September 02, 2004

When rape cases don't go to trial.

The question of whether or not Kobe Bryant is guilty of rape should have been one left to the courts, and I will not presume that I know whether or not he is guilty. But to have the case dropped because the accuser will no longer cooperate with the prosecution because she has had her name & medical records released, received death threats and basically been treated like a glory-seeker by the media which was irresponsible enough to let these things slide into the public knowledge in the first place, that is just terrible. I can't imagine the message this sends to rape victims who already feel stigmatized by their experience, or to the defense lawyers who figure out new and sneakier ways of dragging the supposed victim's name through the mud.

I guess we will see how it goes in the civil trial.

1 comment:

Drew said...

I ned to look into this story more closely, but I have the same concerns as you. The question of fact, probably irresolvable, is whether or not she had a valid claim against Bryant. If she did, then she has been discouraged through a form of legal harrassment from pursuing it, which is unconscionable. If she did not, that's a very different story.

But those are retrospective analyses, and regradless of the civil trial, we may never have enough confidence in the underlying facts to determine which is more correct. And even if Bryant was perfectly innocent, such that the dismissal of the charges was justice being done, there's still the underlying problem of harrassment against accusers in high profile (and other) rape cases. It's worrying.