Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Centre County Trial Judges Recuse; McKean County Judge Assigned

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) said today that all Centre County Common Pleas Court judges have recused themselves from hearing matters related to the case of Commonwealth v. Gerald Sandusky.

The judges’ recusals are intended to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest due to real or perceived connections to the defendant, the Second Mile charity, or the Pennsylvania State University.

 Because of the recusals, the Centre County president judge has requested AOPC to assign an out-of-county Common Pleas judge to handle forthcoming matters related to the case.  McKean County Senior Judge John M. Cleland has been appointed.

Until Judge Cleland is able to assume jurisdiction, miscellaneous petitions filed by counsel with respect to the Sandusky case will be heard by President Judge Kathy A. Morrow of Judicial District 41 -- comprised of Perry and Juniata counties -- who has been designated for that purpose.

Neither judge has any known connections with the defendant, the Pennsylvania State University or the Second Mile charity, nor any officers or representatives of those entities.

Judge Cleland has been a jurist since 1984.  He has served as president judge of McKean County, and as both an active and senior judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.  Judge Cleland also served as chairman of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice.

Judge Morrow has been a jurist since 2004, and had engaged in the private practice of law since 1982.

A senior judge is one who has retired from active service but remains available by appointment to hear cases.

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