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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview with Dan Recht

Aired August 19, 2003 - 20:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Preparations continue for the sexual assault trial of NBA star, Kobe Bryant. Colorado has some of the toughest sex crime laws in the country. And if Bryant is convicted he would face very serious consequences.
Joining us from Denver right now is Dan Recht, a criminal defense attorney and past president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Board. Thanks for joining us, sir.

DAN RECHT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.

ZAHN: To give our audience perspective on how different things in Colorado would be if Kobe Bryant ended up being convicted, what would be the key difference?

RECHT: Well, first of all, he would almost certainly go to prison. And then more than that, in Colorado, there's an indeterminant sentence. So the judge could not even tell him what kind of sentence he would get. It would presumably be something like 8 years to life. Without the judge being able to decide what the sentence will be, and then it would be up to a parole board down the road a piece to decide whether he gets paroled or not, and if ever. And under this new sentencing scheme, in Colorado, which has only been in effect five years, no one's ever been paroled. So we don't have any idea what will happen.

ZAHN: What kind of a prison situation are you talking about?

We can't jump to the conclusion it would be one of the country club like ones, correct?

RECHT: No, just the opposite, that is correct. The country club like ones you talk about are basically federal prisons, and sometimes that happens. Colorado doesn't have anything like that. He will be in a prison prison with lots of other sex offenders.

ZAHN: And you say parole is a very common option. If he were paroled, walk us through some of what he might be subjected to during its period of playing out.

RECHT: Absolutely. First of all, it wouldn't be for many years that he would get paroled. After the parole, after coming out of prison, he would be on that parole, and that parole is really intensive, and they give you polygraphs, they give you this clockwork orangish thing called a plethysmograph where they hook something up to the male's penis and supposedly determine whether they have deviant desires or not. And that's just sort of a tip of the iceberg of how onerous the parole would be.

ZAHN: That is a common practice for patrol parolees in Colorado?

RECHT: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Has anybody attempted to fight that or is this been around a long time and that's just way thing stay.

RECHT: Well, you know, it's interesting. These plethysmographs aren't even admissible in court. You would never see the results of one in a trial just like you wouldn't see the results of one, of a polygraph, in a trial. Nevertheless, parole officers and probation officers in Colorado use them routinely in and a violation of one, or the alleged violation of one, can send one back to prison.

ZAHN: Dan, we only have about 10 seconds left. These laws are five years old.

Is there any evidence they serve as any kind of deterrent?

RECHT: No. I don't think there's any evidence of that yet, it's too new. The law is five years old. And I guess we're waiting to see what happens.

ZAHN: Well, thank you for educating us about your unusual set of laws there in your home state.

Dan Recht, thank you.

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