As everybody has probably heard already, the rape conviction against Bill Cosby was overturned and he’s been released from prison. Since it was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I don’t think the prosecution can appeal this ruling — there’s no higher court to go to — and I don’t think they can charge him again either, at least not in that particular case. Cosby is very old, blind and in poor health anyway, and he’s not likely to live through another trial even if more charges are laid against him.
Now, I think I understand why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled as it did. Basically it boils down to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which grants people the right to avoid self-incrimination.
As simply as I can explain it: Cosby confessed to crimes in civil court, under an agreement by a previous prosecutor that this confession would not be used against him in criminal court. That prosecutor is gone now, and it was another who prosecuted Cosby and used his civil court statement against him. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that this violated Cosby’s Fifth Amendment rights and should not have happened. The Fifth Amendment, like all Constitution rights, applies to terrible humans as well as good ones.
In other words, this was a legit legal error, and they had to give it to him because that’s how the law is supposed to be. This is not a vindication of Cosby; it does not mean he is factually innocent. But he is now LEGALLY innocent despite like 60-some women having accused him. I understand the law but I am angry and sick at heart.
I met one of Cosby’s victims at CrimeCon. She was there to give a talk, like me. We ran into each other in the speakers’ lounge and spoke as one rape victim to another. I’m sure she’s a mess right now, poor lady. I’m sure a lot of rape victims, and not just Cosby’s, are a mess today.
In other news, the elderly mother of a friend of mine from college has been missing for almost a month. I feel super bad for my friend (she’s the one who did the interview in the article). Of course she’s beside herself with worry. She asked for my help, and I provided her with referrals to some resources, but I felt a bit at loose ends myself since I don’t work with cases this “new”. (Mind you, the case is already in a rare category for having gone as long as it has; about 90% of missing persons cases are resolved within a week.)
I really hope my friend’s mom is found soon and I don’t have to put her on the Charley Project in eleven months and three days.