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Who is the judge refusing to send Bill Cosby to jail after sex assault conviction

Bill Cosby tried and failed to have to judge recused from his second assault trial, and that same judge is now working to keep him out of jail.

Judge Stephen T. O’Neill presided over Cosby’s first trial for indecent sexual assault, which ended in a hung jury, as well as his second trial. Cosby was convicted of three counts of indecent sexual assault last week, but remains on house arrest after Judge O’Neill ruled that he did not need to be jailed while he was awaiting his sentencing, citing Cosby’s advanced age and his previous cooperation with all court orders.

“I’m not simply going to lock him up right now…. he has appeared at every appearance.”

Cosby is facing a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; ten years for each conviction.

Before the retrial, Cosby’s defense team reportedly argued that O’Neill should be recused from presiding over the second trial because his wife is a social worker with an academic specialty in acquaintance rape.

But O’Neill insisted that his wife’s profession and schooling would have on influence on Cosby’s trial.

“I am my own individual, and I make the decisions,” he said, according to CNN.

Cosby’s defense team plans to appeal the conviction, and the process is expected to keep Cosby out of jail for even longer.

And at least one legal expert said that Judge O’Neill’s decision to grant him house arrest suggests he might go easy on Cosby when it comes time for sentencing.

“I think the fact that the judge yesterday allowed him to walk out of that courtroom, did not remand him immediately to jail, gives us a sense about what this judge is likely to do when he gets to the sentencing hearing,” legal analyst Areva Martin told CNN.

“He will be able to take into consideration Cosby’s age, the status of his health, the philanthropic work that he’s done over the last several decades, the fact that this is his first criminal conviction, Martin continued

“All of those will be factors that the judge can take into consideration when sentencing him.”

 

[Feature image: Bill Cosby/Matt Slocum for AP]