The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s assault conviction this afternoon, finding that an agreement Cosby made with the former Montgomery County district attorney in 2005 granted him immunity from criminal prosecution.
Cosby, a former Temple University trustee, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison after being convicted in April 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, which was later consolidated to one count. As part of his sentence, Cosby was required to pay a $25,000 fine, register as a sex offender with the distinction of being a sexually violent predator and attend mandatory sex offender counseling every month for the rest of his life, The Temple News reported.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments to appeal Cosby’s conviction in December 2020. In their appeal, Cosby’s attorneys argued he should not have been tried in 2018 because of an agreement with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor, who decided to not prosecute Cosby because there was not sufficient evidence to prove he had committed a criminal offense.
Cosby’s attorneys also argued in their appeal that the jury of the 2018 trial was unfairly biased because of the judge’s decision to hear testimony from five women who said Cosby abused them as far back as the 1980s, The Temple News reported.
In the court’s opinion, Justice David Wecht wrote that the 2005 agreement should have prevented Cosby from being prosecuted in 2018.
“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” Justice David Wecht wrote in the opinion.
Cosby has served more than two years of his sentence at State Correctional Institution Phoenix in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Parole Board denied his request to be released from prison upon serving the minimum sentence in May, The Temple News reported.