02 September 2004

Should Kobe Have Stood on Principle?

In a comment to a post labeled Rich Rapist Goes Free Uncivil Litigator posits that " if [Kobe] believed in his innocence, he would allow a jury to review the case against him and acquit him."

I'm cannot say that I'm of a like mind. The scenario seems to have been that Kobe's Defense team was getting a solid upper hand on the prosecution. The prosecution offers to move for a dismissal, with prejudice, if Kobe apologizes. He is not required to actually admit anything; in fact, he can state "I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual." As well, the complaining witness agrees that nothing in the statement can be used in a civil suit.

On the one hand this is a guaranty that there will be no conviction and no prison time.

On the other hand, let's assume that there is an 80% probability of victory at trial, or even better a 90% probability of a not guilty finding. That means there is a 10% chance that your client could be convicted of a major felony (sexual assault). As best I can tell that means he would face a presumptive range of 8-16 years. That's a 10% chance that his career will be destroyed. A 10% chance that his life will be ruined.

This choice is a no brainer.

Uncivil Litigator characterizes a recommendation that a client accept this as telling a client to lie in order to make a plea agreement. I don't see it that way. I don't read anything in the statement which is a lie. Do I believe that the statement was heartfelt? No. Were points finessed? Yes. Did the statement bury Kobe as far as the civil case? Most definitely. Would I have recommended the deal? In a hot second.

When you are dealing with your client's life you must be pragmatic. Of course, you don't break the law, perpetrate a fraud on the court, or act in contradiction of legal ethics. Outside of that, if the prosecution comes to you and tells you that it will guaranty your client will not be prosecuted if . . . you are pretty much obligated take that deal to your client. It's not the time to be overly idealistic.

Here's a good summation of the case.

Public Defender Dude registers his complete lack of surprise at the outcome and his reasons for the lack of shock.


The Uncivil Litigator said...

"I don't read anything in the statement which is a lie."

How on earth would you know whether the statement is a lie, without being inside Kobe Bryant's head? Only he knows whether or not he in fact "understands" why his victim felt she was raped while he felt it was consensual sex. And that's beside the point anyway. If a man has sex with a woman who thinks he raped her, and he "understands" why she thinks he raped her, the kindest thing you could possibly say about that man is that he didn't care whether or not she wanted his penis repeatedly and violently (enough to shed blood that was spilled on his t-shirt) thrust into her vagina. At worst, he knew, that she didn't consent.

The statement is evidence of his guilt. The victim's lawyers will depose him and render the substance of the statement admissible at the civil trial, and it will not be difficult to do so. See the comments to my original post.

Ken Lammers said...

"How on earth would you know whether the statement is a lie, without being inside Kobe Bryant's head?"

Exactly. I don't know and, looking at this as a Defense attorney defending a client, it is not my job to assume my client is guilty. In fact, I'm the guy who's supposed to assume and attempt to prove the opposite.

"At worst, he knew, that she didn't consent."

No, at the very least he knew that they had a very physical sexual encounter. Having not seen the t-shirt I do not know how much blood we're talking about but since he was still wearing it when the police interviewed him I am skeptical of it being any great amount. I am doubly skeptical because the police don't appear to have noticed anything until he volunteered that it was what he was wearing the night before and gave it to them.

Of course the statement will be used against him in the civil case. As I stated above I think it "buried Kobe." But you know what, if I'm his criminal defense attorney I really don't care. She's going to walk away with a settlement which makes her a multi-millionare. Kobe is ensured not to spend any time in prison (which would definitely destroy him) and will make many times over any sum he has to pay in the civil matter.

The Uncivil Litigator said...

We're talking about 2 different issues, both here and when you look at your post versus my original post. I'm not really concerned with the defense attorney's role. I'm simply commenting on the truth. Kobe Bryant raped that girl.

Unfortunately, our society as reflected by the media raped her again.