Bryant Accuser Must Be Called “Alleged Victim”


The woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape will not be referred to as the victim in his trial, says the Rocky Mountain News. The 19-year-old Eagle, Co., woman will be called “the alleged victim” or be referred to by her name, said Chief District Judge Terry Ruckriegle. Bryant’s defense had objected to the term victim. The Los Angeles Lakers star contends he and the woman had consensual sex last June 30. The defense argues that to call the woman a victim signals to jurors that a crime did occur, robbing him of his right to presumption of innocence. Ruckriegle agreed that “the common understanding of the term victim certainly implies that a person has been the subject of a particular wrong or crime…”

Ruckriegle ordered that Bryant may be referred to by his name – but also by the term defendant, since “it is an accurate reflection of his legal status.” Pretrial battles over people’s labels is unusual. Denver defense lawyer Craig Skinner said the debate appears to be influencing other proceedings. “In courts in Denver, defense counsel are now using the word accuser, rather than victim, which was a word that even defense counsel would use before,” Skinner said. “So this case is setting precedent, on that matter. That the judge has ruled the way he has is sort of against political correctness. And it’s kind of a courageous decision.”


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