Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Symbolic Justice

Over the last seven months, Durham’s legal system has reverted to a mirror image of what existed in the South 50 years ago, when defendants were halfway to conviction based on the color of their skin. The closest historical parallel to Mike Nifong’s behavior comes from the 1950s and early 1960s, when district attorneys in the Deep South routinely filed specious charges against civil rights activists.

Facts had no relevance; everyone knew the accused were innocent. These cases aided the careers of the prosecutors, who, like Nifong, blatantly violated procedures just to get to court. In the process, “community” members could express their hostility to civil rights by misusing the criminal justice system for political purposes.

In a chilling interview with the AP, Nifong explained why he considered it acceptable in 2006 to use the criminal justice system for political purposes. “You can make the case go away pretty easily,” he taunted, “you can do it with the stroke of a pen.” But such an action, said Durham County’s minister of justice, “does nothing to address the underlying divisions that have been revealed. My personal feeling is the first step to addressing those divisions is addressing this case.” Indeed, Nifong suggested, “the future of Durham’s in the balance.”

Of course, Nifong himself, in a search for the African-American votes he needed to secure the Democratic nomination against a despised foe, deliberately intensified those divisions. Ignoring the state bar’s ethics requirement to “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused,” Nifong compared the case to a cross-burning and claimed, in his first set of public comments on the case, “The contempt that was shown for the victim, based on her race was totally abhorrent. It adds another layer of reprehensibleness, to a crime that already reprehensible.”

Speaking of “reprehensibleness,” in interviews that occurred as late as March 31, Nifong denied knowing the identity of first 911 caller on the evening of the lacrosse party. But in a March 22 statement to police, Kim Roberts said that she made the original call, after a post-departure verbal squabble in which she and a couple of the players traded racially degrading insults. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Nifong hoped to inflame sentiments in the black community by creating the impression that team members had spent 45 minutes or so hurling racial epithets at African-American passers-by, to the extent of frightening one of them into making a 911 call.

But leave aside what the blog Liestoppers termed the case’s “hoax within a hoax,” Nifong’s stoking the “underlying divisions” he now promises to ameliorate. Leave aside, also, what appears to be Nifong’s real motive in lurching forward with the case—his knowledge that a dismissal would prove his critics’ argument that he employed massive procedural violations to construct a case out of whole cloth, thereby inviting the state bar’s ethics committee to revoke his license when it adjudicates the ethics complaints against him.

Consider, instead, the ramifications of the DA’s statement that the case is “the first step to addressing those [underlying] divisions”—to such an extent that “the future of Durham’s in the balance.” Nifong seems to have confused his previous profession—social worker—with his current responsibility as chief prosecutor.

A trial is designed to determine whether or not the three people charged committed a crime. It’s not designed to address Durham’s “underlying divisions”—a task, based on what we’ve seen in this case, that the city’s political leadership has utterly failed to perform in the last generation.

Finally, the statement previews the covert appeal to jury nullification that Nifong will employ in any trial. This is a case in which the prosecutor not only has no facts, but where the defense can prove first, that no crime occurred; and second, the three players charged are, for different reasons, demonstrably innocent. (Seligmann because of his electronic alibi evidence; Evans because he can prove he didn’t, as the accuser claimed, have a mustache; Finnerty because he was chosen through the same corrupted photo ID lineup as the other two.)

Facing such a situation, Nifong has no choice but to fall back upon the tactic that has worked well for him to date—appealing to prejudice based on class and race. The investigation, he suggested at NCCU, proved his refusal “to allow Durham’s view in the minds of the world to be a bunch of lacrosse players at Duke raping a black girl from Durham.” Getting the case to trial, he now asserts, is the necessary “first step to addressing those [underlying] divisions” in the city. And convicting innocent people, he doubtless will tell the jury, will bring closure and allow Durham to move into its bright future, free of racial tension and class envy.

Surely, it would seem, such an argument either would be disallowed by the judge or fail to sway a jury. But who ever could have predicted that Nifong would have gotten away with justifying first the investigation and then the need for a trial on grounds of resolving the abuses of the past?

---------

Nifong’s interview contained three other disturbing, if less breathtaking, statements.

1.) Trying to blunt the avalanche of criticism that greeted his revelation of never having spoken to the accuser about the facts of the case, he reasoned,

Why do I have to be the one that’s interviewed somebody? The police, other people can deal with interviews and they can report to me what they do and I can direct them from that. It’s not necessary for me to ask you about a specific event from your life for me to get a sense of whether or not you’re a reliable individual.

In an interview with ABC News, Linda Fairstein, who headed the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit for more than two decades, described Nifong’s strategy as “just against the progress that’s been made in this very specialized field,” an approach that “belies anything a prosecutor would do before making charges.”

Even more to the point, in a breach of standard protocol, Nifong assigned himself to supervising the police investigation eight days into the case, with officers ordered “to continue with our investigation, but to go through Mr. Nifong for any directions as to how to conduct matters in this case.”

Perhaps Nifong enablers such as Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley could locate one other rape case filed in the last year where Heraldthe de facto lead investigator had failed to speak with the accuser about events of the alleged attack.

In short, in his AP interview, Nifong not only defended the highly peculiar—a prosecutor failing to hear from an accuser who told myriad, mutually contradictory, stories her own version of events. He defended the indefensible—the person supervising the police investigation not hearing from the accuser under such circumstances.

2.) Nifong continued to boast of his closed-mindedness: “I think,” he told the AP, “that really nothing about my view of the case and my view of how the case ultimately needs to be handled has been affected by any of the things that have occurred.”

Add the video of the accuser pole-dancing in a limber fashion as her defenders were banging pots and Kim Roberts’ revelations to ABC to the myriad of post-March 27 facts outlined yesterday. Then ask yourself how anyone with even a remote conception of fairness could utter the sort of statement Nifong made to the AP.

3.) After having ridden the case to a win in the primary, Nifong now dismisses its political significance. “I think the people who are trying to make this about the lacrosse case,” he mused, “are saying, ‘Well, the lacrosse case gives us a picture of how this office is going to handle all such cases in the future.’ To which the first response is: What are the chances we're going to have another case that's anything like this?”

I’m unaware of any critic of Nifong who has said, “The lacrosse case gives us a picture of how this office is going to handle all such [emphasis added] cases in the future.” Many, on the other hand, have pointed out that Nifong’s actions in this case predicts the unethical way in which his office will consider all cases in the future. As Duke Law’s James Coleman explained to 60 Minutes, “You know, what are you to conclude about a prosecutor who says to you, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to get this set of defendants?’ What does it say about what he’s willing to do to get poor black defendants?”

Based on what we saw from Nifong’s AP appeal to symbolic justice, it seems he’s willing to do just about anything.

[Update, 8.13am: Lacrosse player Devon Sherwood spoke out this morning about the stereotyping of his teammates, and revealed the horrific treatment he's received over the last seven months. It's clear that, black or white, lacrosse players have been targets of the Durham establishment.

And Liestoppers also examines Nifong's chilling statement to the AP: “Echoing the sentiments of the potbangers who attached their agendas to the Hoax, Mr. Nifong reveals his own.” Liestoppers continues:

If DA Nifong’s words are to be believed, he clearly misunderstands what his responsibilities within the criminal justice system are. If his words are sincere, he clearly has put three young men in jeopardy of decades in jail while soiling their good names, damaging their lives and causing their families to endure outrageous expense, not in the interests of criminal justice but rather in the interests of serving his own personal agenda of addressing “underlying issues.” In doing so, he has made these three young men pedestals upon which to step while giving himself the opportunity to paint himself as a man seeking to “address underlying issues.”

As misguided, unjust, and unjustified as this abuse of office would appear to be, it is difficult to imagine the Mr. Nifong truly feels his responsibility as a District Attorney is to “address underlying issues” at the expense of three innocent men. It appears far more likely that reading through his message results in finding yet another indication that Mr. Nifong’s intention is to continue to advantage himself of this opportunity, not in the interests of the “balance of Durham,” but rather for the balance of the election campaign.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking at the potbangers, the probable reelection of Nifong, the death threats on the Duke 3, one realizes the KKK must be laughing their heads off. Knowing full well that the accused on the Duke lax team were amongst the types who laughingly consider the Klan paranoid uneducated rednecks, they must be very smugly enjoying that the Duke boys (those uppity liberal Northerners of various unacceptable religions) are learning the Klan was correct after all in their warnings about blacks.

kbp said...

Thanks KC

I'm down to just laughing or crying, the anger is nearly exhausted.

To Anon 1:15, color did not create this problem, though many have colored it since it started - especially Nifong. Any that put a color on it put themselves in a class along side Nifong.

Anonymous said...

Nifong does appear to be willing to do about anything. His character flaws are disgusting but no longer surprising.

A larger question is what is wrong with Duke, Durham, the courts, and the North Carolina Bar that a man like Nifong can be given free rein in the justice system.

Any white or Asian parent looking for a university for his child must have serious doubts about this corrupted hole in North Carolina.

The city offers a lower class police department whose members smolder with envy of the lives of the students and are prepared to use the power of the badge to take revenge on them.

The citizenry includes a black population rotten with racism and harboring hatreds that find easy targets among the students.

The justice system? Well, it has Nifong, and judges and a bar that, by their silence, support his actions.

The university? Well it speaks for politically 'acceptable' victims, but mostly, in a mealy-mouthed way, for itself.

The students, obviously innocent, are abandoned by smug, amoral professors who prefer a race-based show trial over actual justice.

What a loathsome university; what a degraded community.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:15 and Anon 1:32, I am sure the Durham Jury pool will ignore the Fact that the KKK and other Racist are backing the Duke 3. This Case is going to trial you better try to hide your true color(s), the Duke 3 deserve a better oppurtunity to prove their innocence.

Anonymous said...


The Newspapers won't take on Nifong or the woman.

The Media, in general, won't take on Nifong and the woman.

Nifong is a Democrat and has punched all the right holes along the way.

The accuser is a black woman. The media doesn't feel comfortable criticizing her in the least. Whereas they went wild with rampant speculation of the depravity and the moral character of the players - as they acted like they were all the same - like one entity.

Nifong knows what he is doing. He knows he will be a hero in Durham if he gets one conviction, and he knows that no one is going to take him on because of Political correctness and the racial climate.

It is very sad -- in that Justice is not supposed to meet in back rooms, harbor grudges, or make assumptions based on people's looks, age or associations.

Itis very Sad, indeed!

_

Anonymous said...

I am anon 1:15, and I despise the KKK. But I KNOW they're laughing about what whites are learning about black mob justice. (Why would the KKK support the Duke 3 anyway? One defendent is Catholic and one is half-Jewish, which they hate).

Anonymous said...

I apologize Anon 1:15.

Anonymous said...

That's okay. I should have written more clearly. -Anon 1:15.

Anonymous said...

as usual you all do not know what the hell you are talking about locally. the kkk types are supporting the duke 3 to a man as they are whiter than the victim. check out the local abc discussion board at wtvd. the kkk posters are regularly banned on there with little red badges next to their names and posts and they have been banned for promising to lynch the stripper and things like that. there are a lot of them. just read some of the posts. they are the most racist of all the boards but it gives you an idea of what a lot of the local people backing the duke 3 are like. they are unapologetic racists. the duke students are not innocent and no one envies them around here. they are arrogant a--holes and are not nice to the local people who are really very friendly to strangers. they have earned a lot of the hatred the city has for them. you can contrast that with the affection the locals have for nc state students and unc students and wake forest students. they do not have the same town gown tensions as the students are largely local or at least southern and know how to behave according to local standards of politeness and civility. if you want an example on national tv, contrast the way the students act at a unc basketball game with the hideous and foul-mouthed way the cameron crazies act. there is no comparison.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those "KKK posters" are really anti-Duke 3 and posting that stuff to make the Duke 3 look bad (as though only white racists would support them). I've looked at the official KKK website and can't find any mention of the Duke case. Either way, I hope a Durham jury wouldn't hold that against the defendents (like I wouldn't hold it against the dancer that the New "Dead Man Walking!" Black Panther Party showed up). I hope they'd only go by facts and DNA evidence, but I don't hold out any hope for apparently low-I.Q. Durham.

Anonymous said...

sorry to disappoint you but the kkk type posters do not possess that sense of irony. they pretty much mean what they say. why would they want to hurt the duke 3? a catholic white boy is still a white boy to them. the kkk is way more anti-black than it is anti-catholic or anti-jewish. the key word for the kkk types is white. they also are not the most well read people in the world and so may not have read about who is supposedly half-jewish. all they know is that nifong is taking the word of a black woman over the word of 3 white males and that is not supposed to happen. ever.

the local racists and their support are part of what has gotten the local blacks to really support nifong. when they saw the local known racists defending the duke 3 and saying that the cae should not even have been investigated, that made them angry right then and there. and they listened to nifong at that forum at nccu and then he got a lot more support from blacks as he was the one person who was talking their language about seeking justice. that is why they have stuck with him despite worldwide condemnation and pressure. the poll did not lie. nifong's black support is very strong and things like kim roberts performing on tv does not help the duke 3 right now as it only makes a lot of black people angry as they think the defense is paying for a lot of lies trying to get the duke 3 off.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh....I see. The spin now will be that the black activists just acted in reaction to the KKK rallying around the Duke 3. Without evidence of that, I'll never buy it. (I'm open for the evidence though).

Anonymous said...

There's as much evidence the KKK rallied and continue to rally around the Duke 3 as there is a rape occurred. This is all smoke and mirrors.

Though I DO find it hilarious that the "moralists" find indignation in the KKK possibly backing the Duke boys and were unaffected by the Black Panthers threatening them and backing the stripper/FA. People should accept the fact that racism cuts both ways and is not a one way street that the media loves to portray.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another fine article KC. Your analogy to the prosecutorial abuses of the 50's-early 60's South is all too sadly true. But the lesson that emerged from that era is that justice is not ultimately the exclusive preserve of unscrupulous prosecutors and inflamed local electorates. Laws now exist at the federal level to act as a check on such behavior and I have no doubt they will be coming into play if Durham Justice continues to fail.

Anonymous said...

Liefong's recent AP interview and the comments of one of the posters here lay bare the entire hoax: this is all about race, with the blacks in Durham saying, "We have the numbers, and we can do whatever we want."

Once upon a time, this is how blacks were railroaded into prison by whites, and it was wrong. But, the black ministers of Durham and others, including Duke faculty members, are now saying that while it might have been wrong for whites to have railroaded innocent people, there is nothing wrong with blacks railroading innocent people into prison.

If this case goes to trial, you can bet that Liefong will ask each defendant if he EVER has uttered the "N-word" in his lifetime. If they say "yes," then black jurors automatically will use that as an excuse to vote guilty. If they say "no," then black jurors (and white liberals) will say they are lying and use that as an excuse to vote guilty.

Should anyone think that a conviction of innocent people somehow will "heal" racial divisions, that is a lie. The only thing that heals divisions is truth, and if the black community in Durham insists on living a lie, then we can expect the divisions to go on forever. Just as many whites in the South never have been willing to look squarely at their racism and awful treatment of blacks, should the blacks of Durham insist on doing the same, then this evil and madness continues on and on.

Anyone who openly says that he or she is not interested in the truth and wishes to, in effect, murder three innocent people because of racial motives is evil. Pure and simple evil.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

To use these false allegations to heal racial tensions is one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard. It is escalating racial tension. Prof. Coleman provides us with an example of how a person withou prejudice thinks and behaves. I admire him and his work. By protecting the rights of a single person, we protect the rights of everyone. By protecting the rights of the Black community, we protect the rights of everyone. By protecting the rights of the white community, we protect the rights of everyone.

tlxcross said...

I can tell you exactly how this disastrous miscarriage of justice will end. Remember this post when the following comes to pass.
1. Mike Nifong will win this election.
2. A few weeks will pass, then Nifong will state that he will be dropping the charges because the accuser is too "traumatized" to testify.
3. In this way, Nifong is off the hook relative to having to embarass himself in front of the world by taking this non-case to trial.
Finally, Mr. Nifong will then face the state bar for his unethical activities. I can't predict what will happen there. The bar in North Carolina may be just as weak with Nifong as the UN has been with Iran. Who knows.
The real attack could be in the form of civil suits filed by the innocents against Nifong. I would be thrilled to see him driven into bankruptcy over this. I would hope the players would also sue the university as well.
I am not pro-litigation by any means, but this case screams for devastating judgments against Nifong and Duke.

Anonymous said...

From what I have witnessed on the WTVD, there were a few KKK types that were banned and received no "support" from other, rational white posters. There is no wide spread KKK campaign going on.
You say that all out of town students "don't behave according to the local standards of politenss and civility". If you are a Durham representative, I certainly dont'find you to polite or civil. So, exactly what is acceptable behavior to you? When my daughter arrived in Durham last fall, she was very surprised at how unfriendly many Durham residents were. By nature, she is an extremely friendly kid and was bothered by the rudeness she immediately encountered.
By the way, here is the profile of the Duke class of 2010:
North Carolina 14%
Northeast 14%
MidAtlantic 19%
Southeast 24%
West 11%
International 8%
In other words, 57% percent of Duke's student body are from either the Southeast, Midatlantic, or North Carolina. So, many, many students should qualify as having "southern" politeness and civility. Yet, you seem to lump all Duke students together as being arrogant a-holes. You are the one that comes across as being arrogant and despising anyone who doesn't reside in your own state. I realize NC protects its residents by only allowing 18% out of state acceptance at state universities. Naturally, there will be more support and affection for these schools. However, that is no reason to despise a school as diverse as Duke. There is no reason not to celebrate the good fortune of having both strong state and private universities.
Being from a middle class family, we encouraged our daughter to apply to Duke because of its diversity. She initially found being out of her comfort zone difficult. However, in the long run, her exposure to those that differ from herself has been the biggest learning experience she has had at Duke. On a daily basis, she lives and studies with students that bring a different perspective to her life. Being surrounded by fellow students that come from different geographical locations, races, cultures, economic status, and so forth has been an incredible learning experience. I don't know how many Duke students you know, but my daughter's experience with the students is nothing like you suggest. As a matter of fact, I think the students are what make Duke.
Lastly, what do the rowdy students at a basketball game have to do with anything? What is funny is how many colleges and even our local high schools are beginning to emulate the Crazies. There was even an article last year in our local paper discussing it. So, I'm afraid most people aren't offended by the Crazies.

Anonymous said...

The NC Attorney General will be running for re-election in 2008. He doesn't want to get involved, for fear of angering potential voters. He has lost my vote next election.

Quasimodo said...

The NC Attorney General will be running for re-election in 2008. He doesn't want to get involved, for fear of angering potential voters. He has lost my vote next election..

Probably the single thing Cooper will most be remembered for during his tenure is his failure to act during the lacrosse hoax (which will go down as "Scottsboro II").

He had (and still has--barely) the chance to act the man--but he won't.

Anonymous said...

Truely chilling. Where is the FBI and Department of Justice?

Anonymous said...

KC:

In my mind, "symbolic justice" is synonymous with Social Justice. This case has been about social justice for a long, long time. No one who supports the AV - including the DA - has argued this case based on facts and/or evidence for months. Instead this group has fallen back on such intellectually vapid arguments as "well something must have happened"; "the team has history of underage drinking and public urination"; or "we don't know what went on in that house". None of these positions allow for thoughtful discusssion and none require empirical proff.

The AV's gang has tried to chnage the debate to one of social justice; using this situation as an oportunity to "even the score" for past racial injutices in our country. So, for the DA to adopt, suddenly, the language of his supporters shouldn't come as a surprise. Although, isn't it interesting that rather than communicating a message that resonated with the electorate, this candidate has opted to follow the lead of his supporters?

Wait until that bill comes due.

Todd Glosson

The Dude said...

tlxcross

I agree with your thoughts. I would add that after Nifong drops the case he puts in his retirement papers and collects his pension. At that point he doesn't need his law license and the State of NC will probably drop the matter.
Nifong is counting on the Victim's version, condition, record, etc(pick one) will get him off the hook. I don't see that happening. he was the lead investigator. He has no case to present as a Pros. The defense has already made references to his being "recused" due to his status as a witness. he will never get the chance to start a trial. He is going to be a Defendant and a Material Wintess in various civil suits.
Imagine Nifong attempting to present this case. (This will be used in the Civil ventures) He can't place the accuser on the stand. She has absolutely no credibility and can not even prove that a sexual assault occurred. he can't use the boyfriend(driver, pimp, etc...). this guy did not witness any crime but can rebut almost everything the accusser has claimed. The second dancer has given several statements, non of which the State can use. They can't call her and then discredit her as their own witness. they didn't make any attempt to contact her and that is RELEVANT.(That also makes Nifong a witness again).
Apparently the Nurse and medical staff don't seem to make any observations that would slightly resemble a sexual assault. to do so would require changing their statements. Gottlieb is worthless. He can't offer his opinions because he didn't make reports or even take notes. The state can subpoena whomever they want, but they have to prove the elements of the offense. THEY CAN NOT PROVE A CRIME OCCURRED.

HMan said...

To 4:28
It seems to go right over your head that your own comments confirm Dr. Johnsons point. Your screed is full of reasons why you do not like Duke people and how you think they deserve some sort of pay-back, or at least a lesson of some type. That this category of thinking should have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of three particular young men (at least in America) seem to elude you entirely.
You say here that you believe the 3 guys are guilty, or at least "not innocent". No you don't. You know as well as the rest of us that if Nifong had anything he would have produced it long ago - both because the LAW compells him to and he is in a public relations fight of his own choosing.
Besides, the local Durham reality is hardly the only one that matters here. Proscecutorial crimes are potentially federal crimes and non-durham standard will be applied in civil judgments.

Anonymous said...

The Civil War has just begun. If the black community of Durham thinks the entire white community will sit back quietly while they attempt to convict 3 innocent young men for injustices they think were committed against their ancestors they are sadly mistaken. There will be so many white people descending on Durham rioting for justice. Durham is full of racist, ignorant bigots who can't even look at the evidence but instead want to twist this case to get even for slavery. I hope the KKK decends on your town.

Anonymous said...

A riot would definitely get the Federal Government involved. It would be about time they stepped in and took over the investigation.

Anonymous said...

With regard to Durham, well I have to say that this case has exposed a very nasty and unsavory side to that town. We now see the side of it that is a crime ridden, small southern town with a certain segment of the population that clearly resents and hates Duke and everything it represents. In addition you have a not insignificant number of black racists who are more than happy to see a few innocent white boys put in jail by their man DA Nifong.
And the prosecutor is so pathetically backward that he doesn't even know (or if he does he doesn't care) that the standard of law for 20 years has been for prosecutors to directly interview accusers in sex related cases (as Linda Fairstein noted yesterday).

I predict that Nifong will win next Tuesday.
There are many fair and honest Durhamites that will be horrified at this result.
I applaud Ruth Sheehan's effort in the N&O yesterday to convince people that there is much at stake, and Nifong should be voted out.
But I think it's too little, too late.
The rest of the country will just see it as confirmation of what a backward and scary place Durham is.

locomotive breath said...

Mike Nifong seems to believe that the way to create justice is to create two symmetrically opposed injustices when, in reality, that simply creates double the injustice. The only way to create justice is by the absence of injustice. The fact that there were, in the past, injustices that cannot now be made just can not, must not, and should not be taken into account in any present day case.

locomotive breath said...

p.s.
K C, given your tenure and promotion struggle you'll find this funny

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/10/10bryan.html

AMac said...

to certain anonymous commenters:

In this post, KC points out the perils of conflating broad-brush concerns (e.g. 'social justice') with a criminal trial.

With reference to our Constitutions (federal & state) and Laws--more generally, with reference to the Social Contract--a criminal trial has the purpose of identifying and punishing the Guilty, while protecting the due process rights of the Accused.

That's it.

Anon 10:20am has weighed in. (The Civil War has just begun... I hope the KKK decends on your town.) S/he has taken a page from the Group of 88, using overbroad and inflammatory language to make an ethically dubious point.

The Rape Hoax isn't about the supposed collective sins of African-American residents of Durham, or about ascribing revenge fantasies to "the Whites." It is a story of individuals' actions, their causes, and their consequences.

Yes, some people have behaved very unethically, and more have acted out on the basis of emotions. Other people have used reason and ethics to guide their words and deeds. As usual, most folks fall somewhere in the middle.

In this thread, a few writers have used the cloak of anonymity to caricature other people's thinking based on their presumed group affiliation. I don't share such sentiments. Nor, I will guess, do most commenters or readers.

I've learned quite a bit about the rape case from commenters at D-i-W. I hope the discussion here can remain focused on insights and new information concerning that subject.

Anonymous said...

Nifong isn't even hiding what he is doing. What prosecutor would say he could drop this case easily? We are talking about rape allegations here. If Nifong had a real case, would he say he could easily drop this case? I think not. He is admitting he plans to take this to trial because of issues. So, basically, he is saying his strategy is going to be to go for jury nullification. Just like you said, KC, the South has come full circle, and looks like they are proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Dear amac.If you want to ignore the elephant in the room, it's your prerogative, but I doubt you can convince many others to do the same.

sceptical said...

I would argue that Nifong's comments are the best reason yet for the defense to request a change of venue.

The Dude said...

A change of venue doesn't mean nifong will go away. He will just get a per diem to travel. Either way a change of venue is clearly in order but so far we haven't seen any Judge follow procedure.

Nifong can go for jury nullification all he wants. He has to survive a customary MOTION TO DISMISS at the end of the State's case. The state doesn't seem to have a case. With all the current attention, Nifong would be a fool to actually pick a jury knowing the case will be dismissed. Even a sympathetic Judge will see the logic of dismissal when Nifong can't even prove that a crime was committed let alone who committed same.

Anonymous said...

Nifong is like someone who kills their parents and then complains about being an orphan. His comments were purposely designed to create racial tension and now he is whining about the divisions he helped create and even using them as an excuse to take the case to trial. That's pretty twisted, even by Nifongian standards.

As for Durham, they seem determined to have this petty, corrupt jerk as their DA. This saddens me because as bad as my image of Durham is right now, I don't think even they deserve him.

Anonymous said...

The contributors seem to forget that the same voters who are about to give us another term of Michael Liefong are the same voters who elect people like Judge Osmond Smith.

Moreover, Smith is aware of the voters, and he knows that if he dismisses the charges, no matter how baseless they may be, the voters will go after him and vote him out. Given that, Smith will prefer to punt to the appellate level.

That is what happened in the Little Rascals case. At the local level, the trial was abominable, as the judges in the Robert Kelly and Dawn Wilson trials were de facto part of the prosecution team. It was the appeals system that ultimately overturned the guilty verdicts and ordered the defendants released.

Rest assured, the prosecutorial system of North Carolina is well-known for wrongful prosecutions and convictions, and the use of dishonest shenanigans to keep people incarcerated even after appeals courts have ordered their releases. Do not underestimate the dishonesty of the "justice" (sic) employees of that state.

One hopes that the charges will be thrown out BEFORE a trial, as we know what is likely to happen if there is a trial, and there would be a much greater possiblity of a guilty verdict than an acquittal, given the racial and sexual politics of this case. That is a cold, hard fact, and the defense knows it.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

So many northerners retire to NC. Why? Because they can get a big house for 1/2 the price, really low taxes and the weather is pretty good. I for one will not be retiring in NC, nor would I consider sending my children to school in NC, regardless of the outcome of the Duke lax case.

Look at the players and tell me which is worst: Nifong, cops, judges, Brodhead, 88 professors, community activists. It is a tough choice because they are all rotten and dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that threats were made to the Presslers about raping their daughters!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:29 poster - good. stick with going to Florida. I'm sure you'll be happier there anyways, and North Carolinians won't have to put up with your hystrionics. Some of you people need to get a grip.

Anonymous said...

To 8:29.

I'm sorry you feel that way. I wish you'd give NC another shot. You should note, however, that its no mistake that no southerners were caught up in this episode. We all know that would end badly.

No matter how much we fake the "color blind" sociey, everyone down here knows that we're better off separate. The history, or resentments, which ever you prefer, run too deep. Sure there's the black doctor who lives down the street or the black lady at work who you think is smart and funny, but no matter what, there's still tension.

We understand it. It is the Northerners who don't. That's how these kids got hung up in this crap. They were raised to believe that the only difference between blacks and whites is skin color. That is absolutely false. The cultures are different and the history between the two races makes mingling unrealistic.

Its unfortunate, but its true. So, give NC another shot. But just don't come down here and preach to us about how racist we are and how we'd do well to recognize diversity and be more inclusive in all of our activities. Well, I guess you could preach it, but you shouldn't engage in any experiments to test out your theories. If you do, we'll just watch from a safe distance.

Heed the lesson of OJ and Duke LAX.

Anonymous said...

To 10:05 pm. I don't see one post here that says southerners should be more inclusive in their activities. I am not saying southerners should or shouldn’t be more inclusive in their activities, what I am saying is I have no clue who you are responding to. 8:29 has not suggested anything of the sort.

Anonymous said...

anybody who has lived in the north and come down here will tell you the people are friendly and talkative, almost nosy. they are friendly but they may have found out your daughter went to duke and having had bad experiences in the past, they clammed up or were rude. the duke students as a group have a mouthy and smart aleck reputation. many of their worst moments have been in the local newspaper and evening news. they are big on looking down on the locals. in one famous episode in trinity park, the police were called to break up a wild party in which several people were arrested. the police were taunted about their low salaries by the students when they came to break up the party. that is not the kind of thing that is reported at state or unc when their keggers are broken up because those students were raised in the southern way: respect elders, yes ma'am, no, sir, if caught doing something wrong go quietly with police,not denigrate them, respect the "truce" between the black community and the white and try not to stir up trouble with people of another race, etc. the reason the misbehaving duke students are disliked in durham is they do not know or honor this code and they have caused a lot of trouble because of it.

also, I want to clear up a misconception that many of you have stated again and again: that the black community wants some innocent white boys to pay for slavery. that is not true. the black community does not beleive in their innocence and rather beleive that something happened to the av. the street logic goes that no stripper would leave the money and call the police unless something bad had happened. the fact that kim called 911 was part of this thinking. no woman of the night would have called 911 if nothing happened. something happened according to a lot of people in the black community and the number one thing they also point to is this simple fact: nifong would never bring a totally fake case againist rich white boys with nothing backing him up as the results would be too damaging to him as he is a career da and a part of the white power structure around here. career das go on to be judges in durham. nifong has some evidence that no one has seen or has a witness that cheshire and crew have not told the press about. think about it. if one of the players turned states evidence, do you think that cheshire and crew would call a press conference to annonce that? no they would not, they would do what they are doing now, which is trying to get it dismissed without ever going to court so the world would never see that testimony.

AMac said...

anonymous 2:49am--

> nifong has some evidence that no one has seen or has a witness that cheshire and crew have not told the press about. think about it.

Discovery.

KC Johnson and others have written about it. At this point, the DA can have secret theories that he reveals later on, but not secret facts.

So I've thought about it--you are proposing an explanation that can't be correct.

Anonymous said...

Kim told to 911 operator no one hurt her in any way. To imply that somehow Kim called 911 because something was done to Precious is ludicrous. Kim never mentioned anything of the sort while calling 911.
NC has an open discovery law. Nifong can't hide evidence from the defense. If he did, that evidence would not be allowed at trial.
It’s clear to me the accuser left her money at the party because she passed out on the stairs, and when she did that, she lost her belongings. There is a photo of her passed out on the stairs.
And frankly, if Durham hates Duke students so much, maybe you should demand Duke University relocated somewhere else. Won't that be nice for Durham and Durhamites?

Anonymous said...

"the street logic goes that no stripper would leave the money and call the police unless something bad had happened."

The stripper did not call the police.
You don't think Kim Roberts stole her money? They clearly had a fight in the car. ("Go ahead, put marks on me...")

Anonymous said...

8:08 AM poster--
Thanks for your defense of Duke students. People often see what they want to see, and it's easy to tag Duke kids as the "rich outsiders" compared to students at UNC, NCState, or NCCU. But it's far too simple. Are there some spoiled, oafish Duke students who don't think hard enough about their impact on the local community, especially when drinking at parties in residential neighborhoods? Of course. But there is another side to that story, as shown by earlier reporting on how Sgt. Gottlieb and other Durham police officers have handled situations involving Duke students as compared to those involving other people; if the students involved don't show complete respect for the police, they are probably foolish--but maybe not stupid. And these students in any event are only a few of many at Duke. A lot of Duke students are actively engaged in a variety of public service activities in the Durham community; others just want to mind their own business and get an education, without either irritating or befriending local residents (though they do spend money, thus presumably providing a net benefit to the community through their presence).

I also agree with your comments about the value of diversity (geographic as well as more obvious kinds) in a college experience. My daughter, a 2004 Duke graduate, began college at our in-state flagship UVA (academically a great school) and found its in-state insularity disappointing. Moreover, while this was by no means true of all, or even most, UVA students, she encountered many who were racist, homophobic, and sexist with an openness that shocked her. She transfered to Duke her sophomore year and had a much better experience. Some of that is probably just the luck of whom she met (bad luck at UVA, better luck at Duke), but it is a healthy reminder that general assumptions about the superior behavior or manners of state school students over private school students (or, probably, vice versa) are not likely to stand up under close examination.

Anonymous said...

those of you that keep insisting all of the discovery is known and has been given to the press and that means there is no plea deal are assuming that a plea deal and testimony from the player are not already in the discovery given and just not leaked to the press by the defense. why would they leak that? it hurts their stance that the players are totally innocent. i can see it now: cheshire is on the courthouse steps and evans has completed his fantastic lies speech and cheshire steps up to say: "and by the way, young X has turned state's evidence and will be testifying. Goodbye". you know that even if that is in the discovery, the defense will not broadcast something like that. case in point, during that news conference, cheshire referred to dna found on a towel and neglected to say that it was the dna of his client, evans, who was making the speech that day. that info only surfaced later in an newspaper article in which an unindicted player's dna was also mentioned. that is an example of cheshire knowing evans was positive on the towel but not disclosing it so why do you think it is impossible there are other things not disclosed by the defense?