Pennsylvania v. Bill Cosby

In 2018 Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.  In the summer of 2021, the Pennsylvania Court of Appeals not only reversed the conviction, but instructed the trial court and the Montgomery County DA that they were barred from brining this case to trial again.

Typically, when an appeal results in the reversal of a conviction, it means that something pretty significant was done inappropriately during the trial.   So what went wrong here?  Why did the court of appeals not simply remand for a new trial.  Barring any further prosecution is an extreme remedy, but one the highest Pennsylvania court felt was appropriate here.

The reason that Cosby cannot be prosecuted ever again for his 2004 actions with Andrea Constand is that the Montgomery County District Attorney at the time promised that he wouldn't, but his successor broke that promise after Cosby relied on his word and suffered in a civil lawsuit as a result.

This episode looks at whether a DA can, should or must be held to their word when they make affirmative promises.  We also discuss what a DA will consider when making a decision as to whether or not there is enough evidence to pursue a prosecution and how the statute of limitations works.

Because this episode had a lot of complex issues, it runs a bit long because Paul did not want to cut any explanations too short.  If, as a listener, you're okay with extending these episodes a bit, please write Paul at [email protected] or contact him via his website and let him know if you want the episodes to run 45-50 minutes or if you'd prefer they were kept to the 35 minutes or so they typically run now.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe and enjoy!

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