The retrial of comedian Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges begins Monday. The first trial ended up being declared a mistrial last June after jurors were deadlocked.
Cosby Being Tried Again
Cosby’s first faced trial on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball official. After 52 hours of deliberation, jurors in that case were unable to come up with a decision. Shortly after that mistrial announcement, Montgomery County, Pa., District Attorney Kevin Steele announced he would retry Cosby.
Steven O’Neill, the judge in the retrial case has given Cosby’s team a boost after announcing Cosby’s team will be able to call a witness who says Constand talked about framing a celebrity before she went to police in 2005 with allegations about the comedian. Judge O’Neill additionally ruled that jurors will be able to hear how much Cosby paid Constande in the 2006 civil settlement.
O’Neill also ruled Marguerite Jackson can take the witness stand. She was blocked from testifying at the first trial due to the fact that her testimony was deemed hearsay.
Jackson’s testimony is said to portray Constand as a greedy liar. In the past, Constand’s lawyer said Jackson isn’t telling the truth. Judge O’Neill issued one caveat to the ruling, saying he would be able to revisit his decision after Constand’s testimony.
Choosing a Jury
It has been difficult to decide on who will make the initial panel of 12 jurors and six alternates. More than 180 potential jurors have been summoned to the courthouse.
Three jurors have been chosen so far. The two women picked most recently said they’ve read media reports about Cosby’s case as well as the #MeToo anti-sexual assault movement but have not formed an opinion and thus feel can serve as fair and impartial jurors.
Cosby is accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault after allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Constand in 2004. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
At least 60 women have publicly come forward with accusations of rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment by the comedian between the 1960s and 2000s. The statutes of limitation have expired for most of those cases, thus preventing the accusers from seeking criminal charges.
Cosby has won a series of civil cases filed against him by his accusers. The comedian is still facing a number of additional civil cases as well as defamation lawsuits and appeals of defamation suits in Massachusetts and California. Defamation cases were filed by accusers who say their reputations were damaged when Cosby called their accusations lies. Cosby also faces a sexual battery lawsuit in California.
What is “Sexual Assault”
Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of a recipient. Included under the term sexual assault are the following: forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Addressing Sexual Assault Accusations
Sexual assault crimes are taken very seriously by the law. If you have been falsely accused you might assume that the charges will just be dropped because of how ludicrous they are to you. These types of allegations do not just “go away,” and you will need to be prepared if you are falsely accused.
Here are some things you can do:
1. Do not speak with police or investigators until you have contacted a criminal defense attorney. They might try different tactics to get you to admit to a crime you did not commit. Remember that they are always trying to build a case. Simply state that you will not speak with them unless there is an attorney present.
2. Get in touch with a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible, even if you just expect the charges to be dismissed. Prepare for what the allegations might bring. You will be asked to defend yourself, so you’ll need to be prepared. This means contacting witnesses that can testify or provide an alibi for you. You might also need to take psychological tests, or be asked to provide other evidence. Write down as many details as possible about what you remember.
3. Study. A criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through fighting the allegations, but it’s in your best interest to understand the legal process and know your rights.
You will want to follow all the legal rules and precautions you can, and the best way you can protect yourself is by working with an experienced defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC.
If You Get Arrested for a Sex Crime
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona, that individuals arrested because they are believed to have committed a crime are allowed certain rights that must be explained to them. This must happen before any interrogation. It’s important to note that these rights only need to be read when a person has been taken into custody. “Miranda Rights” are meant to protect a suspect from self-incrimination and is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Those “Miranda Rights” are as follows:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
- If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?
Why Work with a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
When faced with serious penalties or spending time in jail or prison, you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. If you are facing an assault or battery charge, or a theft charge, a criminal defense attorney will investigate your case’s specifics and determine if you were wrongfully charged. They also will be able to identify if there are any other existing reasons for why the case should be dismissed before it goes to trial. If the charges are not dismissed before trial, a criminal attorney may be able negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf. If a plea bargain cannot be negotiated, a criminal defense attorney will prepare your defense and represent you at trial.
Working with Sevens Legal, APC
After you have discussed the specifics of your case, your Sevens Legal, APC, will let you know your case’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as any possible risks associated with punishment and convictions you may face. Your Sevens Legal, APC, defense attorney can help negotiate a plea deal or whether the best course of action is to move forward to trial, while working constantly for your best interests.
Sevens Legal, APC, criminal defense lawyers put our experience to work for you. Every defendant deserves a zealous defense. To schedule your free consultation with one of our Sevens Legal, APC, criminal defense lawyers, call (619) 494-3440. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.
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