The Colorado Supreme Court has ordered that the transcript of a closed hearing in the Kobe Bryant case not be published, reports the Denver Post. The court said the privacy of the alleged victim and the importance of preserving the state’s rape-shield law outweigh the media’s First Amendment rights. The 4-3 opinion upheld a prior-restraint order issued after the transcripts, which included the woman’s sexual history, were mistakenly e-mailed last month to media outlets.
First Amendment lawyers called the ruling unconstitutional and virtually unprecedented; women’s advocates and privacy experts hailed it as an important step to preserve privacy. The Post may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether the transcript is newsworthy and whether The Post would publish it is a separate issue, he said. First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams said the Colorado court’s decision appears to violate well-established legal precedent. Justice Gregory Hobbs said for the majority that, “The state has an interest of the highest order in this case in providing a confidential evidentiary proceeding under the rape-shield statute because such hearings protect victims’ privacy, encourage victims to report sexual assault, and further the prosecution and deterrence of sexual assault.”