Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Sandusky Disorder Evidence to Be Part of Defense

All of the horrifying testimony has been presented in the Sandusky trial. All of the prosecution's witnesses have told their side of the story and the experts agree that Sandusky's only chance at a defense is to discredit all of the testimony against him, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now the defense wants to put on Sandusky's disorder evidence.

On Friday, Judge John Cleland ruled that Sandusky will be allowed to present expert evidence that he has "histrionic personality disorder" (HPD) as long as Sandusky is made available to the prosecution for examination, reports the Associated Press. The defense believes the disorder could explain away Sandusky's letters and other alleged grooming of victims.

What was the judge's order and what does it means to Sandusky's defense?

HPD symptoms include being overly concerned with one's looks, believing relationships are more intimate than they actually are, and needing to be the center of attention, according to the National Library of Medicine. Since knowledge of HPD and other scientific knowledge is usually outside of the norm for most folks, one side of a litigation must request it to be introduced.

This evidence is introduced by an expert witness and is the opposite of "lay opinion," which is based on something that an average person can identify, like someone being drunk.

The defense's request explained the background of how an HPD diagnosis is made and how that diagnosis will affect the trial. The judge accepted that the HPD evidence will potentially act as a defense to parts of the prosecution's case, but made sure that the prosecution has the ability to prepare its own rebuttal testimony by bringing in a different expert.

Now the trial will be turned towards explaining away the testimony of the week before by discrediting each witness and victim's testimony. It will be interesting to see how the defense will use Sandusky's alleged histrionic personality disorder evidence to challenge the prosecution's case.

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