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Cosby Seeks Bail and Recusal of Judge for Failing to File Mandated Appeal Document

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Cosby and his team of attorneys said Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill “Continues to show his disgust and prejudice” toward Cosby by purposely denying Cosby the right to file his appeal.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Bill Cosby has filed a bail application and wants the judge in his criminal trial to be removed for hindering his appeal.

Cosby and his team of attorneys said Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill “Continues to show his disgust and prejudice” toward Cosby by purposely denying Cosby the right to file his appeal.

Cosby said the judge has refused to issue his legally mandated opinion, which outlines why he felt strongly in sentencing Cosby to three to ten years and to place him – an 81-year-old, blind military veteran – in a level 5 maximum security prison.

“This judge took an oath. I believe to be fair and impartial, which grants him the authority to perform all of the duties detailed in the Constitution,” Cosby said in a statement issued by his publicist Andrew Wyatt.

“I don’t know [under] what Constitutional rock this judge resides, because his refusal to write an opinion, reveals that he’s complicit in the corruption against me, and that he’s an accessory to the incestuous behavior that resides in Montgomery County,” Cosby said.

Based on Pennsylvania rule 1925(a), “upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the judge who entered the order giving rise to the notice of appeal [appealed from], if the reasons for the order do not already appear of record, shall immediately file of record at least a brief statement, in the form of an opinion, of the reasons for the order, or for the rulings or other errors [matters] complained of, or shall specify in writing the specific place in the record where such reasons may be found.”

The law further states that:

“If the appeal is based upon an order or ruling issued by a judge that was not the judge at trial, the trial judge may request that the judge who made the interim ruling draft a statement in accordance with the standards above to explain the reasons for his or her decision.”

Cosby, who is serving a three- to 10-year sentence after being convicted last year of aggravated indecent assault, filed his appeal briefs in December but O’Neill still hasn’t responded.

O’Neill’s actions are not without precedent, legal experts told NNPA Newswire.

“Lawless judges are one of the biggest problems in the United States of America,” said Detroit and Silicon Valley attorney Mark Foster.

“The rules require the trial judge to write an opinion and make sure that the certified record is sent to the Superior Court within sixty days, but unfortunately, this almost never happens,” said Pennsylvania attorney Zak Goldstein.

Even in less complex cases, it is not uncommon for a judge to miss this deadline by months or even years, Goldstein said.

“Eventually, the Superior Court will send a notice of delinquent record to the trial judge to remind the judge of the deadline, but this notice does not involve any kind of sanction,” he said.

With that, the scales of justice are a bit skewed. If Cosby were to have missed his deadline, the entire appeal could be dismissed, but there is typically no penalty for a judge who misses the deadline, Goldstein said.

“If the delay becomes really egregious, an attorney could file a motion in the Superior Court asking that court to direct the trial judge to file an opinion,” Goldstein said.

“The court will usually grant that motion if the delay has really been significant,” he said, adding that he’s never seen a judge who has failed to comply.

On April 17, the Superior Court did file a notice to O’Neill regarding the delinquent record. Cosby has asked for bail because of the trial judge’s delay.

“Often when judges do not perform tasks [that] they should, such as issue timely rulings, lawyers may file for a Writ of Mandamus which is a request for another judge to order the judge to perform the act or do what he or she should,” said Atlanta-based attorney Randy Kessler.

“I imagine there are various remedies including the appellate courts making a ruling without the input from the trial judge and simply making whatever inferences they deem appropriate, likely giving the Defendant the benefit of the doubt which is an integral part of our criminal justice system, given the failure of the trial judge to submit the information,” said Kessler, who stressed that he isn’t licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.

Cosby is asking that O’Neill be removed immediately and that he’s granted bail throughout the appeals process because of what his team called O’Neill’s “racial hatred toward Cosby that clouds his better judgement to be a good steward of the bench.”

“O’Neill’s dishonorable conduct makes me smile, because this judge is being exposed, and it shows that this is bigger than me,” Cosby said.

“O’Neill now has his formula:  tried, true and tested to destroy any Black Man and/or Colored Man in America. I’m just so happy, because this guy is proving my innocence.  And guess what else. America is finally getting to witness the truth,” he said.

If O’Neill never writes an opinion, the Superior Court could proceed anyway, Goldstein said.

“I am not surprised that the judge in the Cosby case did not meet the sixty day deadline given the large number of complicated issues involved, and I would expect the defense attorneys to give the judge some time before filing anything because it is a complicated appeal,” Goldstein said.

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NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

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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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