Bill Cosby was released from prison this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that his 2018 prosecution for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand violated due process. In 2018, Cosby was convicted by a jury and received a prison sentence of three to ten years. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Cosby. As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s opinion explains, Constand’s allegations against Cosby first came to the attention of the district attorney’s office in 2005 when she reported that he had sexually assaulted her at his house the previous year. The district attorney at the time, Bruce Castor (who later represented Donald Trump when he was impeached in connection with the insurrection at the United States Capitol), doubted whether there was sufficient admissible evidence to convict Cosby.
In order to deprive Cosby of the opportunity to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege in a civil suit Constand was expected to bring against him, Castor declined to charge Cosby criminally and announced his decision publicly. At civil depositions, Cosby made incriminating statements that were later introduced at trial when Castor’s successor prosecuted Cosby. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that because Cosby had relied on Castor’s unconditional promise of non-prosecution to the detriment of his right to not testify, fundamental fairness barred the later prosecution.
Hertford PD. WAVY reports that the Hertford Town Council has voted to disband the Hertford Police Department in order to save the town money. The Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office now will provide all law enforcement services in the town. The report says that the police department had existed for more than 250 years.
Deck-Brown Retires. Last month the News Roundup noted that Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown would soon be retiring after more than 30 years on the force. As WRAL reports, that day came on Wednesday. In a lengthy interview, Deck-Brown reflected on her career and said that the major public health issue facing the country is gun violence. As previously mentioned, Estella Patterson, formerly of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, will take over as Chief.
Medical Marijuana. The Associated Press reports that legislation that would legalize medical marijuana is advancing in the North Carolina General Assembly after receiving a favorable vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would establish a system for producing and distributing medical marijuana, which would be available to people with certain “debilitating medical conditions.”