Bill Cosby could be back in court soon fighting over the overturning this past summer of his 2018 rape conviction as Pennsylvania prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Lashing out against the so-called “#metoo mob” in response and tongue lashing the “pathetic last-ditch effort” by the Montgomery County’s District Attorney The Cosby Show creator certainly isn’t taking the high road to the High Court.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s expansion of the Due Process Clause goes far beyond anything contemplated by this Court,” says the petition for a writ of certiorari filed on November 24 to beat today’s SCOTUS deadline (read it here).
“Because it construes the federal constitution, it is poised to transform similar decisions not to prosecute into effective grants of immunity in other states,” the 33-page filing states. “At the least, it presages extensive litigation of such claims nationwide, particularly in light of the widespread media coverage this case has received. This Court should grant further review.”
After almost three years behind bars on an up to 10-year sentence for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand, the much-accused Cosby was shockingly freed in late June this year by the Keystone State’s top court.
In their much- maligned opinion, the four of the court’s seven justices deemed that then-Montgomery County D.A. Bruce Castor’s decision, after investigating Constand’s claim, to not prosecute Cosby in 2005 and announced that in a subsequent press release carried a legally binding weight. The move “thereby allowing Cosby to be forced to testify in a subsequent civil action, under penalty of perjury, without the benefit of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” said Justice David Wecht. “The fruits of Cosby’s reliance upon D.A. Castor’s decision Cosby’s sworn inculpatory testimony were then used by D.A. Castor’s successors against Cosby at Cosby’s criminal trial,” he added.
Having failed to get a new trial, stain the reputation of the judge in his first and second trials, gain parole and calling himself a political prisoner, the now 84-year old and legally blind Cosby walked out of Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Phoenix on June 30. Stripped of his sex offender label, the man once called “America’s Dad” cannot be retried on the same charges, and going to SCOTUS is the only option that now Montgomery D.A Kevin Steele has — even though there is no guarantee the nation’s highest court will actually take the case.
“Petitioning to ask the High Court for review was the right thing to do because of the precedent set in this case by the majority opinion of Pennsylvania Supreme Court that prosecutors’ statements in press releases now seemingly create immunity, said Steele today as the SCOTUS filing was made public. This decision as it stands will have far-reaching negative consequences beyond Montgomery County and Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court can right what we believe is a grievous wrong.”
Bill Cosby doesn’t quite see it that way.
“Unwilling to accept its epic loss in the Pennsylvania, Supreme Court, the Montgomery County District Attorney has now filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. In short, the Montgomery County D.A. asks the United States Supreme Court to throw the Constitution out the window, as it did, to satisfy the #metoo mob,” said the comedian’s long-time spokesman Andrew Wyatt on Monday. “There is no merit to the DA’s request which centers on the unique facts of the Cosby case and has no impact on important federal questions of law,” he went on to say. “The United States Supreme Court does not typically interfere with the rulings of a State’s high court unless it conflicts with the decisions of other state high courts or our federal court of appeals. This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail. The Montgomery’s County’s DA’s fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.”
Cosby’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean put it more succinctly: “It seems unlikely that the United States Supreme Court would review a case like this. It seems like a waste of resources and time.”
More than 60 women have claimed that Cosby drugged and assaulted them over the decades with a similar combo of pills and alcohol as used on former Temple University employee Constand. Some of those women attended Cosby’s two trials and were at the sentencing hearing in the fall of 2018. After presiding over a mistrial in the second trial three years ago Judge Steven O’Neill allowed DA Steele to have five other accusers, including ex-America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson, take the stand and tell their stories of being assaulted by once beloved Cosby.
If SCOTUS decide to review the matter, then the nine Justices will hold a hearing on the case. If the Supreme Court declines to review the matter, then the opinion of the PA Supreme Court stands and Cosby remains free and unconvicted.