One legacy of the Kobe Bryant case will be strong questions about the effectiveness of “shield laws” for rape victims, says the Christian Science Monitor. Ultimately, says the paper, the case points to deeper issues about gender. “The case disintegrated because of the ineffectiveness of the rape shield law,” law Prof. Michelle Anderson of Villanova University, citing the inadvertent leaks of highly personal information, excessive pretrial scrutiny of the accuser’s past, and the death threats that ensued. “The fear of being put on trial themselves is why rape victims don’t come forward.”
Some argue that rape shield laws, designed to keep a woman’s name and sexual past out of court, were unfair to Bryant. Victims’ advocates say the case exemplifies why such laws need to be strengthened. The remaining civil case is a common trend in celebrity cases. Mike DeMarco, a former state prosecutor in Boston, notes that Bryant’s accuser hired top lawyers for the civil suit. “[If] you want money here, that’s the justice you seek, you go to civil court…. You want to hit him in the pocketbook instead of put him in jail,” says DeMarco.