HARRISBURG, PA – In a move that came to the surprise of many, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has decided to overturn Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction on June 30th, which will allow him to walk free out of prison.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reached said decision by highlighting prosecutorial mistakes made in the case, which said mistake is most easily described as essentially a broken promise to not prosecute Cosby when he delivered testimony during a lawsuit over a decade prior to his 2018 conviction.
Bill Cosby to be released from prison after court overturns conviction https://t.co/NjCWLm7YFZ pic.twitter.com/qRFhtcBpqf
— New York Post (@nypost) June 30, 2021
The now 83-year-old Cosby will be released from prison, after having been sentenced to three-to-ten years in prison for the 2018 conviction of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman back in 2004.
Cosby’s 2018 criminal conviction relied heavily upon self-incriminating testimony he gave during a lawsuit that took place between 2005 and 2006 involving the victim from 2004 sexual assault.
Back in 2005, then- Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor declined to criminally charge Cosby, citing that short of any sort of confession due to a lack of tangible evidence, a conviction would be near impossible to obtain.
This then paved the way for civil proceedings against Cosby launched by the 2004 victim, Andrea Constand, which since this was a civil matter, Cosby wouldn’t be afforded the right to not testify as a defendant normally could in a criminal trial.
BREAKING: Bill Cosby to be released after sexual assault conviction overturned by Pennsylvania Supreme Court. https://t.co/eIedbaYVK3
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 30, 2021
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted that specifically in their decision reached to vacate Cosby’s conviction:
“Unable to invoke any right not to testify in the civil proceedings, Cosby relied upon the district attorney’s declination and proceeded to provide four sworn depositions. During those depositions, Cosby made several incriminating statements.”
It was in 2015 that Kevin Steele was elected to serve as the Montgomery County district attorney, which his campaign at the time promised that – if elected – he would prosecute Cosby for the sexual assault of Constand that happened in 2004.
Which, DA Steele did exactly that.
DA Steele proclaimed at the time in 2015 when charges were brought against Cosby that evidence against him in the 2004 case had strengthened – but in reality, the evidence that was primarily used to convict Cosby was the testimony from the lawsuit brought forth after former DA Castor said his office wouldn’t prosecute the case.
The state’s high court’s decision noted that just because there’s a “changing of the guard”, it doesn’t mean that a new district attorney can play by their own rules without limitations:
“[T]he discretion vested in our Commonwealth’s prosecutors, however vast, does not mean that its exercise is free of the constraints of due process.
When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade. No mere changing of the guard strips that circumstance of its inequity.”
The state supreme court’s decision noted that there is of course a “public interest” in having those guilty of crimes adequately punished, but due process cannot be violated in the pursuit of justice:
“All of this started with DA Castor’s compulsion of Cosby’s reliance upon a public proclamation that Cosby would not be prosecuted.
The CDO’s remedy for all this would include subjecting Cosby to a third criminal trial. That is no remedy at all. Rather, it is an approach that would place Cosby nowhere near where he was before the due process violation took root.”
BREAKING: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has overturned Bill Cosby's 2018 sexual assault conviction. He could soon be released from prison. https://t.co/voeYhOfT0W
— CNN (@CNN) June 30, 2021
The court found that not only must Cosby’s conviction be tossed, but that he can never be prosecuted on these same charges ever again:
“There is only one remedy that can completely restore Cosby to the status quo ante. He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred. We do not dispute that this remedy is both severe and rare. But it is warranted here, indeed compelled.”
“The CDO would shun this remedy because (at least in part it) might thwart the public interest in having the guilty brought to book. It cannot be gainsaid that society holds a strong interest in the prosecution of crimes.
It is also true that no such interest, however important, ever can eclipse society’s interest in ensuring that the constitutional rights of the people are vindicated. Societies interest in prosecution does not displace the remedy due to constitutionally aggrieved persons.”
According to reports, Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, will be picking him up from prison on June 30th.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who had represented many of the women who testified against Cosby during his criminal trial, said that while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court let Cosby walk free on “technical grounds”, this still doesn’t “vindicate his actions”:
“Despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, this was an important fight for justice. And even though the court overturned the conviction on technical grounds, it did not vindicate Bill Cosby’s conduct and should not be interpreted as a statement or a finding that he did not engage in the acts of which he has been accused.”
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Back in May, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on when Cosby’s parole was denied following his refusal to participate in sex offender courses.
The report we brought back in May also highlighted his grievances voiced by his legal team under which Cosby’s 2018 conviction was secured.
Here’s that previous report.
SKIPPACK TOWNSHIP, PA – Bill Cosby has reportedly been denied parole by the Pennsylvania Parole Board earlier in May, with officials from the parole board citing that his parole was denied in part for his refusal to participate in the state’s “Sexually Violent Predator” course.
The Pennsylvania Parole Board has turned down Bill Cosby's petition to be released from a 10-year prison sentence for aggravated indecent assault, citing his refusal to participate in a therapy program for sexually violent predators. https://t.co/9BiPSC4jau
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 28, 2021
Back in April of 2018, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against a woman by the name of Andrea Constand, which involved Cosby reportedly drugging and molesting the victim back in 2004.
The conviction was ultimately sealed against Cosby due to a released deposition dating back to 2005/2006 regarding a civil suit brought against him by Constand.
This deposition showed Cosby admitting to administering drugs to women, including Constand, and then sexually assaulting them while they were under the influence.
Attorneys for Cosby claimed that Cosby only answered the questions during the deposition for the civil suit because he was allegedly promised to never be criminally prosecuted promised by then-District Attorney Bruce Castor.
Juror: Bill Cosby sealed his own fate in deposition in which he admitted giving women drugs to have sex with them. https://t.co/J5rzeGFFpC
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 30, 2018
However, a judge in 2017 ruled that the deposition was allowed to be admitted into court for his criminal trial that kicked off that year.
By September of 2018, Cosby was sentenced to 3-to-10 years in prison for the aggravated indecent assault convictions.
Cosby, now 83-years-old, was denied parole earlier in May after going before the Pennsylvania Parole Board.
According to the parole board’s decision, Cosby’s denial was based upon his “need to participate in and complete additional institutional programs, the negative recommendation made by the department of corrections, [and] failure to develop a parole release plan.”
Cosby has maintained his innocence, despite being convicted, and believes that if he were to participate in Pennsylvania’s “Sexually Violent Predator” course then it would be tantamount to him admitting to being guilty of the sexual assaults from 2004.
Andrew Wyatt, a spokesperson for Cosby, commented the following regarding the parole board’s decision:
“It was brought to our attention by Mr. Cosby that over the past months, members of the PA State Parole Board had met with him and emphatically stated, ‘If he did not participate in SVP courses that his parole would be denied.’ Mr. Cosby has vehemently proclaimed his innocence and continues to deny all allegations made against him as being false, without the sheer evidence or any proof.”
Wyatt added that Cosby “remains hopeful that the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court will issue an opinion to vacate his conviction or warrant him a new trial.”
Back in 2019, Cosby also went on the record saying that he believes he’ll serve his entire sentence in prison, because the parole board are “not going to hear me say that I have remorse.”
"The Cosby Show" star has previously said he expects to serve his full 10-year sentence and vowed to show no remorse for crimes he said he didn't commit. https://t.co/XCQyWGc1Cf
— YDR online (@ydrcom) May 28, 2021
During the November 2019 interview, Cosby stated:
“When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don’t care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren’t there. They don’t know.”
The former comedian believes that his entire trial and conviction was some sort of a “set up”:
“It’s all a set up. That whole jury thing. They were imposters.”
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