Bill Cosby gets Allegheny Jury
The “Twelve Angry Men” who will be called upon to decide Bill Cosby’s fate in his pending rape trial will hail from Allegheny County, the Supreme Court decided yesterday. Under Pa.R.Crim.P. 584, the decision to change “venire” (that is, the county pool from which the jury will be selected) rests with the trial court hearing the case. This case is unusual in that the change of venire was consented to by both sides in order to facilitate moving forward quickly to trial.
Upon certification to SCOPA of an order to change venire, it rests with our Supreme Court to choose the appropriate county from which to draw the jury. It is unusual to see the Supreme Court comply with an “Order” from a lower court, yet that is precisely the situation under the rules.
The Court released no reasoning with its order yesterday for the selection of Allegheny County, but presumably, the press surrounding Mr. Cosby’s case is wide-spread enough, and his reputation sufficiently pervasive to make a lengthy list of strikes for cause. Allegheny, as the most populous county on the Western end of the state is the best suited to provide a sufficient number of jurors to choose from at the greatest distance from the actual trial.
Once chosen and impaneled, the jurors will be transported across the state at Montgomery County’s expense, and the Cosby trial will proceed.