The Takeaway Lessons From the Bill Cosby Case

In June 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Bill Cosby, after decades of litigations had already taken place. Dozens of women had accused Cosby of sexual assault throughout the years, but only the case of one victim still fell within the statute of limitations.

So what exactly does the Bill Cosby Case teach us? What can be used to teach other attorneys what mistakes shouldn’t be made in the future?

The Sexual Assault Allegations Being Brought Into The Light

The allegations began in 2004 when Andrea Constand reported that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in January and February 2004. Even after she left her job and returned to Canada, she continued to experience mental anguish in the form of anxiety and flashbacks due to Cosby’s actions.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Constand filed a complaint with her police department in Canada. After this was brought to light, other allegations began to arise. That’s why it’s important to have a sex crime attorney you can trust and who wants to take your case.

Cosby Appeals His Conviction

The prosecution process has been lengthy, lasting over a decade. However, Cosby filed an appeal on the basis that the trial judge shouldn’t have allowed the admission of deposition testimony he had been told during the prosecution procedure would not have been used.

It was painful for the victims to watch him go free, but the basis of his appeal is rooted in important legal doctrine. The Justices of the court expressed that the prosecutors used coercive tactics that lured Cosby into confessing his crimes under the guise that he would not be criminally prosecuted for them. This falls under the Fifth Amendment rights, which guarantees criminal defendants the right not to testify against themselves.

The Outcome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Decision

The decision made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court does not mean that Cosby is suddenly innocent of the allegations made by dozens of women. What is does demonstrate is the line that separates civil and criminal litigation from each other.

To put it in simple terms, civil cases are between the accuser and the individual who harmed them; they have greater control over the case because all they have to do is prove that there is a 51% chance that the respondent is the one who harmed the accuser.

Criminal cases, however, involve the defendant and the state. Guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt; the accuser only serves as a witness to the case.

The Future of Sexual Assault Cases

This isn’t to say that bringing sexual assault cases to court is no pointless. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was only doing its job of protecting the constitutional rights of Cosby; he has not been acquitted of his actions, his reputation is ruined for the rest of his life, and his accusers haven’t been discredited. So there is still merit in coming forth if someone is a victim of a sexual assault.

Justice deserves to be served, even if a conviction cannot be secured in criminal court. It’s important that victims of sexual assault are heard so that their cases can be brought before the court.

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