Key to Cosby’s success at upcoming jury trial will be the judge’s ruling on numerous motions in liming defining what evidence the jury will get to hear at trial.
A judge has ruled that prosecutors can use a phone call that was taped without Bill Cosby’s consent as evidence in his sexual assault trial. Cosby argued that because he did not know the call was being taped, that it should be excluded from evidence under a two party consent law. However, the judge denied the request according to a report by Fox News.
The case raised some interesting legal issues, include whether the Court will allow prior bad acts of uncharged conduct into evidence at trial. Generally, prior bad act evidence would be inadmissible at trial, but can be admitted if it shows a common plan, scheme or method of operation. A judge has to determine whether the probative value of this evidence out weights its unfair prejudice to the defendant. A jury is instructed that the defendant is not charged with committing any prior bad acts and that it cannot consider those prior bad acts as proof of the current charge. But prior bad act evidence to be used to show motive, state of mind, intent, common scheme, absence of mistake or identity. In Aaron Hernandez’s recent murder trial where he was convicted, the judge did not permit the Commonwealth to offer into evidence that the victim knew that he was allegedly involved in a 2012 shooting. The Court ruled that this testimony would have been unfairly prejudicial. Accordingly, the defense was allowed to argue that he had no motive to commit the crime. The reason that the judge declined to allow this evidence to come into evidence at trial is that it would have been too difficult for the jury to keep the alleged prior bad act separate from the criminal conduct that the defendant was on trial for.