One of the infuriating things I learned working on Undead Sexist Cliches is how prosecutors frequently write off rape cases as not worth their trouble. Republican politician and former prosecutor Ken Buck telling a rape victim the jury would dismiss her charge as “buyer’s remorse” (after she presented him with the guy admitting to rape on tape). The Texas prosecutor who said going to trial was useless because the jury would never convict a first-time rapist. Alex Acosta giving Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart deal rather than taking on his high-powered legal team. The Guardian has more.
So it’s not surprising that Bruce Castor, Bill Cosby’s original prosecutor from 2005, decided the jury wouldn’t convict so why make the effort? Instead he promised Cosby there’d be no prosecution, ever, so when one of Cosby’s victims sued him, he couldn’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment. The later prosecution that jailed Cosby used his civil-suit deposition against him. The Supreme Court ruled that violated Cosby’s rights (expanded explanation here).
That last link covers some of the key questions, as does Lawyers, Guns and Money: was there actually a no-prosecution agreement? Does Castor simply announcing to the media that he’s not going to prosecute constitute an agreement never to prosecute, or is it simply a standard press announcement he’s not filing? Was the dissenting Supreme Court judge right to argue this amounts to giving Castor the power to pardon Cosby by blocking prosecutions?
Apparently even if there was no formal agreement, Cosby and his attorneys thought so, which was enough for the court. And probably rights on the merits, though as LGM points out, lots of lower-profile, non-wealthy defendants without a-list legal talent get screwed over by prosecutors without similar support. One law for rich and poor alike …
It’s understandable assault survivors are pissed off. I am too, but I’m not caught in the dilemma of wondering if I was a fool to come forward or whether I ought to come forward. They do. And they’ve just been shown how frustrating it is, though I’m sure they knew it already.
In other women-related links:
Antifeminist Caitlin Flanagan once claimed it was pointless to have fathers do more household work because they can’t do it well enough to satisfy their wives. Allison Daminger says they can, they just don’t want to.
Susan Sarandon on guys who hated Thelma and Louise.
It’s not just the US: Pakistan’s prime minister blames rape on women wearing too little.