Prison Radio
Sergio Hyland

Sup everybody, it’s Uptown Serg, and this is my commentary on Bill Cosby and the double-edged sword.

Bill Cosby was released from prison on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 after his conviction on sexual misconduct allegations was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Like nearly all other high profile celebrities, public opinion around Bill Cosby and his legal plight was strong one way or the other. You either believed in his innocence or you believe in his guilt. Rarely could you find a person who was settled in between.

In today’s politically charged climate, it isn’t very popular to defend one who was accused of committing sex crimes or any crime of domestic violence against women. And I won’t attempt to do so here, not because of this political incorrectness, but instead because bill Cosby’s victory raises a more important philosophical question surrounding subjective justice.

In crimes that are emotionally provocative and considered particularly heinous, people want somebody to be held accountable for committing those crimes. Usually, that means the implementation of a very public campaign to have a person arrested, charged, brought to trial, and convicted by a jury of their peers. This process is often referred to as justice being served. However, when that defendant is acquitted of said charges, people often refer to that defendant as having escaped justice.

I’m not here to defend Bill Cosby’s innocence or guilt. I’m here to emphasize that America’s culture of anger, hostility, and pain has been the fuel for its addiction to punishment and the driving force of mass incarceration. Oftentimes, those who screamed the loudest for justice don’t truly understand what justice is, and if they did, they would accept that Bill Cosby’s freedom is the result of the same American criminal justice system that was created to legally silence and imprison countless black and brown people across this nation while also serving as a bypass for the ruling classes to avoid accountability.

As it relates to American justice, Mortimer J. Adler, a preeminent scholar in western philosophy, posed the opinion that a person is just if he obeys the laws of his community. Conversely, the criminal, the person who breaks the law, is considered to be unjust. What about the person who breaks the law and then uses the law to evade accountability? I think most people would consider that to be unjust, but unjust for whom? Regardless of what side of the aisle you stand, the fact is that the law is made by those in power, and the judges who interpret these laws are placed in their positions by those who created the law.

Therefore, Bill Cosby received justice, the kind of justice that was created for people who occupied his social strata, the kind of justice that you and I are routinely denied because of our own disadvantaged social strata. Accordingly, if this is the system of justice that America has decided to implement, then the outrage subsequent to bill Cosby’s freedom to be directed at the people who refuse to hold those in power accountable.

This system is rogue, and it will continue to be rogue until the people decide to change it. In order to accomplish this, we as a society must collectively disabuse our extremist philosophies and create a system not rooted in retribution but fairness. The law shouldn’t measure justice. Justice should measure the law, and fairness must be as foundation.

Before I end this, I want people to fight for justice for Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Major Tillery, Arthur Cetewayo Johnson, Omar Askia, Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen, and all political prisoners. You can find out more about the fight for human rights and political prisoners at And follow me on Instagram @uptownserg. Thank you.

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.