He'd rather not have all of the attention, but Senior Trial Court Judge John M. Cleland of Kane is in the national limelight today.
He's the presiding judge for the upcoming sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky, a former long-time Penn State assistant football coach.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin June 5 in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Barring any “bombshell” developments, Cleland will return home three days later to deliver the commencement address Friday, June 8 at the Kane High School auditorium.
“It’s an honor every time you’re asked,” Cleland said in preparing to be the Kane High commencement speaker for the third time in his career. “I’m not going to miss it.”
Cleland was born and raised in Kane and has spent most of his life here. He is the son of the late Charles and Elizabeth Mason Cleland, both physicians who practiced medicine in Kane.
A 1965 graduate of Kane High School, Cleland served as Student Council president and was a member of the National Honor Society. He sang with the Choraliers and played the trumpet in the school band. He also took the stage with key roles in class plays.
In 1969, Cleland received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He served as editor of the student newspaper.
Cleland attended the National Law Center at George Washington University and graduated with honors in 1972.
A competitive equestrian for much of his life, Cleland met his wife, Julie, at a horse show in Bradford. The couple married in 1969.
Julie, a native of Rochester, N.Y., attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The Clelands have two daughters—Liza Greville of Kane and Emily Cleland, who is a horse trainer and farm manager, and travels to various equestrian events.
The Clelands have two grandsons.
After graduating from law school, Cleland worked for two years as a law clerk in Pittsburgh for U.S. District Court Judge Barron P. McCune.
In 1974, Cleland jumped at the opportunity to return home to Kane to become a partner in the Woods, Baker and Cleland law firm. He said he’s had “many chances” to relocate for other jobs, but has always decided to remain in the community he loves.
See full article by purchasing the May 24 edition of The Kane Republican.