PHILADELPHIA, PA – Bill Cosby, who was once known as America’s dad, had his sexual assault conviction thrown out earlier this year. Now, prosecutors are urging the United State Supreme Court to give the case a look and reinstate the conviction.
NEW: Pennsylvania prosecutors ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision that overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, arguing in a petition that Cosby was incorrectly shielded from prosecution. https://t.co/c2xJBldaS7
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 29, 2021
Prosecutors have begun pushing the argument now that documents have recently been released which show that the guilty verdict was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in June after an alleged agreement between Cosby and the state were revealed.
The agreement in question stems from Cosby’s claims that the state agreed not to criminally prosecute him. But there is no proof that a promise of immunity was ever made.
The only statement from former prosecutor Bruce Castor that could be viewed in that manner is when he issued a press release in 2005 in which he stated there was insufficient probable cause to move forward with criminal charges.
The move publicly announcing his decision not to file charges, according to Castor, was done with the intent of getting him to talk without invoking his fifth amendment rights, which in turn would allow anything he said to be admissible in a civil trial.
When the deposition was revealed in 2015, the new Montgomery District Attorney did not feel obligated by the declination of prosecution that was announced by Castor.
Since that was the belief, prosecutors pushed forward with criminal charges against Cosby for the same alleged crime that occurred in 2005 and received a guilty conviction.
Prosecutors asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling that overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, arguing in a petition Monday that a dangerous precedent could be set if press releases are treated as immunity agreements. https://t.co/PntaRWnC4v
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 30, 2021
The argument whether the immunity agreement was made is a core part of the criminal case against Cosby because he made statements during the civil trial that he most likely would not have said without believing he would eventually be held criminally liable.
In the 2006 trial, Cosby admitted that he had provided quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with which helped substantiate his victim’s claims. Without those statements at the civil trial, the criminal trial may have had a significantly different outcome.
Now, prosecutors are pushing to get the original conviction reinstated because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is utilizing a press release as proof that some type of agreement had been made.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele alleges that utilizing the press release as the evidence to overturn a conviction would be setting a dangerous precedent. Steele released a statement on his rationale:
“Petitioning to ask the High Court for review was the right thing to do because of the precedent set in this case by the majority opinion of Pennsylvania Supreme Court that prosecutor’s statements in press releases now seemingly create immunity.
This decision as it stands will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court can right what we believe is a grievous wrong.”
While it is unknown if the United States Supreme Court will hear any arguments in the case, representatives for Cosby believe they will refuse to do so. The representative, Andrew Wyatt, released a statement that read in part:
“In short, the Montgomery County D.A. asks the United States Supreme Court to throw the Constitution out the window, as it did, to satisfy the #metoo mob. There is no merit to the DA’s request which centers on the unique facts of the Cosby case and has no impact on important federal decisions.”
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania are asking the US Supreme Court to review the decision to overturn comedian Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction https://t.co/tZqbqQ792G
— CNN (@CNN) November 30, 2021
“This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail. The Montgomery’s County’s DA’s fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.”
Cheryl Carmel, the jury foreperson for Cosby’s criminal trial spoke about the District Attorneys efforts at having the US Supreme Court hear the case. She told the AP:
“I firmly believe that what we decided was correct, or else I wouldn’t have made that decision…with the group. Having it [the conviction] because of something that was outside of the facts of what we were given is disappointing.”
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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.
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.
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.”
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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