RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

McQuade writes: "Due process matters, even for monstrous crimes."

Bill Cosby. (photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/EPA)
Bill Cosby. (photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/EPA)

There's One Man to Blame for Bill Cosby's Release

By Barbara McQuade, The New York Times

02 July 21


ue process matters, even for monstrous crimes.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania made that point clear on Wednesday when it overturned the 2018 conviction of Bill Cosby for aggravated indecent assault. The court held that the prosecution violated Mr. Cosby’s right against self-incrimination by using statements at trial that he made during earlier depositions in civil litigation. The court then made another big statement: The county prosecutor’s office couldn’t try Mr. Cosby again because of its promise in 2005 not to charge him.

The court’s basis for its decision was a highly unusual 2005 news release by Bruce Castor, when he was district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa. Mr. Castor stated that he chose not to file criminal charges against Mr. Cosby because of “insufficient credible and admissible evidence.” The state Supreme Court held that Mr. Castor’s public statements were binding on his successor, who resuscitated the case in 2015. Using Mr. Cosby’s deposition statements against him, the court said, was a “coercive bait and switch.”

While the release of Mr. Cosby is an affront to Andrea Constand, the victim, as well as to the other women who testified against him and to the public, the court was reaffirming the longstanding notion that due process requires the enforcement of prosecutors’ promises. In Santobello v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that prosecutors’ promises are not limited to the plea context. Any promise a prosecutor makes that induces reliance to the detriment of the defendant may be binding. Here, the court is merely enforcing the promise Mr. Castor made.

READ MORE your social media marketing partner
Email This Page


THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.