Bill Cosby is Guilty: Where Do We Go From Here?

On April 26 of 2018, Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, who is one of the dozens of women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault and other crimes over the decades. Now, Cosby faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. However, the situation is more complicated than that makes it sound.

What Happens From This Point On?

First and foremost, there is no doubt that Cosby will be appealing the guilty verdict. The exact argument that his attorneys will use remains unclear at this point in time, but some people have speculated that they will attempt to argue that the appearance of five women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault and other crimes as witnesses prejudiced the jury in an unfair manner against him. Certainly, the witnesses prejudiced the jury against Cosby in the sense that they strengthened the prosecution’s case that Cosby used a common pattern when assaulting Constand and others. However, the relevant issue is whether their testimonies prejudiced the jury in an unfair manner, which is not particularly convincing because the five women’s testimonies were useful for proving an important point of contention in the trial. Regardless, no matter how the appeal turns out, the process is bound to take up a significant amount of time.

Furthermore, the chances of Cosby getting the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison are very low. In fact, the DA has outright stated that he will not be pressing for that particular sentence, while the judge’s refusal to revoke Cosby’s bail at the prosecution’s plea because of Cosby’s age as well as the fact that Cosby has been showing up to each of the hearings has been interpreted by some to mean that he won’t be going for the harshest treatment possible. As a result, it is possible that the judge will agree to let Cosby undergo home confinement instead of being sent to prison for the duration of his appeal. For that matter, it seems probable that the judge will consider issues such as Cosby’s age, health, lack of previous convictions, and philanthropic work when handing down a sentence, meaning that 30 years is improbable to say the least.

Summed up, Cosby has been found guilty, but it remains to be seen whether he will actually serve anytime in a prison. Appeal is a process that can take a fair amount of time, which when combined with the fact that Cosby is in his 80s, means that the process might not be completed by the time it is rendered moot. However, the guilty verdict is still bound to have an impact on other considerations, with an excellent example being the multiple civil lawsuits that are underway at the moment. Certainly, there is no guarantee that all of those civil lawsuits will prove successful, but the fact that Cosby was found guilty in the one criminal case against him means that all of those civil lawsuits have gained extra momentum. As a result, while the guilty verdict is an imperfect victory for the women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault and other crimes, it is nonetheless a real one.

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