You Have Questions About Bill Cosby’s Sentence – Here Are Some Answers


  1. Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years. He could have been sentenced to 30 years, but the prosecution agreed to combine the crimes, creating a maximum of 10 years.
    1. The prosecution wanted 5-10 years.
    2. The defense wanted probation and house arrest.
    3. In reaching his decision, the judge specifically noted the victim’s impact statement.
  2. Bill Cosby was found by the judge to be a sexually violent predator. This finding means some specific things as far as his incarceration.
    1. This finding also means that once Cosby comes out of prison, he will be required to be a registered offender under Megan’s law.
  3. How long will Cosby serve? At least 3 years. That is the minimum sentence. I know that in many jurisdictions, the minimum isn’t really the minimum. In Pennsylvania, the minimum is the minimum.
    1. Pennsylvania has other elderly and infirm people in prison, and facilities with special treatment for them.
  4. The judge sentenced Cosby to state prison. Cosby could have been sentenced to county prison, but that isn’t what the judge decided. 
    1. Tonight, the night of his sentencing, Cosby is in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. This facility is located in the same area as the courthouse where the trial was held. He may also be moved to SCI Phoenix tonight. 
    2. Cosby is expected to begin serving in the SCI Phoenix facility. This is the newest state prison in Pennsylvania. He will stay there for an assessment and then will receive an assignment.
      1. It is very likely that Cosby will be placed separately from the other prisoners due to his fame. This is to keep him safe.
      2. Once a prisoner reaches a certain age in Pennsylvania, he is considered elderly. That age is 50. Cosby is 81.
      3. Cosby’s fame, his age, his health, his sentence, the fact he is judged a sexually violent predator, all of these will impact where he will be placed.
  5. Bill Cosby’s lawyers asked for bail pending appeal. The judge took some time to research the issue and reached the conclusion that his crimes made bail inappropriate. That is why he was taken directly to the correctional facility.
  6. Cosby’s lawyers will no doubt file an appeal very quickly.
    1. We can expect Cosby to remain in jail pending his appeal. He will remain there unless the appeal is successful.
      1. Cosby could be released if his appeal is successful and his verdict is overturned. However, he also could be required to remain in prison, even in the face of a successful appeal.
      2. We can assume if Cosby’s verdict is overturned, that the prosecutor would try him again unless a plea bargain is reached.
        1. This is why Cosby would be expected to remain in prison, even if he wins an appeal. Though it is conceivable a judge could allow bail pending a new trial.
    2. I cannot speak to the grounds for appeal at the moment. I did not watch the trial closely, but I would expect we will see an appeal based on the judge’s decision to allow a number of witnesses that alleged Cosby assaulted them in the past. The defense team also made some comments today about a tape. No doubt, there will be other arguments.
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