The attorneys for Kobe Bryant continue questioning the reputation of the alleged victim. Critics say they are violating the spirit of laws designed to protect the disclosure of the sexual history of rape victims.
The defense attorneys wanted the public to talk about the victim being sexually promiscuous and poison the jury pool, said Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor and a professor at the New England School of Law. She thinks the tactic may have backfired and instead made people feel sympathy for the woman.
The 47-year-old defense attorney Mackey has a reputation as a zealous advocate for her high-profile clients, including former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy, whom she represented in a domestic violence case where charges were dismissed.
Karen Steinhauser, a University of Denver law professor and former prosecutor, said whether Mackey's question was ethical depends on whether she and partner Hal Haddon, 62, have evidence to support it.
"This law firm has never had a reputation for doing sleazy things. They've never had a reputation for doing unethical things," she said.
Colorado's rape shield law generally prevents an alleged victim's sexual history from being discussed but there are exceptions including if it casts doubt on whether injuries may have been sustained during sex with someone else.
To raise the issue at trial, defense lawyers must file a motion explaining their reasons and a judge must find the information credible and relevant. Preliminary hearings, however, are not mentioned in that statute.