Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Statement Analysis

Building off a Liestoppers post on the accuser displaying 24 of the 29 indicators of false accusations, at Forensics Talk, Kathleen Eckelt’s latest interesting post tackles the issue of statement analysis—a technique, she explains, “of examining a person’s words to see exactly what they’re saying.”

Eckelt links to a detailed analysis of statements in the case from Mark McClish, a 22-year veteran of federal law enforcement whose résumé includes eight years instructing interviewing techniques at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. McClish’s conclusion? “Based on the information we have so far, the lacrosse players are showing signs of being truthful and the accuser is showing signs of deception.” He focuses on two items in particular.

1.) The accuser’s responses to photos of Dave Evans and Reade Seligmann in the April 4 lineup.

The Evans transcript:
A. “He looks like one of the guys who assaulted me sort.”

Q. “Ok. How um, how sure of it are you on this image?”
A. “He looks just like him without the mustache.”

Q. “Ok, so the person had a mustache?”
A. “Yes.”

Q. “Percentage wise, what is the likelihood this is one of the gentlemen who assaulted you?”
A. “About 90%.”

As McClish notes, “she cannot positively identify the man in photo #4 when she states, ‘he looks like one of the guys.’ She also uses the word ‘sort’ which may be referencing the guy (He sort of looked like one of the guys.) or she could be referencing the assault. (Who sort of assaulted me.) She is ‘about 90%’ certain he was one of the guys who assaulted her. She said he had a mustache on the night of the assault but the attorney for this defendant claims his client never wore a mustache”—and, moreover, that he has contemporaneous photographs to prove so.

The Seligmann transcript:
A. “He looks like one of they guys who assaulted me.

“Again,” McClish comments, “she uses the same language ‘he looks like one of the guys.’” It’s worth remembering that this transcript is the only evidence used to indict Seligmann, who was either on the phone, in a cab, or in a video a mile away at the time of the alleged attack.

Q. “How did he assault you? Which one was he?”
A. “He was the one standing in front of me. Um, that made me perform oral sex on him.”

McClish observes, “When the word ‘standing’ appears in a statement it is often a sign of tension and possible deception. This is not an absolute just an indication.”

In general, according to McClish, the transcript of the photo lineup does not read like someone telling the truth. He contends,

Her language is consistent in that she always refers to the men as “guys” and she always uses the word “assaulted” to describe what happened. However, she does not positively identify three of the men that she claims assaulted her. Out of the photo line up, there were 17 men she recognized as being at the party. Four of them she says assaulted her. All 13 of the other men she appears to positively identify with statements such as “He was sitting on the couch in front of the television.” “He was standing outside talking to the other dancer.” “He was in the master bedroom.” “He was there. He had on some brown shorts, kaki shorts.” Yet, in identifying her attackers she uses non-committal language.

And, of course, we know now that the only player the accuser twice identified, with 100 percent certainty, as attending the party wasn’t even in Durham on the night in question.

2.) The Number Three

“When deceptive people have to come up with a number,” McClish writes, “they will often choose the number three.” Three certainly seems to be the accuser’s number of choice for making allegations: as McClish comments, “We have a lot of threes in this case.”

  • After toying with five, zero, and possibly 20 as the number of people who allegedly raped her, the accuser settled on three.
  • She said that the attack lasted 30 minutes (later revised down by Nifong when the assertion of his “reliable” witness couldn’t fit any possible timeline).
  • She claimed that three other players grabbed the second dancer at the start of the rape. The second dancer was never asked about this assertion—which she said didn’t happen—and supervising investigator Nifong appears never to have investigated it, even though his “reliable” witness was effectively charging three more players as accomplices to rape.
  • Ten years ago, the accuser claimed that she had been gang-raped by three other people—a charge that she then never pursued.

In her own post, Eckelt adds several items of note. “When we are wrongly accused of something,” she observes, “our emotions soar. We become highly indignant. We intend to prove our innocence. A truthful person who becomes a suspect in a criminal investigation is very quick to demand a lie detector test”—much like the captains on March 16th. Of course, their sharing that information with Duke administrators appears to have done little or nothing to suggest to the administrators that their own students were telling the truth.

Second, Eckelt lists some characteristics of a deceptive witness, which include: “defensive”; “will be quiet; afraid he will say something to get him in trouble”; “noncommittal in response”; “guarded about what they tell you”; “defeated; slumps head forward.”

These characteristics sound a lot like the description of the accuser given by Mike Nifong in the October court hearing. The accuser was sullen (she spoke barely 15 words in the meeting, according to Nifong); struggled to establish eye contact; and seemed “on the verge of tears.”

Finally, Eckelt terms statement analysis a useful technique because “it’s based on the principle that people do not lie. Most people want to tell the truth. Even liars will tell a partial truth. It’s easier to tell a partial truth than to completely fabricate a statement. They just won’t tell the whole truth.”

Perhaps the clearest example of this pattern came in the accuser’s recollection that one attacker told her he was soon getting married. According to reports, she made this claim at various points in the process.

“Even liars will tell a partial truth,” reminds Eckelt. This seemingly small lie suggests intent to deceive by the accuser. On the surface, the claim is incredible, even bizarre. But if, as she believed, she actually had danced at a bachelor party, the claim would have enhanced the credibility of the major lie.

Alas, the accuser couldn’t keep her small lie straight—sometimes Matt was the bachelor; at other times Adam had the honor. Had the supervising investigator been interested in testing the accuser’s credibility, this discrepancy might have been just the item to which he would have paid attention. But, of course, the supervising investigator had a primary campaign to win.


huesofblue said...

Very interesting post. I remember the first time I read the transcript of the line-up. I was still undecided about the case, but I remember being struck by the accuser's language. For Seligman and Evans the ID's were just so noncommittal. That those same IDs still make up 95% of Nifong's case is just astounding.

With that said, what do you think of the following hypothetical?

Putting all the other evidence aside, suppose a rape actually occurred.* But due to drugs and alcohol, suppose the victim’s recollection of the events in question is extremely foggy. If all a prosecutor has is the three weak IDs and medical evidence consistent with rape (but no DNA), would it be wrong to indict the three ID’d suspects in order to pressure one or more of them to cut a deal and testify as to the true culprits?

*I’m not saying that’s what happened here. The combination of the weak IDs with the lack of DNA, the lack of corroborating testimony and the accuser’s behavior in the days after the alleged attack, all strongly point to no rape at all. I’m also aware that there are some major problems with the Sane report. This is just a hypothetical

Personally, I don’t think it would be ethical to pursue any indictments if a prosecutor doesn’t believe the defendants are actually guilty. But if prosecutor think sthe defendants are guilty of covering up the crime or aiding and abetting, it might be ok to indict on a greater offense with the intention of pleading down. Anyone know how these sorts of things work in practice?

Anonymous said...

Hues - that hypo strikes me as being totally unethical, not to mention illegal.

According to the statement analysis, Finnerty is dead meat. I'm not sure how much of it I buy though. I followed the link to the full analysis and they characterized Dave's initial statement the day he was arrested as deceptive. It may play that way to someone who analyzes statements but it didn't seem that way to me at all.

They make a big issue out of the fact that the guys say "I'm innocent" as opposed to "I didn't rape her". The reason for this is that the guys are innocent right now in the sense that they are presumed innocent - or they're supposed to be. Therefore when they say "I'm innocent", they aren't really telling us anything. They aren't really denying it. Who thinks that way though? Only a lawyer, and these guys aren't lawyers.

HMan said...

Even if a very elastic form of ethics could be stretched to cover your scenario, it could not possibly be enough to justify what has happened since the first few weeks of the case. I mean, how long did it really take Nifong to understand that no honest process would ever find any valid evidence against these guys?
But I think you are largely right about Nifongs basic approach to being a DA - it is all about squeezing witnesses and nothing about gathering evidence by means of investigation. Such an approach must be more satisfying to a bully who is also lazy.

Anonymous said...

It's true that a prosecutor will sometimes use indictments to try and squeeze a confession out of a guilty party. Problem for Nifong is there are no guilty parties in this case, and there never were. An ethical prosecutor would have realized this obvious fact and dismissed the charges long ago. But we're not dealing with an ethical prosecutor here.

bill anderson said...

The issue with Nifong and the Durham police never has been to "identify" people who "assaulted" the AV. It was and always will be having names that Nifong could bring to the grand jury so he could secure indictments.

I would guarantee that no one on the GJ that day asked any questions about procedure or anything else. The people on the GJ simply did what Nifong told them to do, and nothing more. This is what happens when prosecutors take control of the GJ process, which is what has happened in this country.

(Grand juries used to be semi-autonomous, and prosecutors had to come up with real evidence, as opposed to what people like Nifong do. Furthermore, to prevent abuses, there should be transcripts of the GJ procedures, as opposed to the secrecy that takes place now.)

There is a special irony here. The Durham police were demanding that the lacrosse players "come forward" to verify what the police and Nifong were claiming. When the players did not "come forward" in that manner, they were accused of stonewalling, creating a "blue wall of silence."

However, if there is a "blue wall of silence," it is the Durham police. These people have seen the aiding and abetting of a crime, have observed how some police have committed perjury, but all we have is a true "blue wall of silence."

This is not unusual in this country. Police are notorious for lying in court and threatening each other if someone "rats" them out for committing crimes or other violations. I have no idea if there are any decent police officers in Durham. Perhaps all are corrupt liars like Gottlieb, but if there are any honest people there, I would like to give the following appeal:


Anonymous said...

The statement analysis is interesting, but I'm not sure it is completely valid. With respect to Dave saying he was "innocent" rather than actually denying the rape, I think we need to differentiate between a prepared statement and what he would have said if he were questioned before or after being arrested. We might expect his immediate, spur of the moment reaction when he was arrested to be "I did not rape her" but we'll never know, since the police didn't question him. However, he had time to think through his statement, and he chose his words to make them as emphatic as he could. He probably thought "I am innocent, Reade is innocent..." was the most emphatic, most succinct way of communicating. We might also assume that his lawyer DID review his statement and routinely advises clients to use the word "innocent". A couple stumbles in his speech (also flagged by the analysis) should also be expected when speaking in front of cameras and lights, and without notes. I really think it is one thing to apply this kind of statement analysis to extemporaneous remarks and responses to interrogation, but quite another to apply it to a statment prepared for a national TV audience.

Hues--as to the possibility that the DA knowingly charged people he knew were innocent because he truly believes a rape occurred and is hoping they will rat out the perps--I am sure this happens ALL the time. But while Nifong may have actually believed a rape occurred back in April, I find it hard to accept he still thinks so today....Although I do think he knows he charged innocent people.

AMac said...

huesofblue 12:56am --

That's a great hypothetical; gets folks here looking at the case from another angle, as well as highlighting the question of the extent to which practices used in this instance are S.O.P. in many jurisdictions (I don't know).

I could, of course, modify your hypothetical by adding one word:

"If all a prosecutor has is the three weak IDs and no medical evidence consistent with rape, would it be wrong to indict the three ID’d suspects?"

KC Johnson said...

Re the hypothetical:

One of the other rules of the bar's ethics code covers this hypo: it says that prosecutors can indict only those against whom they have probable cause to believe committed a crime. So the hypo would be a violation of the code.

On the Finnerty point in transcript: this reaction would have been more convincing if any of her initial descriptions had even remotely resembled Finnerty.

To me, the two single most valuable aspects of the statement analysis tool are (1) the accuser's constant selection of "three"; and (2) it provides an explanation for the constant (obviously false) references to one of her attackers being married the next day.

bill anderson said...

Again, the point was not going after people who had committed rape. The purpose of the indictments was to mollify the black community in Durham so that Nifong could get enough of their votes to win the Democratic primary.

The indictments served no other purpose at the time. However, once Nifong secured the indictments, he was stuck with them, especially given his earlier statements.

In economics, we speak of "sunk costs." That is, costs incurred in the past are not necessarily relevant in making future decisions, except to serve as warnings for the future, i.e., don't throw all your money into pork bellies. (A perverse example was people in the early 1970s saying that "more than 50,000 Americans died in Vietnam; therefore we must stay there so they will have not died in vain.")

What matters are present and future costs. However, in Nifong's case, he cannot say, "Whoops! Big mistake! There WAS a rape, but I indicted the wrong people." If he did that, then perhaps someone just might question how he managed to secure the indictments of the wrong people.

Also, Nifong is an extremely competitive person, and he relishes the chance to "beat" people like Kirk Osborne and Joe Cheshire. Furthermore, since attorneys for the Duke 3 have filed complaints with the NC Bar and have sought out help from the feds, he takes this very personally.

For Nifong, this case represents the ultimate challenge: How does one win a rape case when the only "evidence" is a claim from a person who in ordinary circumstances would not be seen as credible? One does it by appealing to the emotions and racial hatred of black jurors and liberal whites who would sympathize with a "victim" who was crying hysterically on the stand (and the AV surely will be doing).

One also does it by trying to exclude exculpatory evidence. Nifong had Elmostafa the cab driver arrested, and I am sure that his people have been visiting the Platinum Club with some not-so-subtle threats.

Also, Nifong changed his rape "theory" from the 30-minute rape and beating to a five-minute affair so he could be able to get Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty in on the mix. The "there was enough time for a rape to occur" falls in the line of "well, maybe it happened, and that is good enough to prove it did happen" theory of the rape.

In ordinary circumstances, that would not be an allowable presentation, but in a case as racially and politically charged as this, judges often will punt the whole thing up to the appellate courts.

Look, this case, from the original charges to the multiple accounts to the ID process and indictments themselves, has absolutely no basis in law. That is what makes it so outrageous, and that is why we see the prosecution resorting to half-baked theories made up on the fly. If there is ANY justice in North Carolina, someone in authority is going to have to deal with this breach of law in a serious way. However, I will not hold my breath; North Carolina is the state of the Little Rascals and Alan Gell.

Anonymous said...

All of the players also pretty much look the same in their pictures. The line-up was just lacrosse players, not any other people who were at the party, not fillers. So it was, just pick any three, that will serve my purpose. Nifong, with intent, malice and knowledge of what he was doing went out and indicted three innocent young men. And for that he should be punished severely. Not only the three young men and their immediate and extended families, but friends and supports of them have been hurt, heartbroken and disillusioned at what the judicial system has become in this country. The damage Nifong and Crystal have done is far reaching and deep. To all the supporters, bloggers who don't know these boys personally, yet you have spoken up; given your time freely, your support, letters of hope, legal expertise, in depth analysis, suggestions, you have written complaint letters, etc are greatly appreciated. You are all incredible. There are so many wonderful, honest, caring people in this world with honor and integrity who are not blind to the truth. That has been the beam of light in this hellish travesty that gives the greatest support.
Thank you. Lizzy

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting that, in the transcript, the AV specifically uses the term "he looks like" when identifying Dave and Reade (as well as the fourth person who wasn't in durham that night), but for all the IDs of people at the party she uses much more specific language--"he was on the couch," or "he was wearing khaki shorts." I think by the time she got to Collin's picture she realized the specific language was better, so she said "he assaulted me" rather than "he looks like..."

On another point, we all know how suspicious it is that, as soon as the detective told her to look at the photo for the full minute before telling them whether she recognized the person, she immediately identified two of her assailants (actually three--but the police overlooked the ID of the one who wasn't in durham). But why DID she wait so long to identify Collin--they had to have been getting near the end of their photos. Do you think SHE felt she had ID'd three already, but suddenly recognized a picture she had been prepped for (the theory that someone helped her figure out who the rich boys were...) Would the prosecutors use this long wait to ID Collin as evidence that she was actually looking for people who really did DO something?

bill anderson said...

Let me also add Darryl Hunt to my previous post. Prosecutors knew he was innocent almost a decade before he was released, having been wrongfully convicted of rape and murder. Again, I will say this directly to representatives of the NC Bar who might be reading this: I have no faith whatsoever in your desire or ability to do what is right here. My opinions will be changed only when I see someone actually standing up not only for statutory law, but also for the very principles of law. Right now, that is sorely lacking in your state.

Until that time, I will see the NC Bar as nothing more than a CYA system for rogue prosecutors.

huesofblue said...


I think you're right that it all comes down to probable cause. The charging standards don't clearly prohibit a prosecutor from overcharging (i.e. from pursuing charges without believing he or she can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt at trial) but even then the prosecutor has to have probable cause to believe the charges are factually justified.

A quick internet search brought up this definition: “Probable cause is where known facts and circumstances, of a reasonably trustworthy nature, are sufficient to justify a man of reasonable caution or prudence in the belief that a crime has been or is being committed. (reasonable man definition; common textbook definition; comes from Draper v. U.S. 1959)”

Normally a person saying, "I was attacked and I'm 100% sure that X is the person that attacked me" would be sufficient. But one of the nice things about the definition above is that it puts a “trustworthy” qualifier on the nature of the “known” facts. At the time of the indictment, four things called the trustworthiness of the AV’s ID into question – first, the AV had failed to ID any suspects during the previous two line ups, second, the DNA results were negative, third, there were no fillers in the line-up that ultimately produced “results,” and finally, the AV’s statements to the police hadn’t been consistent. On the face of things, it seems probable cause is lacking.

But then again, if Nifong had actually investigated a little more after the flawed line up (as he should have), I think a judge that knew all the facts would have granted the police a search warrant for the dorm rooms of the three current defendants. That makes me question my earlier conclusion, because the standard for a search warrant is also probable cause.

Is the standard generally applied differently in the two contexts, or is the standard just lower than it appears at first glance? I know that Nifong lost probable cause at some point, but I’m not exactly sure when that was. Part of me feels like it was missing from the get go, whereas another part of me thinks probable cause slowly faded away as months of additional investigation kept turning up more and more exculpatory evidence, without corroborating the trustworthiness of the AVs account. Maybe it’s stupid to want to nail down an exact point, but I still find the question interesting.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the accuser also falsely accused "3" men of raping her about 10 years earlier. While I subscribe to more traditional quantitative analysis to prove a point, maybe there is something to this "softer" approach.

Anonymous said...

Nice work KC! Another piece of the puzzle is put into place.

To me the ability to suddenly remember where exactly so many players were speaks of a rehearsal and a plan.

I see a production crew, script writer, director, and an actress. Producer Nifong must have been proud as Director Gottlieb got the shot he wanted. Shutter & tears when she pointed out Finnerty.

Too bad he has an alibi!

Anonymous said...

Five very fine intellegant black young men from the Kappa Alpha Psi frat just got a hung jury(after two hous)- the case also included a question on identification - the complaning accusser was blindfolded during the hazing event - Equal Opportunity Harassment by Proscuters. This occurred in March of 06 and the start of the SECOND trial is next week - In the same time frame, the defense can not even get a judge in Durham to rule on six month old motions. Lady Justice is taking a beating.

Anonymous said...

"To me the ability to suddenly remember where exactly so many players were speaks of a rehearsal and a plan."

Right...and don't forget the Durham PD had the captains cameras, cpmuters, cell phones, etc.

Victim in Massachusetts said...

KC what took you so long to write about this part of the case.

I have read the line-up more than once and I could see from the start that she was being coached on who to pick.

If a rape did really occur she wouldn't have needed six plus line-ups, we either know who did it or not.

As for the use of the words "assulted me, and he looks like". No victim would ever use those words. Were either sure or we are not.

If this case goes to trial it is going to be very bad for all men.

A guilty verdict will only let all females know that it is okay to cry rape, even if she knows it's a lie. No matter the color of the person's skin and no matter the fall out.

Reade, Collin and David I believe in you stay strong and I hope this is over for you soon.

Anonymous said...

"To me the ability to suddenly remember where exactly so many players were speaks of a rehearsal and a plan."

I think you missed the point of KC's analysis. The expert on witness statements says that remembering the specific details is a sign that she is being honest--where her statement falls apart is when she identifies her assailants by saying "that looks like him." But the ID of certain photos as being at the party (i.e., "on the couch" or "in the corner")is credible BECAUSE she makes a clear, positive statement.

Anonymous said...

re grand jury:

were the 3 indicted by a grand jury?

if so, what was the racial and occupational makeup of the grand jurors?

is anyone exploring how to thoroughly punish the predator?

jim clyne

Anonymous said...

Not only was the lineup rehearsed, but look at the zip codes of the 3 indicted players. They have the wealthiest zip codes from the team. Don't you think Nifong coached her an let her know if she went along a civil suit would reap her alot of money.

Anonymous said...

it's possible, but i still am convinced that the predator made up the story to avoid getting arrested herself

jim clyne

Anonymous said...

Re: (2) The Number Three

Some humor...

"Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out." Monty Python Holy Grail

Sorry, couldn't resist :-)

Anonymous said...

To 1:59--I might believe she was coached to pick the wealthier players--but not by Nifong. I'm not defending him--he clearly is an unethical opportunist--but he would never be stupid enough to coach her to pick wealthy players so she can get a big payday. He has been very careful along the way to do things he feels he can legally justify (e.g., not interviewing the AV so he can't be called as a witness.) He's made mistakes in his judgment of what he can get away with (hopefully) but he isn't stupid.

Anonymous said...

2:04 good post

"holy grail" was MP's masterpiece, and the funniest scene ever recorded on celluloid was john cleese, dressed as a frenchman, pouring diarrhea on the englis from the castle--JC

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:20 AM

You have hit on something that I have been troubled with about this ID process all along. Within the first seven pictures she identified the three players that "assaulted" her. She didn't realize that the police did not believe one of her ID's. She continued on her merry way pointing out players she thought were there. She was getting close to the very end of the "lineup" and the police knew that they were missing one suspect.

Did they stop the process at that point and tell her she had better hurry up and pick another because they were running out of pictures? I think so. She suddenly, after passing over thirty some players, picked Collin. The one that looks the least like her previous description of the alleged rapists. I believe that this is why the police described her a having tears in her eyes. She had just had her butt chewed out.

I think at this point the police knew all of her Id's were bogus but they had something that they could take back to Nifong to get him off their a**es.

When you look at the pictures of her shown on the 60 Minutes program, I believe that she was to drugged and drunk to have remembered anything pertinent from the few minutes she was there. She clearly wasn't in the master bedroom where she claims to have seen most of the players.

Anonymous said...

"your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries"

John Cleese as the Frenchman

Anonymous said...

To Bill,

I agree that the DPD has witnessed a crime. I believe most of us attending closely to the evidence and posting and commenting on these blogs know we are witnessing a crime (along with some breaches in morality on the part of the Duke administration and faculty). That is why we are doing this posting and commenting. I hope some honest person in the DPD does come forward...that would be a whistleblower extrordinaire.

HuesofBlue, we may be on the same page today. Thank goodness probable cause requires the reasonable judgment of a prudent person concerning information that is trustworthy. Otherwise, we would be living in a police state. Based on the details of the accuser's story, I think the DA/DPD had probable cause when the medical exam revealed the presence of semen, and they lost it before the indictments when the
DNA results came in. No reasonable person can argue this accuser is trustworthy, and the responding police officers correctly and immediately appreciated the problems with her credibility. With no other evidence that a crime even happened, the DA/DPD lost probable cause in my reasonably, prudent mind before the indictments. (This is a humble-- not an expert-- opinion).
I/we just did not know probable cause was lost then, because we all still thought the medical examination (or SOMETHING)supported the rape claim. The
DA knew or should have known about the details of the medical report and the lack of other evidence. As we have discussed repeatedly the remaining evidence has proved exculpatory, and most of us would say the defendants have proven their innocence well beyond a reasonable doubt. (I no longer have the patience to add "unless Nifong is holding something back").

The Central Park jogger case kind of fits your hypo. There was no question a brutal rape took place, but the victim had no memory of the attack. The NPD had a group of kids who were on a crime spree in the park that night confess...but the DNA from semen collected did not match any of the kids. I have no idea why the kids confessed--some have speculated they did see and assault the jogger but were not perpetrators of the rape. I have no idea, but it was not New York's finest hour. At a minimum indictment or search without probable cause is an ethical violation (thanks K.C.), but it is also a constitutional violation--due process--and protection from unreasonalbe search and seizure (again, humble opinion, not expert).


Anonymous said...

All this hypothesizing is amusing and interesting in that the number of scenarios is almost limitless. As i have posted previously, the real reason in my view that state or federal authorities have not put a stop to this idiocy is the fear of a massive riot during which extensive property damage will occur and lives will be lost. The longer an acquital can be delayed, the less likely that will happen.

Anonymous said...

On the Central Park jogger is even weaker than your hypo because due to her injuries the jogger was unable to describe or ID her attackers in any way. I have just wondered how the DA/NPD got the confessions. But it's not really relevant to the discussion scratch that comment, I'll speculate about that on my own.


WJD said...

Good article today from Mike Gaynor on the Department of Justice missing in action

Anonymous said...

Re: the central Park confessions--police have all kinds of tricks, including suggesting that there was a witness, or telling the suspect that his friend gave him up. They also interrogated the heck out of these kids and coerced a confession. Clearly, they started trying this with the Duke case (remember the mysterious email--"sorry guys, I'm going to tell all tomorrow..") it just didn't work. And because by the time the indictments were made they had reason to doubt whether a rape even occurred, they never interrogated the three they charged. Wouldn't they have questioned the indicted players, even if just to try for a confession, if they REALLY thought these guys committed a crime?

bill anderson said...

To Observer:

I remember reading an Ann Coulter column that declared that confessions always trump other evidence. Thus, the kids HAD to be the rapists because they had confessed.

It is very difficult for people who are not familiar with the modern prosecutorial state to understand how people will confess to crimes they did not commit. Yet, we know that such confessions are more common than we want to believe, and there is no doubt that many of them are coerced.

People who are in the system often will find themselves thinking they are in a hopeless situation and will "confess" just to end the misery. Sometimes, the police will lie during the interrogation. For example, Marty Tankleff, who was wrongfully convicted for the murder of his parents 17 years ago, at first "confessed" when the police told him that he had done it while sleepwalking, and that his father had ID'd his sone before dying. (The last part was a lie, and Marty did not commit the murder, but the police were able to parlay that confession -- later withdrawn -- into a false conviction.)

I would like to know who wrote and sent the "sorry, fellows" email, since that was another dishonest act. Now, it could have been anyone, but somehow I always suspect the police and prosecutors in this situation, since they had the most incentives to try to trick the players into "confessing."

Anonymous said...

Your analysis, why is it that only white people are telling the truth. What about the victim, she is obviously lying, because she happens to be black. I wish you all would remember she is a veteran of the US Navy and a mother of 2.

Anonymous said...

To 5:02--I haven't read anyone who is credible say the AV is lying because she is black--We think she's lying because the facts don't support her story.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
K.P. said...

5:02p.m. I'm a rape victim and I don't believe her, and it has nothing to do with the color of her skin.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter to white men, she is black and appears to be a sex object to white men. If white men did not go to watch her dance or call her to hotel rooms, she wouldn't have a job, but she is attractive to them.

Anonymous said...

10 Reasons to believe the AV is wrong:

Anonymous said...

to 5:19
Sometimes you don't get what you order.

Anonymous said...

To 5:02;
She is not a veteran of the Navy. She was booted out.

As for calling blacks liars: No one has called any blacks a liar but the AV, based on her actions. Conversely lots of whites are being called liars: Nifong, Brodhead, most of the Durham cops on the case, various news writers, etc.

Anonymous said...

5:47, no one can prove that she got an other then "Honorable Discharge" from the Navy. No one said that all blacks are lying, just the victim of the henious crime, she happens to be black. You say that on this site only the white guys are lying and gave an example, but you left out the 3 indicted lacrosse players

K.P. said...

Here we go I hope you can count

1. She has made the same false charges in the past and could not back them up.

2. She filed charges of attempted murder on her ex-husband and didn't back them up.

3.She is a drug seeker.

4.No true rape victime would ever tell more than one story.

5.she can tell where and what no less than 12 people were doing on the night in question.

6. She can't say who "raped" her on the fisrt or second try. Sorry after that any good D.A. would tell her sorry I don't believe you.

7. She has made statements that she was going to get money from some white boys, before she even got to the party.

8.She and Kim Roberts/Pitman or what ever she calls herself spent way to much time in the bathroom.

9. The nails she was wearing were of the cheap store brand. I can pull them off in a heartbeat and cause no harm to my real nails.

10. when she left the house with Kim she was wearing a dress and when she went back to the house she had on her dance costume ha ha .

11. she stated that there was more money to be made. Someone stated that she was carrying over $2000 that night.

12. She was faking being passed out at the Krogers supermarket parking lot.

12. She only cried rape after she realized she was going to be locked up for being a danger to herself and others.

I could keep going if I really wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Rest of post...
1. She told several conflicting stories,
2. She was under the influence of some powerful substances-Flexeril and alcohol,
3. She had motivation to lie to keep from being involuntarily committed,
4. The DNA recovered does not support her claim,
5. There was no DNA on the floor of the bathroom where she allegedly spat semen or much
DNA to speak of under her nails which she allegedly used to scratch her attackers and what tiny particle was found is useless,
6. The potential corroborating witness, Kim Roberts, who is not credible anyway, does not support the AV's all,
7. She has not taken a lie detector test--the defendants have and passed, even though they were asked questions that covered every possible misadventure the AV could have encoutered,
8. She is a convicted felon,
9. Her co-workers observations along with her mental health history and employment history do not lend any support to her weak credibility,
10. She lodged almost the exact same complaint ten years ago--yes, I guess lightening can strike you twice but really WHAT are the odds,

BONUS REASON 1: Many explanations have surfaced to explain her very minor (according to the medical report) injuries from the vibrator to sex with her drivers to completely confirmed sex with her beau--of course she had diffuse edema and the couple of scratches could have come from being dropped in the grave...three times I believe,

BONUS REASON 2: Not one single thing in her story has checked out.
In fact, I cannot think of any reason to believe her.
What reason do you have?

You may notice that being black is not one of the reasons listed. nor is it even the subtext of a reason.


Anonymous said...

Remember this line the proof is in the pudding, in this case the proof is in the rape victim and Nifong will show that proof in court and a jury will vote on the proof, not the people here. Why drop a case when you know you have a winner. These guys will be found guilty of something.

Anonymous said...

Make that gravel, not grave, and thank you kp for stepping in there. I experienced some technical difficulties.


Anonymous said...

to 5:47;
The 3 lacrosse players--seriously???

Everything they have said has turned out to be 100% true, with hard evidence to back it up...everything.

Tell me one thing the false accuser has said that has turned out to be corraborated by evidence.

Anonymous said...

6:03 says it all: these guys will be found guilty of something...doesn't matter what as long as they're found guilty....
"...with liberty and justice for all."

huesofblue said...

"Why drop a case when you know you have a winner[?]"

Because it's the moral and ethical thing to do. There are more important things than winning.

Anonymous said...

The only proof in the pudding was DNA evidence from her boyfriend

Anonymous said...


Sorry, but I think you fail the reasonable person test.
A strange pudding you are cooking.

Anonymous said...

to 6:03...
what flavor would that pudding be? chocolate or vanilla?

Anonymous said...

Don't fret all, this will go to court, the victim will testify and a Durham jury will render a fair verdict. The case will then be over and we all go home.

Anonymous said...

To 6:21...
Well, not all of us will get to go home. The false accuser will probably be arrested for perjury/contempt/ etc. and Nifong will have to make a stop at the unemployment office.

WJD said...

I thought this would be a good place to inject a little humor.

Subject: Subject: Durham County Court Ruling!!

The Durham County Court ruled there cannot be a nativity scene in Durham County this Christmas. This isn't for any religious or constitutional reason. They simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in Durham County.
However, there was no problem finding enough a**es to fill the stable

bill anderson said...

To 5:02 PM:

If I think that only white people tell the truth, then why have I written pieces talking about Darryl Hunt. I believe him, and he is black.

The issue with the AV is simple: What did she describe, and does the evidence back her story? It clearly does not, but from what I read from you, had she said I had raped her that night, even though I was hundreds of miles away, I suspect you would believe here there, too. In other words, you are saying that BECAUSE she is a black female, she is telling the truth. That is just as wrong as someone saying that whites don't lie.

Anonymous said...

To 6:26, there is no evidence of what you alleged, the only one's in Durham that have a chance to go to jail are the 3 lacrosse players.

bill anderson said...

6:03 PM has an interesting point, and that is that they will be "found guilty of something." Now, what do we mean by "something"?

I am pretty sure that the blogger is Yolanda, who has her own racist blog. I looked at it today, and it basically was a marxist screed.

It is well that we are arguing with a marxist, because what did marxists give to jurisprudence? Oh, they gave us Stalin's Show Trials of the 1930s. Tell us, Yolanda, do you stand behind Comrade Stalin's contention that everyone was a Trotskyite?

That is why it does no good to try to dialog with her. Marxists do not dialog; they hector.

Anonymous said...

To 6:39;
That is not the case. The false accuser, with her string of prior criminal convictions along with creating this false police report, will undoubtedly see some hard time.

Anonymous said...

6:03 - I don't think that the guys will be convicted of something but I think there is a chance that one of the guys will be convicted. That is not to say that I think any of the guys are guilty as I am certain that they are all innocent. Few things in life are as certain as that.

In spite of the obvious innocence though, I think Finnerty could be convicted. The accuser's ID of him is the strongest and she threw in some weeping and wailing for effect. As for him not matching the initial descriptions of the perpetrators, Gottlieb's fabricated notes will fill in the blanks and could give a jury something to latch onto. As ridiculous as his prior conviction is, it's still a prior. Also he seems to be the wealthiest of the group and that will automatically make him the least sympathetic to a jury. I know he has some sort of alibi but since I don't know what it is, I can't really judge it.

I can see why his lawyers are pulling out all the stops to derail this absurd persecution. Putting him in front of a Durham jury would scare the hell out of me.

Anonymous said...

i'd love to hear the predator speak: i was real impressed with kim: what a cognitive superstar!

Anonymous said...

To 7:23..
One point on Gottlieb's notes: they will be shredded to fine dust once the defense gets to cross. That is, if Gottlieb and his notes even get to the courtroom. Putting him and his notes on the stand could cause some serious legal ramifications for both Gottlieb and Nifong as they appear to be manufactured evidence.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree the AV did a good job on the Finnerty ID--even though her statement was more definitive than it was with Reade and Dave. I think her failure to describe an assailant that remotely resembled Finnerty will do her in. If the judge doesn't throw out gottlieb's notes at least that will provide grounds for appeal.

But I think all this is a moot point because she will not be a credible witness, if it gets that far. The defense attorneys will tear her story apart, even if they are nice to her. AND we still haven't heard Collin's alibi.

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson, the jury will come back with a guilty on one of the three charges, that is what something is. After that deplorable behavior at the party, the jury may well come back and say they are guilty of sexual assault or even worse rape, perhaps kidnapping. Problem is they are probably all guilty of rape, but, if a reasonable jury considers all the facts, they will convict on something. Still it is obvious that the victim was raped. Three against one is not fair and impartial. Nifong is doing a great job and should continue his march towards conviction on rape.

Anonymous said...

From what I hear Collin's lawyer is not dumb and it is really hard to hit a moving target even for Nifong.

Collin's lawyer will not talk most likely to throw Nifong off, you can't pick something apart if you haven't heard it yet.

I'm not a lawyer but I think that because all of the Duke three are over 18 the accuser can't sue the family's. She would have to each of them and I don't think they have any money at this time.

TombZ said...


Dear, there's medication available for your condition. I suggest you look into it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bill anderson said...


You keep saying that the three are guilty of rape, but all you have are contradictory statements from the accuser. Furthermore, they did DNA swabs all over her body, and if you are trying to tell me that give the descriptions she gave of being beaten, choked, and raped that there would be no DNA at all, well you don't know forensics.

Actually, what you are saying is that if a black female accuses a white male of rape, then there is to be no discussion. There needs to be no other evidence brought in, just the accusation.

If a jury is full of Yolandas, then I suspect there might be a conviction. That is what happened in the Scottsboro Boys trial.

By the way, a woman in that trial said that the Scottsboro Boys raped her. Are you going to tell us that the guilty verdicts given against them were true and just? From your "logic," I would have to come to that conclusion.

Of course, Yolanda -- as do all marxists -- likes to change the rules as things go along. If evidence fits the politics of a case, then evidence means something. But if evidence does NOT fit the politics of a case, then throw out the evidence.

You still have not answered my question about Stalin's Show Trials. They pretty much were conducted along the lines of what then was known as Marxist Law, with a major theorist being Nikolai Bukharin. Of course, we all know what happened to Mr. Bukharin.

But, you heard it first here; Yolanda declares the Scottsboro Boys being guilty!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

to 5:02.

You and your ilk connot possibly be that stupid!! Your comments are ludicrous. Anyone who can walk, talk or be fed by hand can get into the navy (takes something to STAY in). As for being a mother, we all know the talent required for that.

Anonymous said...

too much free time on your hand that could have been spent on getting educated.

bill anderson said...

Come to think of it, many of the lynchings of southern black males during and after the Progressive Era came because white women declared they had been raped by certain black males.

In court, the women identified their alleged attackers, and we know the rest. Now, since women made the accusation, and we know that no woman ever has made a false accusation of rape, nor made a wrongful identification, then all of those verdicts were right and just. Yolanda says so.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bill anderson said...

Man, that is the most authentic "proud black grandmother" I ever have seen. I will have to check with the black grandmother across the street to see if she can identify with this one. (I never have asked Denise if she was proud.)

Anonymous said...


Some of the posts on this board are downright racist. If I were you, I would delete these posts from your website.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bill anderson said...

Believe me, I am not happy with the racist overtones, either. While Nifong and the people of Durham (along with Yolanda) have chosen to make this about race, it ultimately is about evidence, and that knows no color.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Prof. Anderson,

Curious as to why you continue to engage in discourse with posters such as the one you identified as "Yolanda"? I notice you post a lot, here and elsewhere, have you ever been able to change the opinion of a person who does not appear to use facts to support an argument? Appreciate your work.


bill anderson said...

Good question. No, I realize that the Yolandas of the world are going to believe rape for pure ideological reasons. But I also want to be pointing out that the nonsense that we see in many of these "academic" offerings really cannot be confined to the college campus.

You see, it is easy for us to look back at things like the Scottsboro Boys trial and see the ugliness of judging people according to race -- and to realize the consequences of such actions. Ironically, the modern academic curriculum, in all of its supposed desire to "purge" racism from the academy, actually must resort to the same tactics used to railroad the Scottsboro Boys and others like them.

In other words, while the modern Yolandas might denounce the racism and the lynching and such, they ultimately must adopt the very things that these people used in order to create their own version of justice. The junk that is taught at Duke -- and elsewhere -- really does have consequences.

Just think; how would one of you like to have someone like Yolanda on a jury, a person who literally cannot even begin to understand things like facts, and who thinks only in ideological terms? As a blogger, she is just another shill for marxism and is someone making noise. However, as a juror, she would be someone who would be instrumental in throwing an innocent person into prison.

In other words, people like Yolanda support tyranny. Yes, they claim to have opposite views, but they really are people who desire power so that they can be tyrants. We know the type.

KC Johnson said...

Various race-baiting comments, on both sides, have been deleted.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd delete everything posted after 2 or 3 p.m. Wow. Very wierd people. "Too much time on their hands...." To say the very least.

I did want to comment about the original subject here. This sort of critical reading of people's statements strikes me as very problematic. I'd want some sound, double blind verification of this sort of statement interpretation before I would rely on it. Liars tend to group in threes? What about lucky seven? or unlucky thirteen?

The basic premise here struck me as unsubstantiated. Please don't convict me (of anything)based on my sloppy use of tense.

Anonymous said...

that kc johnson obviously doesn't like proud black grandmothers

Anonymous said...

I agree that some of this statement analysis seems strange, like when you say "we're innocent" and that is considered suspicious on the ground that it is not strong enough.

GPrestonian said...

Crystal Mess strikes on the subject of the DOJ:

Mr. Jones and Me