Why the Supreme Court of PA overturned Cosby’s guilty verdict baffles the mind!
Justice Wecht wrote the court’s opinion. Although their decision claims District Attorney Bruce Castor gave Cosby immunity from criminal prosecution, he totally lacked authority to do so. His authority only extended to whether or not he would prosecute the accused. A determination of “immunity,” however, according to Pennsylvania’s statutes, must be made by a judge. No such determination was granted.
Any Pennsylvania judge, including the four rape apologists who favored the opinion to vacate, Justices Todd, Donahue, Wecht and Mundy, could and should have known better.
Cosby’s defense attorney, equally at fault in guiding his client, advised Cosby that because he was not being prosecuted, he did not have the right to plead the fifth amendment during the civil trial. During his civil depositions, Cosby admitted he engaged in sexual contact with Constand – after administering drugs that rendered her incompetent.
Fortunately, three of the Supreme Court Justices expressed dissenting opinions, Justices Dougherty, Baer and Saylor.
Excerpts from Justice Doughterty –
“I begin by addressing an underlying issue that the majority says little about but which I believe looms large: Castor’s apparent belief that, as an elected district attorney, he could forever preclude his successors from prosecuting Cosby.”
He goes on to say: “And it would effectively assign pardon power to District Attorneys, something this Court has already rejected as unconstitutional.”
Justice Dougherty, also disputed the remedy of vacating the judgment, as stated in Justice Wecht’s opinion which says: “He must be discharged, and any future prosecution on these particular charges must be barred.”
Rather, Justice Dougherty makes a solid case for suppressing Castor’s illegally obtained evidence and supports doing so by stating: “So drastic a step” merely increase[s] to an intolerable degree interference with the public interest in having the guilty brought to book.” Blue, 384 U.S. at 255.6
Justice Saylor also dissented:
“I respectfully disagree with the majority’s determination that the press release issued by former District Attorney Bruce Castor contained an unconditional promise that the Commonwealth would not prosecute Appellant in perpetuity. See Majority Opinion, slip op. at 50-52, 60-64. Rather, I read the operative language — “District Attorney Castor
declines to authorize the filing of criminal charges in connection with this matter” — as a conventional public announcement of a present exercise of prosecutorial discretion by the temporary occupant of the elected office of district attorney that would in no way be binding upon his own future decision-making processes, let alone those of his successor.”
The determination of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can only be overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States. Four Commonwealth of Pennsylvania justices have granted unconstitutional pardon power to the District Attorney. If there were ever a sexual assault case that warranted review by the highest court in the land, this is it!