Monday, October 16, 2006

Case Narrative

In light of last night’s 60 Minutes broadcast, it’s worth reviewing how a case virtually devoid of evidence, constructed upon a tissue of procedural irregularities, could have reached this stage. The case has thus far divided into five periods; with each new stage, the miscarriage of justice has intensified.

1.) The Party

I can add little to 60 Minutes’ efforts. The broadcast demonstrated:

  • Unless laws of time, space, and motion do not apply in Durham, the three people charged are innocent.
  • Unless common sense in evaluating evidence doesn’t exist in Durham, no rape at all occurred.
  • Reasons for doubting the accuser include her ever-changing story and contradictions by the other dancer. The players’ statements, meanwhile, have remained constant. That all three players passed polygraph examinations administered by highly respected law enforcement figures gives added weight to their statements.

2.) The “Investigation”: March 16-23

After a confused 24-30 hours, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, for reasons that remain unclear, assumed control of the investigation. In the months preceding the lacrosse party, Gottlieb arrested 10 times as many Duke students as the area’s three other supervisors combined. (The offenses all involved noise and alcohol-related violations.) Credible allegations of misconduct have come to light regarding his handling of these arrests.

Gottlieb’s investigation was almost laughably shoddy. He didn’t request a search warrant for the players’ house until 48 hours after the alleged attack. At his initial interview with the accuser, he failed to take contemporaneous notes. Nearly a week passed before he tracked down the second dancer; when he did, she deemed the accuser’s claims a “crock.” And it was weeks (if ever) before Gottlieb obtained statements from the accuser’s recent sexual partners or filled in gaps about her pre-party behavior.

The accuser, meanwhile, offered myriad, mutually contradictory versions of events. Sometimes she was raped by three people; sometimes, by five. Sometimes the second dancer was an accomplice; sometimes, a fellow victim. The accuser’s recollection that one attacker told her he was soon getting married suggested intent to deceive: this otherwise bizarre claim would have enhanced her credibility had she actually (as she believed) danced at a bachelor party.

According to Inv. B.W. Himan’s notes, the accuser described at least two of her attackers in ways didn’t remotely resemble any of the lacrosse players. No wonder, then, that the accuser identified none of the suspects that police presented to her in photo line-ups on March 16 and March 21. On March 16, police presented four groups of six lacrosse players each. In each group was one suspect named Adam, Matt, or Brett (the police selected only 2 of the 3 Matts on the team as suspects) and five fillers (players not named Adam, Matt, or Brett). On March 21, police showed the accuser two more groups, with one suspect apiece (the other two residents of the house, Dave Evans and Dan Flannery) and five lacrosse players as fillers. In total, the accuser viewed 36 of the 46 white lacrosse players and identified no one as an attacker.

Medical evidence likewise failed to sustain the accuser’s claims. The SANE nurse’s medical report, which listed “diffuse edema of the vaginal walls” as the only significant item, provided little evidence for the accuser’s story of a brutal, sustained attack. Indeed, this swelling could have been a result of the accuser’s known activity in the hours and days before the party, which included consensual sex or a job that involved entertaining with a vibrator in a hotel room.

In his “straight-from-memory” report, Gottlieb later would claim that Himan’s contemporaneous notes were wholly incorrect, and the accuser really had provided dead-on descriptions for the three players ultimately indicted—Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty. The report raises an unanswerable question: if the accuser had so precisely described Finnerty, why did police not show her Finnerty’s photo, on either the 16th or the 21st?

Virtually the only “evidence” that Gottlieb’s inquiry generated came as a result of the cooperation by the three residents of the house—Evans, Flannery, and Matt Zash. The trio each gave statements to the police without asking for counsel. They offered to take polygraphs—an offer the police, for reasons that remain unclear, spurned. And they willingly provided swabs of their DNA.

Despite this cooperation, Duke administrators actively assisted the state. Without informing President Richard Brodhead, administrators demanded from the captains a candid account of the evening’s events, allegedly citing a non-existent “student-faculty” privilege to encourage the captains to disclose any criminal activity. Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry. Meanwhile, Dean Sue Wasiolek arranged for a local lawyer, Wes Covington, to act as a “facilitator” in arranging for a group meeting with police.

The night before the meeting, one player broke down and told his father, who happened to be in Durham. Other parents then were informed, and—recognizing the need to obtain competent counsel—postponed the meeting. In response, Gottlieb, incredibly, gave up, and turned the investigation over to Nifong.

3.) The Nifong Usurpation: March 24-April 6

The District Attorney’s assuming personal control of an ongoing—and scarcely begun—police investigation fundamentally transformed the case. Appointed to the office in 2005 despite a pattern of emotionally unstable behavior during his half-decade sojourn in Traffic Court, Nifong appeared destined for defeat in the upcoming May 2 Democratic primary.

In a primary electorate almost evenly split along racial lines, Nifong faced long odds. A strong white candidate, Freda Black, enjoyed higher name recognition than the incumbent as a result of her prosecuting a high-profile murder case in 2003. The two also had a personal history: Nifong had fired Black almost immediately after becoming district attorney. Meanwhile, a black attorney, Keith Bishop, ran a desultory campaign but threatened to siphon enough African-American votes away from Nifong to ensure a Freda Black victory. By late February, the local elite had delivered its verdict: Nifong’s fundraising had dried up; personal loans to his campaign kept his candidacy afloat.

Under personal, financial, and political pressure—and perhaps even, at first, believing that a crime occurred—Nifong seized the opportunity to exploit the case. He quickly secured a court order demanding that the players submit DNA samples and new photos. That motion, we now know, was fraudulent:

  • Nifong claimed that the players called each other by first-name aliases and uniform numbers at the party; no evidence existed for either claim, as even the transparently pro-prosecution New York Times conceded.
  • Nifong withheld from the court that the accuser had failed to identify any suspects in an official photo lineup.
  • Nifong, it turned out, falsely promised the court that negative DNA tests would “immediately rule out any innocent persons.”

Confident that DNA would “show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack upon this victim,” the D.A. launched a publicity barrage that seemed unrelated to any legitimate law enforcement purpose but did much to boost his name recognition in the run-up to the primary. Though Section 3.8(f) of the North Carolina Code of Professional Responsibility requires prosecutors to “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused,” Nifong gave dozens of interviews. He termed the players “hooligans” whose “daddies” would buy them expensive lawyers. He made a host of statements not backed by items in police files. He mused, “One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.” And, in a blatant bid for the black vote, he deliberately exaggerated the racial element of the alleged attack.

As he basked in the media spotlight, Nifong appears to have learned that, contrary to his assurances, the DNA results would be negative. But he refused to discard the case for lack of evidence, and instead instructed police to conduct another lineup. Only this time, he would ensure that the accuser identified someone. In violation of Durham policies, the lineup would be confined to suspects—now all 46 white players on the team. In further violation of procedures, the accuser would be told that the lineup contained no fillers. And overriding yet another procedure, the lead investigator for the case—Gottlieb—would oversee the array.

Duke Law professor James Coleman, former chief counsel to the House Ethics Committee, later wrote that these Nifong-mandated procedural irregularities “strongly suggest[ed] that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice.”

In the lineup, the accuser identified the three suspects, with varying degrees of certainty. Her performance gave no indication that she was a reliable eyewitness. After having not recognized him at all on March 21, she now claimed that Evans attacked her, and that he had a mustache—even though he didn’t have one. She claimed to be 100% certain that Seligmann attacked her—even though three weeks earlier, she said she was only 70% sure that Seligmann even attended the party. As Joseph Neff has pointed out, the lineup was riddled with other such inconsistencies. Indeed, the only player that the accuser twice identified as attending the party with 100% certainty wasn’t even in Durham that night. Nifong ignored this litany of transparent inconsistencies.

With knowledge that the DNA tests were negative and surely understanding that his procedurally dubious identification would not survive close scrutiny, Nifong fanned the flames of public indignation. The D.A.’s office stood aside as Judge Ron Stephens released the (out-of-context) contents of a vile e-mail by lacrosse player Ryan McFadyen. Though the e-mail actually played off a scene in American Psycho, as follow-up emails from other players recognized, to the public, the e-mail confirmed the players’ guilt.

In this critical period, Nifong had three indispensable allies:

  • The media—first the N&O, and, after March 27, the national networks and especially the Times—uncritically accepted his version of events, framing the story as a morality tale of white, rich, athletic excess, exploiting a poor, black, demure mother of two.
  • Among what New York’s Kurt Andersen has termed the Duke faculty’s “loopy left,” the players were guilty until proven innocent. In late March, Houston Baker, a professor of English and Afro-American Studies, issued a public letter denouncing the “abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us” and demanding the “immediate dismissals” of “the team itself and its players.” A week later, on April 6, 88 members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying “thank you” to campus demonstrators who had distributed a “wanted” poster of the lacrosse players and publicly branded the players “rapists.” By contrast, no Duke professor publicly criticized Nifong’s conduct.
  • Declining to lean against the spirit of the moment, Brodhead failed to resist his faculty’s assault on due process. Moreover, whether intended or not, his actions fortified a public image of guilt. On March 25, in an unprecedented move, the president canceled (at the last minute) the lacrosse team’s game against Georgetown, citing underage drinking at the party. Then, after the April 5 release of the McFadyen email, Brodhead demanded Pressler’s resignation, cancelled the lacrosse season, and issued a statement anchored by a lament on the evils of rape—at a time when the players were firmly denying any sexual contact, much less rape. These moves enjoyed enthusiastic support from Board of Trustees chairman Robert Steel.

In normal circumstances, the media and the academy can be counted on to value due process and dispassionate analysis of evidence. In this case, however, both groups not only failed to stand up for procedural regularity, but gleefully joined the rush to judgment. As Ed Bradley noted, the “biggest surprise for us was the presumption of guilt.”

4.) The Effects of Demagoguery: April 6-May 3

As Duke’s anti-lacrosse jeremiad peaked, Nifong started losing control of public sentiment. On April 6, the accuser gave a written statement contradicting both her earlier version of events and the second dancer’s statement. (Police never re-interviewed the second dancer to resolve the discrepancies.) That same day, the accuser’s “driver” told police that before the party, she was behaving erratically and had fulfilled a variety of one-on-one “appointments.” Then, on April 10, defense lawyers publicly revealed that the DNA tests revealed no matches to any players.

These three developments ended any hope for Nifong to mount a credible case. At the same time, the D.A. discovered that mobilizing the electorate’s basest passions carried risks as well as rewards. In a tumultuous forum at NCCU held on April 11, local activist Victoria Peterson claimed that Duke University Hospital “tampered with” the DNA samples. (Peterson, ironically, would later be welcomed as co-chair of Nifong’s citizens’ committee.) The forum’s message: Nifong would get the black vote he needed to win the primary only by securing indictments. In a chilling remark that captured sentiment in the auditorium, NCCU junior Chan Hall said that the Duke students should be prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”

In mid-April, Nifong’s obligations as Durham County’s “minister of justice” stood on one side; his political, personal, and financial concerns, the other. As he infused his campaign with another loan, this one for more than $22,000, he went to the grand jury and obtained indictments against Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty.

But Seligmann struck back. He quickly produced unimpeachable electronic evidence—culminating in an ATM video of him a mile away at the time of the alleged attack—proving his innocence. (His attorney, Kirk Osborn, had offered this evidence to Nifong, but Nifong had declined to meet, despite a state bar mandate not to “intentionally avoid pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor’s case or aid the accused.”) Perhaps as important, testimonials flooded in regarding Seligmann’s character, demolishing the negative caricature of the players constructed by Nifong, the Duke faculty, and the media.

The voters, at least initially, seemed not to care. On the evening of May 1, each of Raleigh’s television stations led their newscasts with the ATM video, showing that Durham County’s “minister of justice” had indicted a demonstrably innocent person. The next day, by a margin of 881 votes, Nifong captured the Democratic nomination for a full term as D.A. Shortly thereafter, he brought an indictment against a third player, Dave Evans, citing the tainted ID and the possibility of Evans’ DNA matching a sample on the accuser’s false fingernails, four of which were discarded in the garbage, mixed with other items from Evans’ bathroom trash can.

5.) The Effects of Procedural Fraud: May 4-present

Since Nifong’s primary victory, three themes have dominated the case.

First, the district attorney has behaved in an increasingly erratic fashion. Consider:

  • On the day of Evans' indictment, Nifong engaged in a profanity-laced public tirade against one of the lacrosse attorneys, Kerry Sutton--who, ironically, had supported him in the primary.
  • In a rambling June e-mail to Newsweek’s Susannah Meadows, Nifong asserted, “None of the ‘facts’ that I know at this time, indeed none of the evidence that I have seen from any source, has changed the opinion that I expressed initially.” As he initially expressed his opinion on March 27, this assertion suggested an extraordinary closed-mindedness. The evidence that came in after March 27 included: the DNA tests; the accuser’s own statement(!); the Seligmann alibi; the procedurally flawed lineup; the statement from the accuser’s “driver” about her pre-party medical activity; and the SANE nurse’s report.
  • Acting upon a nearly three-year-old unserved warrant, the D.A.’s office ordered the arrest of the cab driver who picked up Seligmann on the night of the party, Moezeldin Elmostafa. At the trial, which resulted in a quick acquittal, Himan’s notes indicated that “Mr. Nifong wanted to know when we picked [Elmostafa] up.” The document enhanced the credibility of Elmostafa’s claim that when Inv. R.D. Clayton arrested him, “The detective asked if I had anything new to say about the lacrosse case. When I said no, they took me to the magistrate.”
  • After learning that two members of the Animal Control Board, on which he sits as D.A., had signed petitions to place Lewis Cheek on the ballot as an unaffiliated challenger to him, Nifong threatened to resign from the board.
  • In the September court hearing, the N&O’s Benjamin Niolet described the odd environment: “When defense lawyers spoke, Nifong occasionally sighed, rolled his eyes, laughed quietly or rubbed his temples.”

Second, Nifong has abandoned all pretense of seeking “justice” for the accuser. In the September hearing, the D.A., citing nothing beyond his own (non-existent) psychological expertise, said he “supposed” that the attack lasted only five minutes, ten at the outside. He added that defense attorneys could test his tale against the accuser’s 30-minute version by cross-examining the accuser as vigorously as they wanted at trial.

The D.A. has little choice, of course, but to move forward—if only to minimize the likely financial and ethics sanctions that will emerge once this case ends. He also needs to maintain his base in the African-American community to have any chance of holding off the Cheek effort in November.

Third, even as overwhelming evidence has emerged that through procedural fraud, the D.A. constructed a case out of whole cloth, Nifong’s enablers have kept the faith.

  • In the media, Bob Ashley’s Herald-Sun has adopted the ingenuous dual strategy of simply ignoring news that damages the prosecution’s case while suggesting that a trial is necessary to heal the community. Meanwhile, Slate columnist Jack Shafer suggests using the Times’ coverage as a case study in examining why it is “so hard for newspapers that have climbed out onto a limb in reporting a story to turn back once they hear the wood cracking.”
  • The Duke arts and sciences faculty, seven months after the fact, still contains not a single member who has publicly criticized Nifong’s procedural irregularities or defended the lacrosse players’ character. Indeed, the professoriate appears frozen in time, circa April 8: the leaders of Duke’s Campus Culture Initiative include the team’s most vitriolic critics, such as Peter Wood and Karla Holloway. The continued prominence of figures such as Wood and Holloway shatters the argument that the Group of 88 and their supporters were just caught up in the heat of the moment when they denounced the lacrosse players in the print. Holloway’s remarks, for instance, came long after evidence of the players’ likely innocence and Nifong’s certain misconduct had emerged—but she treated both of these developments as essentially irrelevant. “Justice,” Holloway claimed, “inevitably has an attendant social construction. And this parallelism means that despite what may be our desire, the seriousness of the matter cannot be finally or fully adjudicated in the courts.” Therefore, she continued, since the presumption of innocence “is neither the critical social indicator of the event, nor the final measure of its cultural facts,” judgments about the case “cannot be left to the courtroom.”
  • The Brodhead/Steel administration, operating from the premise that a trial gives the players a chance to be “proved innocent,” has attempted to rewrite the history of American higher education, rationalizing its own passivity on the grounds that professors and academic institutions should not comment on procedural abuses in the criminal justice system.

In some respects, Nifong’s enablers need a trial as much as the district attorney does, if for different reasons. For the Times, a trial might prevent Duff Wilson from becoming the 2006 version of Judith Miller—the reporter who uncritically trusted incredible government documents that reinforced the journalist’s preconceptions. For the Duke faculty, a trial will improve chances of the school’s adopting what Group of 88 member Mark Anthony Neal termed a “progressive” (i.e., intolerant) curriculum. For the Brodhead/Steel administration, self-preservation is the motive: otherwise, expect to start hearing hard questions from parents and alumni as to why, in a trial Nicholas Kristof has compared to the Scottsboro Boys in reverse, the administration initially assisted Nifong in troubling ways, and since has adopted a stunningly passive approach.

Beneath all this complexity, however, it actually requires only five words to summarize this case: corrupted procedures beget corrupted results.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Article. This case is a travesty and we finally got a national story saying that.

I have one question. Where was Judge Stephens in all of this? He was the Judge in charge. What I see is a DA getting an order signed for 46 DNA tests with no evidence. I see a DA making outrageous remarks and Judge Stephens did nothing. His release of MacFadyen's e-mail was unnecessary as clearly MacFadyen wasn't a suspect. The line-up was a joke and he knew it.

Clearly Nifong was trying to frame these guys, but where was the Judge? Why was he silent and why did he let Nifong get away with it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the superb analysis, KC. Readers and followers of the case need to write more letters to Attorney General Gonzales in Washington. Demand a federal investigation of the Nifong-Durham police-city government corruption and the alliance with judges such as Stephens. A Justice Department-FBI investigation is urgently needed. Write Gov. Easley in North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

If Duke administrators had the LAX coach tell the players NOT TO TELL their parents, they set themselves up for a huge lawsuit. As a parent, I would be furious. Duke is supposed to be full of smart people. My impression is they are as dumb as dirt.

newport said...

KC, you have written another masterpiece. And, it seems you are breaking an occasional news item these days. The Herald Sun could use you I hear, but I doubt you'd last long in the Snooze Room.

This following quote is news:

"Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry."

All I can say is how can this be? They told the kids not to tell their parents when faced with a situation that could place some of the kids behind bars for the better part of their lives? The parents must have beyond furious.

Of all the things Duke administration and faculty has done, both through action and inaction, through their inflamatory words to condemn these young men, and through their silence in the face of massive procedural abuse directed against the accused, this is the most disgusting to me.

Trying to cut students off from the advice of their parents when they needed it more than at any other time in their lives is the lowest and the most vile thing I could ever imagine a university doing to its students.

At this point, nothing surprises me about the current administration of Brodhead. The entire administration has shown itself to be spineless, ignorant of the law and legal processes, and more concerned with protecting their job and image than doing what is morally and ethically right. This administration and its followers are blinded by their PC philosophy, incapable of seeing injustice or, more sinisterly, not caring about it, when it does not fit with their world view. Despite massive evidence that this case is a Hoax, spineless Dick Brodhead could only continue his negative comments about the lacrosse team when interviewed by 60 minutes tonight. He is going to almost single-handedly destroy Duke University.

When this case is thrown out, and the public at large finally sees what those of us who have followed the case closely have known for months, there will be a day of reconing for Duke administrators and the wrong choices they have made.

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary of the case.

The Duke University decision to instruct the lacrosse players not to tell their parents about the investigation, nor to seek independent legal cousel, but to rely upon Duke's legal representation, will be the centerpiece of the litigation against Duke University and members of its administration.

This is the principal explanation for Duke's otherwise unimaginable passivity throughout this travesty of prosecutorial misconduct. Brodhead knows that he has placed Duke squarely in the crosshairs of significant financial liability, so he has no choice but to continue to blather on about poor behaviour and other such irrelevancies.

It is clear that from the outset of this case, Duke administrators placed the interests of the institution ahead of the interests of its embattled students. That these administrators did so by misleading the students into placing their trust in Duke, while unwittingly putting themselves in positions of tremendous personal legal risk, is unconscionable.

After viewing CBS 60 Minutes last evening, it is clear that a campaign should commence to advance Duke Law professor James Coleman as the next president of Duke University. Duke needs a leader with the strength and integrity to call-out injustice when it is apparent, rather than a quivering fool whose only defense for joining in the rush to judgement against the lacrosse players, Duke University students all, is that others were also misled by Nifong's misleading charade of holding incontrovertible evidence.

Locomotive Breath said...

Regarding your conclusion, computer science has the perfect shorthand: GIGO (garbage in - garbage out)

Anonymous said...

The straw house that Brodhead built (out of lies) is beginning to collapse. I guess he goes downhill from here on. He has been lying from day one to cover his backside. And, if that meant throwing three innocent kids under the bus, he could not be bothered with that. In a perverse way, he must have been even enjoying it too. Brodhead is an incompetent fool, who brought shame on Duke and is pretty close to destroying its good name. He has to go. There should not be any room for such fools in Duke. We want our real Duke back.

Letters to the board of trustees should start flowing in. Too much injustice has occurred and too much incompetence has been demonstrated. We have seen enough. Where are you Steel? How long are you going to keep this tragedy going? Haven't you seen/heard enough? You guys are making a mockery of Duke, is this that you wanted? You should be ashamed of yourselves. There are over 120,000 Duke alumni out there. They will all start asking questions soon. It will happen sooner than you think. Be prepared, for the uncovering of your lies; be prepared for the uncovering of your “cover ups”. Be prepared for the huge law suits! Be prepared for shame and disgrace. These past 6 months, you have been Nifong's most powerful friend. If it was not for your lies and cover ups, there would not be a case. How does it feel to be the best/only friend to the most corrupt DA in America? Where does that put you?

Anonymous said...

I am stunned at the disclosure about Duke's administration telling the lacrosse team not to inform their parents. Anyone who believed in Broadhead's fitness for the job of president of this or any university should be question their judgement. By trying to avoid liability issues and its own students best interests, Duke has opened itself up to a HUGE lawsuit- and rightfully so!
Texas Mom

Anonymous said...

Great analysis!

The "don't tell your parents" news is very disturbing. Before we indict the entire administration on this, though, I'd like to know the source of the information and to whom those orders were credited.

Why Gottlieb was assigned to the case (and as lead investigator!!) is a question I've been asking for a while. Perhaps he volunteered??? We need to know more about that.

I agree Coleman did a fantastic job, and didn't back down in his criticism of the DA, the police, and the case. So we have ONE Duke professor, who happens to be very credible with respect to legal matters, speaking out. But let's not rush to judgment that he should be the next pres. He may not want the job, and he may or may not be qualified. Being a legal expert and being not afraid to stand up for students who have been falsely accused are not the only qualifications for presidency of a university. The job is much, much bigger than that.

The silence of the Duke faculty bothers me, and in some ways more than the silence of the Duke administration. Faculty member's comments cannot be construed as the official university position--that's why they have tenure laws. There just can't be a policy of not speaking out against the legal system or against current indictments. They were free to speak out against students--they are free to speak out against anything.

Anonymous said...

Texas Mom,

You should know that the "instructions" given to the lacrosse players from the Duke administration went beyond,

(a) Don't tell your parents,

but also included,

(b) Don't seek independent legal counsel, and

(c) Rely upon Duke's recommended legal representation.

It was only after a number of the players began to sense that the legal representative recommended by Duke was clearly putting Duke's interests ahead of that of the players, even to the point of placing the players in extreme legal jeapordy, that some of players decided to disregard Duke's advice and seek their parent's counsel.

If anyone has been surprised by the intensity of outrage felt by many of the Duke lacrosse parents, as a group, at this case, the above facts represent the "lighting of the fuse".

Anonymous said...

8:31 AM Poster,

You are, of course, correct that university faculty are "free" to say anything they want. But as anyone who has ever been a member of a university administration is aware, the greatest challenge faced by a university president is that of keeping the most extreme members of the faculty under control.

Duke President Brodhead could have spoken out much more forcefully in demanding that Duke students receive fair treatment and due process in Durham, including their entitlement to the presumption of innocence within their own community.

As KC has well documented, Brodhead's few statements regarding support of the important principle of presumption of innocence were very limited, and very weak, and invariably were attached as an afterthought footnote to an extensive diatribe on the evils of sexual assualt.

Rather than displaying the qualities of a leader in this situation, Brodhead relinquished the podium and stood by as his "Group of 88" proceeded to conduct a rhetorical lynch mob against the Duke lacrosse players.

Brodhead may still hold the confidence of Steel and other members of the Duke Board of Trustees, but he has lost the confidence of the Duke student body, which in a recent poll prominently described Brodhead's handling of his responsibilities in the lacrosse incident as "terrible".

Brodhead must go.

g.m.s. said...

What is the purpose of this blog? Why is everyone so afraid of this case going to trial? If the defense's case is so flawless, why do they so desperately need their clients to be acquitted in the court of public opinion? If, in fact, the 3 accused are innocent, can't we trust our system enough to believe that they will be proven as such? Why is the author of this blog basing conclusive evidence on hearsay from an admittedly biased blogger (ie the non-story of Mike Nifong, perhaps, maybe, having cussed at one of the players attorneys.) It seems to me that there is a desperation among a large portion of bloggers--indeed, Americans--to immediately assume that the "evidence" presented by the Defense is infallible, and the "evidence" provided by the prosecutors is dubious. And yet, when a Grand Jury was presented with all of the collected evidence in this case, they felt strongly enough to suggest a trial. At this trial the court, the jury, the media, and the American public will have full access to the evidence collected by each side in this case. Then, and only then, will we be able to formulate opinions founded in fact. All we have here is a blog, in which a blogger, with an opinion to uphold, can collect any sort of data he desires to collect, and ignore any data he chooses to ingore, in order to simply "bolster" his own case. The response by visitors will be overwhelmingly in favor of the poster, by nature of the sort of people who will suggest the blog to one another. The result? One person of opinion A, preaching to other persons of opinion A, and being urged on and congratulated for holding opinion A. To me this sounds exactly like what has happened amongst the "lefty loonies" on Faculty at Duke. Again, why are we all so afraid of this going to trial? Is it because of the questions white middle-class and upper-class Americans will have to hear answered?

Anonymous said...

GMS:
Clearly you seem to be unaware of the information pertaining to this case. In addition you seem unaware of the risks attached in going to trial when one is absolutely innocent. The concern expressed here is that prosecutorial misconduct has occurred and is likely to continue to occur. Other than this, the rest of your comments are completely fatuous.

Anonymous said...

GMS
Assuming you are not Mike Nifong in disguise, you clearly have not been following this story very closely.
There is indeed quite a lot of anger at the outrageous misconduct by the proscecution. And, I am confident, some in this drama are starting to feel true desperation but that would be those who have bet their careers that they could get away with gross abuses of power.
You mentioned the Grand Jury in this case. Are you aware of the extreme degree in which they were lied to?
As for a trial; in your view is there ever a time to spare an individual being put thru that sort of meat-grinder? Should your neighbor have the right to inflict a felony trial on you purely by his/he say so?
What? Are you "desperate" to avoid that? Why not if you have nothinbg to hide. It is just your reputation and youir entire pension fund you will lose. It is pretty unlikely that you will be convicted of mae-up charges, but one nevwer knows,...

ed said...

Hmmmm.

@ g.m.s.

Why?

1. The prosecutor has engaged in outright fraud, misconduct and other offenses that are bound to get him terminated from his position and disbarred *unless* he wins in the courtroom. And maybe not even then.

2. The case is going to trial in Durham. Which is majority black. Which black community has overwhelmingly demonstrated a desired to convict without any evidence at all.

3. The legal costs incurred by these young men will rise tremendously once a trial is brought. The costs are already very high, but that'll be nothing compared to the trial costs.

4. The presiding judge has been incredibly sympathetic to the prosecutor. Even going so far as to release unconnected emails that bolster the prosecutor's case.

In short this trial has everything needed for a miscarriage of justice. Nobody in their right mind would want to be the accused in such a circumstance because guilt or innocence is completely irrelevant.

If they come to trial it is very likely that they will be convicted simply because the judge and jury will both be very sympathetic to the prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

g.m.s.

Some of us learned back in the '60's that it is vital to speak out against injustice.

Your passive attitude of "sit silently and wait for the slowly turning wheels of justice" runs counter to everything we learned about confronting injustice.

You may be too blind to see injustice when it stares you in the eye... and too deaf to hear injustice when in blares into your ear... but most of us refuse to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the injustice of the Durham DA and his evident misconduct.

Anonymous said...

GMS said:

"And yet, when a Grand Jury was presented with all of the collected evidence in this case, they felt strongly enough to suggest a trial."

This statement is false. The GJ indicted BEFORE the results of the first DNA test were known.

As there were no recordings of the GJ testimony, please educate us on how you know what went on in the GJ room?

Anonymous said...

You guys should really change your name from Friends of Duke University back to Friends of Duke Lacrosse. I've always believed the "Duke 3" are innocent, but the comments on this blog have moved beyond criticism of the case to criticism of Duke in general. A few points to keep in mind....
1) Of course Coleman is going to comment on legal matters - he's a law professor. His background makes him an expert. that he was involved with investigating the lacrosse team culture is icing on the cake. Would it make any sense at all for the dance professor to come out railing against nifong? would it make good television?
2) The argument that he should immediately be installed as president of Duke is myopic at best. Cut through the emotion of this issue and realize that Duke is bigger than just this case. A president needs to be judged on how he handles the entire university. Is this a component? yes, but it's not everything.
3) For those of you saying his spineless administration is bringing down the university, ask yourselves how many of the individuals in the upper admin have come in under brodhead during the last two years? If you're going to put the blame on brodhead for the decisions of some of those under him, then you have to put some of it on keohane for elevating those individuals to that position in the first place. oh no...we can't blame Nan, It's all this new guys fault! please...
4) Every faculty has their "looney left" and their retarded right. Society in the last 8 years has grown more conservative and now is more at odds with a more liberal faculty. If you're conservative and angry at this, then why don't you take an adjunct position teaching at a local college or university? or better yet, change careers and become a tenure track professor and play a role in higher ed. Oh wait, that's right, you'll have to give up your high salary on wall st and house in the hamptons. Maybe not then.... Historically conservatives haven't become college teachers because the job doesn't pay well enough. But in the end, the lacrosse issue isn't about liberal or conservative. By adding these political issues to your debates about the case, you wind up diluting the significance of your posts and this board.
4) and for the smattering of "40,000 a year should get my child better treatment," guess what? All upper-tier private schools cost about the same anyway. The amount you pay doesn't get your child "treated" differently at an institution. As someone who taught at Duke as a grad student, there were plenty of kids that were coasting through counting on the name of the duke degree to get them a job - and they were right! 40,000 a year at Duke is an investment in your child's future that gives them a leg up on a first job and a career track. But it doesn't give your child a pass through the college experience. This points to a deeper issue at the college level of whether a school should serve in loco parentis. You may like to think that they're looking out for your child, but when they create policies in the best interest of the child, they still wind up getting sued. You'll never see kegs at Duke because if the school even allows a limited number on campus on any night, and a student dies from alcohol poisoning, you KNOW there will be a lawsuit. The increasing litigiousness of society, combined with the abdication of parental responsibilities by many career couples these days, has put the typical college/university in a difficult position. No matter how innocent these three students are, the lacrosse team was still stupid enough to hire strippers (at best) to a private party, and some were stupid enough to shout racist slurs. The 3 students are innocent of rape - the lacrosse team though needs a swift kick in the butt - multiple times.
Maybe this comment is too long to get posted - maybe it'll get scrubbed out as not supportive. I'll just close with this. I've read this blog from the beginning, and while I agreed with it's premise starting out, it has devolved into a bitter, at times slanderous attack on a "great university" as one of the accused said. It's sad that the useful comments here are getting outweighed by useless condemnations. If you really want to be a friend to duke university (and higher ed in general) why don't you try elevating the discussion to some of the more meaningful issues? Or at least move the pointless slams on faculty and admin to a separate board so some of us interested in the real issue don't have to slog through it.

Anonymous said...

you know what sucks? when you post your comment TO THE WRONG BLOG!!! My apologies!

-the 12:46 poster

Gary said...

KC - You are doing an outstanding job dismantling Nifong’s hoax and I thank you for your impressive diligence.

GMS, Your comment “Why is everyone so afraid of this case going to trial?” You clearly haven’t been following this case. What I’m afraid living in Durham is that an innocent person can be indicted and have their lives destroyed because of an overzealous DA who refuses to acknowledge any evidence that shows the accused are innocent, changes procedural line-ups to help bolster his case, harasses the defendants alibi, surreptitiously changes statements from the accuser to fit his case, and beguiled the people of Durham into believing that a crime had occurred only in an effort to keep his job for another four years. I’m sure that you would have a dramatically different view if you or someone you love were in their shoes and had your future destroyed. What I’m afraid of is that citizens will myopically assume that this deplorable situation will not affect them. My only solace if this case goes to court is in watching Mike Nifong go down in flames and hopefully ultimately disbarred.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I love about this website is the shameless way in which Professor Johnson and the LAX team parents have tried to blame the entire LAX mess on President Brodhead and the Duke Administration. They have devoted many thousands of words to condemning Brodhead, without a single word of criticism of their own sons. Indeed, whenever anyone posts a message suggesting that maybe the LAX players themselves bear some responsibility for creating this mess, they invariably respond with a shrill chorus of comments stating that all college kids drink, they all hire strippers for their parties, the disgusting email by Ryan McFayden was just an innocent joke, and so forth. They then proceed to point the finger of blame at everyone under the sun other than their own kids. I would say that there is some absolutely massive intellectual dishonesty going on here. Instead of focusing the spotlight solely on Brodhead and the Duke Administration, maybe Professor Johnson should post a couple of articles discussing the key role that the LAX players, in particular the captains, played in creating this mess and the enormous amount of damage that their irresponsible actions have done to Duke University. Of course, given the way in which this website panders to the LAX team parents, I do not expect to see such an article anytime soon.

g.m.s. said...

To Those who would assume that anyone whose opinion differs from their own, must be uninformed-

I have actually followed this case with fairly thorough detail. I would say my knowlege of the news coverage of this trial is as good as most of the commenters. I obviously do not have access to all of the sources, and most importantly, all of the time that KC has been afforded. I am not a tenured professor.

Alas, the sentiment expressed by those who responded to my questions tippifies just the attitude that I was trying to examine: the attitude that the information held by the readers of blogs like this represent the sole facts of the case. I did not attack nor attempt to disqualify KC's research or opinion, even his apparent opinion that the Duke 3 are 100% innocent. I merely asked that we examine what it says about the American Public's belief in their own judicial system that we believe:

A) An overzealous politician, seeking to advance his own personal goals, could bait the entire system at the cost of three individuals human integrity, AND WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE?

B) That evidence in court has become so secondary a factor for deciding trials, that this case could ever have reached trial without some type of evidence that suggests, in fact, these three individuals may be guilty.

C) That the jury would be so biased, given the color of skin of the majority of the local citizenry, that it would convict these three men, again without a shred of evidence (as seems to be the presumption amongst the majority, here.)

Now, I raise those questions without a hint of fatuation. I raise them in all seriousness, because, in my mind, this presents a MUCH larger issue than does the debate about how unfair it is to these three men that they should face trial. Three men, whom, lest we forget, were a part of a large group of men, who sought out a pair of minority strippers, whom they might degrade by oggling them as they performed a sex-show on their living room floor, to be berated with racial epithets and with threats of abuse by the handle end of a broomstick. Three men, who will have their day in court, where the burden will be on Nifong to prove their guilt. Not the other way around. Three men, whose lawyers, following the posting of their $400,000 bail, have gone on a crusade of the accuser and of Nifong, in order to prove their innocence in the court of public opinion. Is it not injustice that the accuser has no such access to the Main Stream Media, or that the accuser has no multi-million dollar trusts to persue the favoritism of everyone from guilty liberals to stubborn conservatives whose opinions fuel every medium from main-stream media to blogs such as these?

The INJUSTICE of the 60s that one anonymous commenter mentioned in disparaging my opinion, was an injustice of far greater proportions to the minority and working class soldiers who were forced to go die in infantry units in Vietnam, than it was for the middle-class white folks who were able to afford to attend graduate school, or any other number of ways of dodging the draft. And yet the cries of injustice were most vocally spread by that latter group of people. Perhaps guilt is the thing that leads us to rage against the shackles of injustice, moreso than the reality of being a victim of injsutice. To seek the root of that injustice, and to seek a larger issue at the heart of that injustice is FAR more productive than it is to walk around with picket signs (or in today's world, blog posts) bemoaning the injustice to crowds of people who already agree with you. My questions were targeted at asking those bigger questions. For those of you who "learned back in the 60s that it is vital to speak out against injustice," I would say, 40 years later, we have still not learned that speaking about a problem and around a problem does not solve the problem. No matter how hard it pretends to. And no matter how self-aggrandizing the leaders of that "discussion" are, all of their charades are performed in a bubble. Indeed, I am certain the protestors of the Vietnam War never answered the questions of why we were there, how we could get out, and how we could prevent such injustices from happening again. It is happening again.

To argue the validity of Nifong's case is well within your right. If you believe (as I do, by the way) that the "evidence" being put forth by the defense in this case has increasingly raised questions about Nifongs procedure, than you are also well within your rights. You are even within your rights to postulate that the Duke 3 are completely innocent. And although I find it to be tremendously ignorant, you are also within your right to see this as a black and white case (not racially, alone, but in terms of WRONG and RIGHT." And judging by the response I got for merely asking us to analyze deepper the issue at hand, you all have chosen to exercise that right.

KC Johnson said...

To the 1.55: it's a peculiar interpretation--to put it mildly--of the above post to contend that this blog has "tried to blame the entire LAX mess on President Brodhead and the Duke Administration."

I didn't have space in this post (though I plan to return to the issue in a future post) to discuss some of the remarks from the March 25 meeting between the lacrosse parents and four Duke administrators. I should say, however, that items in the 1.55 comment (except for the criticism of me) very much resemble some statements made by Dean Sue Wasiolek at the March 25 meeting.

AMac said...

Blog comments can get heated at times, so I'll offer a meta-comment:

Most of the commenters here are appalled at the abuse of power that they find at the heart of this case. Some have personal connections to Duke; to others, this train wreck is abstract, but horrifying nonetheless (I am in this latter category).

Inevitably, some commenters will hold a contrary opinion; this thread's examples being g.m.s. (10:54am), anonymous 12:46pm, and anonymous 1:55pm.

You can be sure that there are many more readers than commenters, especially in the aftermath of the "60 Minutes" report. People will make their way to D-i-W via a search engine, read one of KC Johnson's aptly scathing critiques of prosecutorial and police misconduct, and then click on "Comments," wondering, "I wonder what others have to say on this?"

I am glad that most responses to g.m.s. appear to be written to appeal to open-minded individuals who are genuinely curious about the rights and wrongs of the case. g.m.s., 12:46pm, and 1:55pm may or may not be such people, but my guess is that most of the (invisible) readers of this thread are.

I hope that fellow commenters resist the impulse to 'fight fire with fire.' Many blogs have demonstrated that it is a counterproductive exercise, in addition to being incivil.

Anonymous said...

To g.m.s.
If I accuse you of some hideous crime, but there is no evidence to support my claim, should you go on trial?
If I am shown line up after line up, consisting only of you, and finally pick you, should you go on trial?
If I claim that when you committed some hideous crime, you had mustache, and you never had mustache, should you go on trial?
Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

I'm the 12:46 anon poster.
please don't lump me in with GMS. I agree that this even GOING to trial is terrible. A judge should summarily dismiss the whole thing as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
At the same time, I can't say I agree with everything KC Johnson has written. He rails against an administration that he doesn't know as much about as he thinks. Of course, if I'd been through his tenure process, I'd be pretty embittered too.
Since I clearly erred in posting my message on this message board instead of FODU, Dr. Johnson should feel free to remove my comment from 12:46 and 12:48 if he so chooses.

Anonymous said...

GMS, I just want to point out (respectfully) a few factual inaccuracies in your statement:
"Three men, whom, lest we forget, were a part of a large group of men, who sought out a pair of minority strippers, whom they might degrade by oggling them as they performed a sex-show on their living room floor, to be berated with racial epithets and with threats of abuse by the handle end of a broomstick."

1. The group of men requested a white and an hispanic stripper, NOT a "pair of minority" strippers. They did NOT request any black stripper at all. This is confirmed by Kim Roberts' clear recollection that they must have assumed she was the hispanic dancer, and boy were they surprised when Precious showed up and was not white. In fact, it made them very uncomfortable, Kim said, but they eventually decided to go ahead and have the show. Your factual inaccuracy here paints a very incorrect hue to the whole event, and falsely implies racist pre-meditation.

2. "to be berated with racial epithets" Again, your facts are wrong. Kim Roberts has the number of people that uttered the "N" word at 1, and she admitted that he called HER that word after she provoked him with the "little-dick white boy" aspersion. There is no evidence of racial epithets other than that one incident outside as Kim was heading to her car. Yet you've got it down as a pre-meditation to bring in two minority strippers for the purpose of ogling (okay, that's most certainly the REAL premeditated purpose) and calling them racist names? With all due respect, I believe you have misinterpreted, ignored, or simply missed the facts that have unfolded.

3. "...and with threats of abuse by the handle end of a broomstick."
Kim Roberts stated that this was basically said in jest by one guy, that she did NOT feel it was an actual threat but that it simply made her uncomfortable. Players apologized for the remark. Yet in your mind this was a pre-meditated goal of hiring the strippers? Because someone wanted to threaten them with a broomstick? Again, I think you've misinterpreted, ignored, or missed the facts.

I hope this did not come off as some kind of attack on you or your beliefs. I'm just trying to shed some light on what I believe are inaccuracies in your post.

Take care,
JC

AMac said...

g.m.s.:

Your 2:04pm comment seems to mix fact, opinion, and fancy. I'd like to make two quick remarks in response.

1. You state, "[the response] to my questions tippifies just the attitude that I was trying to examine: the attitude that the information held by the readers of blogs like this represent the sole facts of the case." This is curious grammar.

I'll offer a restatement. "Many readers of blogs like this rely on trustworthy bloggers' statements and interpretations to get to the facts of a case, when those statements and interpretations are supported by citations to reputable sources--especially in the form of hyperlinks."

I count 26 such hyperlinks in this post alone. Readers don't have to split the difference (etc.) between KC Johnson's opinion and yours--we can check Johnson's links and make our own reasoned judgements. Your competing narrative would be more compelling if you identified the facts that you dispute, and backed up such assertions with hyperlinks.

2. You listed three points after a coy and gramatically contorted preface:

"I merely asked that we examine what it says about the American Public's belief in their own judicial system that we believe:

A) An overzealous politician... could bait the entire system... WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE?

B) ... that this case could ever have reached trial without some type of evidence that suggests... these three individuals may be guilty.

C) That the jury would be so biased, given the color of skin of the majority of the local citizenry, that it would convict these three men, again without a shred of evidence (as seems to be the presumption amongst the majority, here.)


Well, put me down as emphatically agreeing that the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax has demonstrated propositions A and B. Your point C may be in response to Ed's 12:12pm comment. I don't hold to that view, and I am unaware that anyone else 'here' does, either. Perhaps you could take it up with Ed, and paint with a narrower brush in the meantime?

susie said...

I have a procedural question with regard to the role of the courts. If the defense believes that Judge Stephens is too sympathetic to the prosecution, can't they request another judge to examine the evidence with the goal of having the case thrown out? Under NC law, what kind of case would they have to make to have the evidence reviewed by someone else?

Anonymous said...

Judge Stephens is no longer on the case. They got judge Smith now.

susie said...

What is Judge Smith's likely take on this? Is he fair? Why can't the defense make a motion to have this case dismissed, as it is so obviously flawed?

Anonymous said...

I don't think they have an option to make a motion to have this case dismissed.
They have made a motion to have Nifong replaced (a long time ago), and that motion hasn't even been heard yet-as far as I know.
They have made a motion to have IDs dismissed, and that hasn't been heard yet either.
Durham seems to be a very peculiar place, to put it nicely. Like KC says, it's a wonderland.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me how posters can be so cavalier in suggesting that this case should even go to trial. The bottom line is that no one should be TRIED without evidence that there was a crime. A trial, even when found not guilty, would not be a walk in the park for these men.
I sat on a civil jury for 2 weeks hearing a completely baseless case that we decided for the defendant in under 15 minutes of deliberation. I felt sorry for the plaintiff, an immigrant laborer, who missed at least 2 weeks of work and had been led to believe that he would become a multi millionaire by an unscrupulous attorney. Not to mention many of the jurors who were not compensated by their employers for the time that they spent on the jury.
Bringing a case to trial, criminal or civil, should not be done impulsively.

Anonymous said...

K.C., obviously, my 1:55 PM post contained a bit of hyperbole. The point is that you and the LAX team parents have engaged in endless criticism of Brodhead and the Duke Administration and have even gone so far as to twist and distort some of their words and actions in order to portray them in the worst possible light while at the same time uttering not a word of criticism of the LAX players. When are you going to show some balance by posting an article which discusses the key role that the LAX players, and especially the captains, played in bringing this debacle down on Duke?

Byron said...

Has Coach Pressler commented on any instructions he received from the administration in dealing with the team, i.e., don't tell your parents, etc.? Has anyone even asked Coach Pressler for his comment?

Anonymous said...

They captains made one mistake to have a party. It's done. Nothing can change the fact that they had a party. While Brodhead continues to make mistake after mistake by refusing to confront the behavior of out of control DA, and refusing to support the students. I think it's simple to understand.

Anonymous said...

3:55 PM

Why would it matter if KC or anyone else spent time criticizing the lacrosse players. Unlike Brodhead, and other members of the Duke administration, the lacrosse players from the outset apologized for their actions and acknowledged the shame they had brought down on themselves, their families and the University.

Have we heard any similar acknowledgements from any members of the Duke administration that a poor job was done of advising the lacrosse players on their initial legal representation? Has Brodhead ever apologized for refusing to meet with the parents of the lacrosse players, as requested? Has any member of the "Group of 88" apologized for their notorious letter, now that they know more of the true evidence of the case?

The answer to these questions is simple... NO!

People who make mistakes, and then refuse to acknowledge their mistakes, and even compound the damage of their actions by additional mistakes... are subject to criticism. That's the way it works.

Does Brodhead believe that his actions as President of Duke University were perfect? If not, why will he not speak candidly of the lessons he has learned in managing a crisis for which he apparently was so ill-prepared.

I believe that there are many who are prepared to forgive the many mistakes of the Duke administration... but it is difficult to forgive a person who is unwilling to acknowledge any responsibility.

g.m.s. said...

anonymous 2:23-

Yes, if you accused me of a crime that I did not commit, and the due process of the American Justice System determines that I should go to trial where you will THEN be required to actually prove my guilt, I would do so. At which point I would expect to be exonerated, as should the Duke LAXers, if, in fact, they are innocent.

To Anonymous 2:36-

I appreciate your correction of my factual inaccuracies. Although there are different sides to each of these claims. Again, like I would assume everyone else here, I am working on a safe amount of assumptions based on certain sides of the story. If I made an inaccurate assumption...then that is, indeed, unfair. Typically private dancers are ordered with pretty specific requests. Perhaps, in the course of the trial, this will be clarified...y'know, the trial...that thing I have been so crazy as to suggest we actually let take course.

Amac-

Yes, my post certainly does mix fact and opinion. As does EVERYTHING that has ever been written about this case, and probably everything that has ever been written. This is at the core of my argument: there are no ABSOLUTES, especially when the only people who know what happened in that house, were in that house...or more accurately perhaps, in that bathroom, if in fact something happened in that bathroom. But the point is, neither you, nor I, nor KC, can be sure. ESPECIALLY when we have only heard the "evidence" from one side. I will remind you again, Nifong does not need to win over the court of public opinion. Much of the conjecture in these comments suggests he already did so. I have asked, and not been answered: what is it about the trial that has the defense so fearful they have felt the need to exonerate their clients with such vigor in the court of public opinion? If they are so confident of their clients innocence, why are they so desperate to prove that innocence to Ed Bradley's audience, and not the audience that makes up a jury of peers?

Secondly, how base and shallow to point to "gramatical curiosities" and "contortions" in my post. This is something I would expect in a teenage sports debate blog, not in a blog which I (perhaps wrongly) assumed was meant to inspire adult rhetorical exchange about meaningful and important issues. I don't believe my use of grammar falls into that category. What I do know is your "rephrasing" of my post was a blatant spin on my intent. Although your opinion of me should affect me little, I want you to know that I spend much more time closely editing the work that I do to make money, than the work that I do on here. My life is bigger than debating the issue of three admitted chauvenists, and accused rapists. I merely thought the nature of this blog (that is to say, the "rah-rah" attitude reflected by the commenters goading of the author) warranted some real examination. Apparently, people missed that and found it more prudent to discuss the level to which I am uninformed (or I would say, unindoctrinated) on this case; and, apparently, more prudent as well to examine my grammar.


Furthermore, for you to suggest that my opinions are vastly different from KC's only illuminates the fact that you have not been closely reading what I have said. At several times in each post, I agreed with KCs arguments. I do not know that I agree with his conclusion, although that has less to do with my respect for his research, than it does with my respect for the American Judicial system, which I would like to see take its due course. Have I mentioned that before?

Anonymous said...

“Justice inevitably has an attendant social construction. And this parallelism means that despite what may be our desire, the seriousness of the matter cannot be finally or fully adjudicated in the courts. Therefore, since the presumption of innocence is neither the critical social indicator of the event, nor the final measure of its cultural facts judgements about the case cannot be left to the courtroom.”

WTF?! What does that even mean?! It's no wonder that an education today is worthless....

Anonymous said...

G.M.S. stated:

“I have asked, and not been answered: what is it about the trial that has the defense so fearful they have felt the need to exonerate their clients with such vigor in the court of public opinion? If they are so confident of their clients innocence, why are they so desperate to prove that innocence to Ed Bradley's audience, and not the audience that makes up a jury of peers?”

To me, your statement implies 1) that they must have something to hide if they are fearful of going to trial and 2) that putting on as vigorous a defense as possible is wrong. The reason I would be fearful of going to trial is because it is the last step in the legal process before going to jail. I can’t speak for the players, but I myself have been involved in a trial where I knew with absolute certainty that the defendant (my spouse) was innocent and there was NO evidence presented except for the testimony of the plaintiff. The jury sympathized with the plaintiff and the jury instructions went completely over their head. As a result, the defendant was found guilty and a large judgment was granted the plaintiff. Obviously this was civil court, but the lesson learned was the same. A jury trial is risky, period. Our system has checks in place to prevent cases without merit from going to trial. IMO, the belief of most people supporting the defendants, is that the DA has ignored or sidestepped most of these checks, without censure, and they are fearful of what else he is allowed to do. I would be much more trusting of the system in this case if there had been a probable cause hearing, the “investigation” had been run by the DPD instead of the DA’s office, and the DA wasn’t up for election.

Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary on the fallout either way at NRO

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NzQwODBkMjAwZjBjNGExZWYzNzkxMjBlNDViYjRjMjg=

Terrekain said...

"Brodhead is an incompetent fool, who brought shame on Duke and is pretty close to destroying its good name. He has to go. There should not be any room for such fools in Duke. We want our real Duke back. "

I hate to break it to you; but this IS the real Duke University. Only revisionists like you are trying to pretend that this type of mosnstrous liberal behavior
is an aberation. The difference now is that the blogosphere is spreading this dirty laundry all over the net, whereas once these things were glibly suppressed and then forgotten.

AMac said...

g.m.s.:

I may not have been sufficiently clear in my 2:42pm response to what you had earlier written at 2:04pm.

You wrote (4:23pm),

how base and shallow [for AMac] to point to "gramatical curiosities" and "contortions" in my post.

g.m.s., you wrote (2:42pm),

Alas, the sentiment expressed by those who responded to my questions tippifies just the attitude that I was trying to examine: the attitude that the information held by the readers of blogs like this represent the sole facts of the case.

That's a lot of words to say

"I think that readers of this blog believe that this and similar blogs are the only sources for facts on the case."

If this is your opinion, you are mistaken. Further, your opinion neglects the role of URLs. My restatement ( "Many readers of blogs like this rely on trustworthy bloggers' statements and interpretations to get to the facts of a case, when those statements and interpretations are supported by citations to reputable sources." ) was an expresson of my belief, not an effort to put words in your mouth.

You also wrote (2:42pm),

I merely asked that we examine what it says about the American Public's belief in their own judicial system that we believe:

A) An overzealous politician...
B) ... that this case could ever have reached trial without some type of evidence...
C) That the jury would be so biased...


g.m.s., "merely asking that we examine what it says about the American Public's belief in their own judicial system that we (sic)believe..." makes your remark into three not-quite-accusations. Are you ascribing these three beliefs to other commenters here? Then say so, directly! Are you not so claiming? Then why bring them up? You have my answers on A, B, and C--what are your thoughts?

Most recently (4:23pm), you wrote,

Furthermore, for [AMac] to suggest that my opinions are vastly different from KC's only illuminates the fact that [AMac has] not been closely reading what I have said.

You also wrote,

This is at the core of my argument: there are no ABSOLUTES...

and

I have asked, and not been answered: what is it about the trial that has the defense so fearful they have felt the need to exonerate their clients with such vigor in the court of public opinion?

and

At several times in each post, I agreed with KCs arguments. I do not know that I agree with his conclusion, although that has less to do with my respect for his research, than it does with my respect for the American Judicial system, which I would like to see take its due course.

I am not a mind reader. Nonetheless, these quotes make me doubt that you and Johnson view the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case in similar ways.

AMac said...

In the post immediately prior, the earlier remarks made by g.m.s. were timestamped 2:04pm, not 2:42pm.

T.M.I. said...

To the 4:23 poster regarding:

"WTF? What does that even mean?"

What it means is, is that someone is real comfortable with the prospect of what they conceive to be racial guilt, remediated one white boy at a time. Its exactly the kind of group rights - group grievances mentality that the US has largely, successfully resisted over the past couple of centuries, and which now threatens to tear Europe apart once and for all.

And like G.M.S.' posts, it betrays an obsession with process combined with a complete incuriousity as to results..'we destroyed the village, in order to save it', is the classic formulation.

Anonymous said...

To GMS
One of the reasons that this case has generated so much interest and concern is that the main stream media has in many cases seemed more interested in concealing the proscecutions facts - ALL of which are in the pubic domain- rather than reporting them. The discovery laws in N.C. do not allow for us to "not know what Nifong has."
And what possible good-faith reason would Nifong have for refusing to look at exculpatory evidence? Indeed, doing that goes against the statutes that define his public responsibilities.
Do you deny that he has done this on many occasions?
It is one thing to say that Nifong has little to no evidence. Sometimes, imho, there is place to proceed on that basis IF there is solid evidence(like a corpse) that a crime was committed and IF there is also little evidence for the defense side. In this case, however, there is zero evidence of a sexual/bodily assault and a mountain of high grade evidence that the accused 3 could not have been involved even if there were.
I dunno about you, but this picture taken together looks pretty scary. Every day it continues represents an affront to how our justice system is supposed to work.
Would you dare to publically oppose or offend a DA who could repeat this performance on you at his pleasure? Starting off with BS fed to the GJ followed by a refusal to listen to or gather evidence that MIGHT help the defense.
So what if you finally win in court. You are bankrupt and traumatized for life. And then, after that, would you ever criticze the DA again?
This America, I thought.

Anonymous said...

It's very interesting what's going on here. Twice over, if you consider what these events reveal about people, agendas and justice. I agree w/ anonymous that Judge Stephens needs to answer some hard questions but what really fascinates me about this is NCCU's reaction.

"This is a race issue," said Candice Shaw, 20. "People at Duke have a lot of money on their side." Maybe that's true, but they also have a lot of FACTS on their side. I wonder, why is she so anxious to toss out those facts and label it a race issue? Is it personal agenda or an inability for critical thinking?

Chan Hall, 22, said, "It's the same old story. Duke up, Central down." Hall said he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted "whether it happened or not." Wow. I'm not sure Chan's defeatism justifies the lynching he advocates, but I am sure it'd be depressing to know how many others there support his notions of defeatism and vengence.

In fact, I can't think of a more depressing story then this one for what it tells us about how we deal each one-another. From the blatently murderous DA, to the cowardly Duke administration; the hyprocritical and revisionist Grey Ladies to the 'Justice' who willfully disregards any premise of integrety in applying our laws, this story is a real shitstorm of nasty, nasty malice. And its all in the name of 'racial tension.' Fucking great.

And the real victims? An entire lacrosse team who feel they have a gun pressed to the back of their neck. Thats because they, in fact, do.

-rts

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to whomever said there are no absolutes, I say you are absolutely right. Wait, I meant to say you are absolutely wrong. Umm.. well, maybe your mostly right? Somewhat wrong?? Anyway, I'm absolutely sure it's one of those.

-rts

Anonymous said...

g.m.c. - Bravo! You argued eloquently about letting the justice system run its course. I wonder if most "anonymous" people would hold the same firm belief in the Duke 3's innocence if they were black. After all, it's manifestly mendacious to presume anything.

"Reversal of Fortune" springs to mind for some reason.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 2:23-

"Yes, if you accused me of a crime that I did not commit, and the due process of the American Justice System determines that I should go to trial where you will THEN be required to actually prove my guilt, I would do so. At which point I would expect to be exonerated, as should the Duke LAXers, if, in fact, they are innocent."
Actually, I personally wouldn't be required to prove your guilt. The state is supposed to prove guilt, not little old me. So, care to press your luck? What's your name?

Anonymous said...

To 7:25
But the thing that is running here bares no resemblance to the way the American justice system is supposed to work. Starting with a proscecutors DUTY to listen to evidence which might free the defendant.
So, why shoul this crime be encouraged to run its course to the end? If it starts out all wrong, would good can come of it?

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:25 poster. Maybe you didn't notice, but you are an anonymous too.
Funny you should complain the rest of us are posting as anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Point taken. I simply supported g.m.s's fair argument (and sober mind) for due process.

Come to think of it, is it the first time in history prosecutorial procedure is called into question?

Again, if the Duke 3 were black, would the case be scrutinized as such? If the question is about the fairness of the justice system as an institution, we as a society are in far more trouble than the 3 young men facing charges.

Anonymous said...

G.M.S.'s posts have served to help derail the outrage felt regarding a Duke administrator(s) apparently informing the lacrosse students to not tell their parents of the serious allegations leveled against them, but to instead let Duke's lawyer handle the situation. The case for why there should not have been indictments, let alone going to trial has been well analyzed and documented by KC today. All G.M.S. and others need to do is to be willing to read it and try to be objective about the information in it. I am, therefore, led to believe that distracting us from the outrage regarding Duke's actions is the primary goal of G.M.S.

It makes me wonder if Duke's lawyer may have been working (colluding?) with DPD or the DA on behalf of Duke University, rather than looking out for the best interests of the young men on the lacrosse team. This possibility may be worth exploring by examining, if possible, any correspondence between Duke and the DPD or DA regarding this case. There is more to be learned about this aspect, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

To 4:04 PM, in a way, your post proves my point about the lack of balance on this website in the treatment of Brodhead and the LAX players. In your post, you try to minimize what the LAX players did by saying (I am paraphrasing, of course) that they made one mistake by having the party, it’s over, there is nothing we can do about it, so let’s just forget about it, but Brodhead is making a new mistake every day that he fails to speak out aggressively on behalf of the LAX players, so let’s pound on him. The problem with this analysis is that the key mistake was the irresponsible decision to hold the party because that was the beginning of everything, and if the LAX players had not made the decision to hold the party, or at least had not invited the strippers, hurled the racial epithets, and sent the notorious email, there would be no LAX mess. To me, the irresponsible decision to hold the party overwhelms any mistakes that may have been made by Brodhead, who basically was thrown into a meat grinder as a result of the actions of the LAX players. In effect, no matter what he did or said, there was going to be some large segment of the Duke and Durham communities that was going to be very angry with him. Yet Professor Johnson and the LAX team parents show absolutely no sensitivity whatsoever to the fact that it was their kids who put Brodhead in this very awkward situation, and they instead persist in pounding on him while giving their kids a pass. To me, this is a very dishonest tactic, which helps to explain why I do not have a very high opinion of the LAX players and their families right now.

Anonymous said...

It's really rather ridiculous that you chose to ignore prosecutorial misconduct, instead concentrating on a party. That party was back in March. I think the players have paid plenty for their mistake of having a party. Just because someone has a party, involving strippers (which is legal, by the way) does not mean they should be falsely prosecuted. Or are you arguing that if someone has a party and hires strippers (again, it’s legal), it's o'key to falsely prosecute them?

Anonymous said...

8:12 PM, every word that comes out of your mouth just keeps proving my point.

Anonymous said...

It is clear that "g.m.c." is not interested in anything aside from diversion and obfuscation. S/he is behaving obtusely and if s/he wants a clear answer of why no one would want to go to trial if wrongly accused and with NO evidence, s/he need to look no farther than this statment by "anonymous" of 7:25 pm.

g.m.c. - Bravo! You argued eloquently about letting the justice system run its course. I wonder if most "anonymous" people would hold the same firm belief in the Duke 3's innocence if they were black. After all, it's manifestly mendacious to presume anything.

Anonymous said...

"Without informing President Richard Brodhead, administrators demanded from the captains a candid account of the evening’s events, allegedly citing a non-existent “student-faculty” privilege to encourage the captains to disclose any criminal activity. Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry. Meanwhile, Dean Sue Wasiolek arranged for a local lawyer, Wes Covington, to act as a “facilitator” in arranging for a group meeting with police."

The above is a serious allegation. On what basis is it made?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:25 says: Again, if the Duke 3 were black, would the case be scrutinized as such? If the question is about the fairness of the justice system as an institution, we as a society are in far more trouble than the 3 young men facing charges.

If they were black, this case would've been dropped a long time ago because the good reverend Jesse Jackson would've been leading a protest through the streets of Durham calling every officer in Durham county a racist.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wral.com/news/10086862/detail.html
Another suspect Nifong indictment that seems perfectly timed.

Anonymous said...

Why is it a mistake to hold a party? Is this the first time that such an event has occurred. Please enlighten us? Is this the first time that young men have hired strippers, or drunk beer? Or responded to a racist insult with one of their own?

I must have lived in another time or country. The Brodhead apologists have hit an all-time low.

Anonymous said...

If the three accused were black, this case would obviously have never been pursued. And, if it were pursued, there would have been daily street protests by now.

Anonymous said...

"Multiple sources confirm that Coach Mike Pressler, apparently acting on orders from above, instructed the other players not to tell their parents about the police inquiry. "

I've never heard this before. Who are these sources?

"apparently acting on orders from above" means who above?

Anonymous said...

To 8:17 PM

Since your point makes no sense, I sincerely doubt that.

Anonymous said...

I am a lawyer in Durham, and agree with the post.

1. It's ludicrous to counter this post with a complaint that the lacrosse players were "rowdy" or "acted lewd," etc. They're typical college kids, and their conduct for rowdiness is not on trial. Totally disproportionate.

2. Absolute factual certainty is not required here, despite the plea to "hear all of the evidence." We know what the State's investigations shows, since it has to be released to the defense. Therefore, we know what little credible evidence exists against the defs. It's CREDIBLE evidence that counts, not speculation or incredible statements of the victim.

3. Duke U./Brodhead are the typical, liberal panty waists who jumped the gun to get ahead of the politically correct caravan. Don't waste so much effort on such a spineless bunch.

Tryptich said...

I am with GLS on this one. All you guys worry too much about the evidence and pre-trial procedure and stuff like that! A woman says she was raped! So what if the DA makes a few mistakes here and there ... let a jury decide. That is the American way!

It reminds of this case I heard about down in Alabama. There was this nice young woman. Her name was Mayella Ewell. Well, maybe she wasn't *so* nice, but that hardly matters. She was assaulted by this man named Tom Robinson. And the whole town KNEW he was guilty. I mean they all turned out a big community rally one night to support her. They really came together as a community and I think it went a long way to promote healing ... but nothing like the trial.

Oh sure, that Tom Robinson was a well-known bad actor. Well, maybe not him per se but others like him and, after all, that is important. Sure, there were some questionable procedural issues before the trial. And Mayella, well, her story had a few holes but she sure gave Tom's laywer Atticus Finch both barrels when he DARED to challenge her. That Atticus Finch I think he really had a lot to answer for. He interrupted that community rally. And defended his client! In public! Sheesh ...

Anyway, the prosecutor Mr. Gilmer felt a lot like GMS. He basically said, 'let the jury figure it out'. I mean he may have been in a jam with the evidence and all, but he knew once it got in the hands of a jury NOTHING could go wrong. Just ask OJ Simpson. Or the Scottsboro Boys.

Anyhow, that jury must have really sympathized with Mayella. She was VERY convincing on the stand. At least she cried a lot. Maybe they felt they'd be letting her down if they didn't convict old Tom Robinson - I guess a lot of people felt that way in the town.

Too bad old Tom got shot trying to 'escape'. But that is hardly the real lesson, right GMS? The real lesson is that a prosecutor doesn't have to worry about the quasi-judicial nuances since he can always rely on a jury to get it right. He doesn't have to get all fussy about evidence and pre-trial procedure.

What did old Tom Robinson have to fear? No one needed to step in. The jury can never be wrong. The prosecutor doesn't have to make a hard call (particularly when it will get his constituents mad!) Isn't that the real lesson?

Anonymous said...

they are so confident of their clients innocence, why are they so desperate to prove that innocence to Ed Bradley's audience, and not the audience that makes up a jury of peers?”


You seem to be under the absurd assumption is ok for innoncent people to be charged, have their reputations ruined, and have to spend tens of thousands in legal fees defending baseless charges.

It is stunning watching someone type this lunacy in repetition.

AMac said...

Interesting tale, tryptich (9:28pm). Maybe you could turn it into a book, or something.

Anonymous said...

Dear amac. Thank you for pointing out that the poster described the plot of "To kill a Mockingbird." Because without you, the rest of us would never know.

Anonymous said...

"That all three players passed polygraph examinations administered by highly respected law enforcement figures gives added weight to their statements."

Why? It amazes me people put so much weight into pseudoscience like polygraphs.

Whether or not they passed a polygraph has nothing to do with whether or not they are innocent or guilty, as a polygraph does not measure truth or falsehood.

Anonymous said...

Oh really? What do you think chances are of Nifong or the accuser taking a polygraph and passing it?

jim in Los Angeles said...

Here's what I sent in response to Duke's alumni association email soliciting comments on "campus culture" ...

Like other native Californians, I was taught from an early age to look upon the South as a land of rubes who have little sense for justice or even decency toward others. It has always been Duke's misfortune to be rooted in such a backwater. Today, long after the University buried in its past the sins of segregation, and as the prosecutor’s case has unfolded (dare I call it what it is: unraveled?), it’s sadly apparent that the Durham of old, the community that treated Blacks with indecency and injustice, has kept alive its worst sins, with the only difference being the race of the victims of the local rubes.

The utter lack of evidence against the students - and the shockingly botched legal process - ought to have been enough to galvanize the University to support its own students. I can only assume that Duke, after generations of local injustice, has lost the common sense of decency and justice that those of us to your north and west would expect as a minimum standard of conduct. If that’s the case, then it’s clear what you must do first: the University – led by the faculty and its apparently amoral president – have torn their moorings loose and are adrift without a moral compass, and they need new leadership.

That the faculty can be so vocal in its condemnation of the students, and that no vocal faculty member has put voice to what is so obvious – that the students are being railroaded – speaks to the real scandal of Duke University. The faculty is a huge problem. Its disdain for its students is obvious even from my distance. The lack of intellectual diversity of the faculty, and their silly opinions and hate speech that we alumni have heard, suggests the kind of decay that we’d expect from a much older South.

In fact, the University’s administration has shown a complete lack of the kinds of courage required of real leadership. I was appalled to read that several lacrosse players’ game statistics were removed from a University web site. Really, now: playing us for fools didn’t work for Stalin, and the people who were so clumsily stupid as to think they could get away with such a cheap trick really have no place in a school that seeks to attract smart kids.

I don’t believe Duke is more hostile to Blacks now than it was when I had the privilege of studying there more than 25 years ago. Duke today appears to have an opposite cultural problem. The very shoddy and unjust treatment of its students, which the administration apparently has sanctioned and some faculty have even promoted, suggests that strong action needs to be taken, with all urgency, to change the campus culture that has allowed a new generation of bigots who happen to have PhDs and tenure to run amuck.

Anonymous said...

8:56 PM, every word that comes out of your mouth just keeps proving my point. The fact that the LAX players are not the first college students to hold a party with underage drinking and strippers does not exonerate them from responsibility for their actions. The fact is that they are the ones who decided to hold the party, they are the ones who decided to violate the law and engage in underage drinking, they are the ones who hired the strippers and hurled the racist epithets and sent the disgusting email, and without their decision to do all of those things, there would be no LAX mess. However, the LAX parents do not want to acknowledge the fact that their sons are the ones who brought this mess down on Duke, they prefer to pound on Brodhead so they can punish him for canceling the LAX season and hopefully take some of the heat off their kids. As long as you and K.C. continue to ignore or minimize the key role that the LAX players played in creating this mess while simultaneously pounding away on Brodhead, you will continue to prove my point that this website is not engaged in objective analysis of the LAX situation but is instead pursuing a biased and one-sided agenda.

Anonymous said...

Your point is a complete and utter nonsense. So there. Happy now?

Anonymous said...

And are you related to Brodhead? He looked real pathetic on 60 Minutes the other day. Especially in comparison to Dr. Coleman.

duke09parent said...

Dr. Johnson's statement on sources saying players should not talk to their parents about the investigation is upsetting. Will anyone step forward for attribution on this story? Will anyone say from whom that advice originated? And please don't just say Brodhead because you don't like him.

Anonymous said...

How anyone can say this case needs to go to trial and believe in our justice system in Durham, NC is the biggest joke I have heard in a long time. Who could have any faith in that happening. They haven't gotten ONE thing right down there!!

Newport said...

someone wrote:

"The fact that the LAX players are not the first college students to hold a party with underage drinking and strippers does not exonerate them from responsibility for their actions."

I would be interested in knowing what exactly this means. What do you recommend their punishment be for this transgression? Should such a punishment be applied equally to all party makers or just lacrosse players.

Thank you.

Jane Oldham said...

As a parent of high school and college students, with a couple of them at colleges comparable to Duke, I have viewed this case with more than a passing interest. One of my children applied, and was accepted at Duke, 6 years ago. He chose not to attend.

With two more children applying to college next year, I would not permit them to apply to Duke, nor would they want to apply. The longer this drags out, the longer Nifong doesn't do the right the right thing, the more parents will feel as I do. I hope that Duke realizes that their reputation is being destroyed and that the best students in the country will not consider applying to Duke.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:05 pm

The fact is that they are the ones who decided to hold the party, they are the ones who decided to violate the law and engage in underage drinking, they are the ones who hired the strippers and hurled the racist epithets and sent the disgusting email, and without their decision to do all of those things, there would be no LAX mess.

Wrong. Without Nifong and his agenda along with his enablers, there would be no LAX mess. What you describe happens quite frequently all over the nation and I would venture to guess, other nations. Stop trying to blame THE VICTIMS!

P. Rich said...

Pretty much every article and comment I have read about this case has tip-toed around the race and politics of the principals (including the DA, investigators, Duke faculty and administration, and all quote sources) - except for the accused. This is without question a politics/race-based tragi-comedy. Why not get ALL the facts out onto the table. They are relevant here.

One of the tenets of feminist, liberal academic, politically-correct thought is that white males and corporate America are evil. Combine the two factors and the offspring of such evildoers will be presumed guilty - of whatever is handy - for no other reason than association with "unquestionably evil" parents and culture.

Racism runs both ways. Blacks and whites can exhibit blatantly racist behavior, and neither should be condemed as a group - nor should either get a free pass. To state or imply that it's OK to prosecute whites today without adequate evidence because the same thing happened to blacks yesterday isn't exactly the smartest way forward, but then intellectual rigor is rarely a component of bigotted pronouncements.

Anyone who believes a trial guarantees justice has been living in a cave and reading too much fiction. All human endeavors are flawed, and the legal system more than most. Juries screw up all the time, even when well-meaning, and finding such a jury locally in this case might be near to impossible. The best outcome these guys can hope for in Durham is likely a hung jury irrespective of what occurs in the courtroom. And I expect that is exactly what any competent attorney would tell them and their parents. Look for a change of venue motion, denied, followed by a strong appeal to have the case dismissed for lack of merit. Then I hope the reverse lawsuits and investigations begin in earnest. Those need to wait so as not to prejudice or detract from the pending defense.

P. Rich said...

Make that "accused and accusers" in the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

What a great comment thread! I grow tired of hearing people claim that this case should go to trial to ensure justice. Justice must be ensured at all steps in the process. It has not been in this case, therefore, the charges should properly be dropped. It is not fair for the D.A. to cheat his way to a trial. The punishment for the D.A.'s unethical behaviour should be the loss of ability to bring these charges.

T-web said...

To Anon 11:05 pm:

Yes, the LAX team hiring a couple of strippers set this whole thing in motion. And yes it was in poor taste, and yes, the individuals who made racist or crude comments should be criticized.

That being said, these acts do not excuse the bad acts of Nifong or the Duke administration. And those bad acts by Nifong and Duke administrators were committed by older, more mature individuals with greater forethought and a greater understanding of their consequences. Therefore they deserve harsher and more sustained criticism.

Finally, it's interesting how you keep going to the fact that the lacrosse team hired strippers as the basis for your criticism. Shortly after the lacrosse case broke, Ann Coulter (someone whom, I'm guessing, you rarely agree with) made a similar argument. She wrote that tacky behavior-- such as stripping, hiring strippers and getting drunk in public--often results in bad things occurring. By now, I'd imagine, that Coulter has concluded the LAX players are innocent and should not be punished further for their tacky behavior. You, it seems, are neither as reasonable nor as measured as Ms. Coulter.

Anonymous said...

g.m.s.-
Because of the discovery laws in North Carolina, we already know precisely what evidence (or lack thereof) Nifong has against the Duke 3. There is no good reason to "wait for trial" or to "let a jury decide". He has not only demonstrated for all the world to see that he has NO evidence that a rape occurred, he also refused to listen to the exculpatory evidence that the defense attorneys offered to him.
The other reason to not go to trial is that Collin and Reade cannot return to school until they are exonerated. If they must wait for a trial in the spring, they would not be allowed to return until fall. That they have been attending local community colleges during all of this mess is often overlooked. If you believe, as I do, that they simply "lost the lottery" and were picked by the accuser, it just adds to the unjust burden these boys have had to bear.

Anonymous said...

6:39 AM, your comment is very typical of the comments posted by the LAX team parents and the more radical LAX team supporters. You minimize what the players did by saying that everybody does it, and then you start pointing the finger at others and saying that the real blame lies with them. How convenient for the LAX players. They held the party, they engaged in the underage drinking, they hired the strippers, they hurled the racial epithets, they sent the disgusting email, but they bear none of the blame. In fact, if you say anything critical of the LAX players or have the temerity to suggest that maybe they bear some measure of responsibility for creating this mess, their supporters accuse you of blaming the victims. To borrow a phrase from Kim Roberts, what a crock.

Anonymous said...

To 11:34
Even if the LAX guys did everything you allege ( you mis-characterize them thoroughly) what has that got to do with the mainspring of this mess - which has been the very public proscecution of them for extremely serious, extremely inflammatiory accusations?
Since when has underage drinking, hiring some strippers, and sending tasteless Emails been linked to a nation wide sh!t storm of racial animosity, huge legal bills, and devastated personal lives?
It takes an out of control DA to do that. Nifong is the essential element. Put him somewhere else and he could recreate the same kind of mess immediatedly.
Any other DA I have ever heard of would never have created the Duke mess. They would resign first, if asked to do to so.

AMac said...

anonymous 11:34am:

I think you make a good point. Members of groups should experience consequences when their groups engage in antisocial behavior.

I'd suggest social sanctions for legal but obnoxious acts, misdemeanor punishments for misdemeanors, major fines and jail time for felonies.

> [The LAX players] held the party
--Duke reprimand or a DPD ticket for violating noise ordinances

> they engaged in the underage drinking
--Underage drinking DPD citation

> they hired the strippers
--Pointed editorial in the student paper

> they hurled the racial epithets
[in response to same]
--Another pointed editorial

> they sent the disgusting email
A tasteless joke, playing off a movie studied in class
--Eye rolling

You missed the worst instance, one player's "broomstick" comment during the dance. Despite Robert's remarks on "60 Minutes," he deserved censure from those who heard him, at the least.

But, anonymous 11:34am, three of the forty or so players at the party are facing felony charges, not tickets or college reprimands. This, under circumstances where there is no credible evidence that a felony took place, and where at least two of the three accused have ironclad alibis that rule out their participation in the alleged attack as outlined in any of the alleged victim's accounts.

You and a few other commenters seem to be comfortable with how the State is dispensing Justice in this case.

Is it because you dislike certain characteristics of the members of this group? What if the police and prosecutors applied the same principles to others? You know, folks like us--the sort of people that you approve of. Would you be okay with that, too?

Anonymous said...

To 11:43. You demonstrate some really dumb logic. Would you suggest that a stripper deserves to be raped because of what she does?
I doubt it. By the same token, no one deserves to be falsely accused and falsely prosecuted for having a party with strippers. If you can't understand that simple idea, there is really no reason to argue with your dumb logic.

Tom the Barbarian said...

KC,

"In normal circumstances, the media and the academy can be counted on to value due process and dispassionate analysis of evidence."

You have produced a very good narrative of the Duke Lacross case to date with the exception of the aboved quoted howler.

The sad truth is that the media and institutions of higher learning can be counted on the do whatever they think necessary to protect their own interests which only occasionally conincide with the interests of due process and dispassionate analysis. The conduct of the Duke administration and the local paper are par for the course, not exceptions.

Anonymous said...

I think what happened here is pretty clear.

a) An unpopular DA is facing almost certain defeat in the upcoming primary.

b) A present falls in his lap: A black woman has accused white Duke students of raping her. What great timing!

c) After a quick review of the preliminary facts, Nifong comes to the following conclusion: "Hmm, when a hooker works a party and then claims rape, there likely was some sort of sexual activity, consensual or not. If I can indict some of these yahoos and get DNA evidence against them, then it becomes a he said/she said and they will plead out. I get the black vote, and so what if I screw over a few rich kids to do it?"

d) In his rush to capitalize politically, he stands way out on a limb, certain that SOME DNA will show up that he can work with.

e) No DNA. But it is right before the election, and he can't retreat. He must hold his ground and ignore any exculpatory evidence.

f) Discovery takes its course, and all the flaws in his case are in full view. But he can't drop it now, because if he doesn't go to trial then he has no defense at all when he goes on trial. His only hope is to plow on and pray for some reverse jury nullification.

Anonymous said...

and please don't forget that the only evidence we've (bloggers, public, media) have been presented with to date has been the prosecutions own evidence which clearly shows reasonable doubt and actually much worse. We have not seen any (or not much) of the defense evidence...

those that say that we should let the justice system take its course and let this 'case' proceed to trial should try very hard to put themselves in the lives of the young men accused. Take another look at the facts of this case (no DNA, prosecutors unethical statements, DPD's proclamations of guilt, 2 prior lineups, 3rd and final roulette line up, prosecutors refusal to hear or see exculpatory evidence, a lead investigator's case notes, 31 pages from memory presented 4 months after the fact, that contradict other DPD's notes taken at the time, etc. etc.) would you feel the same if this were your child? Close your eyes and just imagine. Do you still trust the prosecution and police in this case? Will they tell the truth at trial? Do you believe your child will get a fair trial?

Personally, what has happened in this case scares the hell out of me. It could have been anyone's child -- if the situation fit Nifong's political agenda at the time.

Durham citizen

Melissa Clouthier's mom said...

People like Melissa Clouthier are organized to prove a rape occurred even when it's obvious that it hasn't.

Thank God for people likw you who has the courage to speak the truth as people like Melissa Clouthier use victimhood to silence seekers of truth and justice.

Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to how Duke's financial standing has been affected by this scandal. Any figures on endowment, student enrollment, faculty and athletic recruitment, etc.? Have they taken a hit. Some of us believe that while Duke can easily handle 47 lawsuits--don't forget the coach-- such a hollow institution can never fully overcome the stench of cowardice and the inevitable diet of stuffed crow in the faculty club. Refresh my memory: does Duke have a law school?

Anonymous said...

Who/when will someone go after the Durham Police department who assisted in this travesty of justice??

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