Final briefs filed in records dispute
Attorneys for both sides in an open records dispute in the Kobe Bryant case filed their final briefs Tuesday, preparing for Friday’s rebuttal and possible decision.
Colorado Mountain News Media and the Vail Daily took legal action to force the Eagle Police Department and the town of Vail to open some public records that might be related to the high-profile sexual assault case. The request asks for dispatch reports to alleged victim’s address.
“It is absolutely the public’s right to know,” said Robbins. “There are constitutional issues at stake here.”
“If the court carefully considers the law, it will find in favor of the First Amendment.”
The open records request stems from allegations of sexual assault leveled against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant by a 19-year-old Eagle woman. Bryant was charged last Friday with one count of felony sexual assault. If convicted, he faces sentences ranging from 20 years probation to life in prison.
Robbins said that under the Criminal Justice Records Act, dispatch records should be available to the public.
But acting Eagle Police Chief Gary Ward refused to make the records available after verbal and written requests for records that normally are made public. The Daily asked for dispatch records covering the past 12 months.
The district attorney is expected to jump into the debate this week, siding with the Eagle Police Department and the town of Vail to keep the dispatch records sealed.
Robbins said the Daily seeks are not the same as records sealed by a judge as part of the criminal investigation.
He said the Daily has also joined a petition by other media outlets to unseal the criminal investigation file.
Of the two open records petitions, Robbins said he thinks the chances of a judge opening the dispatch records are good. He said the chances of the criminal investigation file being opened are poorer.