Bill Cosby released from prison on a technicality less than three years later

Bill Cosby 2nd  trial Day 5 at the Montgomery County Court house

In September 2018, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three-to-ten years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. He was 81 years old when he went into prison. He left prison yesterday, June 30, an 83-year-old man without any remorse. He did not get out on parole, nor did he have success overturning the case on its merits. No, he was released from prison on a technicality. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Cosby could go home:

Bill Cosby was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction and barred him from being retried, upending the first high-profile celebrity conviction of the #MeToo era.

The justices ruled the 83-year-old comedian — who has served more than two years of a three-to-10-year sentence — had been denied a fair trial, citing an agreement struck with a previous prosecutor that the justices said barred Cosby from ever being charged with the 2004 assault of Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

Justice David N. Wecht, writing for the majority, said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele was legally bound by that decade-old promise and therefore should not have brought charges when new evidence surfaced in 2015. Vacating Cosby’s conviction, Wecht said, “is the only remedy that comports with society’s reasonable expectations of its elected prosecutors and our criminal justice system.”

The decision resulted in Cosby’s release from the state prison in Montgomery County Wednesday afternoon. Maria Bivens, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, confirmed at 2:30 p.m. that he had been released.

News photographers and TV camera people gathered at the front of Cosby’s estate in Elkins Park, where he returned home an hour later in a Subaru hatchback, driven by an aide. The car stopped briefly as a supporter shouted good wishes to Cosby outside the gates. The former entertainer neither rolled down his window nor spoke to reporters gathered outside.

His spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, came to the front gate, reaching across to shake hands with a couple of cheering supporters and shouted, “We did it! We did it!” He called Cosby’s prison time “a three year unwanted vacation” and described the prosecution as “ludicrous” and “racially motivated.”

”We pulled the sheets off today, and America got to see the truth,” Wyatt said. “What we were able to prove today is that Mr. Cosby is innocent.”

But the court, in its ruling, made no finding on the sufficiency of the evidence against Cosby. Instead, Steele noted in his own statement, the justices vacated the conviction “on a procedural issue that is irrelevant to the facts of the crime.”

[From The Philadelphia Inquirer]

So the DA is barred from retrying the case? Can a lawyer explain how double jeopardy is attached if a prosecutor struck a deal with Cosby in 2004, then Cosby’s 2018 trial verdict was overturned? Sigh…it feels like there are just so many Cosby victims out there, maybe one of his other victims should ask that her case be prosecuted thoroughly. I’m heartbroken for all of Cosby’s victims and I hope he rots in hell. Cosby released a statement too:

Meanwhile, y’all know how Phylicia Rashad has been problematic about her old friend Bill for years now? Well, Rashad – who is currently Dean of Howard University – decided to tweet out some absolute bullsh-t after the news broke. F–k Phylicia Rashad, man.

Bill Cosby 2nd  trial Day 5 at the Montgomery County Court house

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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86 Responses to “Bill Cosby released from prison on a technicality less than three years later”

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  1. L84Tea says:

    And yet Britney is still under lock and key…

    I feel so awful for his victims. I cannot imagine what they are feeling. 🙁

  2. Eurydice says:


  3. Darla says:

    Howard should kick her ass down the road.

    As for Cosby, he will be a hero to MRA’s, rapists, and incels for all time. The poster boy for the pro-rape movement.

    • EnormousCoat says:

      @ Darla I’m waiting to see how Howard will respond. She’s been a staunch supporter all along, so idk.
      Overturning his conviction is truly upsetting. He’s a monster. I hope his victims can heal.

      • Darla says:

        I thought she equivocated more in the past. But I could be wrong.

        I have a hard time looking at his face so I can imagine how his victims feel. It’s just awful.

      • EnormousCoat says:

        Maybe she has. I wrote her off years ago when she said the accusations were an orchestrated attempt to hurt Cosby. The fact that she has the gd nerve to say that she supports sexual assault survivors in the same breath where she celebrates him – let’s just say I hope Howard yanks that Deanship.

      • Darla says:

        Yes, same.

      • Anna says:

        Want to bet Howard won’t do anything? Please. HBCUs have a long way to go when it comes to addressing sexual abuse and trauma amongst the Black communities that comprise their demographics including alumni. They will keep her as dean and likely make no statement or, if any, a carefully worded statement of support for her that implicitly supports him.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      Howard is going to face enormous pressure after her dumb ass made that tweet.

      and F*CK BOTH of these pieces of garbage.

  4. SarahCS says:

    I saw this last night and went to bed angry. I can’t begin to imagine what his many, many victims feel right now.

    • Mac says:

      A non-prosecution deal that was never put in writing is a pi$$ poor reason to let a serial rapist run free.

      • Poisonella says:

        Hey! Check it out! He can see! It’s a miracle! Glad he did at least two years. If Oprah touches this POS with a 10-foot pole I will be extremely pissed!

  5. Marietta says:

    This was a kick in the gut. My thoughts are with the victims. To see that monster out…..I have no words.

  6. Lizzie says:

    I am just sick over this. The man has been drugging and sexually assaulting women for decades and people cheer shen he is released on a technicality.

  7. Moira's Rose's Garden says:

    I will probably get pillaged for this comment but here goes.

    Do I think he’s guilty? Yes.
    Do I think his sentence was a miscarriage of justice? No
    Do I feel bad for his victims? Yes

    He served more time than Trump, Cuomo, and Gaetz have or ever will. If I still have to look at those 3 troglodytes then I can’t get outraged by OJ 2.0.

    Sidenote: Any wonder that Bruce Castor Oil could duck up a quasi-agreement leading to this?

    • Darla says:

      Cuomo has been accused of inappropriate comments, and what was it? hugging, or brushing his hand on someone’s ass? Anyway, not rape. We don’t jail people for that, and grouping him with Trump and Gaetz, and Cosby is just not okay. Just my opinion.

      Edit to be clear; I do think Cuomo is a sex pest, and guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace. I hope he doesn’t run again. But a rapist? No. A Trump, a Gaetz, both of whom I believe are human traffickers? No.

      • Moira's Rose's Garden says:

        @Darla Pray clarify your last paragraph.

        Are you saying that Trump and Gaetz aren’t rapists only human traffickers?

        Gaetz had sex with an underage girl.
        Trump raped his first wife. He also orchestrated “modeling events” with Epstein to find young girls.

        As for Cuomo, if he is so comfortable groping etc, I’d bet the mortgage that he’s crossed that line from groping to rape. And the reason we don’t hear about it is because he paid them off and has an NDA.

      • Darla says:

        Oh no, they’re both. I wouldn’t say “only” human traffickers either way, but yeah, they’re both. Trump also raped E Jean Carroll in the Bergdorf dressing room, of this I have no doubt. I 100% believe her.

        I don’t know about your last paragraph. Unless someone accuses him of rape, I am not going to assume he’s a rapist.

    • EnormousCoat says:

      An NDA doesn’t stop someone from reporting a crime. The woman who accused Cuomo of forcibly kissing her in the Exec Mansion declined to pursue a criminal case. All of the allegations against Cuomo are being investigated by the AG and by the NYS Assembly.

    • Robyn says:

      Well, as a survivor, I’m going to be *plenty* outraged that the system ultimately worked for the perpetrator yet again. It always does.

  8. FancyPants says:

    Somebody else said “we said free Britney, not free Bill Cosby!”

  9. D says:

    Howard responded with a shitty vague statement saying they believe survivors but won’t do anything about Phylicia… So they can go fuck themselves too

  10. Amy Bee says:

    Total BS! And Phyilicia needs to step down as Dean of Howard.

  11. Millennial says:

    How is Phylicia Rashad a Dean at Howard? Wikipedia tells me she just had a bachelors degree from Howard and no precious experience in academia. Good gracious. Success in acting does not automatically mean you’d make a good academic dean. And especially in poor taste to support a sex offender when one is tasked with teaching and mentoring college students.

    • Driver8 says:

      We had an actor (a bad one at that) for President, governor and mayor. All it takes is money and recognition. This country is ridiculous.
      PR should step down, but we know she won’t. Her tweet backtracking her first tweet is pathetic.

  12. Giddy says:

    This makes me seethe with anger. Bill Cosby is a toxic, disgusting rapist. He was not found to be innocent, this was on a technicality. But he will say it proves his innocence, and Phylicia Rashad is an idiot. Sickening and corrupt.

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, it’s truly horrifying. And it sure doesn’t instill confidence that justice will be served in the future for wealthy criminals.

  13. K says:

    I’m not defending Cosby here, but I disagree with calling the constitutional protection against self-incrimination a “technicality.” Procedure matters. It doesn’t change the facts of what the jury says he did, but it invalidates the trial because this case should not have been prosecuted in the first place. The State bungled this whole thing. This was not the victim with which to pursue charges. Somewhere along the way there must have been a better and clearer way to put this guy away.

    • badrockandroll says:

      I came here to say exactly the same thing – I think Cosby is a POS and a serial sex offender, but the 5th Amendment is not a technicality. The prosecutor who made the deal (not in writing, natch) was Castor, Trump’s incompetent counsel at his second impeachment.
      Although I am sad to the point of angry that these victims will likely not see justice, this is just one more piece of evidence (like we need more) that rape and sexual assault cannot be treated like every other criminal offence – there needs to be a special court with special rules that protect the victims who have gone through much more in the initial crime as well as in the courtroom, than the victim of a robbery for instance.


      They don’t want to hear that though.

      From Philly and studying to be a paralegal and unfortunately, it was the right decision to release him.

      The law has to be followed by everyone. Prosecutors had one damn job to do and they effed up by not making sure Cosby’s legal rights were intact the entire process so he could be convicted fairly.

      The case was also shakey. And the prosecutors knew it.

      Take the emotions out of it. These laws are put in place to protect defendants for a reason. If you were innocent, you want the courts to do right by you. It’s not a pick and choose thing.

      Bill is scum and should be in prison, but it’s NOT his fault that he isn’t. It sucks, but the ruling was correct.

  14. Miranda says:

    Dropped that “I’m a feeble old man!” act pretty fucking fast, didn’t he?

    • Lady D says:

      Limp’s gone, eyesight’s back, huge smile, energetic waving, healthy bounce in his step. I know this is horrible but I want his health to keep him on his back for the rest of his life and I want his wife forced to care for him.

  15. EllenOlenska says:

    Just wait until someone finds a technicality to free Harvey Weinstein.

    And legally, technicalities are really important. But it saddens me that so many who were exposed by “ me too” will basically have it be a blip on their careers. I used to point out that people usually didn’t notice that of all the “me too” offenders, the only ones with any lasting sort of career hits were black ( Cosby) or gay ( spacey) . Epstein maybe. But this is also sometimes why older people are a bit wary of hashtag activism victories…the pendulum always swings back…and most progress is much slower than we realize.

    • Golly Gee says:

      Cosby got away with it for decades in spite of evidence that could convict him. Women were ignored and his crimes only made it into the news after a MALE comedian commented on the rumors about Cosby and what a hypocrite he is.
      Spacey is not in jail and is working on a come back. From my recollections, the media backed away from reporting on Spacey. IIRC none of the Hearst publications reported on him, or stopped after the initial me too dawning. I think he knows a lot of powerful men who could be taken down and is being protected.

      • EllenOlenska says:

        Exactly…it looks like nobody will pay…

      • Robyn says:

        Exactly. The network of men (and pick me women like Rashad) that protect each other at every level ensures this continues, unabated. A few high profile cases actually moving forward are symbolic justice at best. Most of us don’t get that.

      • Golly Gee says:

        Edit: I remembered incorrectly. What I said was about Bryan Singer, not Kevin Spacey. Although I could see the same applying to him.

  16. teehee says:

    If you assault someone, it doesn’t matter anymore at ALL, what your background is. it doesnt even matter if you’re blind, on a cane, in a wheelchair- evil is evil and shall be judged and prosecuted accordingly. If anything, you should be MORE ashamed for mistreating others, if you yourself are in the position of a minority or at a disadvantage (eg handicap).

    There are many VALID cases where race is misused and people are wrongfully accused or more roughly treated because of their gender or race– but I dont believe this is one of them.
    How dare a (potentially knowingly) guilty party distort and blur those lines for their own advantage.

  17. Lucy2 says:

    60 women came forward to say he drugged and raped them. Who knows how many victims there actually are. He is a monster.

    • Golly Gee says:

      Yes. And because these women were ignored for years, the statute of limitations ran out for most of them, making it so much more difficult to convict him. Meanwhile, Cosby‘s rights are protected to the point where he goes free in spite of the fact that he’s a serial rapist.

  18. Erica says:

    I had CNN on earlier and I was in and out of the room but they talked to an attorney who was shocked by this technicality. Apparently this agreement between Cosby and Castor wasn’t even written down? And she was shocked because normally a judge has to sign off on an agreement like this and didn’t? I’m so confused by all of this.

    Rich man gets out of prison because he can afford the best attorney. Life is different for rich people and it makes me ill.

    • Golly Gee says:

      It almost makes me wonder if the judge or the prosecutor were being blackmailed. No written record, so no proof and they let him walk out the door? This is not believable.

    • Katherine says:

      It wasn’t a plea deal though. It was essentially a set of circumstances that led Cosby to reasonably believe (remember basically the whole American legal system rests on the word reasonable) he could waive a constitutional right due to his belief he wouldn’t be prosecuted later. Whether it was written down or not that was his and his counsels reasonable belief of what the prosecutor/commonwealth would do (or not do in this case) They later did try him criminally so conceptually it does read as a bait and switch on his constitutional rights. Which.. I mean that’s pretty serious. The State Supreme Court is not debating the facts they’re deciding on the inherent meaning of the laws and rights.

      To be clear I think he’s a scumbag. And this decision doesn’t make him innocent. The fault here is with the DA. I don’t know why he implied this promise, I wouldn’t have as a prosecutor, but it’s generally held that prosecutors have full legal authority and discretion to make decisions like this. So once it was made the assumption by all involved is that there wouldn’t later be a criminal trial. So Cosby had no 5th amendment option. Then when there was a criminal trial it’s pretty clear that was a violation of his constitutional rights. I hate it. I hate what these women must be feeling. I hate Bill Cosby. But constitutional rights matter. This is not a dictatorship.

      • Darla says:

        Too bad we can’t use constitutional rights to get the black guy serving a life sentence in Mississippi for selling pot out of prison. The state appeals upheld his life sentence just recently. Life in prison. For selling pot. Seems like our constitution does a good job of protecting the very rich and makes lawyers feel good about themselves for upholding the constitution. But me, I don’t have any flags to waive for this big constitutional win.

      • k says:

        Darla, Not really relevant to the legal issues in Cosby’s case, but ok.

      • Katherine says:

        Darla I agree with you. The overall state of constitutional rights, particularly for marginalized folks, is a disgrace. Cosby absolutely benefitted from wealth and a top tier legal team to see this through. Privileges which many people do not have access to. I think of Bryan Stevenson and his fantastic Equal Justice Initiative which works on these very issues for the poorest and most vulnerable incarcerated people, many of whom were convicted on questionable grounds.

        However, the PA Supreme Court was not making a statement on the overall state of constitutional rights, they were deciding the specific case before them. And they made the right call. It disgusts me this series of events happened and it disgusts me this women had to see this. Talk about re traumatization. But Cosby’s constitutional 5th amendment right was violated. And his legal team appealed until it was corrected. Unfortunately it’s a pretty concrete situation. We just all despise what it means for everyone involved. 🙁

      • Anna says:

        Exactly @Darla These kinds of “rights” only ever apply or are even remembered when it comes to rich (mostly white) men. The average person and especially Black people without wealthy means will never see such revisions based on “upholding the constitution”. Our rights are never protected like this.

    • Indywom says:

      It was not formally agreed upon by a judge but Castor did put it in some type of press release. There is a reason why you never put something in writing because it can be used against you.

  19. Jax says:

    Ghislaine Maxwell will be next.

  20. Seaflower says:

    Disgusting, both his release ans PR’s comments.

  21. Sofia says:

    I feel so bad for his victims. I’m not a lawyer but from the comments I’ve seen above, this isn’t a “technicality” and is important in terms of law but he should still be rotting in jail.

    I hope his victims will one day get justice.

  22. Sakura says:

    I read this headline yesterday and thought for sure my eyes were deceiving me. Sadly not the case. It makes my blood boil. A slap in the face to all of Cosby’s victims, and to any victim of sexual assault really. Sick.

    • Nlopez says:

      +10000 SAKURA!!!! Its totally disgusting that he is free. Its sickening how his wife Camille and Phylisha rashad support him. I feel for all of his victims & All victims/ survivors of sexual assaults!!

  23. Robyn says:

    Rashad can choke on it. She should lose her job for that. Cosby ADMITTED IT and she still capes for him? And she should be trusted with students who may come to her with similar issues needing real help because colleges absolutely suck at dealing with sexual assault? No ma’am.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “Cosby ADMITTED IT and she still capes for him?”

      yeah, her reaction was as if he had been exonerated. no, he’s still guilty, b*tch. release due to prosecutor error, but still guilty, in HIS OWN F*CKING WORDS.

    • Anna says:

      Yes @Robyn this is exactly it. As dean of the art school, she is responsible to the students at a very high level and if she is caping for a predatory serial rapist, students, especially Black women who need the most protection but we never get it, will not feel comfortable or safe with her at the helm. She should be removed or remove herself, but we know it won’t happen. Guess I’ll have to unfollow a whole bunch of people on IG who constantly cape for Howard, artists and such who go on an on about it but let’s see what they say now…Guessing it will be crickets…

  24. Cocoa says:

    USA is not a fruitful place for anyone except for Privilege people with money. How can anyone trust the American Judiciary System at this point? First Bill Cosby, what’s next Harvey Weinstein will try a get out of jail free card as well.

  25. Snappyfish says:

    According to PA law the court got this one wrong. A criminal can be granted immunity but once the criminal admits their guilt under oath in a deposition, like Cosby did, the immunity is only in force under the one who granted the immunity. Meaning he was safe under who granted it. Had he NOT admitted he drugged & abused women under oath his immunity would have been intact.

    The new Commonwealth attorney had every right to prosecute a person who admitted a crime under oath. For Cosby to be screaming “I’m innocent” is beyond reprehensible & I can only hope he eventually gets what is his due. I did notice Camille is nowhere to be seen.

    • Katherine says:

      @snappyfish no they didn’t get it wrong. The promise made by the DA not to prosecute Cosby criminally (and we can debate all day how official or unofficial this promise was, but generally DAs are viewed to be acting as official representatives of the state/commonwealth in their decisions) removed his right to invoke the 5th amendment in the depositions. The fact that they later prosecuted him criminally essentially established a bait and switch on his constitutional rights. Whether that was what anyone intended or not who knows, it strikes me as really dumb the prosecutor went that route in 2005, but they did. And the series of events that followed is a pretty clear 5th amendment violation. As many have said this is not a technicality, it is a cornerstone of American law and rights we have. And unfortunately it means sometimes, like in this case, guilty people dodge justice, but it is the correct legal interpretation. Much as we may not like it.

    • Olivia says:

      You cannot use evidence the accused brings up against themselves in a legal proceeding when they had no right to the 5th amendment when they said it. The 5th amendment did not apply when Cosby made those statements as he was not under, nor was there the threat of future criminal prosecution based on the DA’s assurances. DA’s are official agents of the state, what they say be it in writing, or in press releases, or smoke signals, has always been interpreted to carry the weight of the state. A set of circumstances existed where Cosby reasonably believed he would not be criminally prosecuted, therefore did not have the availability of the 5th amendment. Any statements he said in that deposition should have been inadmissible in the criminal trial for precisely this reason. Morally this is abhorrent. Legally it is correct. As is so often the case in our wonderful American justice system.

      • Traveler says:

        It is so discouraging to see our judicial system so often misaligned with what is morally correct. It promotes a lack of faith in the institution and begs for change.

  26. Jax says:

    At least Rumsfeld is dead. So it wasn’t all bad news today.

  27. K says:

    I am so SO sick of women being devalued in this country. And how can victims come forward with even a small hope of being believed or getting justice. From Cosby to Weinstein to Epstein et al. no one is held accountable. Sickening.

  28. Turtledove says:

    There is nothing about this that is NOT infuriating.

    I really wish every headline would read “Cosby is NOT innocent. He’s guilty AF and said so himself under oath. The only reason he has been released is because he can afford the top lawyers who got him off over a poorly excecuted trial. Again, still 100% guilty, just a major misfire in how the trial was conducted.”

    So many thigs suck, but that he is running around saying he is innocent and people will believe that as he is out is just….ARRRGGGGH.

  29. Traveler says:

    I am gutted by this outcome and completely disgusted by anyone who would celebrate the release of this rapist. And NO, Bill, getting released on a procedural gaffe does not mean you were innocent all along! You were NOT exonerated.
    I’m all for the rule of law and procedure but, in practice, our system so often fails to result in true justice and seems easily manipulated by those with deep pockets and powerful connections.

  30. K. Tate says:

    Is it his ego that won’t let him just SHUT UP and live the rest of his life quietly? Why all the statements and press?

  31. Mimi says:


  32. Tx_mom says:

    It’s interesting to me how scum like Trump and Cosby equate “getting away with” something as “innocence” and “vindication.” Makes my head hurt.

  33. Liz version 700 says:

    Between this and Britney, yesterday was a terrible day for women.

  34. Traveler says:

    It sickens me that now he is very likely to be compensated not only through law suits but book and speaking deals too. There is something so very broken here despite all the arguments about how this is “legally correct”.

  35. Lady Digby says:

    James Franco 2.2 million settlement , he must be hoping he can salvage his career as it goes unnoticed whilst Cosby cops the outraged headlines. Just because they are rich and famous, neither should be above the law!

  36. L4frimaire says:

    I’m just disgusted by this decision and truly disappointed in Phylicia Rashad’s tweet. Absolutely unbelievable. He raped over 60 women and this does not absolve him of it. He’ll probably do it again as well. This is why women don’t come forward.

  37. Cheslsea says:

    This piece of scum rapist was released on a technicality not because he is innocent. Phylicia Rashad is disgusting and has been all along with her support of a serial rapist. She just wants those residual checks to start coming in again. This entire situation is disgusting and a slap in the face to all the women this scum raped.

  38. Rise & Shine says:

    Infuriated over this. My God, a technicality. How discouraging, money, celebrity and power talks and help anyone that does not have it. Interestingly and even more sickening is that the lawyer that was involved with this is the same man that defended Trump at impeachment trials etc. His name is Bruce Castnor. This is a terrible development that basically is spitting in the face of all women that have been victims, unacceptable. And personally, I was warned to stay away from Cosby by many people over many years. People that I trusted and am grateful for that, and excruciatingly heartbroken beyond belief over the women who were no so lucky. This is wrong, plain and simple.

  39. TeamMeg says:

    Disgusted at this reversal. Cosby bided his time, let the furor die down, then pulled the dusty “technicality” out of his back pocket. I’m thinking about how damn long it takes to change structural injustice. The 2016 #metoo & #timesup movements plus the Women’s March were powerful indicators of changes we all want to see … but somehow they fizzled into passing trends. 2016 was five years ago already. I worry for BLM, too. People have other things to do. So much bad in the world, plus the pandemic, and the countless personal problems we all face. Meanwhile, the perps and the racists know how to play the long game, keeping the rate of progress to a crawl, ensuring that, fundamentally, nothing ever changes. Sorry to be such a downer but this is really disheartening news.

  40. Dahlia1947 says:

    Bill Cosby is a liberal. What do you expect?

  41. Sass says:

    He has the audacity to do the black power fist?!? Oh, but black women don’t count, right Cosby??? Once again black women aren’t being listened to and thrown under the bus. I’m so pissed