Judge John Cleland on Sandusky trial, news organizations and the ‘Twitter’ ban

McKean County Judge John Cleland worked with media organizations before the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse trial, including the media’s request to be allowed to tweet, text and post from the courtroom.

On May 18, he spoke to a group of news organization reporters and editors in Harrisburg.

In this excerpt, he talks about the logistical discussions, his decision to allow electronic devices to be used in the courtroom and then explains his decision to ban them. It’s fascinating stuff. If, as I was, you were among those who didn’t really understand Cleland’s reversal on electronic media, you will after listening to this.

Teri Henning, president of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, was involved in the logistics discussions before the trial and told me that Cleland was thoughtful, reasonable and trying to work with news organizations. After hearing him Saturday, now I understand what she was trying to tell me. He was trying to work around a Pennsylvania court rule that bans electronic media — a rule that ought to be changed.

Related links:

–Judge changes his mind, prohibits tweeting and other electronic communication in Sandusky trial:www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-r…ectronic-communica

–Judge: Sandusky case compelling, but not a legal ‘game-changer’: www.centredaily.com/2013/05/18/3621…compelling.html

–Meet John Cleland, veteran judge at center of Sandusky trial: www.ydr.com/sports/ci_20821742/…-at-center-sandusky

About Scott Blanchard

Sunday editor at the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.
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