Now infamous comedian Bill Cosby’s 2018 prison conviction has officially been overturned, as the notorious comedian was released from prison on Wednesday. Cosby is eighty-three years old.
Cosby was initially sentenced to three to ten years in a state prison. Cosby was ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 plus the costs of prosecution as part of the sentence. Judge Steven O’ Neill of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania also ruled that Cosby would be classified as a “sexually violent predator,” a determination that requires lifetime registration, lifetime mandatory sex offender counseling with a treatment provider, and notification to the community that a “sexually violent predator” lives in the area.
The case against Cosby started with his arrest in 2015 on charges that he had drugged and sexually assaulted a woman at his home in Philadelphia, eleven years prior. In April of 2018, the jury convicted Cosby of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. At the time Constand was a Temple University employee, and Cosby was her mentor.
Fifty more women across the nation would come out against Cosby. The fifty women each accused Cosby of sexual assault and misconduct.
Cosby’s conviction sent ripples of shock throughout the world as Cosby was seen as a wholesome and beloved family man when it came to the entertainment world. A broad amount of Cosby’s convictions stemmed from his time on television. What’s even more bewildering is the fact that a fair amount of Hollywood was well aware of Cosby’s crimes.
Cosby was released over the fact that a panel of Pennsylvania State Supreme Court judges ruled that there was a “vast” violation of Cosby’s due process rights when he was criminally charged and convicted, a full decade after a previous prosecutor had declined to prosecute him in order to urge him to site for a civil disposition instead. This was used against him in his criminal trial. Attorney Bruce Castor investigated the allegations of drugging and rape against Cosby by a woman named Andrea Constand in 2005, Castor felt that “he would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cosby drugged and raped Constand.”
Constand and her attorney would speak out over the release of Cosby, stating that she felt it was a disappointing decision and that it could discourage other survivors of sexual assault from coming forward:
“Today’s majority decision regarding Bill Cosby is not only disappointing but of concern in that it may discourage those who seek justice for sexual assault in the criminal justice system from reporting or participating in the prosecution of the assailant or may force a victim to choose between filing either a criminal or civil action,”
The newly released Bill Cosby would take to Twitter to thank his supporters as well as a photo of himself with the following caption:
“I have never changed my stance nor my story. I have always maintained my innocence,”
“Thank you to all my fans, supporters, and friends who stood by me through this ordeal. Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for upholding the rule of law.”