Why Couldn’t the Cosby Jury Reach a Verdict? Legal Experts Assess
June 17th, 2017, The New York Times (Sydney Ember, Graham Bowley and Jon Hurdle)
The trial of actor and comedian Bill Cosby lasted over two weeks, including 52 hours of deliberation, and ended on the morning of Saturday, June 17th at the Montgomery County Courthouse when Judge O’Neill declared a mistrial. Cosby will now face a new trial for the same 3 counts of aggravated indecent assault, but in the meantime, The New York Times has examined the question that everyone is still wondering: “Why Couldn’t the Cosby Jury Reach a Verdict?”
The New York Times asked some top criminal law experts who have been monitoring the case to provide their assessments of the trial. Here are their analyses.
Joseph McGettigan of McAndrews Law Offices
Former prosecutor who led the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of sexually abusing boys
“By the second day of deliberations, a hung jury had started to appear to be a real possibility, at least to me. The questions certainly gave the appearance of there being an effort to persuade a faction of the jury, perhaps just one juror, of the weight of the evidence. The ‘reasonable doubt’ question is the clearest example of that. That request from the jury is usually the result of one holdout for acquittal saying to the others that ‘I think he’s guilty, but I’m just not sure they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Certainly there are factors extraneous to the evidence upon which a holdout could covertly fix — age of the defendant, race, celebrity and a generalized iconic status could all be among those factors. Of course, there were difficulties in the prosecution evidence — inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony, her delayed reporting and her continued contact with the defendant. But I think that discussions with the jurors, if they occur, will reveal that most of the jury had overcome those impediments to conviction by finding the victim credible on the witness stand. Obviously not so for one or more of the jurors.”