Monday, January 08, 2007

John Bourlon: Legal "Analyst"

Among the most ironic aspects of this case: the site of members of the Durham defense bar regularly prostituting themselves on national television, defending a prosecution that represents the highest-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in recent memory.

It’s not hard to discern their motives: the defendants aren’t from Durham, and praising Nifong now will accumulate chits for later.

The most outrageous of this group is Nifong campaign contributor and traffic court lawyer John Bourlon.

Here is Bourlon from December 23, on FOX, describing Nifong’s decision to drop the rape charge but keep the others:

In America, this is the way our system of justice works. This is not unusual at all. This is how every single criminal case goes.

In general, he dismissed claims that Nifong was behaving in a way at all unusual for the Tar Heel State.

I spoke with a district attorney yesterday in an adjoining county and I asked that very question because we just concluded the North Carolina Association of District Attorney conference. Not one single elected district attorney in the 100 counties of North Carolina, that I’m aware of, has come forward and said this prosecution has handled this matter totally different than I would handle it. Not one. In my 27 years of experience, this is how every rape case proceeds.

Five days after Bourlon delivered his remarks, the state bar filed ethics charges against Nifong, stating that he had engaged in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

Six days after Bourlon delivered his remarks, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys issued a public letter demanding that Nifong recuse himself from the case, stating that such an action was necessary “in light of all the developments of the Duke Lacrosse case, including the [ethics] filing on December 28, 2006.” [emphases added]

Cable news programs work with “two sides” duking it out. But what happens when the only people willing to represent one side are people like Wendy Murphy and John Bourlon? How could any responsible network put such figures on the air?

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bourlon was exposed as being a Nifong mouthpiece and a lousy lawyer. Everytime he opened his mouth he validated that either he has a very low IQ or is delusional.

Bourlon & Nifong should form a law firm in the land of make believe.

Anonymous said...

Among the most ironic aspects of this case: the site of members of the Durham defense bar regularly prostituting themselves on national television, defending a prosecution that represents the highest-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in recent memory.

=============================

That should be sight and not site.

Anonymous said...

The Nifong-legal-supporters know he screwed up...but if they all come out against him, then there is not much 'conflict' to create an exciting news story. Prostitution is not necessarily confined to sexual relations...just ask Murphy Grace, et al!!

Anonymous said...

Nifong has the protection of the black community and black vote. He will not be disbarred. He will be given a suspension, stayed for five years, under the condition he resigns as DA, does not practice law within a 100 mile radius of the triangle, cannot work in a DAs office again.

You do not need to be disbarred to have your career ruined. The man will have open his own law office as no one will give him a job and the only clients who will want him are black ones who cant afford the legal fees. Good luck with that Mike.

If you disbar him, you are telling the black community their accusations as victims against whites have less merit when the Gell prosecutors got letters of reprimand for doing worse. Its all nonsense but that is how the NAACP will interpret it.

Nifong should disgraced and put in prison, but I am cynical because I get to listen to the stories of my law partner who has served on the State Bar grievance committee.

Once the big civil payouts are made, everyone saves face.

Chicago said...

I think this is an easy one to figure out. Bourlon wants the people of Durham to come to him for their traffic court needs. He figures if he gets his name out there, it will get him free publicity with all the people in Durham who want a conviction of the Duke 3 no matter what. Yet another example of a person using this case to boast their own agenda.

Chicago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Nifong is safe. Bar panel has 3 members and democratic governor gets to appoint one member and the remaining 2 members are white and black. So in effect, Nifong has 2-1 advantage, assuming the one white member is a honest lawyer.

There is absolutely zero chance of any serious sanctions.

The case is dropped on "technicalities" and black and white liberal community votes him to congress where Alcee Hastings, Freezer Jefferson and Nifong form their own congressional caucus within democratic party.

WJD said...

Dan Abram answered you final question concerning Wendy, stating something to the effect he has her on to show how rediculous her side is. I believe it is the same for Broulon, he just proves that Dan Abrams is ritht.

Chicago said...

Something else to keep in mind, why is a traffic court lawyer, a guy who makes his living in traffic court pleading down speeding tickets even commenting on a racially charged sexual assault case? The reason is simple I feel, no other lawyer would take Nifong's side and the talking heads had to have someone on each side.

Anonymous said...

There is a solution: turn off the TV.

Ryan said...

If the Duke case is how rape cases go all the time, it's no wonder we keep finding innocent people in prison.

Anonymous said...

Proofread.

huesofblue said...

"There is absolutely zero chance of any serious sanctions."

I don't think that Nifong will be disbarred, but I do think the sanctions will be fairly harsh. The exceptional and highly public way that the Bar has brought these charges suggests it's very serious about Nifong. I suspect the appointed members of the bar panel will take their obligations very seriously.

Anonymous said...

hues of blue - he likely won't be disbarred over his making of public statements, but conspiring with the lab director to withhold evidence will be his undoing. That charge is sure to come in a separate complaint. And another charge will issue as to his directing the police to disregard line-up procedures, with a similar dismal result. Most attorneys in his situation resign - because responding and defending oneself against this type of conduct will create a file record that will cause all sorts of trouble, including the enhancing prospect of criminal liability.

Anonymous said...

Defense lawyers like this have a phrase they use to describe their actions

"Bleed 'em and plead 'em"

Anonymous said...

11:35 - I disagree for one important reason.

NC has no choice but to sanction Nifong because his acts are egregious, and they have made it into the public domain. If they do not, it will become too glaringly obvious that the old boy network protected him. NC will look like fools.

They can't risk that on the national level.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

12:14 and 12:22, I don't think anything of consequence will befall Nifong. There's something in the water down there. Look at today's letter from Richard Brodhead in which he staunchly defends faculty activities in this case despite the highly negative view of them in many other quarters.

bill anderson said...

The Maryland Esquire has a very good point. While the Alan Gell case was big in North Carolina, it did not resonate nationally. There were no editorials in the Washington Post and LA Times against David Hoke and Debra Graves, no matter how egregious their offenses were.

Nifong not only made statements that were well out of bounds, but he also conspired to withhold exculpatory evidence, and was caught lying in court. The problem for him -- and for the NC Bar -- was that this was done in a very public manner.

Maybe the Bar will try to cover for him, but the PR fallout would be quite horrendous, and I am not sure that anyone is going to be willing to throw himself or herself under the train to save Mikey. He has done nothing to engender the kind of loyalty that he needs here.

Again, if it were just the statements, he would receive a reprimand, but his other acts very well could be interpreted as criminal. Furthermore, I suspect that he has done MUCH more than just try to withhold evidence. One does not try to build a case without evidence; I would not be surprised if there were other criminal conspiracies involved.

Remember, this case is unusual because we know of many examples of prosecutorial misconduct well before any potential trial. In most instances of prosecutorial misconduct, the information is gained AFTER the trial. Something tells me that we are not finished in uncovering more unsavory Nifongian acts.

Anonymous said...

take a look at Brodhead's statement today posted at Liestoppers.

Anonymous said...

YOU MIGHT WANT TO PUT THIS IN THE MAIN PART OF THE BLOG. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.



From: President Richard H. Brodhead [mailto:poffice@duke.edu]
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 11:52 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: A Letter to the Duke Community

January 8, 2007

Dear Members of the Duke Community:

I write to greet you at the start of a new year. I also want to address some important developments that have taken place while the University was on break, and to offer some thoughts as we go forward.

Last spring, this community became embroiled in a major controversy arising from a party held by members of the men's lacrosse team. It is universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate and unacceptable. Several factors came together to intensify the emotional response to this event. Though vehemently denied by team members, the accusations that resulted from the party raised deeply troubling questions about sexual violence and racial subjugation, issues of fundamental concern to any decent community. Passions were further intensified by a series of statements by the Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong that a rape had indeed taken place. Intense media coverage heightened these passions, promoting an air of instant certainty about rapidly changing "facts."

In the confusion of this situation, the University's response was guided by two principles: that if true, the conduct that had been alleged was grave and should be taken very seriously, and that our students had to be presumed innocent until proven guilty through the legal process.

As perceptions of the story changed, the University continued to maintain the need for broad deference to the legal process. If this case has taught us anything, it is our need for a legal process based in fairness, the rule of evidence, and withholding judgment until the truth is established.
In an interview with "60 Minutes" last fall, I noted that given the concerns that had been raised, when the case came before a judge and jury, Mr. Nifong's case would be on trial as much as the students would. But as that comment recognized, the road to a resolution necessarily involved going through legal process, not outside or around it.

In mid-December, there were important developments as the legal process entered the courtroom. These included the revelation, in sworn testimony, that the district attorney had not shared with the indicted students potentially exculpatory evidence from the DNA tests. Also, on December 22, the Friday afternoon before Christmas, the district attorney announced that he was dropping the rape charge because the accuser was no longer certain about her claim. After Christmas, the North Carolina State Bar announced that it had reviewed concerns about the district attorney's public statements and found grounds to file a formal complaint. Days later, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys also called on Mr. Nifong to recuse himself in this case.

On December 22, I issued a statement saying that, given the certainty with which the district attorney made his public statements regarding the rape allegation, his decision to drop that charge must call into question the validity of the remaining charges. I added that the district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. That last phrase is, for me, the heart of the matter. We entrust our conflicts to the law to provide a path to a fair resolution. But to earn this faith from the public,

those who work in the legal process must behave with elemental fairness and regard for the rights of those involved. We need and deserve for that faith to be restored.

In the wake of these new circumstances, I concluded upon the recommendation of Vice President Moneta that we should offer reinstatement to Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann so that they can return to Duke and resume their studies. (David Evans graduated last spring.) Interim suspension, the policy measure that had been invoked last April, is not a disciplinary measure or judgment of guilt. It is a temporary measure taken when a student is charged with a violent crime, and its use must balance a variety of factors, including the gravity of the charge, the presumption of innocence, the possibility of danger to the student or the community, and the need of students to continue with their education. Although the two students still face serious charges, in the changed circumstances, it seems only right to strike the balance at a different point. The fair
thing is to allow the students to continue with their studies.

We all pray that the legal matter will be resolved in a fair and speedy fashion. But as a university, we also need to look to the future and see how we can learn from this chapter of history. By facing the lessons of this painful episode, we can make Duke a better place. Let me outline a few specifics.

First, we still have work to do on this campus. One thing that has made this event so difficult is that particular charges against individuals have tended to be conflated with larger community issues of race, gender, privilege, and respect. During these hard months, some have seemed to imply that if you insist on the students' innocence, then you must not care about the underlying issues. Others have seemed to suggest that if you insist on the underlying issues, then you must not care about fair treatment for the students.

But it is essential that we separate the legal case from the larger cultural issues and give each its separate, appropriate response. The Campus Culture Initiative, begun last year and due to report this spring, is not a referendum on the party last March. It is an effort to visualize the best community we could make for students to grow and learn in, a community of mutual respect and vibrant mutual engagement. It will be all of our work to advance toward that goal. I see this as a chance to build on existing strengths in our educational experience and to press toward higher ambitions: the latest chapter in Duke's long history of self-
improvement.

Just as important, we must work together to restore the fabric of mutual respect. One of the things I have most regretted is the way students and faculty have felt themselves disparaged and their views caricatured in ongoing debates, often by individuals - sometimes anonymous - outside the Duke community. In the age of instantaneous worldwide media coverage, members of the lacrosse team were judged around the world on the basis of highly selective, highly prejudicial coverage last spring. A number of them were subjected to vile abuse. More recently, a group of Duke faculty members (including a number of African American faculty) have been widely attacked in blogs and emails - and in some cases personally attacked in highly repugnant and vicious terms - based on caricatured accounts of their statements on the lacrosse event.

We want to see an end to these destructive assaults. We cannot change the nature of modern communications, but we can make an effort on this campus to promote more constructive dialogue and a more charitable atmosphere for exchange. This does not mean that troublesome issues should now be avoided.
It's the mark of maturity in a university when hard issues can be freely and vigorously engaged, and this past year has shown us many areas in need of discussion and debate. But it does mean that we need to be less quick to take offense at the words of others, and work harder to understand what others are actually trying to say - even if we then disagree with it.

In its very difficulty, this moment gives us a chance to strengthen the climate of respectful engagement in this community, and it is crucial that we come together to seize the chance. Turning conflict among divergent points of view into the basis for mutual education is at the core of the university's work.

Last, in the heat of recent debates, there's been a danger that we will lose sight of something fundamental, and I want to say it on all of our behalf. This is a great university, one of the greatest in the world.
The vigor, intelligence, and devotion of each member of this community - faculty, students, and staff - are what make Duke great. This place needs all of us. And all of us are incalculably lucky to be part of this place, and to have the others who surround us for partners and colleagues.

Duke can and will become better yet, and it's our business to make it so.
This is the season of the New Year - a time for new starts and fresh beginnings. Let's work together to make our university as great as it can be.



Richard H. Brodhead
President

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, if Kemp says he is Toast, then he will be TOAST! Take it to the bank!

Anonymous said...

forget poodle boy!

we need you to slice and dice Dickey's latest letter on the main page

have fun!

Anonymous said...

FYI on the Curtis case: Check out Eric Adler's essay from Women's Quarterly (an admittedly conservative journal) on a "Guy Marooned in Women's Studies." (Google adler duke women's studies). He doesn't mention the professor by name, but a check of who was teaching this course back then should reveal that it was Kim Curtis.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Dick the dick wishes modern communications technology did not exist so there could have been a fair trial followed by a lynching.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the Men's Studies Department?

allie said...

I really liked brodhead's email, actually. I thought it was very calm, articulate and well-reasoned.

and hopefully it will serve as a reminder that extremist rants and insults won't help our side any more than it helped the potbangers.

duke09parent said...

Re: Brodhead's letter to the Duke community.

Sigh. Mr. Half-a-Loaf cannot manage to criticize or even question faculty attacks on his students. It's fine to call for scaling back personal attacks and for slowing reactions to words stated in an effort for mutual respect. But not a word about faculty members' disrespect toward students? I'm sure many of you will be harsher than I toward this letter.

He decries "caricature" of statements made. I suppose he doesn't think Davidson's mischaracterization of the "Listenting Statement" was inaccurate. After all, she says now, her intent in signing the statement was to support Reade, Collin and Dave.

The Listening Statement is exhibit one in the effort to connect negative racial thinking and misogyny on campus to the alleged criminal actions off campus. Until that faculty attack on students is acknowledged as at least imappriate by the Duke administration, the criticism of it (and continued justifications of it) will and should continue.

Anonymous said...

I also liked Brodhead's letter. Where I part company, though, is that as soon as the DNA results came back negative, and they had been promised as conclusive, we had reached the point that he reaches now. Virtually all of the concerns that he cites as causing him to lose faith in the legal system were apparent months and months ago and identified by, among others, Professor Coleman. Similarly, the vile abuse of the lacrosse team was also well known. So, while this letter is a step forward, clearly stating that he has lost faith in the judicial system, the facts underlying the letter were known a while ago.

duke09parent said...

at least "inappropriate"

Anonymous said...

The letter leads off with a slam against the lacrosse team:

"It is universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate and unacceptable."

There are numerous things that are equally "universally acknowledged", such as the total innocence of the students. And surely we all agree that professors should not enage in grade discrimination.

Brodhead blames his own students for the "controversy". He is simply incapable of supporting them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster. The only way to exorcise this demon is
to sue.

Anonymous said...

The Brodhead letter is precisely what you'd expect from your run-of-the-mill liberal university president.

The exoteric message of the letter is to follow Rodney King's admonition: "Can't we all just get along."

The esoteric meaning is: "The only truly vile people in all this are the bloggers who are publicly identifying the corrupt nature of Duke academic life." By Brodhead's account, you'd think that the only real victims of all this are the Gang of 88.

To KC and the other bloggers, I say: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Keep up the good work!

The Sword of Justice

Anonymous said...

1. Brodhead is now in a major damage control exercise for Duke and his own job.

The university is now being found severely wanting and the radical elements are also being exposed by the wonderful Blog stage!Brodhead must go along with his PC Feminazi brigade !

2.Durham's Woody Vann also made many appearances on Greta, On The Record show .

It would seem to me that when Woody was presented with a dificult question he nearly wet his pants skirting round a direct answer.

Bourlon and Vann are symptomatic of the old boy network that festers in the NC legal system!

Anonymous said...

While it is a nice, solid, well written, well reasoned letter it still attempts to cast the situation in the light that it was well reasoned to believe the students were guilty up until a month or so ago.

The truth is, it should have been clear this was a false accusation within the first weeks, as soon as Reade Seligman's alibi information was made public anyone even remotely objective should have been rethinking their position. The mountain of discovery material, the accuser's changing statements, real results of the rape exam, Robert's statement, etc. have been public for months.

Duke in all of it's PC wisdom seeks to equalize the misdeeds of both sides...and the sides are simply not equal.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for the evidence of racism and sexism at Duke.

Duke has admitted there is no history of racism or sexism on the lacrosse team, but persists in the idea that racism and sexism are still a huge problem that must be tackled by the 'community.'

Until reverse racism is acknowledged by the pc crowd, race relations in this country will never improve.

Chicago said...

The letter from Brodhead today is a disgrace. Here we have the PResident of the University standing up and trying to protect the Group of 88. Where was this defense for the Duke Lacrosse team last Spring?

Anonymous said...

It is axiomatic on almost all college campuses that 'minorities' are so downtrodden and victimized that they are unable to stand up for themselves or compete on an equal basis, a repudiation of everything Dr. King stood for.


Duke can't help itself from protecting the Group of 88, because most of them feel exactly the same way....

Hiring a couple of strippers and drinking underage because AS BAD as a false allegation of rape and a DA breaking the law to get a conviction.

Anonymous said...

Bill: I agree, and that is the difference. As it stands, this case has caused a serious blow to the perception of prosecutors in general, and those in NC in particular. The fallout is just beginning. The nation is watching, and NC must act.

This case, as some have said, goes far beyond the actual case itself. It has become a referendum for the justice system as a whole. Things that defense attorneys have whispered about privately have come out, such as the hiding and manipulation of evidence by DA's.

And the manner in which it came out is unprecedented. In a normal case, once the fact that DNA evidence had been hidden, I (for instance) would make a very quiet call to the DA's (or State's Attorney) office, and the matter would be handled accordingly. The DA would simply nol pros the charges, and the matter would be over. In most cases, this is because the DA's office has made an honest mistake, the police screwed up, etc.

In this case, it has blown up in Nifong's face. Not only did he hide the evidence, but his own witness confirmed that they conspired together to do so. Not only does this disturb me as an attorney, but from a real world viewpoint, such an admission would normally not happen because the crooked DA would have prepped Meehan. When that news made it out, my jaw dropped, and half of my law school buddies started e-mailing each other in shock. It is something I have never seen in defending dozens of criminal cases while in private practice.

NC's hands are tied, and the real pressure is coming from the legal community nationwide, which is staring with hands on hips, outraged and in horror. They must act, and a slap on the wrist simply does not cut it. Such an act defies every legal tenet, it violates a cardinal rule of law, and it amounts IMHO to true obstruction of justice if it is true (and by what I see, it is).

So, as you can see, I have been following this case closely, namely because I know one of the Defendants (and his family), and thought the whole thing was a travesty. But once that news came out, my focus immediately zeroed in on Nifong. If he and Meehan conspired together to hide Brady Material, a crime of moral turpitude, Nifong per se does not have the character to be an attorney. His actions violated the public trust, and NC must take actions to restore that trust.

Because we are all watching.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Does anybody believe Nifong is punished? Dream on. Case will be dismissed on technicalities and various hate groups from ACLU and New Black Panthers to NAACP play the victim card.

Anonymous said...

Esquire:

Well put. I've been focusing on Duke and the Gang of 88 as the more fundamentally important issue and have neglected the issue you raise. Still, your point is well taken: This case isn't just about Nifong or Durham or NC; it's about America's justice system which, after the fiasco of the OJ trial, is in desperate straights.

Good post.

The Sword of Justice

Chicago said...

I can't wait for KC to rip that Brodhead letter to pieces. KC will tactfully go sentence by sentence and let us know exactly what Brodhead is saying behind the big words and liberal fodder.

I can give a two sentence summary to the letter that Brodhead wrote prior to the more detailed analysis KC is sure to provide:

The Lax team is still at fault and the staff is not. I wish bloggers (aka hooligans) and Duke Lacrosse parents and friends would shut up and let our Group of 88 push their agenda with out being e-mailed.

Anonymous said...

1:13

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have not been let down by my NC Bar buddies yet. I wish I had more confidence in my sources about the Fed investigation. The point was made to me last night that the new Dem congress will not give US AG much backbone, BUT if the NC Bar does not take real action, I believe Washington will.

Let's also not forget, the NC Dem's have to purge this guy. The fact that the Gov is a Dem is NOT going to help him. My Bar buddies is a Dem, and Nifungu means NOTHING to him, but headaches.

I stand by my quote, "He's Toast"
Kemp

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny that Brodhead needed 30min to condemn white lacrosse players on flimsy charges but refuses the condemn Curtis' grade retaliation after strong evidence?

"Culture of corruption"

Anonymous said...

Is the governor up for re-election? When?

Anonymous said...

I can't see how Nifong can survive the DNA debacle. Much like his false accuser, he told too many different stories on how/why the exculpatory DNA was not disclosed to the defense.

First, it really was disclosed. Next, it was omitted due to mysterious 'privacy' concerns. Then, it was all a moot point because all the defense had to do was 'ask for it.' Finally, he thought all along the full report had been given to the defense.

I suspect he has been pressured for months in private to step aside from the case and/or drop the charges.

Anonymous said...

Easley was the first attorney general to be elected governor in North Carolina in November 2000. He received 53 percent of the vote in 2000 and was re-elected to a second term in 2004 by a margin of 13

Next elections 2008..I can see the campaign posters in Durham already.."The Man behind Mike Nifong " guarantees 100% of black vote and 100% of white liberal vote.

Anonymous said...

Dear allie, as long as the emails and letters the 88 get are not threatening, I hope their inboxes are full of messages telling them how wrong they have been and continue to be in their cover up of the original "intent" of the listening statement. Don't enable these people.

Anonymous said...

The Durham defense attys falling over themselves--same thing happens when some judge screws up the law. Lawyers rush to defend the moron.

Anonymous said...

Last week we got Vice Povost Davidson’s whining about “blog hooligans”.

Today we get this Brodhead clown with: “More recently, a group of Duke faculty
members (including a number of African American faculty) have been widely
attacked in blogs and emails - and in some cases personally attacked in
highly repugnant and vicious terms - based on caricatured accounts of
their statements on the lacrosse event.”

You almost get the feeling that Duke’s hired Dan Rather and Mary Mapes to manage their PR over this mess.

Next we’ll hear from some clown at Duke complaining about a bunch of guys in pajamas picking on poor Duke.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead sez:


It is universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate and unacceptable.


Your slimey hypocrisy would be more acceptible if you also made the same statements about the basketball team and the women's team that hired strippers.

Anonymous said...

Esquire in MD,

I know grand jury procedings vary state to state but curious if you were also outraged that Nifong would not consider any of the exculpatory alibi evidence prior to seeking indictment because he would have been obligated to put it before the grand jury? Or does this happen frequently in high profile cases?

Anonymous said...

These guys are never going to admit how wrong they were.

You've gotten the best we are going to get: the players acted badly [therefore, they kinda/sorta asked for it] and everyone was terribly misled by Mike Nifong, how were they supposed to know he was a liar. Oh yeah, and PS, it's too bad when innocent white people suffer, but let's not forget, african americans are still the victims.

Anonymous said...

It is much easier to forgive when wrong has been admitted, restitution made, and forgiveness actually sought. In a very oblique way, this is starting to happen in some quarters and I have to count this letter as part of this beginning.

There were many who were very outspoken at the time and without exception, the most egregious offenders admit no wrong or hide behind a wall of silence, even now.

The whole sorry affair has brought a great many things into sharp relief. Polarization can be very illuminating and seeing the contortions some will go to in an attempt to rationalize hypocrisy, and the degree to which people are willing to select their own "facts" has to be recognized.

Extraordinary theories require extraordinary proof -- people clearly have vastly different notions of what it takes to be extraordinary, different worldviews and closed minds.

The institution that looks by far and away the worst in this is our legal system. The bargain is that we accept the rule of law, knowing it is imperfect but expecting it to be generally fair. We expect that there is some accountability and some mechanism for correction. This affair has laid this bare and exposed just how corrupted things can become, on multiple levels.

It also comes off very badly that the electorate can be so easily manipulated and the level of discourse that carries the day is so shallow and base, while there are issues that can't even be debated in a civil way despite being central to understanding.
The press, whose role is so essential has failed -- yet there is some small hope that things like blogs may begin to change this.

To me the biggest failing of these special-interest departments is that they seem incapable of helping us to understand ourselves and each other and, given a huge opportunity to set an example and take the lead in examining, teaching, and healing, instead choose to express the very worst of the wrongs of our collective past. We are at war with ourselves and the first casualty is, indeed, the truth.

At the same time, I haven’t come across any good articulation of how someone else might have seen events as they unfolded that has rung true for me. Perhaps understanding is beyond me, but this could be a better way forward.

I have very strong opinions about right and wrong and things seem very clear to me in this instance. This is about abuse of power, railroading views, defeating others, extracting retribution, and hiding shame.

It is hard to be charitable to someone who claims they are receiving unkind e-mail after seeing the vicious, threatening, treatment given to kids who really do look very good indeed if you compare them to others of their age who are committing all sorts of criminal acts and essentially parasitize society. I tend to think of these kids as future producers, or at least as potential future producers. On the other hand, the parties really do come off as exemplars of the worst sort of characters -- and this is not because of the color or their skin, gender, or class; it has to do with character, as shown through acts and associations.

As Nofing heard while trying to force himself on Bob Harris,"No, it's about honesty. You're not honest". Count me with the hooligans.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a DA has to present exculpatory information to a grand jury, he is legally required to disclose it to defense counsel,though.

Michael said...

If he wants to talk about the behaviour at the party, he should identify who did what objectionable behaviour instead of tarring the entire team as then blame and guilt is collectively assigned at the margins.

I think that Brodhead should invite KC down for a talk on what the problems are. But Brodhead at 10,000 ft probably doesn't want to talk to the little people.

Anyone know if he's personally talked to any of the LAX parents or students?

Anonymous said...

KC,

Wasn't the Fox interview on December 22nd? That was the day news broke of the dropped rape charge and the entire daytime programming was filled with the coverage.

Thanks,
Twaddlefree

Anonymous said...

By the way, all....you know KC will get to the letter. Give him time.

:)

Twaddlefree

Anonymous said...

BOURLON & WILLIAMS, Attorneys at Law. Our mission statement:
"Nifong have something" (in the words of managing partner, Ted Williams). We believe that every case must go to trial, even the ones instigated by a lying, two bit exotic dancer. We are in bed with the prosecutor (figuratively, of course) which is why they call us "the deal makers". Just call, we're always on standby.

Anonymous said...

Duke has a race problem: it exists in a town that is apparently, quite racist and that seeks to destroy it.

Anonymous said...

2:55 - The route chosen in this case by Nifong was for the express purpose of not putting the weakness of his case on the table. Like MD at the District Court level, cases can be brought in NC by complaint or by grand jury. If brought by complaint, however, the matter is immediately scheduled for a Probable Cause (or Evidentiary) Hearing. This would have been Nifong's safer bet, because the Court would have siezed on the lack of evidence, and probably dismissed the charges, or whittled them down to pleadable offenses (not saying they would have pled, but not facing jail time is a great motivator to take a deal).

However, in a Grand Jury proceeding, the prosecutor can present any evidence he deems "relevant" to his claims. Any evidence that argues against his position would not be presented under these circumstances as "irrelevant" to his claim. Defense counsel is not present during these proceedings. It is almost a rubber stamp process. If a lamp post were up, it would get indicted.

In terms of refusing to look at relevant alibi evidence, I would term this more as unadvisable than a violation of his duties. He can choose to refuse to look at this evidence if he likes, but it is normally unwise to do so. The reason is that it's usually a win-win for the prosecutor. If the guy did not do it, he walks. If the DA thinks he's lying, he just does some investigation and tears the Defendant's alibi apart.

Thus, the question must be raised - Why would he not look at it? Seen in context, it would not be a stretch to think he did not look at the alibi evidence because he already knew the answer. Plausible deniability is the term I think of here.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Basically, Brodhead is saying that he is ok with grade retaliation, indoctrination, and harassing students based on race, gender and athletic status. I'm sure parents are very interested to hear about this.

Klu Klux Klan and David Duke would be proud about Duke (btw, wasn't the former KKK leader senate president last week..because of his seniority in the democratic party?)

Anonymous said...

3:06

I agree. I keep hearing that Durham's black community isn't racist, but I keep on seeing the same racist drivel about white power and conspiracy and the need to put this case in front of a black jury.

Has any local black Durham leader or reporter spoken out and said the charges appear now to be false?

WJD said...

Maryland, esquire, I am a retired police officer. Had I made a mistake with evidence or on a police report, I would immediately tell the prosecutor. I felt it was up to him to turn over anything I had screwed up, to the defense counsel. I sicerely believe in this case at least one officer did screw up, Gottlieb, or was following the directions of DA Nifong. If the later is the case then Nifong really belongs behind bars. From the day Nifong took over this case, he bacame an investigator, not a prosecutor. I don't know how you feel about this, but this is in my belief and understanding of the Constitution a violation of the seperation of powers. You as a lawyer are an officer of the court, I as a police officer am an officer, under the executive of the state or city I work for. Nifong in this case was acting as both an officer of the executive branch and an officer of the judicial branch simultaneously. What is your opinion of this? I learned the seperation of powers when I attended the state police academy as a recruit.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Brodhead missive

Until he states that it is “ universally acknowledged that the behavior” of the 88 “was inappropriate and unacceptable”, he has no credibility.

- How can he white wash that the “88” publicly inflamed a volatile situation by thanking those who rushed to judgement against their own students and recommended castration for ‘good measure’ ?

- How does re-classify the “88’s” published statements as "caricatured"? They made a self-evident slanderous proxy-attack against the character of Duke students, and a breach of the written faculty code of behavior ?

-How can he give equal credence to implied ‘blog hooliganism’ against the “88” as compared to the slander made by these same faculty members ? The real consequences to each are worlds apart !

Answer Key: Brodhead is very concerned about the civil liabilities he allowed to develop on his watch.

TW

Anonymous said...

3:33 - I think I have never seen a 42 USC 1983 case served on a more gleaming silver platter.

You have hit upon it. When Nifong named himself lead investigator, he simultaneously waived immunity down to qualified immunity, and was serving in a law enforcement capacity.

I know that the police are normally honest guys, and so are most DA's. But in this case, I think the police were unduly influenced by Nifong, and basically did what he said. The separation of powers was broken, and the result was a string of set-ups that a child could see through.

It should serve as a warning for all of us. Yes, he could possibly go to jail for what he has done. I don't see that happening, though, but it is a possibility that still exists.

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

allie said...

"Dear allie, as long as the emails and letters the 88 get are not threatening, I hope their inboxes are full of messages telling them how wrong they have been and continue to be in their cover up of the original "intent" of the listening statement. Don't enable these people."

I have no problem with filling their inboxes... as long as the emails are mature and reasonable. unfortunately, I'm sure they get emails like some of the comments on this blog- full of childish insults like "dick the dick" and hysterical demands for suing and firing everyone at duke. and when people read that, it makes all duke lacrosse supporters look bad, and it makes it that much easier for them to dismiss our arguments.

jpj said...

When the 88 -- among them members of the university's administration -- published their ad, they clearly identified themselves as members of the faculty. The statement was understood as supporting the general rush to judgement against the lacrosse team members, and I gather the ad was intended to produce this effect. Most importantly, the administration did nothing to contradict the notion that the 88 Group were speaking for the university's faculty.

Furthermore, the administration attacked its students for contacting their parents and seeking legal council.

Last week, first the vice president -- finally -- acknowledged the team memers innocence and re-invited them; but then Provost Davidson published an editorial basically defending the 88 Group's welcoming of the general rush to judgement.

How, I wondered, would Brodhead react to the Provost's editorial?

"It is universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate and unacceptable."

Prospective donors and parents who might entrust their children to the university's staff will also acknowledge that the party took place at spring break and outside of university property, that execessive drinking has heretofore been tolerated where other students were guilty of it -- in plain english, the lacrosse team is being singled out -- and that one of the falsely accused even did the right thing and left.

"Though vehemently denied by team members, the accusations that resulted from the party raised deeply troubling questions about sexual violence and racial subjugation, issues of fundamental concern to any decent community."

There are these words again: "sexual violence" and "racial subjugation". No violence took place, and noone was subjugated, least of all for their race. This remark is a slap into the team member's face at best and slanderous at worst.

"In the confusion of this situation, the University's response was guided by two principles: that if true, the conduct that had been alleged was grave and should be taken very seriously, and that our students had to be presumed innocent until proven guilty through the legal process. (...) If this case has taught us anything, it is our need for a legal process based in fairness, the rule of evidence, and withholding judgment until the truth is established."

These are honorable principles and the lesson is a good one. If only the university would heed them.

"The fair thing is to allow the students to continue with their studies."

The right things to do are to disown the 88 Group's statements as private opinions and to issue an apology to the lacrosse team members and their families.

"Just as important, we must work together to restore the fabric of mutual respect."

To restore respect into an institution, said institution must first prove it is respectable. Personally, after what the 88 Group and the administration did, I will not respect them but after a clear apology.

"recently, a group of Duke faculty members (...) have been widely attacked in blogs and emails (...) based on caricatured accounts of their statements on the lacrosse event."

We are to believe that what the bloggers write are mostly "caricatured accounts of [the 88 Group's] statements"? It seems to me that what is published were the 88 Group's own words.

"This place needs all of us. And all of us are incalculably lucky to be part of this place, and to have the others who surround us for partners and colleagues."

How are the 88 Group faculty members and the administration that is protecting them partners of the vicitmised students and their families?

Missing is the exoneration of the falsely accused students, missing is a clear statement that the 88 Group faculty members were and are encouraging false judgement as private persons and not as Duke employees and administrators, missing is an apology for the harassment of the students for contacting their parents and seeking legal council.

But this is the voice of Duke. I very much hope that everyone who considers to entrust his child to Brodhead's protection, or who ponders donating to this university gets acquainted with the facts and then reads Brodhead's letter.

Anonymous said...

I expect a statement from Brodhead about grade retaliation. Isn't the standard Duke policy to issue inflammatory statement against the accused immediately without bothering to check any facts? Or does this policy apply only to white males?

Anonymous said...

hysterical demands for suing and firing everyone at duke

Due to these events, Duke pseudo-science faculty has been exposed as a bunch of racists with dubious academic credentials and little or no academic results. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect them to be fired.

jpj said...

Hello TW,

you wrote on 3:38 PM:

> Answer Key: Brodhead is very concerned
> about the civil liabilities he allowed
> to develop on his watch.

While I am no lawyer and certainly no tort lawyer, I envision sitting on a jury and encountering the following remark from a person entrusted with a student's care by his parents: "Though vehemently denied by team members, the accusations that resulted from the party raised deeply troubling questions about sexual violence and racial subjugation."

No "sexual violence" was committed , and certainly no "subjugation", "racial" or otherwise. What is happening here is the continuation of the slander against the lacrosse team members. If this be damage control to ward off a civil suit for breach of contract -- as Mr Anderson pointed out -- or libel, then it seems rather inappropriate.

I rather have the impression that president brodhead is desperately trying to save face while disregarding the university's interests in a possible series of civil suits.

Guaunyu said...

2:25:

Just because you hate them doesn't make the ACLU and the NAACP "hate groups." It demeans the discourse to suggest that they are.

Nifong has trampled the rights of these three falsely accused young men. He has done so with such impunity that it is logical to believe that these are not the first innocent defendants he has railroaded. As such, the ACLU and the NAACP should be attacking him; that they are not represents a miserable failure in their organiztional missions.

However, calling the ACLU and the NAACP hate groups is about as accurate as calling Crystal Mangum a "victim."

Guaunyu said...

Uh... that should read "organizational." My bad.

Cedarford said...

I do remember Abram's recent comment about Wendy Murphy and Nancy Grace "types" that say outrageous things.

Basically, "we toss them on as Pinatas to be whacked around".

Objects of amusement. Naturally, the media doesn't care if Wendy Murphy disgraces the legal profession or the New England School of Law - but why does the profession she disgraces as a prominent national "spokesperson" or the school she bills herself as a legal authority by virtue of her professorship, put up with it???

Add Ted Williams, and lesser luminaries Boulon and Vann (who thought they were well-situated hitching a ride to national celebrity, crusader for minority and social justice, and Rising Star Mikey Nifong by praising and supporting him as some bumpkin demi-god)

It's one thing to be an advocate for the other side. It's another to shown to be the clueless lawyer-idiot who alleges and argues on when the facts are clear there IS no other side. As the old lawyer joke goes, "If you expect me to get up in court and argue your obviously guilty ass is innocent and make a fool out of my self, you better pay me damn good! My reputation doesn't come cheap!"

**************
guaunyu Just because you hate them doesn't make the ACLU and the NAACP "hate groups." It demeans the discourse to suggest that they are.

The NAACP has long espoused the unlimited "victim entitlement" that blacks alone are perpetually entitled to....and remain as an organization thoroughly mired in the 60s. They speak the language of class warfare and always taking the black person's side - no matter what the merits. In some of their dealings, they have shown open racism - the infamous 2000 Bush ad, the recent lacrosse scandal. Al Sharpton was rewarded by the NAACP for his Tawana Brawley and "burn down the Jews" stores activism - YEARS after the events.
They have internal problems of corruption and regularly abusing their tax-exempt status by serving as Democrat organizers. Mifume was brought in to clean them up somewhat.

The ACLU - The ACLU is now an organization composed primarily of non-Christian Leftists. They definitely hate key sectors of America and pursue their hate and scorn of them by lawsuits. Their favorite targets are Christians,
gun owners (the 2nd Amendment is for only the right of government to be armed by ACLU logic), Boy Scouts, and white male privilege.

If the Lacrosse case had involved Muslim or black players, the ACLU would have been down in Durham in a heartbeat.

Occasionally, the ACLU will do a publicity stunt like back the Nazis marching in Skokie or the Phelps Church funeral protestors to prove they are even-handed....But anyone that follows their day-to-day activities knows WHO they hate, WHO they bottom-line support, and WHO they target.

Guaunyu said...

cedarford

I respectfully (but vehemently) disagree.

Anonymous said...

Esquire from Maryland is so exquisitely brainy.

I think I'm in love!

Anonymous said...

guaunyu---you would, wouldn't you?

Imbecile.

Guaunyu said...

3:06:

How about instead of just calling me an imbecile you tell me - calmly and logically - why I'm wrong. Please explain, if you can, why the ACLU and the NAACP can properly be described as hate groups.

I humbly submit that the term hate group is better reserved for organizations that call for violence against those who do not fit the racial/religious/ethnic "standards" of the group. To use the term for organizations that engage in behaviors like those described by cedarford dilutes the term to meaninglessness. At that point, any group that vocally and passionately takes up a position with which I disagree becomes a "hate group." While that kind of venomous polarization creates a perfect environment for Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh to keep making millions, it's not an approach that lends itself to creating a healthy marketplace of ideas in our republic.

So, do you think a broader definition of the term "hate group" - one that is broad enough to include the ACLU and the NAACP - is appropriate? If so, then please try to explain rationally why.

Or, maybe you think that the definition I propose is sufficiently broad and you have heard the ACLU and NAACP call for (1) only allowing members of one race or creed or ethnicity to have full citizenship rights, (2) racial or ethnic or sectarian "cleansing" or violence, or (3) genocide. If so, then I missed that press release; so, please, enlighten this poor benighted imbecile.

Anonymous said...

Bourlon is one of the sleazier lawyers around here. I actually emailed Fox to tell them they were making a mistake putting him on.

He is a disingenuous, rat-tailed little twerp.