Testimony continues on second of three days of hearings | VailDaily.com

Testimony continues on second of three days of hearings

Randy Wyrick
NBA L.A. Lakers' star Kobe Bryant passes through security at the Justice Center after a lunch break in a pretrial motions hearing Tuesday, April 27, 2004, in Eagle Co. Bryant is appearing in Eagle County District Court facing charges of sexual assault. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

A nurse involved with Kobe Bryant’s alleged victim’s rape examination spent more than three hours on the witness stand Tuesday as testimony continued in the second of three days of pretrial hearings.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are trying to convince District Judge Terry Ruckriegle what evidence jurors should or should not be exposed to during the trial.

The nurse, Lauren Gueriera, was one of four people to testify Tuesday morning. She’s part of one of Colorado’s certified sexual assault nurse examiners, working with Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

The nurse wrapped up a day and a half of testimony dealing with the rape shield issues. The rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday are scheduled to deal with defense arguments that evidence collected by sheriff’s investigators should be thrown out.

Rape shield testimony

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Bryant’s defense attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Harold Haddon, have insisted that sexual activity by Bryant’s alleged victim around the time of the June 30, 2003, incident should be heard by the jury. Mackey has asked in open court if the injuries Bryant’s alleged victim suffered could have been caused by having sex with three men in three days.

Prosecutors say that sort of information is irrelevant. They say all that’s important is what happened that night between Bryant and the 19-year-old woman they’ve charged him with raping.

Colorado’s rape shield law is designed to keep a rape victim’s personal and sexual history out of open court, unless the judge decides a jury needs to hear it to make an informed decision about the innocence or guilt of the defendant.

While the jury will decide the ultimate question, “What happened that night?” the witnesses the defense has subpoenaed to testify in the rape shield hearings have come from many places. They appear to have been acquainted with the alleged victim in a variety of ways and over several years, ranging far beyond that infamous night at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera.

The nine witnesses who testified Monday included a former boyfriend from the University of Northern Colorado and two male acquaintances from the same school. Other witnesses in these hearings have included female acquaintances from college and classmates from the alleged victim’s high school.

All have testified in closed hearings with only defense attorneys, Bryant, prosecutors, the judge and his courtroom staff present.

Suppressing evidence

Bryant’s attorneys say Eagle County sheriff’s investigators improperly collected evidence during the early morning hours of July 2, the night they interviewed Bryant at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, where he was recovering from knee surgery earlier that day at Vail’s Steadman Hawkins Clinic.

Among other things, Mackey and Haddon insist Bryant should have been advised of his Miranda rights. Because he was not, they say, the jury should not be allowed to consider the evidence at trial.

Prosecutors say Bryant did not need to be advised of his rights because he was never under arrest, that he was always free to leave and knew that, and he cooperated voluntarily.

That evidence includes Bryant’s tape-recorded statements to investigators, a T-shirt stained with the woman’s blood that he was still wearing the next night, and results from a rape exam performed on Bryant after the alleged assault.

The defense contends that Bryant was not properly advised of his Miranda rights. Prosecutors counter that since Bryant voluntarily spoke with investigators, they therefore did not need to advise him of his rights in the event of an arrest.


Tuesday’s motion-go-round

– Bryant defense attorney Harold Haddon apparently hates the term “victim,” at least when it’s used in connection with someone trying to send one of his clients to prison. Haddon wants no one to use it in court proceedings. In a court filing this week, Haddon again raised the issue of whether calling Bryant’s alleged victim a “victim” is proper. Judge Terry Ruckriegle ruled that prosecutors were correct in their use of the term. He gave Haddon and Mackey seven days to file their paperwork arguing why they disagree, and prosecutors five days after that to argue their side.

Local attorney and former state and federal prosecutor David Lugert said Colorado’s Victims’ Rights Amendment mandates that when someone reports a crime to law enforcement officials, state law considers them a victim from that moment.

– Jean McAllister cannot be in two alleged-sexual assault hearings at once. McAllister, part of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, was in Boulder for hearings on the University of Colorado’s sexual assault scandal, involving members of the CU football team. She was scheduled to testify in Monday’s portion of the rape shield hearings, one of the pretrial hearings in the Bryant case. She’ll have to testify in the Bryant case at a later date.

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