I’m not sure how I missed this this, but the young woman’s name has been released in several different places as early as 15 October. I stumbled across another article on FoxNews.com about this case and others like it in which the accuser’s name is protected under various rape shield laws designed to protect the victim during the trial.
Now that Kobe has been cleared of all criminal charges, his civil case can travel the course through the legal system. Should her name still be protected? I don’t think so, especially since the woman lied to the police and stopped cooperating with the system. Why should the system protect someone who is clearly not willing to do her part?
But what about other cases in which the trial is completed and a civil suit is also filed? Should the woman remain protected? No. As the article by Wendy McElroy stated, “True anonymity was a futile exercise because too many people believed it was patently unfair to name Bryant, who was legally presumed innocent, while extending the automatic presumption and protection of victimhood to his accuser.” This isn’t only true for the Kobe case, but all cases where the victim is Jane Doe and the accused is put on full parade for anyone to see. Isn’t there also something in the Constitution about the right to face your accuser? (For those not up on your Constitutional Amendments, it is the 6th Amendment.)
Civil law is by far different from criminal court. The parties involved go before the system as equals. Cloaking the identity of one party doesn’t exactly keep the level playing field, does it? The judge in at least one case has denied the motion because the plantiff was listed as Jane Doe. The judge said, “The parties appear as equals before the court and that fundamental principle must be protected throughout these proceedings.” That case? The Kobe civil suit.
Rape is a horrible crime. The victim is tramatized to a point where their lives are totally changed. But, the assurance of not being held in public view during the trial can lead to false accusations like those in the Kobe case (just my personal opinion). Rape charge abuse is very frequent and often used as a tool of revenge. This won’t be changed until many “rape shield” laws are revised.