Charging bravely ahead
Disclosing police dispatch records to the home of the young woman accusing Kobe Bryant of sexual assault would cause “irreparable” harm to her and “irreparable” damage to the investigation, although the incidents in question have nothing at all to do with the case.
This no doubt is an assertion juiced up in courtly exaggeration by attorneys for the towns of Eagle and Vail, keepers of the records normally made public for the asking.
Still, if the information would do such damage to the case, why did District Attorney Mark Hurlbert file a rape charge Friday? It’s just one more piece of weirdness in a bizarre case of girl next door vs. model citizen of the NBA.
Bryant, the Lakers star chasing history in his sport right out of high school, now finds himself pursued by a prison cell.
The young woman is learning or about to learn that life as the center of a nation’s attention gets tougher and tougher as time wears on and with support from her own small town already showing itself to be a bit tepid.
The sheriff can wipe his brow, having handed off the burden of his premature and secret arrest of the idolized defendant to the young DA whose office has not inspired a whole lot of confidence these past couple of years.
We want to be proud of our sheriff and district attorney. Perhaps a sure-footed prosecution of a national figure will cement the community’s sense of being well served in the judicial arena. How this all plays out from here will tell us much about whether we truly have the right people leading these offices.
The evidence and facts of the case had better be awfully solid, though. In the battle of backgrounds and reputations, the young woman enters with a decided disadvantage. By now, the prosecutors have sat the young woman down and sorted through the implications of her past emotional difficulties. No one – other than maybe an eager defense team – wants to “go there.” But to not explore the young woman’s background thoroughly would be irresponsible. Those undisclosed incidents provide a big clue that there is something to understand before moving forward.
After all, she didn’t accuse one of the NBA’s all too many bad boys of a heinous crime. She got one of the supposed good guys, whose wholesome image has netted big endorsement deals and warm commercials.
If he committed a crime, he absolutely needs to be punished in kind for it. Justice is what matters here. Nothing else.
Our DA shows courage and resolve taking the case on. He’ll just have to excuse a wait-and-see wariness in the community on whether his office has the competence and judgment to carry it through.