Bill Cosby was released today Wednesday, June 30th from prison. According to Pennsylvania State Supreme Court judges, there were many violations of Cosby’s due process rights when he was criminally charged and convicted.
Cosby, who was once the beloved “America’s Dad,” was convicted of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee at his suburban estate.
He had earlier decided to serve all 10 years instead of acknowledging any remorse over the 2004 encounter with Andrea Constand, his accuser. The 83-year-old actor was charged in late 2015, he was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations had expired.
The jury was deadlocked after the trial judge had allowed just one other accuser to testify at Cosby’s first trial. However, the judge had allowed five other accusers to testify about their experiences with Cosby in the 80’s at the retrial. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that testimony had tainted the trial, after a lower appeals court found it appropriate to show a signature pattern of first drugging before molesting women.
The actor was the first celebrity to be tried and convicted in the #MeToo era, and this reversal could cause prosecutors to be wary of calling other accusers in other cases like this.
The ruling only holds sway in Pennsylvania, the law on prior bad act testimony varies by state.
The justices were concerned not just about the sex assault cases, but what they saw as the judiciary’s increasing tendency to allow testimony that crosses over into attacks on the characters of the accused.
On Wednesday, the highest court in Philadelphia overturned Bill Cosby’s sex assault conviction after an agreement with a previous prosecutor was found and it prevented him from being charged in the case. The famous comedian had already served more than two years of a three-to-10-year sentence in a state prison close to Philadelphia.