Exactly five months after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction on a technicality, prosecutors are petitioning the high court to appeal the decision.
Per Variety, District Attorney Keith Steele filed an appeal on Monday to reinstate Cosby’s conviction, citing the state’s supreme court decision to vacate the once-beloved entertainer’s sentence as a “dangerous precedent.” As previously reported by The Root, Cosby’s stunning release happened only because justices raised issues with the way the prosecution was handled and because an agreement with a previous prosecutor in a civil case should have prevented him from being criminally charged—not because he was actually innocent.
“A prosecution announcement not to file charges should not trigger due process protections against future criminal proceedings because circumstances could change, including new incriminating statements by the accused,” Steel’s office argued in the appeal.
More on the appeal from Variety:
The D.A.’s petition to the Supreme Court argues that the Pennsylvania ruling raises issues under the Constitution’s due process clause. In a press release accompanying the filing, Steele argues: “The question presented to the Court is: ‘Where a prosecutor publicly announces that he will not file criminal charges based on lack of evidence, does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment transform that announcement into a binding promise that no charges will ever be filed, a promise that the target may rely on as if it were a grant of immunity?’”
Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt responded to the appeal in a statement, saying: “There is no merit to the DA’s request which centers on the unique facts of the Cosby case and has no impact on important federal questions of law. This is a pathetic last-ditch effort that will not prevail. The Montgomery County’s DA’s fixation with Mr. Cosby is troubling to say the least.”
He added, “In short, the Montgomery County D.A. asks the United States Supreme Court to throw the Constitution out the window, as it did, to satisfy the [#MeToo] mob.”
Additionally, as the Washington Post notes, there may be very little hope that the Supreme Court will actually make any moves to review its decision as it receives about “7,000 and 8,000 petitions each term and grants oral arguments to around 80.”