Now Hear This...

Strict decorum rules are in place for media covering the highly anticipated Jerry Sandusky hearing at the old Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., Tuesday.

Rest assured, there will be order in the court Tuesday, when former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky faces a preliminary hearing on charges of sex abuse against minors.

The hearing will take place at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., about 10 miles away from State College. The building opened in 1806, and the venerable main hearing/trial area in it -- Courtroom 1 -- could be straight out of a John Grisham novel.

Meanwhile, the rules in place for reporters covering the Sandusky hearing will allow for the same level of live coverage available two centuries ago -- namely, none.

Earlier this week, presiding judge John M. Cleland issued a decorum order that effectively bans all live coverage from inside Courtroom 1 (where the Sandusky hearing will take place) as well as a satellite room in a nearby annex (where a live in-house audio and video feed of the proceedings will be shown to the overflow press).

Under the threat of contempt of court charges, reporters are NOT allowed to do the following during the hearing:

• Have cell phone powered on or even in sight.

• Take photographs or shoot video, or use any sort of recording device.

• Use laptop computers for any purpose other than note taking.

• Use the Internet or telephone services to transmit anything from the Courthouse, Courtroom 1 or the satellite room.

As noted, violators of those rules will be subjected to contempt charges and offending reporters and their news organizations will lose their press credential for the hearing and possibly future legal proceedings involving Sandusky.

Further, once the morning session begins at 8:30 a.m., everyone is expected to remain in their seat until a recess is called or until the morning session has ended. Anyone who leaves their seat during the morning session (if not during a recess) will not be readmitted until the afternoon session. Anyone who leaves during the afternoon session (if not during a recess) will not be readmitted.

The press had to apply for credentials to cover the hearing. They will be distributed as follows:

In Courtroom 1, two seats are reserved for the Associated Press and four seats are reserved for sketch artists. One seat each is reserved for the Daily Collegian, Centre Daily Times, Harrisburg Patriot-News, WJAC-TV, WTAJ-TV and WQWK radio.

Of the rest of the press seats -- there will be about 100 in Courtroom 1 and 100 more in the satellite room -- 45 percent will go to print media, 45 percent will go to broadcast media and 10 percent will go to online media.

Credentials are being allocated by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. has been issued a credential for Courthouse 1.


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