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COMMENTARY: One Year Later Experts Still Concerned Bill Cosby Didn’t Receive Fair Trial

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Specifically, the trial court abused its discretion, erred and materially infringed on Cosby’s constitutional rights to Due Process of Law under the Constitution of the United States. The judge should not have allowed the admittance of five prior ‘bad act witnesses,’” said attorney David Reischer, CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “The witnesses’ allegations were too far remote in time and too dissimilar to the Plaintiff’s allegations.”

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

One year after Bill Cosby’s conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, experts said Cosby didn’t get a fair trial for various reasons, including the #MeToo movement, the media, an unfair judge and racism.

“Dr. Bill Cosby did not receive a fair trial. It was he-said-she-said and even much of what the women said, other people contradicted,” said Oxford alum Jonathan Farley.

While the verdict against Cosby was heralded as a great milestone in justice for women accusers, law experts say they’re baffled by the conviction and even more concerned with how the case was tried.

“Judge Steven O’Neill rigged the trial to ensure that Cosby would be convicted,” said International Rights Attorney John Davis.

The trial was a “terrific example of the travesty of justice in the American courtroom for sex assault trials,” said Paul Saputo, of the Saputo Law Firm in Dallas, Texas.

“As has happened throughout American history, popular culture weighs heavily on criminal justice and I obviously don’t know whether or not Cosby is guilty of what he’s accused of, but when the justice system sacrifices fairness in procedure to tilt the scales, we have a major problem,” Saputo said.

Not only did Cosby’s accuser receive a large amount of support from the government and press, Cosby became a victim of the mass media and popular culture who won’t give him a second thought, Saputo added.

Experts said there were multiple mis-steps by the judge in the case, including allowing the use of Cosby’s infamous 2006 civil deposition.

“The alleged deposition transcript does not show Cosby drugged women without their knowledge in order to incapacitate them so that he could rape them,” said Farley. “But a juror admitted that he voted to convict Cosby based on this false belief.”

Davis added that if Castor hadn’t promised Cosby that the deposition could never be used against him, Cosby could, and likely would, have exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

“Years later, a new trophy hunting District Attorney decided to violate the promises of the prosecutor’s office and filed charges against Cosby,” Davis said.

Castor testified during a preliminary hearing in the Cosby case that he did indeed have what he called a binding agreement with Cosby and that the deposition should not be used.

The new DA, Kevin Steele, argued that portions of it that are damaging to Cosby should be used.

O’Neill sided with Steele.

“That is tantamount to the judge ensuring a conviction by sneaking evidence in the back door that suggests Cosby is a bad man who has sex outside of marriage and who does drugs and provides drugs to women who are having a relationship with him,” Davis argued.

“Cosby never said in his deposition that he gave them drugs so that they would be unconscious so that he could rape them. This is a pure lie and fraud committed by the mass media,” he said.

After O’Neill refused to allow him to provide crucial testimony in Cosby’s defense, Robert Russell, a close friend of the Constand family, told Philadelphia’s YC News that Cosby accuser Andrea Constand and her mother pressed charges because of vindictiveness, racism and homophobia. “What they have done is disgraceful,” Russell said.

“I’ll never forget when she told me she’d like to see all niggers gathered together and killed. That is genocide. She spoke like Adolf Hitler,” Russell said. “I realized what I was getting involved in and got out of it like a bat out of hell. That family was dark and I don’t want anything to do with them,” he said.

Lead attorney Tom Mesereau said his team had unearthed Russell, an old friend of Constand, to bring “out the ghosts in Andrea and her mother, Gianna Constand’s past.”

Yet O’Neill blocked the lawyers from introducing the tales of drug use, greed and racism that included a deep hatred for African-Americans – a hatred so deep and dark he claimed Gianna Constand wanted to “see all niggers gathered together and killed.”

O’Neill sided with prosecutors who contended that Russell’s testimony would taint the jurors perspective on who the Constand’s were so much that it could poison their minds and likely change the outcome.

“She despised black people — she didn’t want any black men or women in her house,” Russell said.

“The prosecution entrusted this case on a family, who made it clear they ‘despised black men’ and ‘wanted revenge on black people’ after their daughter lost her boyfriend to a black woman. She didn’t like that,” Russel said, referring to Gianna Constand.

He continued:

“She [Andrea] would do anything to please her parents.”

Constand allegedly had a brief relationship with NBA star Steve Nash which was cut short after he was photographed with a black woman, who Andrea’s mother referred to as a ‘bimbo’ compared to her daughter.

“You have a lying mother, the personification of evil who likely urged her daughter to file charges after her parents saw Andrea gained nothing out of the relationship with Bill Cosby.” Russell said.

“[Gianna] said if she ever saw her daughter in an interracial relationship she would stop her and if she couldn’t, she’d make something up,” he said. “It all goes back to her very first boyfriend. Her mother put all her hopes in Nash — her mother was devastated when that photo came out with him and a black woman,” Russell said.

Still, the defense’s strongest argument on appeal is the judge’s erroneous decision to allow five additional women to testify against Cosby, said attorney David Reischer, CEO of LegalAdvice.com.

“Specifically, the trial court abused its discretion, erred and materially infringed on Cosby’s constitutional rights to Due Process of Law under the Constitution of the United States. The judge should not have allowed the admittance of five prior ‘bad act witnesses,’” Reischer said. “The witnesses’ allegations were too far remote in time and too dissimilar to the Plaintiff’s allegations.”

As Cosby sits in prison pending appeal, unanswered questions remain.

“How come the only person in jail through the #MeToo movement is a black man? And it seems that the next possible conviction will be R. Kelly, another black man,” said Beth Logan, a Massachusetts-based certified IRS Tax Agent.

“Maybe I am wrong about the ‘only’ person, there might be one or two others,” Logan said. “But seriously, where is Harvey W, Matt Lauer, and others. Maybe they are out of work, but I find it amazing that jail is only for black people and no, I am not black, but I’m still concerned about the difference,” she said.

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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Children’s Defense Fund: State of America’s Children Reveals that 71 Percent of Children of Color Live in Poverty

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

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Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

Part One of an ongoing series on this impactful and informative report.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The child population in America is the most diverse in history, but children remain the poorest age group in the country with youth of color suffering the highest poverty rates.

“While we reported on the 73 million children in the U.S. in 2019, which is 22 percent of the nation’s population, we also note that 2020 was the first year in American history that a majority of children are projected to be children of color,” said the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, the president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Dr. Wilson’s remarks come as the Marian Wright Edelman founded nonprofit released “The State of America’s Children 2021.”

The comprehensive report is eye-opening.

It highlights how children remain the poorest age group in America, with children of color and young children suffering the highest poverty rates. For instance, of the more than 10.5 million poverty-stricken children in America in 2019, approximately 71 percent were those of color.

The stunning exposé revealed that income and wealth inequality are growing and harming children in low-income, Black and Brown families.

While the share of all wealth held by the top one percent of Americans grew from 30 percent to 37 percent, the share held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33 percent to 23 percent between 1989 and 2019.

Today, a member of the top 10 percent of income earners makes about 39 times as much as the average earner in the bottom 90 percent.

The median family income of White households with children ($95,700) was more than double that of Black ($43,900), and Hispanic households with children ($52,300).

Further, the report noted that the lack of affordable housing and federal rental assistance leaves millions of children homeless or at risk of homelessness.

More than 1.5 million children enrolled in public schools experienced homelessness during the 2017-2018 school year, and 74 percent of unhoused students during the 2017-2018 school year were living temporarily with family or friends.

Millions of children live in food-insecure households, lacking reliable access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, and more than 1 in 7 children – 10.7 million – were food insecure, meaning they lived in households where not everyone had enough to eat.

Black and Hispanic children were twice as likely to live in food-insecure households as White children.

The report further found that America’s schools have continued to slip backwards into patterns of deep racial and socioeconomic segregation, perpetuating achievement gaps.

For instance, during the 2017-2018 public school year, 19 percent of Black, 21 percent of Hispanic, and more than 26 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native school students did not graduate on time compared with only 11 percent of White students.

More than 77 percent of Hispanic and more than 79 percent of Black fourth and eighth grade public school students were not proficient in reading or math in 2019, compared with less than 60 percent of White students.

“We find that in the course of the last year, we’ve come to the point where our conversations about child well-being and our dialogue and reckoning around racial justice has really met a point of intersection, and so we must consider child well-being in every conversation about racial justice and quite frankly you can only sustainably speak of racial justice if we’re talking about the state of our children,” Dr. Wilson observed.

Some more of the startling statistics found in the report include:

  • A White public school student is suspended every six seconds, while students of color and non-White students are suspended every two seconds.
  • Conditions leading to a person dropping out of high school occur with white students every 19 seconds, while it occurs every nine seconds for non-White and students of color.
  • A White child is arrested every 1 minute and 12 seconds, while students of color and non-whites are arrested every 45 seconds.
  • A White student in public school is corporally punished every two minutes, while students of color and non-Whites face such action every 49 seconds.

Dr. Wilson asserted that federal spending “reflects the nation’s skewed priorities.”

In the report, he notes that children are not receiving the investment they need to thrive, and despite making up such a large portion of the population, less than 7.5 percent of federal spending went towards children in fiscal year 2020.

Despite Congress raising statutory caps on discretionary spending in fiscal years 2018 to 2020, children did not receive their fair share of those increases and children’s share of total federal spending has continued to decline.

“Children continue to be the poorest segment of the population,” Dr. Wilson demanded. “We are headed into a dark place as it relates to poverty and inequity on the American landscape because our children become the canary in the coal mine.”

Dr. Wilson did note that the Children’s Defense Fund is pleased about President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which, among other things, makes it easier for parents to keep their jobs and provides a lifeline for disadvantaged children.

The $1.9 trillion plan not only contained $1,400 checks for individuals, it includes monthly allowances and other elements to help reduce child poverty.

The President’s plan expands home visitation programs that help at-risk parents from pregnancy through early childhood and is presents universal access to top-notch pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds.

“The American Rescue Plan carried significant and powerful anti-poverty messages that will have remarkable benefits on the lives of children in America over the course of the next two years,” Dr. Wilson declared.

“The Children’s Defense Fund was quick to applaud the efforts of the President. We have worked with partners, including leading a child poverty coalition, to advance the ideas of that investment,” he continued.

“Most notably, the expansion of the child tax credit which has the impact of reducing poverty, lifting more than 50 percent of African American children out of poverty, 81 percent of Indigenous children, 45 percent of Hispanic children. It’s not only good policy, but it’s specifically good policy for Black and Brown children.”

Click here to view the full report.

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