Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Bill Cosby Should Have Done

By Victor J. Ward

When I graduated from law school, I wanted to work in the District Attorney's office. At the time, I had no understanding of government and liberty. (Isn't that amazing? I was able to go through an entire three years of studying the law and never be confronted with how the law was, in many ways, an enemy of freedom. Maybe the professors talked about that subject during the classes I missed.)

One of the reasons that I wanted to be a deputy district attorney was because the typical DDA got the opportunity to sit first chair in many trials. That really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I could not get a job as a DDA, so I became a criminal defense attorney.

I represented a few clients/criminals. Most of the cases settled. My most successful case was representing a teenager who was accused of attempted rape, attempted burglary, and assaulting a police officer. Juvenile trials are
held in front of a judge (no jury).

During the bench trial, I said a few words in defense of my client. Looking back on it, I think my performance was C/C-. I was neither smooth nor persuasive.

After I spoke, the DDA said something. The state wanted my client to either go to a "ranch" on the East Coast, or be incarcerated with the California Youth Authority. (I don't know what is presently happening with the CYA, but back then, being sent to CYA was like a death sentence. You did NOT want to go there.)

After the state's case, the judge asked my client if he wanted to say something. My client stood up and said all of the right things. He apologized for his actions. He asked for leniency. He gave reasons why he was going to be different.

In the end, the judge gave him about 4 months in juvenile hall. This was a huge deal, especially when you considered the charges. (For the record, the attempted rape and the attempted burglary charges were bogus. But, without a doubt, my client assaulted the police officer, even giving the officer a bloody nose.)

That trial confirmed for me something that I had always sensed: In any type of legal action/litigation, fortune favors the bold. If you are a defendant and you are not guilty, you need to take the stand and argue vigorously in your defense. In fact, I would say that if you are a defendant in a criminal trial and you ARE guilty, you still need to get on the stand and argue in your defense.

Do NOT try and hide behind the 5th Amendment. Most jurors are going to believe that if you do not have something to hide, you would have no problem testifying. I am not saying that I agree with the jury's point of view. I am saying that this is how a jury is going to view you. A defendant needs to argue for his/her innocence.

"If they don't believe in their innocence enough to defend their innocence," thinks the jury, "then why should we?"

Sure, you have some high-profiled cases where the defendant has not testified and escaped conviction, but I believe that those are the great exception. And, of course, you need to look at each situation separately. As a rule, however, stand-up for yourself.

In the present case of Bill Cosby, someone filed a civil lawsuit against him several years ago. The plaintiff was going to call 13 other women to testify on her behalf, basically saying that Cosby had a pattern of drugging women and then raping them.

What did Cosby do? He settled the case by paying the woman money. I am sure that part of the settlement was that the woman was told that she could never talk about the case. Cosby, foolishly, thought that this was the end of it.

But, that's NEVER how these things end. If Cosby wanted to forever quash this thing, he should have aggressively come out against it.

Think about what Kobe Bryant did: He had sex with a woman in Colorado. Was it rape or consensual sex? Only God knows. But, as soon as Bryant could, he got an attorney and, on his attorney's advice, Bryant held a press conference where he presented his side of the story.

The next thing that he and his legal team did was go on the warpath. As people often say, in rape trials, the defense puts the victim on trial. Well, this is true, and if I was charged with rape and I did not do it, you better believe that I would put the "victim" on trial. Obviously, in a rape trial where the defendant is innocent, he is the real victim.

Cosby, however, has sat silently when woman after woman has come out to attack him. He says that he has already addressed these specious comments. Really? Where? Paying someone off is not addressing the comments. Having your lawyer say that charges have never been filed is not attacking the comments. People don't want to hear from some paid hack. They want to hear from you. They want to hear you say that you did not do it. If he does not create his own story, other people will create it for him. You never want to be in that position.

The other thing that is really hurting Cosby's credibility is that the woman who has been leading this charge has stated the following:

1. I want people to know my name.
2. I don't want money.

In other words, she is saying that she has nothing to hide and that she has no impure motive. Are both or either of these things true? I have no idea, but she is laying a pretty good foundation on which to attack Cosby.

When people initially hear a story, they believe it until they hear something different. Think about Woody Allen and Mia Farrell. If you ask me, both of them are strange, but, I have no idea who is telling the truth. This is because every time Farrell says something, Allen counters it, and vice versa. With Cosby, the woman (now women) said something, but all Cosby could say is, "No charges were filed." or "The woman dropped her suit." People don't care about that. They want to hear your side of the story.

Bill Cosby has been a beloved figure. His fall from grace is rivaled only by O.J. Simpson's.

Victor J. Ward  first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


  1. "In other words, she is saying that she has nothing to hide and that she has no impure motive. Are both or either of these things true? I have no idea, but she is laying a pretty good foundation on which to attack Cosby.

    When people initially hear a story, they believe it until they hear something different."

    I don't buy it for a second. Prove it Ms. Accuser. PROVE it. Accusations aren't going to cut it. And for the record (for those with 40IQs) I am NOT a big fan of Bill Cosby. He was funny sometimes but I'm no fan groupie. To me, a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Not the other way around.

  2. If you do come out with some sort of statement, it better be good and not just PR boilerplate, because it will not satistfy the media beast

  3. Con men and women constantly try to blackmail celebs with false accusations. His lawyer should be short stroking that fact all over the place. He also should be pointing out that Cosby is big critic of Obama for being incompetent and blacks for being their own worst enemy. When your an influential public figure like Cosby is, that makes some powerful enemies who will do anything to destroy you, including dig through your history for any smidgen of dirt, true or not. This is obviously a political attack and his lawyer is dropping the ball if he isnt working that angle right now.