The opinion correctly found that the trial judge and prosecutors denied Cosby a fair trial and due process in 2018. The question now is whether Cosby might seek damages for his conviction and incarceration.
In their 79-page opinion, the judges found that a “non-prosecution agreement” reached with Cosby should have barred the prosecution. In the earlier agreement, the prosecutor, Bruce Castor Jr., agreed not to charge Cosby in return for his civil deposition.
Cosby proceeded to incriminate himself in what the court said was a bait-and-switch. The later prosecutor then just ignored the non-prosecution agreement. The trial was also undermined by the decision of the trial court to allow women to testify as witnesses on uncharged alleged crimes against Cosby.
It is clear that, absent the agreement, Cosby would never have agreed to the four depositions. Free of the threat of prosecution, Cosby incriminated himself. Dolores Troiani, counsel for Andrea Constand, 问, “When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Cosby replied, “你说的是敌对帮派中的人” That and other statements were used at his criminal trial.
Kevin Steele, the Montgomery County district attorney who convicted Cosby, issued a statement that was embarrassing in its evasion of responsibility. He dismissed the ruling as “a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.”
明显, it was quite relevant because Steele proved a crime by unconstitutional means. 然而, Steele seems entirely unwilling to acknowledge his errors and declared that “My hope is that this decision will not dampen the reporting of sexual assaults by victims. Prosecutors in my office will continue to follow the evidence wherever and to whomever it leads. We still believe that no one is above the law – including those who are rich, famous and powerful.”
The statement is breathtaking. Of course it could undermine such reports since Steele engineered an unconstitutional verdict that led to Cosby prevailing. 此外, Steele is right, “no one is above the law,” including prosecutors who are not allowed to pursue convictions at any cost in popular high-profile cases.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill (who the defense sought to force off the case for bias) also has much to answer for in this wrongful conviction. O’Neill at trial seemed hellbent to try the case. He virtually mocked the defense arguments on the non-prosecution agreement. O’Neill, rejected that claim, 说, “There’s no other witness to the promise. The rabbit is in the hat and you want me at this point to assume: '嘿, the promise was made, 法官. Accept that.’”
The victims should be most upset with the prosecutors and the judge. Any chance to prosecute Cosby was lost in a trial that discarded the most basic requirements of due process.
The case shows how the gravitational pull of high-profile cases can grotesquely distort trials. The court yielded to prosecutorial demands that were facially unconstitutional. For the prosecution and the judge, the trial was popular with many. 然而, the ultimate result was the denial of these victims of a defensible verdict and the denial of this defendant of due process.