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The Importance of Keeping Your Word

Bill Cosby was released from prison after serving two years of his three- to 10-year sentence after his sexual assault conviction was overturned by Pennsylvania’s highest court.

“Under the unique facts of the case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that [the former district attorney] had made an unconditional promise of non-prosecution, and that Cosby had relied on that promise to his detriment, namely foregoing his Fifth Amendment guarantees and testifying at four days of depositions, and that as a matter of fundamental fairness, the promise should be enforced,” the Courted stated.

The actor, 83, was released from prison after the court ruled that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby.

Philip Dube, a Los Angeles County deputy public defender who was not involved in the case, told Fox News that the comedian – once dubbed “America’s Dad” – was released because he was “denied due process and the benefit of an immunity agreement reached between him and prosecutors during civil litigation brought by his victims.”

“In exchange for testifying at civil depositions, the elected DA in office at the time granted Cosby immunity from prosecution. That agreement lives beyond the term in office of the elected DA at the time,” he explained.

In 2018, Cosby was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, at his suburban Penn., estate back in 2004.

Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, who is also not involved in Cosby’s case, told Fox News this overturn is “unprecedented.”

“There was a district attorney in Pennsylvania who declined to prosecute Cosby,” he said referencing Bruce Castor, who was the Montgomery district attorney at the time. “Castor made a very public statement saying that we’re not going to prosecute Bill Cosby because of insufficient evidence. Relying on that statement, Cosby and in a subsequent civil case, not a criminal case, was unable to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.”

“During the depositions, Cosby gives very incriminating and damaging statements. Then, there’s a new DA and that person decides to prosecute the case,” Rahmani said in reference.

“After the new DA takes over and during the prosecution, the DA uses those very damaging statements that Cosby made during his civil deposition… so what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court essentially said was, ‘Look, you can’t do this.’ Even though there was no formal immunity, Cosby reasonably relied on that statement declining prosecution when he gave his deposition in the civil case, which is why he was so open.”

Cosby was convicted in 2018 based on evidence that is inadmissible,” Rahmani said. “He testified truthfully but he did so under the assumption that there would be no prosecution.  “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that District Attorney Kevin Steele, who made the decision to arrest Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge Cosby.

The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.”  The justices said that overturning the conviction, and barring any further prosecution, “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”

Why does this case matter to you?

Imagine a Judge, Lawyer, Public Official, or even as simple as your HOA Directors telling you one thing and then “changing their mind” or their predecessor simply says “nah, never mind.”

The ability to trust the legal process and the people executing those rights is crucial.  The law is not about prosecution or even punishing the criminal.  The law is about upholding the values of the society in which we live.  The laws help establish those values and our rights help protect the citizens from unfair prosecution.   If those rights are ignored or are not protected, then corrupt individuals are unfettered in their asperations for control.  Thank goodness we have been blessed in Horry and Georgetown Counties with great police, sheriffs, and solicitors like Jimmy Richardson and Scott Hixson.

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