I read the opinion but couldn’t find the dissent.
If you didn’t ready know, the appellate court ruled that the DA’s predecessor forced Cosby to waive, or rather barred him from asserting, his Vth Amendment right not to testify in a civil suit, this by promising that his testimony would not be used against him criminally. If I had to articulate the rule of law relied on, the best I can come up with is “a deal is a deal.” A less elegant way of saying it is, “Don’t be so chickenshit, man.” Not the most elegant Latin I’ve heard this week, but still ….
Would like to read the dissent, but this is not the kind of thing we’re likely to see again. Certainly every prosecutor is reading it and will be careful in future about how he holds his tongue when announcing that he is declining prosecution.
The incriminating remark he made in civil depositions, which he could not “I take the Vth” his way out of giving, was that he had given quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.
I actually liked some things about Cosby (and have no knowledge of his factual guilt or innocence.) One of his kids told him once that the kid didn’t want to study hard in high school because he wanted to just be a “regular person”. Cosby starts unhooking the TV in the kid’s room, explaining that regular people don’t have TV’s in their bedrooms.
I read that same thing…that the original prosecutor effectively coerced Cosby into incriminating himself in the civil case, then a subsequent prosecutor, years later, used that testimony in the criminal case.
If so, then I guess I have to agree that his release was legally proper.
But what I wonder about is this: What happens to that prosecutor? The one who the court has now ruled violated Cosby’s constitutional rights.
There’s been a lot of talk about removing legal immunity from police officers in recent times. I’m generally unsympathetic to that view, mostly because the police are forced to make snap decisions under extreme stress. I have little patience for all the “he should have known the perp was only reaching into his pocket for a TicTac” Monday morning quarterbacking. Enough said.
But what about white-collar government officials? They aren’t making snap decisions under extreme stress. They are making calm, carefully calculated, deliberate decisions. I’m far more interested in seeing accountability for those guys than I am the beat cop who gets caught in a no-win situation on the street.
In JeffWorld, we would treat those guys harshly. The PA prosecutor wouldn’t just be disbarred. He would be in the dock, facing justice himself.
I’m referring to the second prosecutor…the one who invalidated the agreement made by the first prosecutor.
I get that it is a judgement call, but so is a cop firing at a fleeing suspect, or restraining a drugged up counterfeiter.
I’m ok with a world where prosecutors (and literally every other public official at every level of government) do their jobs with mindfulness that accountability, if it comes, will be Chauvinesque.
There is a lot to unpack in both of your posts, above, that I am simply not qualified to comment with authority on. I have heard from a few attys, and their consensus is the same as Rob’s, so there is that.
On Cosby: like most of humanity, there is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us (with a statistically few outlying exceptions) that it’s hard to put people, wholesale, in just one ledger. On the one hand, we are pretty sure that Cos doped young women to have sex with them against their will. That puts him in the category of people who need to be beaten with 2x4s. On the other hand, the dude probably did more to diminish long-standing racism in this country than any 2 other high profile African Americans, and more than the herd of current crit theory SJWs combined.
So… maybe kick his ass into the ground, and then put up a real statue to him, with the pros and cons noted up front? I dunno… this is why I’m not king of anything.
On qualified immunity: this move to pull it from policing will be the nail in the coffin of the profession—which will be the nail in the coffin of holding monied, organized criminal factions at bay—which will be the nail in the coffin of a stable and secure societal platform—which will be the nail in the coffin of the USA as a concept—which will be the nail in the coffin of the idea of freedom that started with the magna carta. For generations. JMO.
I am aware that prosecutors and judges don’t have qualified immunity: they have immunity, period. Probably not all that great a situation. I love *qualified* immunity: if the officiant did as trained, within policy, they are not personally liable.
Who in the F is going to go into policing if every shitbird and criminal can come after them personally for any event that goes sideways, regardless of fault?
It really is insanity, on a conceptual level, unless the goal is the wholesale unraveling of our society. In which case the idea of yanking qualified immunity makes sense.