Dismissal of Criminal Charges in site for Cosby

bill cosby-rjmBill Cosby will be back in court on February 2nd to try to have the damaging criminal statements he made during a civil deposition thrown out of court. His defense team will also be asking for the court to have newly elected District Attorney (DA) Kevin Steele  removed or disqualified from prosecuting Cosby’s  case. They will argue that based on statements Steele made on the campaign trail, such as promising his first and most important objective in the DA’s office would be to prosecute Cosby, Steele is prosecuting Cosby exclusively for political reasons rather than the evidence which has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt – the highest level of certainty required under United States law.

 

Three months prior to Cosby’s criminal charges being filed, an email was sent, by former District Attorney Bruce Castor to Cosby’s lawyers stating Castor’s eagerness to see the civil lawsuit go forward and his belief that he would not be able to prove the criminal charges against Cosby in court.

 

Furthermore, Castor assured Cosby’s lawyers that Cosby’s deposition could not and would not be used in a criminal case – evidence Cosby’s lawyers will use to show the court at his hearing that proves Castor had no intention of filing a criminal case and wanted to open the door to Cosby testifying in the civil case to benefit his accuser Andrea Constand, who filed a civil lawsuit prior to the criminal case.

 

Cosby’s attorneys argue that Castor’s assurances of non-prosecution was the reason Cosby’s lawyers advised Cosby to waive his 5th Amendment privileges. Pennsylvania’s 12 year statute of limitations was about to expire and Cosby’s lawyers would have advised him to run down the criminal clock before testifying since he could not be prosecuted after the deadline had passed.

 

Former District Attorney Bruce Castor assured Cosby’s legal team that his statements could not be used against him in a criminal court. Castor also reassured Cosby’s defense lawyers how he felt it was not possible for Cosby’s deposition to be used in a criminal case – further evidence of relying on the prosecutions assertions prior to advising Cosby to testify in the civil deposition.

 

In the emails to Cosby’s lawyers, Castor expressed:

 

“I can see no possibility that Cosby’s deposition could be used in a state criminal case, because I would have to testify as to what happened, and the deposition would be subject to suppression.”

 

Mr. Castor continued, “I cannot believe any state court judge would allow that deposition into evidence. …. Knowing this, unless you can make out a case without that deposition and without anything the deposition led you to, I think Cosby would have an action against the County and maybe even against you personally.”

 

Cosby’s deposition was given as a reason for re-opening the case against Cosby.

 

During the civil deposition, Cosby testified that he gave Constand wine and pills but said she consented to take them. His testimony will also be used to argue that he admitted to paying off other women to keep them quiet.

 

Cosby’s lawyers will certainly argue at the hearing that they had an agreement with former Castor that  Cosby’s testimony in the civil case would not be used against him by the District Attorney’s office.

 

It is anticipated that Cosby’s legal team will subpoena Castor to testify that he didn’t believe the criminal case could be proven against Cosby, that he assured Cosby’s lawyer that Cosby’s deposition would not and could not be used against him in a criminal case and that he believed Constand would benefit by a civil judgment against Cosby.  Based upon this, it is hard to fathom that the criminal court would still allow civil Cosby’s testimony to be allowed in his criminal should Castor testify to the aforementioned.

 

 

If it is proven there was an agreement, newly elected DA Kevin Steele will argue Castor did not have legal authority to do a civil compromise (dismiss case in lieu of criminal prosecution) and even if he did, it was not properly and legally effectuated. DA Steele will contend that the legal protocols for immunity were not met since there was no immunity agreement filed in criminal court and therefore the agreement is null and void. This will be a contentiously litigated issue and legally pivotal for Cosby. This issue alone will determine the fate of Cosby’s case.

 

If the court deems there was “de-facto” immunity granted by DA Castor, the court will suppress Cosby’s civil statement stealing the prosecutors thunder (admissions of Cosby would be thrown out).

 

 

If District Attorney Bruce Castor had the legal authority to dismiss the case (if state law provides prosecutorial discretion to allow a case to be dismissed “in the interests of justice”) or dismiss the case based on a good faith belief (or other legal grounds) then District Attorney Kevin Steele may be obligated and bound by the terms of the email sent by Castor to Cosby’s defense team. Cosby’s lawyers will certainly argue that since DA Castor and Steele are both legal agents for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and hold the same power and authority for the good of the citizens of the Commonwealth, Steele would be hard pressed in convincing a court that the email to Cosby’s lawyers is not an agreement or a binding one simply because Castor’s term as District Attorney expired.

 

This precedent would have a chilling effect on the relationships between prosecutors and defense attorneys by undermining agreements between them, place defendants in jeopardy of 5th Amendment violations (the right to avoid self incrimination) and to undermine our constitutional principals of fundamental fairness and due process.

 

Bill Cosby’s Attorney, Brian McMonagle wrote in his moving papers:

 

“A citizen’s constitutional rights cannot be thwarted by politically motivated prosecutors willing to break agreements made by their predecessors. The Commonwealth’s agreement must be enforced, and the charges dismissed.”

 

If the court decides that then DA Bruce Castor assured Cosby’s lawyers he would not be prosecuted and Cosby’s lawyers relied on Castor’s decision when advising Cosby it was safe to testify in a civil deposition, the court will bar Cosby’s civil testimony in his criminal trial – this would be a death blow effect to the prosecution’s case. DA Steele’s case against Cosby relies heavily on the incriminating statements (the legal equivalent of a nuclear bomb)

 

Former DA Castor didn’t believe there was evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove Cosby’s guilty. DA Steele filed charges based upon Cosby’s inculpatory statements in his civil deposition. This is why the pretrial motions to suppress Cosby’s statement is vital – without the statements the case becomes a much weaker case that will come down to simply who the jury believes – Cosby or Constand.

 

What happens if the court denies Cosby’s motion to exclude his civil deposition testimony?

 

At that point, Cosby’s legal team will appeal and ask the court to stay the proceedings (freeze the case) until the court of appeals issues a ruling.  The Appellate court could decide the lower court made a mistake by allowing the deposition statements to come into the criminal case and prevent them from being used against him. But, if the appellate court agrees that the civil deposition is admissible then the case could proceed.

 

Should the case go forward, Cosby has another huge legal obstacle ahead: getting jurors who do not know about the Cosby case.

 

Most Americans know that Cosby has been accused of sexually assaulting and raping various women and that many are still coming forward. Even a change of venue won’t cure the pre-conceived public notions generated by the colossal amount of media attention this has drawn  due to Cosby’s high-profile celebrity status. This is another reason it is vital for Cosby’s team to get his statements tossed out of court.

 

Cosby’s February 2nd hearing could be a make or break moment for his case.

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Former Teacher To Stand Trial For Kidnapping, Other Charges

The recent arrest and conviction of a Las Vegas kindergarten teacher on kidnapping charges has once again brought to light how students can be taken advantage of through the use of the internet. William Sprowson, Jr. was convicted of the charges by Justice of the Peace William Kephart. Kephart stated in his decision that Sprowson knew that it was wrong to solicit a relationship with the 16 year old student, but continued to pursue it anyway.

The fact that he abducted her from her home, only added to the severity of the crime. The student claimed to be a willing participant, but the judge denied her comments and ruled to convict Sprowson on all counts. Sprowson had placed an ad on Craigslist to which the student had responded. After several conversations, the teacher decided to pick up the student and help her get away from her parents. Even though a sexual relationship was underway between the two, Kephart only convicted Sprowson on the kidnapping charges. At 16 years of age, the girl was legal in the state of Nevada to give her consent to have sexual relations.

Hiring a professional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer when facing these types of charges is of the utmost importance. Even when a guilty plea is imminent due to the facts presented in the case, the defendant has the right to competent and effective representation. (more…)

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Criminal Defense Attorney: Giving an Opinion about the Crime of Internet Pornography

California laws governing Internet content are complex. Various agencies with different criteria and penalties can become involved and a criminal defense law firm in California is beneficial in working through the complicated possibilities

In 1996 the Communications Decency Act was passed at the Federal level. This act attempts to control the transmission, production, and possession of materials that are “indecent.” Many portions have been found to be in violation of the First Amendment, but guidelines regarding decency remains in effect.

Contemporary community standards determine the material that is “patently offensive.” The problem is that each community has a different idea of that means. The Internet creates confusion because of the availability of material. A great deal of Internet content comes from countries that do not regulate content and allow for free enterprise of materials. (more…)

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California DUI Defense Attorneys Challenge Science of Blood Alcohol Tests

California DUI Defense Attorneys

California DUI Defense Attorney

DUI defense may have gotten a bit easier―at least that’s what some California DUI defense attorneys are saying. According to KPIX 5, criminal defense attorneys have begun challenging the science behind blood alcohol results, and have actually made some headway with juries by creating reasonable doubt. Basically, DUI defense attorneys want county labs that test blood alcohol levels to be certified under international standard, which most are not at this time, leaving the door open for reasonable doubt when a DUI case is based on a BAC reading. To battle this relatively new challenge, many California forensic labs plan to gain international certification by the end of 2013. (more…)

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Summer in Los Angeles Often Called “The Season of Shooting”

Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorneys

According to the LA Times, the first day of summer usually marks what Harbor-UCLA Medical Center has dubbed “the season of shooting” when the “homeboy ambulance service” routinely brings in young men with gunshot wounds, often from gang-related shootings. In fact, one doctor at the Medical Center, Dr Brant Putnam, estimates that he has personally treated some 5000 gun shoot wounds in the past 20 years, most being children and women who are hit by stray gunfire. Those arrested for such shootings are often children themselves and end up facing at best an assault charge and at worst a murder charge. (more…)

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California Drug Offenders May No Longer Face Long Prison Sentences

Criminal Defense Attorney

California Drug – Criminal Defense Attorney

Fewer drug offenders may face long prison terms and be sentenced to drug treatment and community service in order to stem the explosive growth of federal prison populations.  Consequently, mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders could become a thing of the past, according to a recent news story.  Currently, California prisons are under a court order to diminish the number of inmates by some 10,000 prisoners this year to deal with the state’s highly overcrowded prisons.

A hotly debated topic by both criminal justice experts and criminal defense attorneys , reduction of mandatory minimum sentences could eliminate the need for the financial support of some 219,000 inmates who are currently serving time for drug-related crimes. The new policy, backed by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr, would eliminate mandatory sentencing of convictions involving “low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels.” Instead, such low-level criminal offenders will be charged with offenses more suited to their individual conduct.

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A White Collar Criminal Indictment Can Happen to Anyone

Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles

Even the rich and famous are susceptible to being indicted for a crime.  In fact, just last week, two stars of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”, Teresa and Joe Giudice, were indicted in 39 federal charges of conspiracy to defraud lenders, bank, mail and wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud.  While these are all white collar crimes, the couple could face up to 30 years in prison-a case that would be a challenge for any white collar criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles or anywhere else.  Accused of failing to file tax returns, falsifying loan applications and failing to report assets in a bankruptcy petition, the couple has a lot of things to answer to.

Types of White Collar Crimes

While never as dramatic as a violent crime indictment, white collar indictments are just as serious with very serious consequences. That”s why it is equally important for those accused of a white collar crime in Los Angeles to immediately seek assistance from a qualified, experienced white collar criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles at the first sign of an indictment. Usually crimes of deception or theft committed by professionals, white collar crimes include some of the following types of offenses.

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Citrus Valley High School Teacher is Arrested for Child Abuse

 Los Angeles criminal defense attorney

Child Abuse – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Just a couple of weeks ago a Citrus Valley High School teacher was charged with multiple sex crimes involving three of her male students. According to news sources, Teacher Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst was arrested July 1 on suspicion of having sexual relations with students and actually gave birth to a child as a result of one of those sexual encounters on June 8. Police believe that the father of the child was a 17-year-old student, who was believed to have been present at the birth.

As a result of the allegations of misconduct by Ms. Whitehurst, she was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a minor as well as 41 felony sex crimes involving the alleged father of her child, and 2 other boys over the 6 years of her teaching career in the Redlands Unified School District. The arrest was made only after a complaint was issued by the suspected birth father”s mother who alerted school officials about the matter. After the report, a warrant was issued against Ms. Whitehurst as well as against school officials who failed to report the suspected child abuse as mandated by California law. Obligated by law to report any suspicion of sexual abuse, school officials at the school could face some serious charges with serious consequences-a challenging situation for even the most experienced of Los Angeles child abuse defense attorney.

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What Constitutes a Theft Crime in Los Angeles?

Theft Crime in Los Angeles

Los Angeles theft Lawyer

Theft crimes involve criminal acts that concern the taking of another person”s money or property without that person”s permission. Categorized as either a misdemeanor or felony, theft crimes committed in Los Angeles are serious offenses requiring that defendants be represented by an experienced Los Angeles theft attorney. Categorized as petty or grand, most theft crimes are punishable with fines, jail time and restitution to victims.

Misdemeanor Crimes in Los Angeles

Referred to as petty thefts, misdemeanor theft crimes involve the taking of property or money that is valued at less than $400. Punishable by a sentence of up to six months in jail, significant fines, restitution to the victim, costs of investigation, community service, counseling and probation, petty thefts are not offenses to take lightly. A conviction of petty theft will ultimately increase a defendant”s chances of having other theft offenses being enhanced to felony charges in the future, so you”ll want to hire an experienced Los Angeles theft lawyer to assure that this doesn”t happen.

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Senate Bill Could Open the Floodgates to Sexual Abuse Cases

Child Abuse Lawyer in Los Angeles

Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Los Angeles

According to the Huffington Post, proposed Senate Bill 131 would open a previously closed legal door for child abuse victims and allow abuse victims to sue abusers for decades-old abuse. While many abuse victims may never qualify to have their case heard, millions of other child abuse victims may be able to proceed with their petitions if Senate Bill 131 passes. What the new bill would allow is a lifting of the statute of limitations for one year for a group of alleged victims 26 and older who previously missed the filing deadline for the right to file a civil suit against their alleged abusers. Authored by Democratic Senator Jim Beal, the Bill targets private institutions only.

Consequently, the Catholic Church is a bit concerned and the Los Angeles archdiocese, in particular, is alarmed that this bill would make them “vulnerable to cases like those brought against the church after allegations of clergy sex abuse more than a decade ago.” Many believe that the bill is unfair.

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