Friday, April 27, 2007

Penn State Players Legal Proceedings: The Next Step

All of the players facing charges will face preliminary proceeding known as a Preliminary Hearing (PH). At this hearing it is the Commonwealth's burden to prove a prima facie case for all the charges alleged against all Defendants. Prima facie does not mean beyond a reasonable doubt what it does require is evidence:
Evidence that is sufficient to raise a presumption of fact or to establish the fact in question unless rebutted.

This is not a high burden of proof on the Commonwealth, and, the Commonwealth would not have filed the criminal complaints against the players unless it felt comfortable proving this burden. The DA has also stated that he plans to call 40 witnesses at this hearing (probably because of the size of the party and the number of people charged he will need that many to build a case for each charge against each person). All of this info can be found pursuant to PA. R. Cr. P. 540-543.

This is a terrible day, and this is terrible news.


1 comment:

Coach said...

The key to success for a Preliminary Hearing is getting all of your evidence "in." It really doesn't matter how or from whom the police/DA got the information to arrest - but it does matter at the hearing. Witnesses have to show up and evidence has to have been obtained in a lawful manner. Given the length and scope of the investigation - I'd say that the DA has what he needs to make the case. Not too much, not too little - just enough for the judge to schedule a trial. God - can you imagine football players on trial in Centre County? I certainly wouldn't want to have to pick a jury out of that pool.