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Buffalo Township attorney joins Jerry Sandusky legal fight

Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Butler County attorney Alexander Lindsay has been retained as the lawyer for the legal appeals of convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky. Thursday, July 3, 2014.

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By Emily Balser
Sunday, July 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

An Alle-Kiski lawyer has added another name to his list of high-profile clients — Jerry Sandusky.

Buffalo Township defense attorney Alexander “Al” Lindsay Jr. will represent the former Penn State assistant football coach in the next phase of his case.

Lindsay will be filing a Post Conviction Relief Act petition.

“He sought us out to represent him on this particular part of that case,” Lindsay said.

Some of the reasons such a petition can be filed: if it is believed the client's previous counsel was ineffective, new evidence has been found, or there was a violation of the U.S. or Pennsylvania constitutions or law in the case.

“Were reviewing the material in the case, but it's a long process,” he said.

Lindsay said he couldn't reveal much about the Sandusky case at this time, but this isn't the first high-profile case Lindsay has taken on in his more than 40 years as a lawyer.

Some of the big cases include serving as defense attorney for the Rev. Richard Rossi, who was accused of attempting to murder his wife, and John Vojtas, the former police officer accused of killing a man during a traffic stop. The Rossi case ended in a hung jury, and Vojtas was acquitted of all charges.

“I was probably destined to be a lawyer,” Lindsay said. “I was the oldest son. My father was a lawyer, my grandfather was a lawyer, and that was the family business.”

But it almost didn't happen.

Lindsay studied history at Washington and Jefferson College and had no interest in following the family business. He was set to join the military once he graduated in 1968, but a knee injury from wrestling kept him out for two years.

At the encouragement of his father, he went to law school for those two years.

To his surprise, he liked it. He was especially drawn to evidence law, trial advocacy and criminal law. He drew inspiration from his evidence professor, Welsh White.

“I think if I hadn't taken that evidence course, or if I'd taken it with another professor, I probably would have dropped out of law school,” he said.

Although he has been a defense attorney for the majority of his career, he began as a prosecutor.

Just a year after graduating from University of Pittsburgh's School of Law in 1971, he was hired as Butler County's first assistant district attorney, where he investigated and prosecuted public corruption.

“This was a dream job,” he said. “In a period of three years, I tried approximately 60 jury trials. I got tremendous experience.”

He continued dealing with corruption when he was appointed as assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania in 1975.

He held that position until he opened his private practice in Butler in 1980 and switched to being a defense attorney. Although he thought about going somewhere else, he decided to come back and settle down in a familiar area with his practice and family.

“I liked working in Butler,” he said. “It's my home county and I thought that I would have a good start here — and I did.”

Lindsay still lives on the farm he grew up on in Buffalo Township with his wife, Trish, who works as a paralegal at his practice. The couple has six children.

“We understand each other and we're best friends,” Trish Lindsay said.

She said she loves watching Al in court and often attends his trials to watch him in action.

“He gets the story in every case and he can see what the real strategy is for that case,” she said.

Lindsay said he enjoys going to trial. He thinks too many cases end up being settled out of court.

“I am proud of what I do,” he said. “We believe that lawyers like myself are soldiers of the Constitution.”

Lindsay said he's had many mentors from professors to other lawyers, but he's learned the most from judges.

“There's so many of them that have made such an impact,” he said. “They mentor you just by how they treat you in a courtroom.”

Lindsay said the skills to be able to go to trial are important for a lawyer and worries they aren't used enough. That's why he teaches a course on trial advocacy to law students at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I hope it's useful,” he said.

Lindsay also passes along his knowledge to his two associates Chad Doman and James Paulick.

“A lot of the more in depth (cases) that require a higher degree of expertise, Mr. Lindsay likes to bring us along,” Doman said.

Lindsay's practice is a good fit for the associates because they both enjoy being in the courtroom as much as he does.

“Coming here just opens the door even more for even more high profile cases that are going to go to trial,” Paulick said.

Doman and Paulick said they have received a lot of advice from Lindsay on how to be a good lawyer.

“A lot of times, it's just listening to what the client wants, what a good outcome is for them,” Doman said. “More than anything that dictates their course of action.”

Lindsay said what sets his practice apart from others is that they will try anything. He said they like to look at themselves as representing “the little guy against the huge entities.”

“We like to be in the courtroom, we like to try cases,” he said. “That's what we live for.”

Emily Balser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-7710 or ebalser@tribweb.com

 

 
 


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