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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Suspect Sought In Girl’s Sexual Assault in Palmdale Denny’s

The recent case of a sexual assault against a 10-year old girl in a Palmdale Denny’s restaurant has authorities scrambling to find the suspect. The incident occurred when the girl was with her family eating dinner. A blond male followed the girl into the restroom and sexually assaulted her. The man fled when another patron entered the restroom. While other details are limited, a photograph of the suspect taken by the restaurant’s security cameras has been released to the public in hopes of identifying the individual.

While the local sheriff’s department claims they only want to question the individual, it would be in his best interest to obtain the services of the best criminal lawyer in Los Angeles before turning himself in for questioning. A qualified lawyer will be able to advise him of his rights and help him to better understand any charges that may be brought against him. They would also be able to thoroughly explain any court proceedings, he may have to attend. (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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Redlands Teacher Jailed for Sex Abuse with Students Released Early

The recent scandal involving Redlands teacher, Laura Whitehurst, is the latest in a long line of sexual misconduct cases involving a teacher and their students. Whitehurst, pled guilty to having sex with three of her male students, one of which admitted the acts were performed on school grounds. The teacher was originally charged with over 46 criminal counts that would have landed her several years in prison.

With the help of a sex crime attorney in Los Angeles, she was able to plead down her charges and was eventually released after having served a term of one year, in the local county jail. She was released and allowed to resume caring for her infant daughter. A few of the stipulations of her release include:

  • Whitehurst will remain on probation for five years
  • She must register for life as a sex offender
  • She is not allowed to return to work in a school setting

Ms. Whitehursts’ daughter was a product of a sexual encounter with one of her fourteen year old students. The child’s father was unaware of Whitehursts’ release until a few days after it took place. Although the father did not release a statement, his family, including his step father provided local news agencies with interviews revealing their concern for the situation. (more…)

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Sex Offender Parolees Should Never Remove GPS Trackers

Sex Crime Cases in Los Angeles

Sex Crime Cases in Los Angeles

Parolee sex offenders who remove their GPS trackers may be in for more than they bargained for if Los Angeles lawmakers get their way.  In October 2011, AB 109 came into effect, which sent parole violators to county jail instead of overcrowded state prisons when parole violations occurred. Unfortunately, a number of those parole violators are sex offenders who have Los Angeles law enforcement highly concerned for public safety.

An unforeseen repercussion of the law was that parole violators often only spend a couple of days in lockup, with many serving no time if the local jail was already overcrowded. Consequently, sex offenders who remove their GPS trackers have little incentive to not violate their requirement to wear a tracking device, endangering public safety as a result. In fact in Los Angeles County alone, GPS warrants for sex offenders increased by 70 percent since AB 109 came into effect.

Enter State Senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who recently proposed Senate Bill 57, a law that would increase punishment for sex offenders who remove their GPS tracers. According to news sources, the bill is aimed at sex offenders primarily because they have “significantly higher recidivism rates when they are not being monitored.” The bill, if passed, would include a mandatory 180-day jail sentence for a first offense of removal of a GPS, a mandatory 1-year jail sentence and parole revocation for a second time offender, and a felony charge and state prison sentence of up to 3 years for a third offense. (more…)

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Italy’s Prime Minister Receives Guilty Verdict in Sex Crime

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

Los Angeles Sex Crime Law

Found guilty of paying a minor for sex and abuse of power in office, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 76, remains free for now, according to the LA Times. As in America, paying a minor for sex in Italy is a crime. In this case, the minor was a 17-year-old Moroccan-born dancer, who Berlusconi previously had rescued from a theft arrest by pressuring police to release the girl into the care of an associate in lieu of being held in custody for the alleged crime.

The sex crime charge against Berlusconi centered on allegations that the dancer Karina El Nahroug (aka Ruby the Heart-Stealer) attended parties at the home of the Prime Minister where female guests staged stripteases and were subsequently, fondled by Berlusconi. Others at the parties testified that this scenario did not occur and that Berlusconi”s parties were “well-mannered get-togethers where guests kept their clothes on.” Italy has a three-tier legal system, which means that Berlusconi is entitled to two appeals against the guilty verdict in this case and will not serve jail time until a final verdict is received, a process that could take years to adjudicate.

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Sexual Assault Cases in 2012 Increased 37 Percent

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney

Sexual Assault in California

A report released last week by the Pentagon reported a 37 percent increase in military sexual assault cases in 2012 in spite of the armed forces recent creation of numerous education programs to battle the problem. In addition, the military was said to suffer a “deep embarrassment” over the fact that even personnel who were involved in the education programs were also accused of sex crimes just last month. Tasked with what appears to be a monumental task, the military is struggling with a viable solution to the ongoing problem of sexual assault within its ranks. Consequently, a Senate bill was introduced last week that would take the prosecution of sexual assault cases out of the hands of the chain of command and allow the cases to be heard elsewhere, which would result in assault victims being more willing to proceed with prosecutions against their attacker.

Penalties for Sexual Assault in California

California law makes take sexual assault very seriously. In fact a conviction for misdemeanor sexual assault (battery) carries a jail sentence of 6 months to 1 year, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the offense, a fine of up to $2000 (up to $3000 if the defendant was the victim’s employer), and lifetime registration as a sex offender. A felony conviction of sexual assault can result in up to 4 years in California state prison, fines up to $10,000, and lifetime sex offender registration. A complicated crime to defend, sexual assault is a challenging undertaking for even the most experienced Los Angeles assault and battery lawyer as the accusation of sexual assault is typically as “she said he said” scenario.

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Speculation Abounds in Cleveland, Ohio Rape/Kidnap Case

Los Angeles Rape Lawyer

Experienced Los Angeles rape lawyer

As the sensational story of the miraculous rescue of three women who a Cleveland, Ohio man allegedly kidnapped and held imprisoned for a decade unfolds, it only stands to reason that people are curious as to what sort of penalties he”ll be hit with if convicted of the crimes of kidnap and rape. Appearing in court this week to enter a plea of “not guilty,” the defendant in this case, Ariel Castro will inevitably be subjected to close public scrutiny, a frenzied media on-slaughter during the duration of his trial, and much speculation about the outcome of the case. Almost always judged guilty in the public eye when a story like this one breaks, rape defendants must brace themselves for the outcry for harsh punishment should they be found guilty of the crime. In the case of Castro, he will have a difficult time mounting a defense as more and more of his relatives come forward publicly declaring that he “frequently beat his common-law wife, often played strange psychological games and locked her inside the house.” Described as paranoid, angry and inclined towards violent outbursts, Castro has already been declared “guilty” by many followers of the story.

Why Rape Defendants Need an Aggressive Los Angeles Rape Lawyer

Far removed from this particular drama, Los Angeles, has its share of rape cases-typically much less sensational and with much less drama attached to them than this one, but nevertheless, life changing for all involved. Often highly exaggerated and blown out of all proportion, rape accusations must be aggressively defended by an experienced Los Angeles rape lawyer. Anytime a person is charged with rape, many details must be investigated in preparation for trial. If you are facing a rape charge, your Los Angeles rape lawyer will need to carefully collect and examine police reports, victim statements, witness statements, and more to look for mistakes, errors, and inconsistencies. Basically, the goal in defense of a rape allegation is to challenge the prosecutor”s case, piece by piece. Investigating every nuance of a potential rape case before charges have even been filed, an experienced Los Angeles rape lawyer can sometimes debunk the prosecutor”s case and have your case completely dismissed.

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