Last week, Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley published a personalized memoir of the election, in which he spent 723 words saying remarkably little. He did blast the sometimes “venomous” critics of his legal mentor, Mike Nifong, and mused that it seemed unlikely that opinions about the merits of the lacrosse case would change anytime soon.
Ashley contended that the outcome of the election ensured that the lacrosse case would go forward: “Whether the case is eventually tossed out on procedural grounds or proceeds to a jury trial, I’m glad it will be resolved in the judicial system, not at the ballot box.”
I recall little or no distress from Ashley, however, at Nifong’s manipulating the case for success “at the ballot box” in the run-up to the primary: the editor’s concern about the intersection between politics and the judicial process has been quite one-sided. Those awaiting the Herald-Sun to demand that the “minister of justice” adhere to city regulations and the guidelines of the state bar will have, it appears, a very long wait.
Ashley’s assertion was also a little hard to follow. If the case has merit—as Ashley has consistently maintained, even as nearly 10 percent of his subscriber base has evaporated since his pro-Nifong crusade began—it would seem to me that any prosecutor would pursue charges. Or was Editor Ashley implicitly conceding that only a “minister of justice” as ethically challenged as Nifong would continue with such a procedurally tarnished case?
The latter, it would seem: a trial, proclaimed Ashley, “has a chance of reassuring many in the community who indicated by their votes Tuesday that, with or without doubts about how the case has proceeded, they want to see this resolved in a rational fashion.”
Ashley has, at last, revealed his basic agenda: the purpose of a trial is not to satisfy justice; or to try only those for whom probable cause is established; or even to uphold standards of legal ethics. The purpose of a trial is, instead to “reassure” an unspecified segment of the minority of
How, shall we say, reassuring.
Duke earth systems science professor Thomas Crowley has talents that extend beyond his unusual skills at legal analysis. His CV, for instance, includes among honors and awards the following item: “Winner, Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences NCAA Basketball Pool.”
Certainly NCAA basketball pools would fall under the provisions on the code. Look for arbitrary enforcement of this rule in March: the provision gives the administration the grounds for targeting virtually any student or group of students that are out of favor.
The curious practices of the Durham Police Department continued this week, after a freelance photographer demanded an internal affairs inquiry. The photographer claimed that a
The photographer was arrested for “abusive language.” If this constitutes a crime in
According to the Herald-Sun, the arrest “resulted in about $500 in damage to the car” of the defendant. (For reasons that the story failed to explain, the arresting officer threw the photographer up against his car.) A spokesperson for the Durham Police said the department wouldn’t conduct an internal affairs investigation of the incident.
How, again, reassuring.
In the Duke 2005-2006 yearbook, the section on the men’s lacrosse team has five paragraphs. After opening with a paragraph on the season, the yearbook contains the following four paragraphs on the case:
The Blue Devils had jumped out to a 5-1 start when allegations of rape, robbery, kidnapping, strangulation and racist remarks arose after a March 13th party held at an off-campus house leased to captains of the team. As the investigation began, the team continued to practice, defeating rival
11-8 and losing to then third-ranked Cornell 7-11. Universityof North Carolina Chapel Hill
Protests ensued as various media swarmed the campus. Some billed the incident a “perfect storm” of race, class, gender and town-gown relations. On
March 22nd, 46members of the lacrosse team were ordered to give DNA samples and a search of the off-campus house was conducted. Athletic Director Joe Alleva suspended the Blue Devils' next two games. He cited the team’s irresponsible behavior of under-age drinking and hiring two exotic dancers, both of which the team acknowledged had occurred at the party. University President Richard Brodhead then announced the further suspension of the season until the case was concluded.
On April 4th, head coach Mike Pressler resigned. Coach Pressler was a three-time ACC Coach of the Year and the 2005 USILA National Coach of the Year. He led the Men’s Lacrosse Team to a 153-82 record, 3 ACC Titles and 10 NCAA Tournament berths in 16 seasons at Duke.
Since then, at least one player has been suspended and three players have been indicted for 1st degree forcible rape, 1st degree sexual offense and kidnapping. The court date is May 15th. The initial DNA tests returned negative, although results of a new round of tests are still pending. A committee asked by President Brodhead to investigate the conduct of the lacrosse program has recommended that the team be reinstated for the next school year. The members of the team's junior class have all stated that they will remain at Duke for their senior year.
No mention of the Group of 88’s statement. No mention of the dubious nature of Mike Nifong’s conduct, or the torrent of criticism that Nifong has received. No mention that the inquiry occurred during a tightly-contested primary in which Nifong desperately needed to win the black vote. No mention of the Durham Police Department’s official policy of disproportionately targeting Duke students. No mention of Reade Seligmann presenting an alibi that included an ATM video of his someplace else at the time of the alleged attack. No mention of Richard Brodhead’s appalling remark, after the arrest of Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, that “If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” No mention, even, that the players had strongly maintained their innocence.
In fact, no mention of anything negative about anyone except for members of the lacrosse team, despite the significance of this contextual information. And people wonder why the Brodhead administration has received criticism for throwing the players under the bus.
North Carolina Central has a community service requirement, whereby students must perform between 4 and 11 hours of community service per semester, depending on their overall courseload. The guidelines state that students who fail to perform their community service will be blocked from registering in the following semester.
In a follow-up on the accuser’s status as a “student,” a poster on the TalkLeft boards noted that while the accuser is listed (p. 80) as performing 15 hours of community service in the current academic year, she has no community service hours listed for any other year. This anomaly raises the question of how the accuser previously was able to maintain full-time status.
I should note that it amazes me, given FERPA requirements, that NCCU places this information on the web.
espn.com reports that the NBA just fined Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy a total of $25,000 after Van Gundy publicly complained about . . . poor officiating regarding the Rockets' center, Yao Ming. This time, however, Van Gundy cited not "phantom calls" but instead that the officials tolerated "reckless" behavior that produced "mayhem." The coach added,
It just irritated me. The whole game irritated me the way he was officiated. 'There was no contact,' [officials said] yet there was blood streaming down his arm. They tell you there's no contact and you're watching blood flow, unless he's so self-hurtful he's taking his own nails to his skin and ripping it open to draw attention to himself, you have to ask yourself, 'What am I seeing? Why can't what I'm seeing and he's obviously feeling and seeing be seen?'
Readers are invited to speculate on how Group of 88 member Grant Farred will interpret this comment in his widely expected sequel, Phantom Calls, II: The Duke Faculty’s Rush to Judgment.
Group of 88 member Alex Rosenberg has struggled to offer a convincing rationale for his decision to sign the so-called “listening statement.” To the New York Sun, he made a blatantly sexist comment about Duke female students; in the Duke Chronicle thread, he put forward a new rationale, suggesting that he signed to express his disgust with excessive drinking—even though the statement contained no mention of alcohol use by students.
As Johnson seems to have discovered (I have no idea how...in the defendant's discovery process?), Reid [sic] Seligman [sic] was a student in a class I taught a few years ago. It was a small class and I got to know Mr. Seligman pretty well. We had lacrosse as a common interest (I studied at
and taught at Hopkins for years--two centers of the game). Based on my acquaintance, I cannot believe Reid Seligman guilty of the rape charges lodged against him. Syracuse
(As I have noted on several occasions, I learned that he taught Seligmann when Seligmann’s transcript was included in a defense motion, which appeared online.)
Anyhow, it’s good to see Rosenberg do now what he should have done instead of joining the Group of 88’s public denunciation—defend a student that he’s taught who’s both of demonstrably high character and demonstrably innocent.
Given the high profile that the Group of 88’s statement received, I hope that
Hat tips: S.D., J.R.