystone State.
If the corruption in Pennsylvania's legal system wasn't bad enough, Spanier recounts incidents that demonstrated just how little respect for human decency there was in the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG) -- the top law enforcement office in the Commonwealth.
Current AG Josh Shapiro opposed Spanier's pleading to serve his time under house arrest, despite the fact that Spanier was suffering from cancer and been recently diagnosed with a heart ailment that would require surgery. Shapiro referred to the advice given by Spanier's very prominent medical doctors as "hearsay" and requested immediate incarceration.
Former AG Bruce Beemer, now an Allegheny County (PA) judge, dispatched state troopers to Chicago to question members of Spanier's family in an effort to dig up dirt. The process upset Spanier's then ninety-one year-old mother that she suffered a stroke and never recovered from the set back.
Spanier not only had to endure these attacks from the outside forces, but did so while being undermined by top officials at Penn State University, including then General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin, the Board of Trustees, and their hired gun -- former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
A lesser man would have given up in the face of such adversity, but Spanier never wavered.
In the end, corruption won by a hair -- with a former Pennsylvania attorney general with ties to the 1998 Sandusky case writing an unprecedented legal decision that sent Spanier to jail.
As a person with rather detailed knowledge of the Sandusky scandal, I found Spanier's accounting of the case to be accurate with very little opinion or speculation mixed in. The book also relates previously unknown details from closed legal proceedings that further the narrative of a corrupt legal system run amok.
RATING: 5 STARS
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