Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Scott Bass on the Herald-Sun

Former Durham resident Scott Bass has a great letter in today's Herald-Sun, responding to the paper's peculiar post-election editorial:
The Herald-Sun's editorial on Nov. 9 regarding the Duke lacrosse rape case was absolutely stunning. I am glad that you are setting the record straight after all this time. For over 200 years, Americans have been under the false impression that in the American system of justice, it was the prosecutor's responsibility for proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a defendant was guilty.

Apparently we have had it wrong all along. Now we know that it is the defendant's responsibility for proving their innocence, thanks to your insight when you say, "it would be better for the players to have an opportunity to prove their innocence at trial."

You, your paper and your unwavering support of a corrupt district attorney are a disgrace. I am one of many people I know that are thankful that they no longer live in Durham.

SCOTT BASS
Boise, Idaho
November 14, 2006

It's worth remembering, of course, that the H-S isn't the only actor in the case to articulate this unusual conception of due process: Duke president Richard Brodhead likewise proclaimed that a trial would present an opportunity “for our students to be proved innocent.”

In Wonderland, it seems, the normal rules are upside down.

29 comments:

Jim K. said...

It truly pains me to say that my once beloved Duke has lost all my respect. I am one alum that will never again give a penny to Duke as long as DICK broadHEAD and the scum of 88 remain at Duke in good standing. They make me sick.

Anonymous said...

Great letter. I loved how Scott is saying almost word for word what I have told numerous people when he stated "I am one of many people that is very thankful to no longer be a citizen of Durham." The statement rings true for me as well Scott.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone post or direct me to a link as to what the advertisement taken out by the "Duke 88" said word for word? I have yet to read it thoroughly.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The distinction between "innocent" and "not guilty" is a tricky one. Frankly, many might not even understand that there is a difference. For lay people to use them interchangeably, I won't get to upset.

When Nifong says it is defendants' burden to prove their innocence, then I'll get irate.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:01 pm.

You are correct in saying that there is a difference between 'not guilty' and 'innocent.'

However, you seem to imply that a defendant must somehow show or prove he is 'not guilty.'

A defendant has no legal obligation to introduce any evidence or put on a case. The burden of proof is entirely on the prosecutor. The legal presumption is that a person charged is not guilty. He indicates he is going to rely on that presumption--and put the prosecutor to his proof--by pleading 'not guilty.'

If the prosecutor does not introduce enough evidence in the case to overcome the legal presumption that a defendant is not guilty (which is probably impossible in this case) then the defendant is entitled to a verdict in his favor even if he does not introduce a single bit of evidence.

Unless Nifong can make a prima facie case, the judge should dismiss it when the state rests. The judges in Durham seem more fearful of the public than the law, so, even without a prima facie case, the defense may br putting on a case. If at the conclusion of everything, the prosecutor has not proven his case 'beyond a reasonable doubt,' which usually means 'consistent with guilt, AND INCONSISTENT WITH ANY REASONABLE HYPOTHESIS OF INNOCENCE,' then the verdict should be for acquittal.

In this case, the proof is practically on its head. The defendants appear to be able to prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see any reasonable hypothesis of guilt.

The trio should never have been charged; once charged, the case should immediately have been dismissed. That it has come this far, and that three innocent men should be compelled to endure the pain and expense of a pending trial is a disgrace, and a stain upon the North Carolina Bar and judicial system.

Anonymous said...

To the 1:01: Nifong has already made statements suggesting that it is the Duke defendants' burden to prove their innocence. For example, I don't remember Nifong's exact quote, but a few months ago he said something to the effect that Reade Seligman only has to account for 90 minutes of his life, and if Seligman can do that, then he doesn't have anything to worry about. Anyone who is familiar with the U.S. legal system knows that Seligman is under absolutely no obligation to account for even one minute of his time. The clear meaning of Nifong's statement is that Seligman has to prove that he did not rape the Accuser during that 90 minute period, or else he's in jeopardy. The Durham journalist who wrote that article clearly isn't the only one in Durham who does not understand that the State always has the burden of proving that a crime occurred, and the defendant is presumed innocent until the State has proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Anonymous said...

Most citizens of Durham (who haven't left) are likely afraid to write anything bad about Nifong.

Anonymous said...

I changed my will to remove a substantial sum of money I was leaving Duke.
I always felt indebted because of a help I recieved.
Thanks to Broadmoron and the group of 88 that the obligation has now been removed.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a former Durham resident. Like share time at a 12 step meeting... as in I thought it was safe to live in Trinity Park and walk my daughter's stroller to the shops on Ninth Street-- I didn't know about the Stalinists and the Racists.. . We always felt positive about our time in Durham and at Duke. And I am now grateful that my wife and I made the decision to move on from Duke to Harvard many years ago. It would be very painful to have invested so much in raising a family in Durham and now to live amidst the insanity taking place these many months-- finding out that so many people hate people like us and our children. Wow, what an eye opener. No more contributions to Duke, and my children will be crossing Duke off the visit list until I see significant cultural change re: town and gown. In the meantime, Free the Duke Three, Disbar Nifong, Fire Broadhead. sic semper tyrannis

Anonymous said...

I have donated to Duke and will continue to do so despite the group of 88. However, instead of making unrestricted gifts to Arts & Sciences, my donations will now be directed for use by the athletic department. Trinity '87

Anonymous said...

If people decide to withhold funds from Duke, I think it is important to send a written letter as to the reason. Duke may blame it again on the lacrosse team, imo.

Anonymous said...

Scott, well said. The Gang of 88 and the unjust pandering by Broadhead make me long for the engaging and civil leadership of Terry Sanford. If only the Board would act...

Anonymous said...

7:04-

Excellent point. There are a lot of great departments at Duke that could use funding. I too am sick of how Broadhead has handled things...well lack of handling. Something is better than nothing in this case. I have pondered this years donations to the annual fund, etc as well.

I am going to send a letter expressing my disapproval of how the administration has handled everything and specify where my money, if any, goes.

Donate to the Engineering school, athletic department, or whatever, but not unrestricted and NOT to Larry Moneta.

Anonymous said...

10:44 Excellent suggestion.

Anonymous said...

6:03 PM, how convenient for you that this LAX thing came up so that you have a pretext for concluding that you owe Duke nothing even though Duke gave you financial aid when you were a student. However, I am sure you spent many hours agonizing over the decision. What a loser. I'll bet Duke wishes they had that decision back.

HMan said...

To 11:16
You forget that there are many colleges and universities that deserve financial support. The impulse to give back to institutions does not disappear when one learns of the un-worthiness of one particular institution.
Indeed, most folks with the money and inclination to respond favorably to fund raising appeals have lots of options for satifying that need of theirs.

Anonymous said...

typical. a long critique from somebody from....idaho. please give us a break! the real people of durham showed what they thought with the election. that is how you losers lost the election; you listened to yourselves and KC who knows nothing about durham and convinced yourselves that everyone here believes what you believe and in reality, not many of your were from durham and that is why the elction went the way it did. the duke students registered but did not vote.

Anonymous said...

Just remember 5:50, 26K of Durham citizens voted against Nifong's brand of justice and, unfortunately, the remainder may pay the greater price.

Nifong's 4 years are not guaranteed, not by a long shot. We shall all see.

Durham citizen - firm in my belief that Nifong is bad for all of Durham

Anonymous said...

In reading one of the later posts, I guess the writer is endorsing the upside-down standards of justice. By the way, the writer from Idaho was a former resident of Durham, not just some outsider.

The post reminds me of the kinds of comments we used to hear from George Wallace and Ross Barnett back in the days when southern politicians basically would tell everyone else that Alabama and Mississippi could do what they wanted, and no one could stop them.

In other words, the poster is saying that Durham justice operates according to its own rules, and that is just fine. No, I will not "get over it." But the people of Durham now have said that evidence, guilt, and innocence do not matter. All that matters is raw power.

Bill Anderson

Anonymous said...

What is fascinating about the far left professors is the basic fluidity of the principles. The fact that white students want to hire a stripper is evil, demeaning to the woman, while the fact that the woman works is noble, to feed her kids. That dichotomy has been apparent all along. However, what has been become obvious is a subculture of black men exploiting (as drivers) and hiring black women. Not only does the town not condemn this activity, but the Professors, so concerned about degradation of women ignore it. Well, what about white college students sexuality, that too apparently is deserving of condemnation "sexual arrogance" "hook-ups" etc. Thus, any expression of sexuality by a white person, whether expressed to a white person in a consensual way or in a commercial setting is subject to outrageous condemnation. At the same time, any expression of sexuality by an African-American, whether commercial or exploitive (pimping) is ignored or glorified.

The lens is therefore purely racial without any logic or substance.

Anonymous said...

For the individuals who wish to donate to Duke University:

Though a letter to designate that a contribution be used for say Pratt (Engineering) or the athletics department (explaining why) sounds great at first glance, there is a glaring problem with this tactic. No matter where and how money is designated to Duke, President Broadhead and company will still possess the benefit of tallying this amount to their overall alumni contributions, thus painting his tenure as lucrative for the University.

Much of a president's success is strictly measured by dollars, therefore I beg all interested to write your letters to the powers that be every time a donation request is mailed to you, but rethink where to send the check.

The defense fund for the indicted players and their families is a drop in their legal fees' bucket. Please consider this donation alternative; it will serve the greater good for Duke by eventually shedding light on the University's mismanagement of the rape hoax, ultimately holding the enablers responsible by weeding them out. Duke University is not thoroughly terrible or evil, but as Professor Johnson tirelessly demonstrates, roughly 100 expendable actors there are just that.

http://friendsofdukeuniversity.blogspot.com/


Glenn Nick
Duke Lacrosse ‘06

Anonymous said...

^^ I don't think she is "feeding her kids." Her drug habit, yes.

Anonymous said...

Write it down: When the defendants are found "not guilty," at least a dozen writers will lament that they were not found "innocent."

When the defendants are found "not guilty," at least a dozen bloggers will write that the defendants would have been found "guilty," but for (1) biased jury; (2) defense counsel tactics; (3) prosecutorial mis-steps; (4) biased media coverage; (5) judicial errors. (Choose one or more that fits their theory.)

madder than a hornet said...

Great point by Glenn Nick that the University will tout any dollars sent as evidence of the Administration's popularity and staying power. WE all are invested in a strong Duke with strong leadership. Brodhead is a weak leader and we all know it. Please help give him the pink slip by not giving a penny to Duke. Give to the legal defense fund for the players this year.

Anonymous said...

I think it takes a lot of gall for Glenn Nick, a member of the Duke lacrosse team last year, to be urging people to withhold contributions from Duke on the ground that this is the best way to stick it to President Brodhead, as if Brodhead were the one responsible for creating this mess. I have a couple of questions for you, Glenn. First, what was your role in this debacle? Did you attend the party? Did you make the broom stick comment? Did you shout racial epithets at the two women? If not, do you know you did? If you do, maybe you could identify them for us because they certainly deserve far more criticism than Brodhead. Or do you prefer to circle the wagons and protect your guilty teammates while deflecting all criticism to Brodhead so that you and your teammates can avoid responsibility for what you did and get Brodhead to take the fall? Also, were you on scholarship at Duke? Are the guys who made the broom stick comment and shouted the racial epithets still on scholarship? If so, I would say that your position of taking money from Duke while urging others to withhold money from Duke so that you can stick it to a guy who basically got sandbagged by the irresponsible behavior of you and your teammates makes you look like a real jerk and as someone who apparently is too stupid to understand the idiocy of what you are doing. I would suggest that you just crawl back into a hole someplace and try not to compound the damage that you have already done to your alma mater.

Anonymous said...

In a word, the answer to your hostile questions is "no." Mr. Nick is not responsible for the broomstick comment, the "cotton shirt" comment, hiring strippers, or ordering the invasion of Iraq.

He made the terrible mistake of being a member of the Duke University Lacrosse team, which the anonymous poster seems to be saying is a Crime Against Humanity.

Bill Anderson

HMan said...

To 1:57
Noticed that you could not help but say, "stop protecting your guilty team-mates."
Why should anyone bother to protect the doers of Southpark humor (ubiquitous on campus) or the makers of quid pro quo racial comments?
Your type wants so much for the LAX guys to have been guilty of such a delciously perfect scenario as was first proclaimed that you keep trying to resuscitate the image with lame word tricks.

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