Analysts Respond To Shady Release Of Bill Cosby, States Disturbing Findings

( The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Bill Cosby’s conviction has thrust into the spotlight the problem when a defendant is clearly guilty of a crime, but because of prosecutorial misconduct, the case is thrown out and the defendant freed.

It is part and parcel to our criminal justice system. Prosecutorial misconduct is a check on the justice system. But in Cosby’s case, not every legal analyst is happy about it.

The PA Supreme Court found that prosecutors violated Cosby’s due process rights by ignoring a 2005 oral promise made by a prior district attorney that Cosby would be immune from prosecution in the case if he agreed to testify in any civil suit his alleged victim brought.

Cosby agreed and, when his alleged victim sued, Cosby testified that he gave Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. A decade later, during his criminal trial, prosecutors entered Cosby’s testimony, offered with the promise of immunity, into evidence in the trial against him.

In its ruling, the PA Supreme Court said that Cosby had relied on the former DA’s assurances that he was immune from prosecution, and the DA’s successors, bound by that assurance, should never have charged Cosby to begin with.

In its continuing effort to stomp all over due process, the New York Times found a group of legal analysts to criticize the court’s decision. These analysts believe that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds by reversing Cosby’s conviction. They argue that appellate courts do not typically overturn findings of fact by a trial court if those facts are backed by the record.

But the chief justice of the PA Supreme Court defended the 6-1 ruling during a television interview, saying Cosby’s prosecution was a “reprehensible bait and switch” by the government.

The fact is, many legal analysts agree, believing that the ruling delivered a strong message about prosecutorial overreach and due process rights.

In its ruling, the court said that the law in this case was clear. Prosecutors are bound by assurances they make, especially when defendants rely on those assurances “to their detriment.”

In its reversal of Cosby’s conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that he could not be tried again on the same charges. And in his television interview, Judge Baer acknowledge that however unpopular it might have been, the decision was meant to prevent government overreach.

However, prosecutors are considering the possibility of appealing the PA Supreme Court’s ruling.