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Harvey Weinstein to be Retried in New York Court Following Rape Conviction Overturn.pdf (71.01 kB)

Harvey Weinstein to be Retried in New York Court Following Rape Conviction Overturn

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posted on 2024-05-17, 14:36 authored by Chloe Dunaj

Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction was overturned by New York’s Court of Appeals on April 25th, 2024. The former Hollywood director was convicted on two counts of sexual assault and one count of rape in February 2020 in New York. Weinstein was also found guilty in 2022 of three counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to sixteen years in prison in February 2023 in California. Weinstein is now set to retire in New York, according to District Attorney Alvin Bragg [1]. 

The conviction was overturned in a 4-3 decision from the New York Court of Appeals. The ruling cited erroneous testimony as the basis of its decision. Judge Jenny Rivera delivered the majority opinion in stating, “Under our system of justice, the accused has a right to be held to account only for the crime charged and, thus, allegations of prior bad acts may not be admitted against them for the sole purpose of establishing their propensity for criminality” [2]. The court cites People v Molineux (1903) in rendering their decision. The NY court case created a standard in New York law that allowed exceptions to the general rule by allowing evidence of informally charged crimes to be admitted if it helps establish some element of the crime that is subject to review [3]. The original case included testimony from witnesses who testified about sexual assault and sexual misconduct that was included in the charges against Weinstein. 

The public is concerned about whether or not Weinstein’s case in California could be overturned, but due to the difference in evidence laws, it is unlikely that it will serve the same fate. The New York Court of Appeals based their overturn on prior bad act witnesses, which was against New York legal tradition. California, specifically on sex crime cases, allows such evidence as provided in Evidence Code section 1108 [4]. The specific state codes are the defining variable when referring to both of Weinstein’s convictions. The case was monumental for drawing attention to sexual misconduct and harassment against women in 2017. It served as a reckoning worldwide to draw attention to sexual misconduct done at the hands of individuals in power. MeToo not only increased sex crime reporting but also increased arrests for sexual assaults [5]. Accountability was at the forefront of the movement, and Weinstein’s case was one of the most publicized advancements in sexual violence advocacy. The overturn of Weinstein’s rape conviction, while based on New York judicial tradition, sends a harrowing message to survivors across the nation. 


Weinstein’s retrial is set for the fall, as stated by Judge Curtis Farber of the New York Criminal Court circuit [6]. Yet, the overturning of Weinstein’s conviction sends a chilling message to survivors of sexual violence, casting doubt on the efficacy of the legal system in holding perpetrators accountable. It underscores the need for continued advocacy and reform to ensure that survivors receive the justice they deserve. As the legal process unfolds, it remains imperative to uphold the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability, ensuring that justice is served for all parties involved.

[1]Johnathan Stempel & Brendan Pierson, Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction is overturned by Top New York Court Reuters (2024),  (last visited May 1, 2024). 

[2] Weinstein v. The People, New York Court of Appeals, 2024, 

[3] People v. Molineux, 168 NY 264, 61 NE 286, 10 NY Ann Cass 256, 16 NY Cr 120, 1901. 

[4] Marissa Wenzke, Here’s why Weinstein’s conviction in California stands a better chance CBS News (2024),  (last visited May 1, 2024). 

[5] Roee Levy & Martin Mattsson, The effects of social movements: Evidence from #metoo, SSRN Electronic Journal (2019),  (last visited 2024). 

[6] Brendan Pierson & Jack Queen, Harvey Weinstein will be retried in New York after rape conviction overturned | Reuters Reuters (2024),  (last visited May 2, 2024).



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