Will Prosecution And Defense Of Sexual Assault Cases Ever Be The Same After The Cosby Trial?
As recently reported, Bill Cosby’s recent conviction for aggravated indecent assault could heavily impact future sexual assault cases; especially those against high-profile defendants, even though it arguably involves a very unique set of facts. Many are calling it “the first trial in the #MeToo era,” potentially leading the charge in how all defense strategies are formed to represent those accused of assault or harassment.
While the first jury was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Cosby was guilty of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand 14 years ago, the second one was. So what changed between those two decisions?
The Rules Regarding Admissibility of Evidence
Some believe that witnesses who were not directly connected to the facts of the Constand case were allowed to testify regarding “bad acts” the second time around simply due to social pressure judges are facing from the public, which is affecting the rules regarding admissibility of evidence. For these reasons, these same experts theorize that it makes the case prime for an appeal, particularly since Cosby could claim that, by allowing accusers other than those that are the subject/basis of the charge to testify, he was instead tried for his character, not the actual crime.
Others also speculate that the psychologist who provided testimony regarding why victims sometimes change their testimony was also key this time around in the trial. Whereas juries might be prone to speculate about inconsistencies, the prosecution providing an “expert” to explain those circumstances can have a significant impact on a case.
Will Weak Accusations Now Come To Fruition?
There are also additional concerns that the outcome of the case could embolden all prosecutors to file charges in circumstances that were otherwise too weak or insubstantial. This could result in taking weak accusations and making them substantially stronger simply by finding others to make the same or similar accusations.
It will be vital for criminal defense attorneys to fight both the testimony of “bad act” witnesses and experts in defending these types of sexual assault cases in moving forward in order to properly protect criminal defendants’ rights and ensure that the rules regarding admissibility of evidence are preserved with integrity.
Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers
Cosby’s trial also highlights just what a difference an individual judge can make when it comes to the admissibility of evidence and the chances of a defendant receiving a fair trial. Being accused of sex crimes not only involves hefty penalties, but a potential stigma that could stick with you for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with a sex crime such as rape, criminal sexual misconduct, or a similar crime in Florida, contact the Baez Law Firm today to seek immediate assistance and ensure that your rights are protected.