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Commonwealth v. Spanier

132 A.3d 481 (2016)

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Commonwealth v. Spanier

Pennsylvania Superior Court

132 A.3d 481 (2016)

Facts

Graham Spanier (defendant) was the president of the Pennsylvania State University (university) during the investigation of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) into allegations that Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the university’s football team, had sexually abused children over a period of many years while employed by the university. Spanier was summoned to testify before a grand jury convened by the OAG. In response to a question from the judge, Spanier indicated that he was represented by Cynthia Baldwin, general counsel to the university, who was seated behind him at the time. Although Baldwin had previously indicated to the judge that she represented only the university, the judge did not further question Spanier about the scope or type of representation Baldwin was providing. Baldwin had not explained to Spanier that she represented him only as an agent of the university and not in his individual capacity. Later, Baldwin was also summoned to testify before the grand jury. Baldwin’s testimony regarding Spanier, which contradicted Spanier’s testimony, led to charges being filed against him for, among other things, failure to report suspected child abuse, perjury, and endangering the welfare of a child. Spanier filed motions to preclude the introduction of Baldwin’s testimony and to quash the criminal charges against him, asserting that Baldwin’s testimony before the grand jury violated the attorney-client privilege. The court denied Spanier’s motions, and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bowes, J.)

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