Craig's Court: The Invitee and the Intruder

Posted Nov. 18, 2003

How many cooks does it take to make a stew? How many to spoil it? If the stew is spoiled, can a great cook save it? What if the basic ingredients are bad?

The Kobe Bryant prosecution team has grown again with yet another metro Denver area female prosecutor added to the Eagle County team. Dana Easter (Jefferson County Chief Deputy DA) has accepted an invitation to join Ingrid Bakke (Boulder Chief Deputy DA and former Jeffco prosecutor) on the Eagle County prosecution team.

Someday, we will find out if the case that Eagle County puts together yields a prosecutorial feast or a famine. It is remarkable how the metro Denver prosecutors keep throwing their precious resources at this dubious Eagle County case. Kobe Bryant is used to being double teamed on the basketball court. Now, he is being covered by the legal equivalent of a box and one. Of course, in a court of law, only one attorney is supposed to perform at any one time.

For the last decade, Florida and Colorado have each had an extraordinary number of media frenzy type legal cases. Florida has had Elian Gonzales, the Presidential recount, and Terri Schiavo. Colorado has had JonBenet Ramsey, Columbine and now, Kobe Bryant. As a result, certain lawyers in Colorado and Florida have emerged with some regularity in the media to comment on cases in their communities.

John "Jack" Thompson is one of those Florida legal commentators. Decades ago, Jack Thompson, a former prosecutor, ran for Dade County DA against Janet Reno. She won. He lost. Since then, Jack has championed a lot of public causes many of which have occurred outside of Florida. He sued video game and movie makers following a school shooting in Kentucky. Jack lost that case, but he won a lot of national publicity.

Fame, like a narcotic, can be addictive. Once you have fifteen minutes, you tend to want fifteen minutes more. What better vehicle for further fame than the Kobe Bryant case?

In a document that reads more like an application to make a guest appearance on the O'Reilly Factor than a legal motion, Jack Thompson has filed a Request for Order Prohibiting Expanded Media and/or Amending Decorum Order. In it, the Florida attorney claims his "eleven-year-old sports-intensive son" should not be subjected to live broadcasting of the Kobe Bryant trial.

Jack Thompson has some good points to make. The question becomes whether he is the right person to make them. His motion is addressed to the Circuit Court in Eagle County. We have District Courts here Jack. Thompson takes gratuitous shots at Kobe Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey claiming she has the "lawyer's equivalent of Tourette's syndrome" for having said the alleged victim's name six times during the first day of the preliminary hearing. Way to insult people with a serious and sad disability Jack.

Thompson goes on to decry Mackey's presentation of "extraneous 'sexual history' evidence." It was Eagle County Court Judge who allowed that public line of questioning by the defense after he conducted a hearing in his chambers. The only sexual history evidence we have heard thus far was offered to demonstrate how the injury to the victim's posterior forchette might have been pre-existing to the Kobe encounter or aggravated afterward and before the visit to the hospital.

I kind of get a kick out of Jack Thompson. Who am I to begrudge an ambitious attorney who likes to express himself in the media? The question becomes how far one is willing to go. Jack Thompson is an intruder to this Colorado case. I don't expect he will get much of a welcome into the Eagle County courthouse.

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