Bryant Agrees To Trial; Critics Cite Judge’s Pace


Kobe Bryant’s defense say he is eager to proceed with his sexual-assault case and set a trial date, as requested by prosecutors and his alleged victim. The Denver Post quotes Hal Haddon, a Bryant attorney, as saying, “The accuser’s false allegation of rape has exacted a personal and professional toll on Mr. Bryant that is incalculable as it is indescribable. No one looks forward to this case being over more than Mr. Bryant.”

In big cases, Judge Terry Ruckriegle prefers to hold motions hearings before the formal arraignment, where Bryant would enter his plea. The woman’s lawyer, John Clune, filed a motion March 25 saying she has suffered extreme consequences for reporting the alleged sexual assault at the hotel where the woman worked. She was forced to quit school, can’t live at home, can’t talk to her friends, and has received hundreds of threatening phone calls and e-mails.

Two lawyers, former Denver District Attorney Norm Early and David Lugert, who helped draft the state’s Victims Rights Act as an assistant Colorado attorney general, said Ruckriegle’s practice may have slowed the process. Early said that setting a trial date could have increased the pace of the proceedings.

Lugert said Ruckriegle policy of holding hearings before taking a plea is unusual: “Ruckriegle’s philosophy is that he won’t trigger the six-month period until the plea is entered, and that way he has no problem. The difficulty is it fails to take into account that the case is getting older and staler, and there is all this extraordinarily negative pressure on the victim.”


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