Deadspin reports that judge Leslie Dutchcot, who decided that former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky should be released on $100,000 unsecured bail, volunteered for the Second Mile, the charity Sandusky allegedly used to find boys to abuse. The terms of Sandusky’s bail allow him to avoid paying anything unless he fails to appear in court.
Of course, also according to her profile, Judge Dutchcot is a volunteer for Sandusky’s group, The Second Mile. Sandusky turned himself in the morning of November 5, a Saturday, at Judge Dutchot’s Centre County office. He was released, under the aforementioned terms, shortly thereafter.
There’s no problem with Dutchcot volunteering for the Second Mile, of course. What Deadspin finds surprising is that she did not recuse herself.
I grew up in Wheeling, and my father is a lawyer there. When you’re dealing with a town that small, and a high-profile defendant with ties to the community, it would seem unlikely that there would be no connection between the defendant and the judge. That’s simply the reality of small-town, or even medium-town, life. I can’t blame her for that. Unless her connection to the Second Mile turns out to be a particularly deep one, I’m not sure I’d worry too much about this. Given that Sandusky received what looks like a favorable bail deal, though, I’d expect some tooth-gnashing about this.