Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Grand Jurors Speak Out

ABC's Law and Justice Unit broke another item on the story this morning, as two members of the grand jury that made the indictments spoke out. One was blunt:

Knowing what I know now and all that's been broadcast on the news and in media, I think I would have definitely … made a different decision . . . I don't think I could have made a decision to go forward with the charges that were put before us. I don't think those charges would have been the proper charges, based on what I know now.

The other, remarkably, said that he had no regrets about the decision to indict, but nonetheless now had doubts about the case. Both expressed puzzlement as to how Nifong could not have dropped all charges after the accuser radically changed her story on December 21.

The grand jurors could not speak out about what went on in the jury room. But they could, presumably, speak to the special prosecutor. What, exactly, did Gottlieb and Himan tell the grand jury in order to obtain the indictments? If the indictments themselves were illegitimate, what does this say about the integrity of the case?

The special prosecutor has promised a thorough inquiry: one aspect should be granting immunity to the grand jurors from any contempt charge, and allowing them to reveal what they were told.

273 comments:

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bill anderson said...

Apparently, both Gottlieb and Himan lied to the grand jury, and they were following Nifong's instructions. If Scooter Libby is on trial for allegedly lying to a grand jury, why should Gottlieb and Himan and Nifong get a free pass?

This case has told me that the so-called criminal justice system in this country is rotten to the core. Cops and prosecutors are free to lie, make false charges, and, apparently, get away with it.

Had it not been for the blogging community, these liars would have been able to railroad through a conviction, given the proclivity for "justice" from the State of North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

The Phantom of the Wonderland
By Michael Corey

He could hardly wait for the curtain to open. The audience had settled in,
having beaten paths from media outlets across the country and bull-rushed
the gates of Durham under banners reading, "The Duke Lacrosse Case: The
Greatest Show on Earth." In place of Playbills, the attendees were handed
"wanted" posters brandished with photos of the show's antagonists, 46 in
all. And so the district attorney strode onto the stage, beaming and
gleaming in the light of flashbulbs-this was Act One.

So with the ever-devolving characters from television punditry-or perhaps,
putridity-listening gleefully, the attention aroused Mike Nifong as he
delivered one unquestioned soliloquy after another. He was not the most
elegant of thespians, nor was the show the most spectacular. There was no
shattered chandelier with which to enthrall imaginations, but attention was
commanded nonetheless by the certitude and vigor with which he and presented
a delectable confluence of tragic subplots that would lead the fad-based
media into drafting an orgy of headlines in the days and weeks to come: Rich
white boys from the cradle of comfort, masquerading as scholar-athletes, had
invaded both the city of Durham and one of its African-American women.

The locusts in the media having found their new cash crop to devour and
exploit, they infested the campus of the university derisively known as the
"plantation," and broadcast Nifong's proclamations far and wide, bringing
campus tension to a palpable din.



Indeed, Duke University's student body was already weary from myriad
controversies regarding ethnicity and sex. The most notable impetus of
tension was the Palestine Solidarity Movement's presence in 2004, which
brought alleged terrorist sympathizers to campus. That same year, a
widely-derided column entitled "The Jews" was published in The Chronicle
that inadvertently echoed Nazi rhetoric. Furthermore, a 2003 fraternity
party theme that mocked illegal immigrants drew national headlines, as it
was one of the top stories on the popular website Drudge Report for several
days. And recognition and hand-wringing over Duke's residential segregation
continued to fester, in that a considerable majority of African-American
students tended to live on Central Campus, while a considerable majority of
white students tended to live on West Campus. Finally, multiple
widely-reported sexual assaults from 2001 to 2004 created a fog of fear that
had just begun to clear when Nifong began to advertise the invidious
imbroglio when "The Duke Lacrosse Case" opened in the spring of 2006. Duke
was certainly not a cesspool of hatred and anxiety, but it was not Utopian,
either. The University has always taken pride in facing its imperfections in
the hopes of remedying them, though many would contend that it has been far
too passive in doing so in recent years.

It was against this backdrop that Act One festered, and it was the
circumvention of professor-led efforts to spark positive conversation of
this environment that would serve as the primary conflict in Act Two. But
Nifong's show was far from concluding. Masquerading as the dispenser of
justice, the District Attorney conducted dozens of interviews--not to
investigate, but to disseminate his view of absolute guilt, never paying
heed to his responsibility to the law by honoring due process, the
presumption of innocence, nor civility in the treatment of the accused.
Indeed, Nifong willfully turned the investigation into a witch hunt, but the
accused refused to turn on one another to save themselves. And for this
unwillingness to speak of crimes they did not commit, Nifong and his horde
castigated the teammates for wrapping themselves in an iron curtain of
silence. And so, Nifong tried to smoke them out of their foxhole. And as he
swaggered from his front-row seat of the melee he created, an impatient and
easily swayed troupe of protestors began to call for the collective heads of
the lacrosse players, often with threats delivered personally to the
indicted and their families. All along, Nifong refused to serve as an
interlocutor to this egregiousness. Instead, he encouraged the mob by
declaring the players "hooligans," and all but condemning them to a life in
prison.

~

Nifong's vociferous degradation of Duke ingratiated him to enough of
Durham's voters just in time to help him win a tight primary election. But
as tends to be the case when Machiavellian notions of power and politics
drive groupthink, there was little substance to the bellowing of Nifong and
his followers. As we have since learned, what little investigating Nifong
had conducted was flawed with a gross ineptitude so deplorable it may have
been illegal. The first to articulate as much on the national stage had
arrived to the festivities late, but with ample time to defend justice from
the bemoaning and baseless throng of supporters Nifong had previously
seduced.

In October 2006, Jim Coleman, a law professor and the head of Duke's Campus
Culture Initiative, stepped confidently into the courtroom of public opinion
via 60 Minutes, and calmly used Nifong's own words to shatter the case
against the accused.

Soon thereafter, Nifong exited stage right to face charges brought by the
North Carolina Bar, prompting his recusal from the case and paving the way
for Act Two. But with a new act would come further absolutism and certitude,
this time by vilifying Duke's professors en masse, that would continue to
ill-serve those most intimately impacted by this West Campus story: the
indicted trio and its families.

It was in defense of this group that a rage grew in Brooklyn, where a
Harvard-educated professor of history began tracking the Duke case more
actively than the customary surveyor of news. Now considered by many to be
the purveyor in chief--at least among bloggers and those who read their
words religiously--of information revolving around the case, K.C. Johnson
asserts that the impetus to the 330,000 or so words he has devoted to his
website, "Durham in Wonderland," was a letter signed by 88 Duke professors
and published as an advertisement in an April 2006 issue of the student
newspaper. The letter, which included anonymous quotes from students
regarding their experiences with race and sex on campus, was entitled, "What
Does a Social Disaster Look Like?"

"As far as I can tell--I teach a course in higher ed--that was
unprecedented, that such a sizable group of faculty members would issue a
statement essentially denouncing its own students while they were still in
harm's way," Johnson told me last week over the phone, just days after 64 of
the 88 professors published a second letter to clarify the meaning of the
original. It was on that point--whether the "social disaster" was a
prejudgment of guilt, or a term describing the ramifications on campus
resulting from the coverage of the accusations--that the theatre of the
tragic devolved into the theatre of the absurd.

~

They could hardly wait for the curtain to open. The audience returned from
intermission and settled in to their seats for the continuation of "The
Duke Lacrosse Case." But rather than being one-man show, a mix of
star-studded personalities and unknown bloggers alike prepared to engage the
masses. In place of Playbills, the attendees were handed the e-mail
addresses of the show's antagonists, 88 in all. And so the ensemble cast
strode onto stage, shrieking and seething--this was Act Two.

The attention--and of course the ratings and website hits--aroused the cast
into delivering one damning denunciation after another at the Group of 88.
The show still lacked spectacular special effects, but the themes remained
the same. Certitude, vigor and a confluence of subplots had created a
perfect storm for the noise machine: Elitist liberal professors from the
umbrageous university had invaded the rights of the accused, inserting their
unwanted political biases and vendettas into the breach.

The locusts in the noise machine having found their new cash crop to devour
and exploit, they (and perhaps more notably, their technological lemmings)
leapt from the cliff of reason and decorum, and infested the e-mail accounts
of the 88 professors who signed the aforementioned letter with threats, and
the equivalent of grave-dancing over the passing of loved ones in the
professors' lives. Fox News sank so far down into the pits of parallelism
that they arrived unannounced at the homes of many of the professors; and
rather than banging pots, wielded cameras in a sleazy move more befitting of
the paparazzi than a supposedly reputable news outfit.

As such, the ensemble took its show on the road--and onto the airwaves and
into the blogosphere--all the while maintaining guilt, never paying heed to
the possibility that the impetus for the din of denouncements could very
well have been a denouement to the division and derision on campus instead.
Indeed, the stars of Act Two had failed to consider that the star from Act
One ought not to have been conflated with the Group of 88. But such
thoughtfulness has been lost on the ensemble, which had led a witch hunt of
their own, and the general silence that has come from the group for not
wanting to address crimes they did not commit has been equated to an
implicit admission of guilt. And so, the ensemble has tried to burn the
professors out of their foxhole--the Ivory Tower of the University--with the
torchbearers signing book deals, as Johnson has done, and extracting every
ounce of publicity out of this melee as possible along the way.
~

Though the lacrosse players as a whole have been dragged through a
cumbersome legal process, and through incalculable mental anguish, the
discomfiting fact remains that 1/3 of the team was facing various--albeit
minor--criminal charges prior to the infamous party last March. That the
captains hosted a party where underage drinking took place, and where
strippers were invited, was discouraging to say the least. One hopes,
however, that the new head coach John Danowski has helped the team to learn
from its past mistakes. The hurdles it has had to face in the past year
ought not to have been part of that learning process, but this behind them,
one expects a very mature and very driven team to take the field next month,
and that the individuals on the team will become champions of due process
and justice wherever their lives may take them.

The lives of 88 Duke professors have changed considerably in the wake of the
publication of their letter, of which respectable people can and will
continue to disagree about the intent and proper reading of the words
therein. But the problem of too many of the grievances is that they have
been anything but respectable. Consequently, the professors' critics are
guilty of the same stubbornness in their interpretation of the letter--and
as arrogant in defense of their opinion--as the very professors whom they
accuse of stubbornness and arrogance in writing the letter in the first
place. Or rather, no one seems to have considered the possibility that the
charges being brought against the professors are as imaginary as the phantom
charges levied against the indicted.

Granted, I would contend that the letter was imperfect. It was too vague in
articulating the history of issues that required conversation, for one, and
the clarification of the letter's purpose was published nine months too
late. But that is no excuse for the superlative condemnations and
hate-mongering that have resulted from the noise machine and its followers.
Furthermore, the individual proclamations of certain signatories of the
letter have been extrapolated to represent the opinion of the entire group,
which is at best intellectually puerile, and at worst, intentionally
deceptive.

Still, I would contend that disagreements on such matters can come
agreeably, and that closure and progress can still come to those willing to
participate in a yet unscripted Act 3. It would necessitate compromise and
understanding; it would necessitate patience and restraint; it would
necessitate a consideration of history, and introspection, and the
willingness to admit fault in our own words and actions. Indeed, I'm certain
I've made mistakes in this piece, and I look forward to learning from my
missteps. Similarly, Duke does have its issues, which the theatre of "The
Duke Lacrosse Scandal" elucidated and exacerbated, and those issues must be
dealt with sooner rather than later, else the raisin in the sun will
continue to fester.

And if we allow that to happen, if we allow ourselves to reach the point of
no return without a serious attempt at intervention, the very community of
learners we strive to defend will have something far more difficult to
rebuild than a shattered chandelier.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, Michael Corey: 2000+ words? Many, many of them added nothing to -- indeed, detracted from -- your opus. Whatever you said in that exhausting blizzard about "respectable people being able to disagree about the intent and proper reading of the listening ad"? Uh, sorry, no. Not respectable people who can read.

Anonymous said...

According to viewers of GMA interview this morning, the two grand jurors were black (even though their complete identity was shielded).

Does anyone know the racial makeup of the original grand jury?

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson,

It's not whether or not Gottlieb and Himan should get a free pass here in Durham, but whether or not they will. My guess is that they will.

Nifong is likely to lose his job, but his pension? Unclear. Given the political makeup of NC, he will likely be able to nurse at the teat of the maternalist state for all time and eternity.

Anonymous said...

Polanski says

Anyone know anything about the rape allegation against Baker?

--AV's race, occupation

--was she paid off? what was holloway's involvement?

--why didn't AV go to police?

I want to post on this, but I need info

Anonymous said...

"...charges being brought against the professors are as imaginary..."

You throw the baby out with the bathwater. The 88 listening statement I is rightly criticized for its ambiguity and horrendously poor timing. By mincing and obfuscating and catering to all colors of the rainbow of anti-white-athlete-"privileged"-male opinion on the alleged events of March 13-14, the 88 released a rather grey statement. They condemn a group based on a few words uttered by one-or-two individuals or typed in ironic fashion by a foolish student.

The fact remains that the signers of the second statement rejected outright any calls for them to apologize. So they are not listenting at all. Silently, they also rejected the fact that they have needlessly wounded others in the Duke family by stating that racism and sexism are PREVALENT on campus, thereby condemning many in the Duke campus, all in selfish service of the agenda of a few. No place is perfect, no human is perfect. But there is no excuse for the 88 to spit on and dishonor the hard-won success of all alumni who graduated from Duke by besmirching the University's good name, by trying to hold up the lacrosse team party as an example of all that is wrong with the world, and to forward personal and professional agendas in the guise of improving Duke.

Were some students criticized for not backing the rowdy lacrosse team? Probably. But these students chose to believe the word of a woman who makes the Duke players look like angels.

Are issues of bias extant in society at large and at Duke in particular? Absolutely. Wherever there are humans personal biases, group biases, cultural biases etc. will exist. It's human nature.

It's also human nature to ask forgiveness, and to grant it when another admits to the error of their ways. So far, we are listening, and the 88/87 are deafeningly silent. So why should we listen to what many of them they actually say? Lacrosse team innocence equals 88 guilt, apparently, and they won't confess. It is unfortunate.

Michael said...

I can't believe the sentiments of the second person. Sure, they had to do at least 24 of these in two days which doesn't leave a lot of time but these folks should be bright enough to know what the DNA evidence meant.

I can't believe that they didn't express outrage that that information was available and not presented.

It sounds like these GJ folks have no idea as to how much they have impacted the lives of all involved. I guess that they just felt that they were doing their jobs.

It must be pretty rough being on one of these things for long. If you're doing that kind of volume regularly, you know that you're going to make mistakes and that some that are innocent are going to wind up getting punished. I don't know how you live with that kind of knowledge.

I guess you need to be a prosecutor to know that you can wind up punishing someone that isn't guilty without it bothering your conscience. One other thing: I guess that it's beyond the ability of just about anyone involved in this case on the pro-prosecution side to apologize.

Why the concern for CGM from the second GJer? It's pretty clear that she knew what she was doing and continues to know what she's doing through to at least December.

It amazes me that the destruction of innocent people is essentially part of an industry.

Anonymous said...

Michael Corey - you must be kidding. You reference the charges against the Group of 88? What charges? You mean by "charges" others exercising their First Amendment rights in a way that the professors do not like? These are not charges, my friend - charges are what the three young men are facing - at the risk of being incarcerated for quite some time, by an apparently corrupt local Government, to boot. Look, it is possible some of the Group of 88 has been treated unfairly. Sure. But that is the risk they assumed when they declined to consider possibilities other than those compelled by their agenda. This is not an unfair claim - clearly most, if not all, of the Group of 88 have an agenda - and it is one that casts people and situations in terms of class as opposed to viewing people as individuals. And if they are uncomfortable in having that viewpoint exposed, or if they (which I think is the case) feel uncomfortable in having to now defend the indefensible from any immutable moral perspective, than so be it - like most of us, we make mistakes and have to somehow live with becoming comfortable with a degree of discomfort. Such is life, and the Group of 88 are clearly not above it.

I believe Mr. Corey is really unhappy about something deeper than than KC's excellent and relentless work. And what is that? Why, it is the Group of 88 and its ilk have been exposed. Now, of course, this could be deemed a puerile generalization, but really now, the radical left at places like Duke have operated with impunity for quite some time now and there is nothing like a scandal of this proportion to shed sunlight on just how they think and act. Think I am wrong? Why, even an awful embarrasing event like the Sokal affair in the mid-90's didn't really impact this bunch. (Duke published this piece). Sokal's hoax made it damningly clear that the radical post-modernists do not believe in any form of objective truth, even, as Sokal demonstrated, when it comes to mathematics! Now, most of us professionals (yes, Mr. Corey, some of not in academics have academic credentials equal if not superior to the Group of 88) would bury our head in the sand in shame for being associated with a "movement" so easily tricked by a hoaxster (Sokal), who of course knew that the use of the "right" jargon in his work irrespective of the idiocy of the content would ensure publication. But not the post modernist bunch. No, they by and large have continued to pass back and forth their turgid, jargon laden prose in their echo chamber, making themselves self-gratifyingly happy. Of course, no new scholarly ground is broken (they have, like Karla Holloway, a depressing tendency to write about themselves!) - and in fact most of them exist as mediocre academics to fill positions in the neverending pursuit of diversity. But along comes a real scandal, with real injustice (people are really tired of being subject to racial extortionists - it gets old), and the Gang of 88 simply can't hide easily. And since their views are so at variance with the majority of the population, and certainly at variance with their customers (their students), and are by and large not persuasive in terms of any method of induction or empirical proof, well, they really feel exposed and do not like it. And I guess if I were in their shoes I would feel the same way. But the communications sent their way are not "charges". Academics should be comfortable in having to compete for ideas - and not react as if they are on the receiving end of "charges" if challenged to compete.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Grand Jury(s) were comprised of people easily misled by Gottlieb and Himan, on orders from Nifong.

Didn't Ronnie Earl in Austin perfect the process of calling multiple Grand Juries until the lottery process delivered one that would accommodate the prosecutor's claim.

Of course, in Durham, there probably never was a need for multiple Grand Juries. With extensive, unprecedented publicity provided willfully by Nifong, any Grand Jury could have been misled.

MrRabbit said...

Another load of nauseating news from the "sausage factory". B.And. is right....rotten to the core...the whole country!.....God only knows how many thousands of miserable innocents rot in prison. We are ruled and governed by moral lepers who only care about power and wealth....who see defendants (and all human beings) as disposable trash.

I recently re-read the particulars in the infamous Amirault family case. The rot in Massachusetts included the Gov. (Jane Swift)..and the Associate Chief Justice (Fried). These moral lepers almost outdid the evil of the Salem witch trials.

The Nifong scandal attracts our attention because it involves stupid/evil/ignorant attacking good/smart/affluent. Everyone enjoys watching a rotten bully getting his comeuppance. Pity the poor defendants out there that have no resources against politically motivated district attorneys.

Anonymous said...

What in the world was it about these boys that Nifong went to such lengths to hurt them? I trusted the DA's office to be truthful - maybe is is a good thing, I will be more skeptical.

Anonymous said...

I don't get how the 2nd grand juror can simultaneously have serious doubts about the allegations and feel badly for CGM. It doesn't make sense -- if she was making it up, she is a vile, vile human being who deserves whatever condemnation (and hopefully criminal charges) come her way.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe the cluelessness of the second juror.
The second expressed particular concern for the accuser, and was particularly worried that her name had been besmirched since the case began.

While her identity has not been revealed in the mainstream media, personal details about her have been circulated on the Internet.

"I think, if anything, the alleged victim. … Her life is ruined," he said.

Howard said...

If we are to retain the Grand Jury system (the way it's abused right now we should junk it or reform it) there must be a requirement that if the prosecutor(s) knowingly lie, fail to disclose exculpatory evidence, or present false evidence they will be charged with perjury or/and obstruction of justice.

There is far too much abuse of the system.

Dave said...

While I'm not wild about our 'justice' system, let me point out that the difficulties appear to me to lie in the perversion of our political system from its original intent.

Elected office was never intended to be a career, it was intended to be a citizen's public service. The politicians involved here (and in the Amirault case) were concerned with preserving their political viability and the benefits accruing to the offices they 'held' in the people's name. They no longer care about 'justice' bo=ut improving or securing their lot as elected officials.

My fix has always been to allow individuals to hold office for no more tha 10 consecutive years *in any office* and then not to be allowed to collect a govt paycheck for the next four years, after which they can try for another 10 years at the trough.

Michael said...

re: 11:00

Any system can be corrupted. Perhaps it would be better if we just changed systems every ten years so that it would change when gaming the system becomes institutionalized.

It seems that any human measurement system can eventually be gamed as the weak points of the system are discovered and weak lynch pin persons are discovered and corrupted.

Durham seems to be in end-stage cancer. But my feeling is that other parts of the country have these kinds of problems to one degree or another.

I wonder if these two on the GJ realize that the rest of the country is watching Durham reveal just how dumb and corrupt the people are there. I guess Durham didn't want to get shown up by New Orleans in the corrupt and dumb department.

bill anderson said...

I think I need to make clear that there were no rape allegations against Houston Baker. The woman said that Baker attempted to fondle her, which would fall into the sexual assault category. Ultimately, no formal charges were filed, but the matter was hushed up. Karla Holloway was involved in the "investigation," but apparently Duke handled it all in-house.

Anonymous said...

11:13

It's a horse race, and we in Durham will be proud to yell "We're number 1". Go team!

Anonymous said...

11:14 - my bad - I meant 11:08.

Gregory said...

It is pretty unprecedented to have congressmen calling for an inquiry into an ongoing criminal case.

It is pretty unprecedented to have a state bar association file ethical charges against a prosecutor during an ongoing criminal case.

It is pretty unprecedented to have grand jurors speak about a case they heard, especially during an ongoing criminal case.

The reason: Unprecedented evil. A Government out of control framing innocent kids.

Go K.C. Johnson! K.C. & Bill in 2007!

Anonymous said...

10:30 AM
Michael - "It sounds like these GJ folks have no idea as to how much they have impacted the lives of all involved. I guess that they just felt that they were doing their jobs."

It appears that the GJ members speaking out have a 'cognizance void' in the impact to the accused and their families.

This may just be the presumption that any PWM has it made anyway... so this is just a bump in the road on their way to the CC.

More bad signs for future criminal or civil trials in that venue.

MGM

RockyMountainMan said...

Or rather, no one seems to have considered the possibility that the charges being brought against the professors are as imaginary as the phantom charges levied against the indicted.

Perhaps Mr. Corey has missed the thoughtful critiques of both the "Listening" ad and its non-apology. Both documents have not only been well considered, there meaning and intentions are all too clear. The ad repeatedly makes mention of the Lacrosse incident in a manner that presumed guilt and concluded by endorsing the early protestors.

Yes, Michael, the ad presumed guilt based on the lacrosse players race, class and sex.

The non-apology was a transparent attempt to deny their origional motives and position by portraying themselves as courageous advocates of supposedly "higher" social issues upon which their careers depend: racism, sexism and class priviledge - the very bigotries of which they are guilty.

Anonymous said...

These two clueless clowns on the GJ are proof postive that we need a federal investigation into every detail surrounding this case, most particularly what was presented to the GJ and what Gottlieb and Himan knew and did not present. Would like to know what ABC paid these people to show up for "confession".

Gregory said...

The "second" grand juror was suspicious:

"I don't know for sure whether she was raped, you know, because of everything that … came out," he said. "I'm not sure, to tell you the truth."

ANYONE WHO SAYS "TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH" OR "HONESTLY" IS USUALLY NOT.

"What do you mean you're not sure whether you got raped or not? That … didn't add up," said the second grand juror.

THIS SAME GRAND JUROR SAID THAT HE OR SHE WASN'T SURE IF THERE WAS A RAPE (EVEN AFTER CHARGES WERE DISMISSED AND THE DA SAID THERE WAS NO SCIENTIFIC OR MEDICAL EVIDENCE OF RAPE). OF COURSE IT DIDN'T "ADD UP," STUPID!

"I think, if anything, the alleged victim. … Her life is ruined," he said.

HER LIFE WAS RUINED YEARS BEFORE. SHE HAS JUST RECENTLY PUT THE CHERRY ON TOP.

Anonymous said...

11:28 - I have written a number of times regarding the mentality of the majority population of Durham. You have now seen it on television - the desire to protect Crystal Gail Mangum, to pity her, when her whole adult life has been a life of wanton indiscretion and moral turpitude. How does a town end up like Durham - by having most people "think" like that.

Honesty and morality are lacking here.

And to use the word "cherry" when talkin' about Crystal is just too funny.

She was lookin' for a payday - winning the lottery and the big score, all in one wad. She deserves time in the big house, and her 3 children - well, that's just about the saddest part of the story. Yet another generation has been brought into the world with no moral compass, a family of miscreants, and a community that is at its best, criminally deviant.

Anonymous said...

I wonder again, why so much criticism of these two people? They did not have to speak out at all, they are obviously afraid of reprisals from their neighbors or they wouldn't have wanted their identity clean.

One says he wouldnt' have voted to indict and both say they doubt any assault took place. Instead of being thrilled that two Durham natives and blacks would go on national TV and say this, all they get is criticized because they don't go far enough and one dares to feel sorry for the accuser.

Every person, especially every black person that goes on record publicly saying this case is a sham should be applauded.

Anonymous said...

The satatements by the second grand juror is "exhibit A" as to why this can't go to trial in Durham - I'll just leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

"What in the world was it about these boys that Nifong went to such lengths to hurt them"

Can only assume Nifong was "cut" from every sports team he tried out for as a youth - I say in jest, but one never knows.

Anonymous said...

Maybe. But sympathy for the accuser doesn't preclude knowledge that she's lying. I have sympathy for her, I suspect she's mentally unstable and has been for a long time, that as a sex worker she has been degraded many, many times before, I suspect she has a long history of substance abuse as well. I also suspect that it was police pressure and intimidation that caused her to falsely ID the three guys, when by all appearances she never intended to ID anyone...she intended to keep the charade going to garner sympathy and stay out of trouble.

This doesn't mean she isn't also a worthless POS for the damage she has done but I would think that someone who makes their money in the sex trade would almost always be pitied to some degree.

Anonymous said...

"Elected office was never intended to be a career"

Although I agree with the sentiment, the problem of 'limited terms' is that the "power" would then reside with the established bureaucracy.

I can't offer a counter-proposal, but can only say I have a greater concern/fear for entrenched bureaucrats than I do elected officials.

Anonymous said...

I think this case has illustrated the perils of rushing to judgement.
I think people should bear this in mind before heaping approbium on the accuser, though clearly it was wrong of her to have lied.

Anonymous said...

11:00:
You're spot on. If NC, like the federal courts and most, if not all, other states had a system requiring that GJ proceedings be recorded, it would be simple to go back and determine what lies Nifong told the jurors, and what evidence he kept from them. As it is, the jurors are sworn to secrecy and there is absolutely no record of what was said or by whom. Next time I get a summons to report for jury duty, I intend to tell the judge that I refuse to convict anyone based on a grand jury indictment. The damage Nifong has done to our entire system must be considerable. And all the people in state government are playing the "not me" game. It really sucks, and I am ashamed for my Old North State.
Outerbanx Phantom

Anonymous said...

The criminal justice system is not rotten to the core etc. Most prosecutors are decent and honest. But the judiciary and the legislature need to re-visit the idea of near total immunity for prosecutors. Giving one segment of the executive branch complete immunity for decisions that can be proven by "clear and convincing evidence" to have been "intended to deprive a defendant of constitutional rights" shouldn't be that tough to handle. A special board could screen initial complaints, weed out perrenail whiners, etc. The "clear and convincing" standard is used to impose punitive damages in the billions on corporations. Its a very high standard. Damages could be limited to pension reductions, or at least a year's salary. And this case shows accontability beyond wrist tapping is needed. Three kids had their lives ruined over this. But for their diligent lawyers, a lot of debt for lawyers fees and and alert section of the media, they might have been jailed with no one the wiser. Prosecutors must face more accountability than an ethics probe.

Anonymous said...

I think we can guess what he told the grand jury...that the rape exam documented 'injuries' that supported rape and the woman's demeanor supported that she was a victim of rape; that the police themselves had witnessed her extreme pain and injuries and her emotional trauma, that she had positively ID'd her attackers from a police line up.

That's about all you need, when you throw up the gratuitous stuff about racial slurs, hiring strippers, underage drinking, etc. of course you are going to get an indictment.

What would be most interesting is what he told them about the DNA, if he lied or misstated the test results and if so to what degree.

Locomotive Breath said...

These two people are a proxy jury for the one Mike Nifong hoped to empanel to convict the three lacrosse players regardless of the evidence. That's why we have the usual crowd running around screaming "there must be a trial!"

Anonymous said...

If true, then Mike Nifong may have miscalculated since BOTH of these people appear to believe there is no case and that the evidence as it is known now does not support charges let alone a conviction.

Michael said...

re: 12:07

That's the way I feel too. If I was on a jury, I'd want to do my own investigative report and not rely on what the prosecutor was telling me. I'd also want a character check on the prosecution and the police. KC, Bill and LS have done a nice job digging up background information on Durham, judges, prosecutors and lawyers and past information is useful to render judgements on the players involved.

Regarding decent prosecutors out there: how do you tell which ones are and which ones aren't? Does the system encourage going after people that are innocent just to make a quota, an election or a pension?

Anonymous said...

"'What in the world was it about these boys that Nifong went to such lengths to hurt them'

"Can only assume Nifong was "cut" from every sports team he tried out for as a youth - I say in jest, but one never knows."

Nifong's motivations had nothing to do with "these boys" per se, and certainly had nothing to do with sports. Nifong wanted to win an election. Any white boys, especially any rich, white boys, would do, as long as the alleged victim was black. Actually, white girls would have worked just fine, as long as the alleged victim was black. A few old, white women in wheelchairs (maybe even race-baiting, class-baiting, gender-baiting, hispanic, college-professor women) would have likely sufficed. Just keep the black, alleged victim.

bill anderson said...

"The criminal justice system is not rotten to the core etc. Most prosecutors are decent and honest. But the judiciary and the legislature need to re-visit the idea of near total immunity for prosecutors."

I agree with the last sentence, but does anyone really think that Nifong is just an outlier? One of the most disheartening things of writing on issues of criminal "justice" is hearing from people who have been irreparably harmed by this system.

Prosecutorial abuse is not an exception, but the rule in the United States today. My sense is that while there are many honest and honorable prosecutors, they are overwhelmed by the dishonest people. As a former newspaper reporter who covered the courts, I saw police routinely lie in court and saw prosecutors push cases that obviously were questionable.

As one who wants to believe in this system, all I can say is that if it is populated by dishonest people, it never can work very well.

jim said...

I agree with 12:20 (Anonymous).

Nifong likely had nothing at all against the Duke students in the case. They were just as faceless to him as they were to the accuser. Indeed, I think he saw only the personal political opportunity in the case.

If he thought of them as individuals at all, it may have been along the lines of rationalizing it as follows:

"They've got money so they'll eventually get off with little or no long term damage in a 'he-said-she-said' case and, heck, it might even throw a bit of caution into the rest of the Dukies."

One definition for corruption might well be preferring opportunity over justice.

Anonymous said...

I am still not convinced he ever intended this case to go to trial, he might have played his bluff all the way to jury selection but if the defense was able to weed out obvious racists then he would have folded his hand.

I cannot imagine anyone planning to put on the stand a woman who has told a completely different story of her alleged attack almost every time she has been questioned in detail. This is exactly why Mike Nifong never met with her, he wanted to limit any more new easily disproven details.

Real, true, actual victims of rape have trouble on the stand, women who are not bipolar substance abusers who have been consistent throughout their ordeal.

I don't doubt that Nifong would have tried to illegally coach his witness, but I think she's uncoachable. Why else would they have needed the cops to manufacture her statements instead of getting them from her? She can't handle it.

Anonymous said...

Does Nifong still go to work?

Cedarford said...

I hope that the new prosecutors do revisit the grand jurors, and that the state recognizes that justice would better be served if proceedings were recorded as a deterrent on lying cops and prosecutors. Just asking jurors what they remember of case #9 of 24 ten months later cannot be expected to resurrect flawless memory. Same with the judge who sat on hundreds of cases being asked to tap his memory.
I don't blame the grand jurors. They had 24 cases in 2 days to go through, and they are not there to determine innocence or guilt. They are there to determine if what the cops and prosecutor says, guided by an "impartial judge" warrants charges for a crime.
The juror who says the case looks like bunk but given the "facts" they were presented by Himan and Gottlieb - victim claims rape, positively ID'd 3 suspects, medical examiner says signs "consistent with rape" - well, that's a "no-brainer" indictment.
I agree with him that in the absence of exculpatory evidence that should have kept an ethical prosecutor away from that grand jury room, that the grand juror correctly indicted based on the limited, not-quite-true "facts" they were presented with. 20-20 hindsight does not change the fact that the juror believes what he was given that day made for a proper decision on his part to vote to indict. The impropriety - if it exists and is very likely - lies with Nifong, Himan, and Gottlieb cooking the evidence and giving the jurors a distorted and possibly perjurous testimony.
*******************

Anonymous 10:33 - Great post. Indeed, there are no "charges" against the 88 as Michael Coreys lengthy hysterionics imply. Not being a scholar or great credentials myself, but a certain native intelligence and level of accomplishment outside academia, I characterize the postmodern profs as simply a giant circle jerk and scam. The more puerile they get, the wider the circle jerk becomes and the more they convince others that their circle jerk is important.

As you note, criticism that they are a pack of idiots contributing little to true scholarship and intellectual inquiry drives them crazy. The truth stings. For far too long they have used their magic amulets of PC and personal victimhood to angrily challenge any criticism as their numbers have grown at Universities.

Now, finally, the gloves are off, they are objects of growing ridicule, and they don't like it one bit. And there is awareness that they are not just a pack of harmless nutty minions of Foucault tucked away at "The Departments no real scholar or student cares about" - but are people that inflict real damage on a University's reputation, can be harmful to faculty collegiality, can be harmful to the need to produce top research and produce degreed top scholars who go on to lives of great merit and in turn nourish the university that gave them so many tools for their later success.
*******************************

Bill A - Had it not been for the blogging community, these liars would have been able to railroad through a conviction, given the proclivity for "justice" from the State of North Carolina.

The Blogging community has had a certain value, uncovered certain leads - but do not maximize the contribution of peripheral opiners as critical and the only thing preventing a miscarriage of justice. The prime contribution of blogs and opiners is telling the public this doesn't pass the smell test - here's why, and getting wider information channels on board.

You could argue that the Internet provides a good way to grassroots organize friends of the players - but it is a two-edged sword. Manju, Hummel, Curtis and the rest of the lynch mobbers ALSO used Blogs and the Internet to organize and advocate against the players.

As is always the case, the core to any accused defense is the defense lawyer, the RULES of due process. Discovery. Investigators paid to uncover facts. Forensic experts.

Which again shows, unfortunately, that having wealth and people of means behind you greatly increases your chances of receiving justice in America.

Pre-Internet, pre-bloggers, I suspect the well-resourced defense lawyers would still have had a very strong case for acquittal. Pre-internet, Manju and Sam would have just been feckless liberal children of college profs finding their way through life unable to organize insta-lynch mobs or create detailed Vigilante Posters. There would have been no McFayden email.
Journalists? Emil Zola needed no Internet.
Nowadays, though, it does change justice. For good and bad. Visit some Mumia "tribute site" with dedicated Lefty bloggers working to free Mumia from the racist clutches of white privileged justice if you doubt the Internet is 2-edged.

*******************

Anonymous said...

ABC doesn't pay for interviews.

bill anderson said...

Cedarford,

Good points all. Remember, however, that we are the SMART bloggers. An idiot like Hummel never had a chance against us.

Of course, given Hummel's role in the "wanted" poster, he might be finding himself under the gun from attorneys. I can only hope so, as he is one person that deserves to be made miserable.

Art Deco said...

but does anyone really think that Nifong is just an outlier?

Yes

RockyMountainman said...

Art Deco,

An outlier is not an outed liar.

Nifong's hat trick said...

Since it's inception in 12th century England, the Grand Jury has been a means of investigating and assigning charges of criminal behavior. The difference between grand jurors then and now is that grand jurors used to act on their "...own personal knowledge about occurences in their community."
Today, jurors bring the charges or "indictment" based on the request of a prosecutor. The grand jury was once regarded as a "...buffer between the state and the individual, infusing an effective community voice into the early judicial process."
"Prosecutors' role As an officer of the State, it is the prosecutor's duty to be an advocate; he must exert his best efforts to prosecute successfully those who have violated the criminal law.... [A]s an officer of the court, he is required to act as the grand jury's legal advisor, to aid but not interfere in its determination of the probability of guilt."
"The above quotation describes an implausible endeavor. Permitting prosecutors to serve both as advocates and as "neutral" grand jury advisors presents the ultimate conflict of interest--one with huge ramifications for grand jury independence."Law Review Article by Susan Brenner

Anonymous said...

The only alternatives to a grand jury or probable cause hearing before a judge would be to either go straight to trial or have, in effect, a mini trial where both sides present their cases before the 'real' trial.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the grand jury or the probable cause hearing since they are designed to ensure that all cases meet a MINIMUM standard of evidence and prevent the courts being clogged up with cases that have no merit.

This case has no merit but it still would meet the bare standard of evidence probably even before a judge since the dictates are such that the STATE is given leeway in this setting, not the defendant.

Mike Nifong broke the law, broke every ethical guideline in the book. That makes Mike Nifong the problem not the system itself.

Anonymous said...

10:31 AM
"It amazes me that the destruction of innocent people is essentially part of an industry."

Justice has a price, and that is what we are witnessing in the LAX case. Polanski has at least one good point, in that there is a clear intent on the side of the prosecution to injure people, wether it is appropriate or not.

And this is OK with everyone, until it happens to you. What happens to you next is completely open-ended: death, incarceration for life or many years. Even if charges are eventually dropped or you are aquitted, you will face loss of all savings and income, loss of reputation, suspected for life. Not to mention the years robbed from your life. All for being a model citizen conveniently in the justice system's cross-hairs.

Bill Anderson's point is spot on the mark:

'Had it not been for the blogging community, these liars would have been able to railroad through a conviction, given the proclivity for "justice" from the State of North Carolina.'

Close call in this case. Not so in all the others.

Please notice that if the falsely accused is ever exhonerated, they will never, ever be viewed as a victim, as victim's rights advocates will view the falsely accused as collateral damage, just as in any war. The LAX case is horrendous to watch, but it is nothing new.

I hope KC and others (Bill Anderson?) make good use of this spotlight and address this in upcoming books. In this rare moment, we are surrounded by "perfect offenders."

Michael said...

[Mike Nifong broke the law, broke every ethical guideline in the book. That makes Mike Nifong the problem not the system itself.]

Nifong is out of the picture. The kids are still charged. The system is broken.

Meehan made a deal with Nifong. So you can't trust lab reports now. There were a few police officers with him on one of the trips. Nothing conclusive as to whether or not they were part of the conspiracy but maybe they were.

Witness intimidation of Elmo.

I'm sure others could go on and on.

Anonymous said...

The system is not broken.

Mike Nifong is off the case and under investigation, as is Mr. Meehan. The charges will be dropped.

The fact that it took several million dollars and 10 months to get it done may have more to do with the politics of Durham than with the criminal justice system itself.

There is no evidence that innocent people are getting railroaded into prison at a high rate or that prosecutors routintely break the law to get convictions.

Most of the time the system works, a system that was PURPOSEFULLY designed to enable 100 guilty people to go free rather than wrongly convict one innocent person is already pretty squarely on the side of the accused.

Any system can be misused, the fault lies with the individual..Mike Nifong and the complainant and not the system itself.

Anonymous said...

One of those guys was a little scary. He didn't have any regrets about indicting? That's pretty disturbing.

All in all, I just thank God that it looks like this case will never go to trial. As for the accuser, if her life is ruined it's her own fault.

gs said...

The grand jury (GJ) is a rubber stamp. Nifong picks who talks to the GJ. It is one sided, and because it is not recorded, the cherry picked evidence Nifong chooses to tell the GJ is all they hear.

The members of the GJ more less have to indict. They hear only what Nifong wants them to hear.

Based on such a one sided evidence presentation most people would indict. It's not the people on the GJ but the system.

NC needs a right to a probable cause hearing law.

Michael said...

[And this is OK with everyone, until it happens to you.]

Or someone you know. Or if you can imagine yourself in that position. Or imagine a family member in that position. And then you get outraged. Or you should. I don't understand why those on the other side aren't outraged over this.

There are those here that think that it's okay to have nothing done to false accusers of rape as the numbers are so low as to be non-existent. But it doesn't matter if it's rape, murder or a parking ticket. Tipping the scales of justice to make it easier to make a false accusation is always a bad idea if you have a corrupt system. And I hope that there are few that would argue that the system in Durham isn't corrupt.

We have zillions of laws on the books and as police know, they can probably find something that you're guilty of if they really tried to. That's the message that we get watching shows like Law and Order where it's okay to cheat if it's to get the bad guy. And of course the bad guy is always really the bad guy on television.

Anonymous said...

Just for comparison's sake.

There are more than 2 million people in prison.

There have been I think less than 300 people exonerated.

If 99% of those convicted were guilty and 1% were falsely convicted we should have seen approximately 20,000 exonerations.

That means the number of wrongly convicted people appears to be MINISCULE, a fraction of a single percentage.

That doesn't mean being wrongly sent to prison when you are innocent isn't a horrifying tragedy, but it DOES MEAN that it happens very, very, very seldom.

Michael said...

[The fact that it took several million dollars and 10 months to get it done may have more to do with the politics of Durham than with the criminal justice system itself.]

To get what done? The three are still charged and still paying legal fees. They've had their reputations destroyed and their lives turned upside-down and put on hold. One has lost a job offer and the other two won't finish college on time or get to participate on their sports teams.

If this is a system that is working correctly, I'd hate to see your idea of a system that's broken.

The other part of the broken system is in reparations. That guy that was convicted in the late 80s or early 90s that was released recently was entitled to $20K/year I think. Is $20K/year reasonable compensation?

Not if you make mid-six-figures. How about reasonable compensation amounts for people that have been wrongly imprisoned.

And what about reparations for those that are charged and/or indicted and have to bear those legal fees?

Someone mentioned the OJ trial but if the state were responsible if they lost, they'd be a lot more careful about bringing cases to trial in the first place.

Michael said...

[That doesn't mean being wrongly sent to prison when you are innocent isn't a horrifying tragedy, but it DOES MEAN that it happens very, very, very seldom.]

We have the problem of people pleading guilty to something that they aren't guilty of because it is more expedient than potentially losing a trial. I've seen that happen to people personally. The average person doesn't have the resources to fight the junk charges that crop up here and there.

Please add those cases to your statistics and report back on what you find.

Anonymous said...

You can't have a system of justice that penalizes the state for failing to get a conviction, contrary to what you think that would do, what it would do is provide MORE incentive for the state to get a conviction at all costs. I find the idea of OJ Simpson being compensated for being falsey charged offensive.

I fear you don't know much about the law or how the system of checks and balances works. People are wrongly suspected of crimes all the time. It sucks, but how else are you going to conduct an investigation, other than to use evidence to lead you to suspects and then rule them in or out.

There are ALREADY systems in place to protect people from illegal tactics by police and prosecutors.

Our society is already saddled with a vast criminal underclass, do you really, truly want to make it even more difficult to convict the guilty than it already is?

Anonymous said...

Michael,

The facts are not on your side. The facts show a tiny number of false convictions based on the total prison population. It gets even smaller when you add in that exonerations go back decades, so adding in the total number of individuals who have been imprisoned since the 1960s and then comparing it to the exonerating give you even a smaller fraction of one percent.

If people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, that's their business. I assume, absent any evidence to the contrary, evidence of innocence, that if you plead guilty to a crime you ARE guilty, and you are probably guilty of a more severe crime than what you pled to.

MrRabbit said...

Yep...an almost infallible criminal justice system.....money does not affect results....O.J. and Robert Blake are just aberrations...as were Ray Krone and Amirault, Little Rascals, etc.....every wrongly convicted person in the United States eventually gets exonerated regardless of his or her ability to hire counsel......so other than a few guilty people walking free....we have as perfect a legal system as human civilization has ever developed. Sorry....I should have never trusted what I have seen and heard in real courtrooms over the years.

gs said...

The system in NC is broken. Nifong, an insider knows how to work it.

1 - Rather than arrest the kids, he waited weeks until a GJ met. Thus avoiding a probable cause hearing.

2 - In NC, the DA is the only one who can request a special prosecutor. The fox guarding the hen house. A judge could force him off the case, but in reality that never happens anywhere.

3 - After taking charge of the investigation, Nifong chose not to ask the "accuser" tough questions, thus dragging out the case.

Anonymous said...

If you want to make decisions based on evidence instead of belief then the evidence does not bear out the premise that false convictions are anything but a tiny minority of cases.

If you want to proceed on the premise that you "know" that people who are factually innocent plead guilty and that you "know" there are thousands more innocent people in prison than can be documented by any means that is NO DIFFERENT from people who "know" that this woman was raped because well, they just "know it."

There isn't any evidence to support your belief. Maybe there will be some day, but not now.

Anonymous said...

Curiosly, I don't think the posters here have ever cared about innocent accused being railroaded by law-breaking prosecutors. It makes me wonder what about this case is so special...

These boys appear innocent and I'm glad they're getting so much attention paid to the horrific actions of Nifong... but the nagging question remains as to why you all care sooooooo much about this particular case... we -- the ones who fight this good fight all the time -- could really use your continued interest in standing up for the rights of the accused, well after this case is over.

Thanks for your continued support,

-Don, attorney and member of the ACLU

gs said...

One other comment.
I believe that by the 1 yr anv of the case, the case will be dismissed.

I can not believ that the powers that be want a 1 yr anv news show and ariticles on every MSM outlet.

The case will be over soon.

Anonymous said...

I will be honest. I don't care that much about the idea of the wrongly accused being railroaded because I don't think it happens very often.

I think we already give much too much leeway to defense attorneys when compared to the regulations governing prosecutors.

I also think the ACLU spends an inordinate amount of resources trying to keep prisoners whose guilt is NOT IN DOUBT from any angle off of death row.

This is a rare case where the innocence of the defendants is very clear and the prosecutor has broken the law and his ethics to persecute them.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what the ACLU is for?

Surley the ACLU got involved in this case and wondered about the line up and the DNA.

Prehaps you can list the ACLU response so far?

Prehaps a site was needed because the normal protectors of rights ignored or supported Nifong in the railroading like the NCAAP and the gag order in this case?

Anonymous said...

The grand jurors did the best they could with the limited information that they had. If they knew then what we know now, there would be no indictment. I appreciate these Gjrs coming forward and telling us what they are now thinking.

Michael said...

[I fear you don't know much about the law or how the system of checks and balances works. People are wrongly suspected of crimes all the time. It sucks, but how else are you going to conduct an investigation, other than to use evidence to lead you to suspects and then rule them in or out.]

I understand systems of checks and balances but I also understand human nature and how, over time, the checks and balances get streamlined in the name of personal or group gain.

I like the idea of the Grand Jury that knows about the community and maybe even the people involved.

At the moment, the expense to people for being arrested, charged, etc. is very high if you're a very productive person as time really is the ultimate in wealth today.

One can talk about the vast criminal underclass and how it's okay to roll over them because, hey, they're criminals, right?

Maybe it is most efficient for the middle and upper classes if justice plays fast and loose with the rules for the lower class. Especially if it never affects the middle and upper classes. That's why Nifong got caught here - he messed with the wrong people. But would you say that this is the only time he's messed with people?

I've never been arrested or had to deal with charges or anything like that and live a comfortable life. And have been blissfully unaware that this kind of thing can happen until this past year when I had to deal with some stuff for a family member and in watching the Duke LAX case.

Realistically, this CJ stuff probably affects me very little. But that it could affect me or others as it did here. And I'm sure that it affects others today; has my concern.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Don,

Where's the ACLU on this case. Oh, yeah, I forgot for a moment. The defendants are neither Black, Palestinian, nor Al-Qaeda.

Anonymous said...

The criminal underclass already has access to free legal representation paid for by my taxes. I, on the other hand, would have to pay for my own legal representation.

Anonymous said...

"I will be honest. I don't care that much about the idea of the wrongly accused being railroaded because I don't think it happens very often."

I happens much more often than you'd think... not nearly as maliciously as Mr. Nifong's actions, but nonetheless consciously and deliberately.

"I think we already give much too much leeway to defense attorneys when compared to the regulations governing prosecutors."

Just keep in mind that defense attorneys face disbarment if they actively and actually LIE to the Court, so as to perpetuate a fraud onto the tribunal. Just because you represent a person, doesn't mean you can make things up. Both sides are heavily regulated.

"I also think the ACLU spends an inordinate amount of resources trying to keep prisoners whose guilt is NOT IN DOUBT from any angle off of death row."

Solid thought, can't say I disagree entirely... but regardless, that is a matter of opinion and the general point remains that they've always spent a great deal of time and effort standing up for the rights of the accused, from poor minorities on death row to Rush Limbaugh.

"This is a rare case where the innocence of the defendants is very clear and the prosecutor has broken the law and his ethics to persecute them."

Yes, most prosecutors are ethical and fair and "pursue justice". I will not deny that. However, just keep in mind that the word "rare" in a country so large doesn't mean it doesn't happen to a TON of people, particular those without the means these boys have (and I thank God they do, or else they'd have been in a lot of trouble, happens all the time).

-Donny.

Anonymous said...

"I will be honest. I don't care that much about the idea of the wrongly accused being railroaded because I don't think it happens very often."

I happens much more often than you'd think... not nearly as maliciously as Mr. Nifong's actions, but nonetheless consciously and deliberately.

"I think we already give much too much leeway to defense attorneys when compared to the regulations governing prosecutors."

Just keep in mind that defense attorneys face disbarment if they actively and actually LIE to the Court, so as to perpetuate a fraud onto the tribunal. Just because you represent a person, doesn't mean you can make things up. Both sides are heavily regulated.

"I also think the ACLU spends an inordinate amount of resources trying to keep prisoners whose guilt is NOT IN DOUBT from any angle off of death row."

Solid thought, can't say I disagree entirely... but regardless, that is a matter of opinion and the general point remains that they've always spent a great deal of time and effort standing up for the rights of the accused, from poor minorities on death row to Rush Limbaugh.

"This is a rare case where the innocence of the defendants is very clear and the prosecutor has broken the law and his ethics to persecute them."

Yes, most prosecutors are ethical and fair and "pursue justice". I will not deny that. However, just keep in mind that the word "rare" in a country so large doesn't mean it doesn't happen to a TON of people, particular those without the means these boys have (and I thank God they do, or else they'd have been in a lot of trouble, happens all the time).

-Donny.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, Don,

Where's the ACLU on this case. Oh, yeah, I forgot for a moment. The defendants are neither Black, Palestinian, nor Al-Qaeda. "

I'm not sure if the ACLU will be doing anything in this case. I'm a member of the defense bar and a member of the ACLU, but not an ACLU staff attorney. Just remember that Rush Limbaugh isn't black, Palestinian (do you mean Saudi?) or a member of Al-Queda, either.

Anonymous said...

2:26 PM
"If people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, that's their business. I assume, absent any evidence to the contrary, evidence of innocence, that if you plead guilty to a crime you ARE guilty, and you are probably guilty of a more severe crime than what you pled to."

Ah, music to the justice system's ears...you must have done something wrong, otherwise, why on earth would you be here caught in the criminal justice system? After all the CJS is the cornerstone of logic.

Michael said...

[I will be honest. I don't care that much about the idea of the wrongly accused being railroaded because I don't think it happens very often.]

I think that the earlier comment that people don't care about this until it happens to them is very apropro. Look at the daycare center hoaxes. Look at Gerald Amirault today. I don't think that anything like this could happen to me either. But crap does happen.

Anonymous said...

re "no affirmative action in elite science schools"

Sorry, the diversity pimps are out in full force at MIT. Read all about it at www.discriminations.us

Simon, a link would be helpful.

Polanski

Anonymous said...

-Don, attorney and member of the ACLU

Can you link the response of the ACLU to:

The lineup having no filers

The gag order

The withheld DNA

If the ACLU does care about civil rights I'm sure they got in front of this railroading, or you may not belong to the kind of organization you think you are.

gs said...

Don't forget the name calling by the DA also.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, that is the only restriction on the defense bar, they cannot put someone on the stand they know for a FACT is lying and they cannot state something as FACT they know is false. That doesn't prevent them from spinning alternative scenarios that are NOT based in any fact or evidence but cannot be disproven.

The Columbian drug lords killed my wife or the Satanic cultists killed my wife or maybe it was my neibhor who killed my wife. As long as it can't be proven to be a lie, they defense attorney can say just about any bs he wants to.

Anonymous said...

"The criminal underclass already has access to free legal representation paid for by my taxes. I, on the other hand, would have to pay for my own legal representation."

Not true. You absolutely have the same access to the free legal representation offorded to all, paid for by your taxes. Now, imagine that free legal representation helping you in Durham against the insider criminal prosecutor Mike Nifong.

Michael said...

[The criminal underclass already has access to free legal representation paid for by my taxes. I, on the other hand, would have to pay for my own legal representation.]

What's the quality of that legal representation and do they have access to investigators and labs to do analysis?

Let's say Mike Nifong did this to someone at NCCU. Would it have been easier to railroad them (skipping the racial issues of course)? Do we consider that fair?

Michael said...

[Not true. You absolutely have the same access to the free legal representation offorded to all, paid for by your taxes. Now, imagine that free legal representation helping you in Durham against the insider criminal prosecutor Mike Nifong.]

This isn't true in my state. You have to be pretty indigent to qualify for free legal aid as I've seen families that really needed it but made too much.

Anonymous said...

From: Duke Prof.
To: Michael Corey

I can tell you flat out that you are barking up the wrong tree. The pomposity and pretentiousness of your post cannot hide the fact that facts do matter and that Professor Johnson sticks to the facts.

I live here, I teach here, I do my research here. I have seen this damned thing from up close for a year now. If you want to blame somebody for playing with fire in search of publicity blame the 88/87.

From where I stand Professor Johnson's analysis of their actions is spot on. He has consistently argued that they should be held to higher standards precisely because they are members of the Duke Faculty. I get this, most of my colleagues get this, students get this, parents and alumni get this. The 88/87 -- and you sir -- still do not get it.

I do not condone the nasty e-mails that they get and I do wish they they stopped. But they went public. They are professionals. They are intellectuals. They present themselves as elite minds. They are thus not entitled to breaks that modern society grants to no person of lesser credentials taking a controversial position in public. They should know that there is a dark side to entering the public arena exhibiting one's credentials to claim to speak with authority. If they do not, then they should change profession.

And they absolutely did not and do not speak for the Duke community. They surely do not speak for me.

Whatever healing Duke needs, it is not going to come from inane, silly pseudo-spoofs like yours. It is going to come from acknowledging the facts. I do not know Professor Johnson, I do not know nor question his motives. I come to this blog for information, and I find it. I dislike the excesses of some posters as much as you, but I ignore them and move on. If you have information to offer I'm all ears. If not, do not waste my time with pretentious, vacuous prose. Duke does not need yet more theatre by people who claim to know what's good for us.

Anonymous said...

Here's a nice example of the defense bar at work:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-sentencing6feb06,1,2695436.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

This upstanding man kidnapped two women, took them back to his apt. where he invited over several gang member buddies who raped the women for 7 hours.

His defense: they were his cocaine customers and engaged in a consensual group sex drug party.

Apparently the nice judge didnt' appreciate this particular defense since he sentenced the lying rapist thug to 862 years in jail.

But of course, his defense lawyer was just doing his job.

Anonymous said...

2:46, yes, the system is set up to the advantage of the accused. If you disagree with that, your best bet is a new Constitutional Convention to change the proverbial "law of the land". But yes, I will absolutely agree with you that defendants are intentionally given an advantage by the system our founders created.

"-Don, attorney and member of the ACLU

Can you link the response of the ACLU to:

The lineup having no filers

The gag order

The withheld DNA

If the ACLU does care about civil rights I'm sure they got in front of this railroading, or you may not belong to the kind of organization you think you are."

-Ah yes, those issues are now pretty much bedrock law, initially championed by groups such as the ACLU. There is nothing inherently wrong with those lineup procedures when looking at the strict construction of the Constitution (maybe the States molded their own to provide for these protections), but they were initially determined to be violations of a defendant's due process rights by "radical" attorneys (likely liberals) who first set forth those arguments that such a lineup violates due process.

No?

-Don.

Anonymous said...

2:53

I respectfully turn down your offer to defend every defendant and defense attorney and every judge's decision in the history of the United States.

Thank you kindly, though, for your offer.

Anonymous said...

So where are the links of the ACLU defending the thre "white people" being railroaded?

The the ACLU take the year off?

Anonymous said...

Didn't disagree with giving the accused the advantage, just like to see it acknowledged from time to time amid all the hysteria about innocent people sent to prison by the truckload.

My view is that we've gone too far in protecting defendant rights and we have watered down the defense bar's ethical guidelines to the point of non existance.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU is not omnipotent like some believe God is. They have to pick and choose which cases to pursue, mostly ones involving novel issues. For example, Rush Limbaugh's case involved unique and new threats to liberty interests with respect to the doctor-patient privilege.

In the Duke hoax case, these men not only have more than adequate representation, they also are being railroaded in completely familiar ways. The work the ACLU has done in the past has helped make those ridiculous lineups recognized as a violation of due process.

Whereas the Rush Limbaugh issue was newer and therefor was a "ripe" cause for the ACLU to litigate, the past work of the ACLU already gave these defense attorneys what they need to help these boys beat these horrible charges.

-Don.

Anonymous said...

This may be a stupid question, but doesn't the ACLU get involved at the appeals stage, not during the criminal trial itself?

Anonymous said...

"Didn't disagree with giving the accused the advantage, just like to see it acknowledged from time to time amid all the hysteria about innocent people sent to prison by the truckload.

My view is that we've gone too far in protecting defendant rights and we have watered down the defense bar's ethical guidelines to the point of non existance."

Thats all well and good until you are a defense attorney, worried about disbarment! Trust me that clients always want you to go that extra mile and you often have to tell them "NO!"

Anonymous said...

When was the last time a defendant was given a gag order in a criminal case?

I guess the new ACLU policy is to not allow defendants not to be able to speak up in their own defense.

I would think that is a novell judical order.

Anonymous said...

"Didn't disagree with giving the accused the advantage, just like to see it acknowledged from time to time amid all the hysteria about innocent people sent to prison by the truckload."

I don't know where you've seen this, maybe in Hollywood, but in real life it occurs one accusation, one person, one case at a time. The tactic is ingrained into the criminal justice system. It's known as "rough justice", an extortion game of the courts played out against all people, innocent and guilty. It is a game.

Anonymous said...

3:02

Not to worry on that account, as my provincial view that "justice" means the guilty pay, victims are treated with respect and that factual guilt is really, really important in that whole justice equation thing, clearly has precluded me from considering criminal law as a career.

That isn't to say I can't comprehend the benefits of the adversarial system, but I don't have the stomach or the heart to want to defend people whose guilt or innocence is irrelevant to my role. Bad sentence construction but I figure you get the point.

gs said...

I guess the ACLU just happen to not comment on one of the biggest travesty of justice in NC in decades.

Its just pure luck that the defendants are white.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I don't know the trick with linking things. Regardless, please check out this article and tell me what you think:

http://media.www.dukechronicle.com/media/storage/paper884/news/2006/10/27/News/Aclu-Panel.Criticizes.Nifong.Faculty.Response-2406745.shtml?sourcedomain=www.dukechronicle.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com

Anonymous said...

Passing an intelligence test is obviously not a prerequisite to becoming a grand jury member.

Imagine the level of idiocy required to say that knowing what he knows now, one of the grand jurors feels Nifong didn't have a case because he "cooked the books", but he feels no regret at voting to indict the LAX 3.

I vote this guy into the Durham-in-Wonderland Hall of Shame. He belongs with Precious, Nikki, Nifong, Wilson, Gottlieb, Holloway, Brodhead, and all the other looney tunes that have so thoroughly entertained us for the last 11 months. It's just a damn shame that the lives of the LAXers have to suffer as a condition of providing that entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Here is the text of the link I tried to post:

More than 60 students, faculty and Durham residents gathered to hear a discussion about the lacrosse incident Thursday night.

The panel, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union at Duke, consisted of Larry Holt, Durham Human Relations Commission chair, Stephen Miller, a Duke senior and Chronicle columnist, and KC Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College and author of the blog "Durham-In-Wonderland."

The audience, which was predominantly made up of local residents, gathered to listen to the panelists speak, and pose questions, about the rape charges against three members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team and the ensuing legal proceedings.

Johnson, who has posted extensively on the case since he started his blog in April, began by commenting on the media attention the alleged rape has attracted.

"One of the reasons this case has generated outrage is that the procedures of the DA's office were blatantly flawed," he said.

When Johnson emphasized that the one lacrosse player the alleged victim identified twice in a police lineup as one of her attackers was able to prove he was not in Durham during the week of the party, many in the crowd began to laugh.

"Corrupted procedures beget corrupted results," Johnson added.

Holt focused his portion of the discussion on incidents prior to the alleged crime and the lessons learned from it.

"Trinity Park residents have been struggling with issues of student drinking, public urination, loud parties and foul language prior to the lacrosse incident," he said. "You have what you could perceive to be a time bomb."

Holt noted that it is unfortunate that the alleged actions of a few students reflect poorly on the University as a whole.

Miller ended the formal discussion by speaking about his disappointment in Duke's faculty because, he said, they abandoned the team.

He focused his criticism on professors who signed an advertisement in The Chronicle calling the incident a "social disaster" and alleging a culture of racism at the school.

"The advertisement said that it doesn't matter what police said or what the evidence may be," Miller said. He added that he finds the material in the advertisement disturbing, and that actions such as these ultimately serve to hurt due process.
Continued...

Sparked by a question from the audience, the panelists spoke about the ethics of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case. Johnson criticized the judicial system of North Carolina, calling for a reform in the accountability of district attorneys.

"In North Carolina, the only person policing a rogue DA is the rogue DA himself," he said.

Miller said that the actions of Nifong are impeding on the rights of the accused lacrosse players. "You have an intellectual cancer where political agendas are more important than due process," he explained.

Some audience members weighed in on the discussion after the panel concluded. Senior Daniel Bowes, president of the ACLU at Duke and a former Chronicle columnist, said he was disappointed in the low student turnout, but added that he thought the panel was productive.

"The most important thing is to have discussion between Duke and the community," he said. "We wanted as many people to share dialogue as possible."

Jill Cunningham, a resident of Durham, criticized the administration's response to the incident.

"I don't think I'd send my children to Duke," she said. "[My husband and I] are upset that Brodhead isn't showing leadership, and it is affecting the community."

Anonymous said...

I think what the guy was saying was that based on WHAT HE KNEW THEN he believes indicting was the right thing...based on WHAT HE KNOWS NOW, he sees that the case was not as it was presented.

I don't doubt that Mike Nifong and his rogue cops painted a compelling picture of racist violent rich Duke gang rapists abusing A average college student black former military working moms.

Anonymous said...

Your boy KC Johnson seems to have been specifically given a forum by an ACLU panel that was assembled specifically for this case. It focused on certain aspects of the case, SUCH AS THE FAULTY LINEUPS!!!

Anonymous said...

***"The panel, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union at Duke, consisted of Larry Holt, Durham Human Relations Commission chair, Stephen Miller, a Duke senior and Chronicle columnist, and KC Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College and author of the blog "Durham-In-Wonderland."***

LOL

-Don.

Anonymous said...

Now that is funny.

bill anderson said...

"Your boy KC Johnson seems to have been specifically given a forum by an ACLU panel that was assembled specifically for this case. It focused on certain aspects of the case, SUCH AS THE FAULTY LINEUPS!!!"

3:19 PM


The critic here forgets one important thing: The ACLU never has weighed in on this case. K.C. was attacking the lineup procedure last spring, but literally NO ONE from the ACLU spoke up. The local and state ACLU chapters decidedly were silent because of the racial aspects of this case.

In other words, the ACLU was quite willing to let this faulty lineup go unchallenged because the organization did not want to be seen defending people it deemed were privileged white males being accused by a poor, black female. In other words, the ACLU deemed the defendants to be politically incorrect, which meant that the ACLU would not speak up for them.

To say that K.C. somehow got this whole thing from the ACLU is to distort the entire history of this case, and what the bloggers have done. Literally ALL of the so-called civil liberties groups either were supporting Nifong uncritically or were being quiet.

Anonymous said...


These boys appear innocent and I'm glad they're getting so much attention paid to the horrific actions of Nifong...


So what. The justice system has to send a message to evil white men that even thinking about raping a black woman will get you sent to jail!

Anonymous said...

***These boys appear innocent and I'm glad they're getting so much attention paid to the horrific actions of Nifong...


So what. The justice system has to send a message to evil white men that even thinking about raping a black woman will get you sent to jail!***

3:29, you are entitled to your opinion, but I disagree that this is a good reason to prosecute innocents.

-Don

Anonymous said...

So the ACLU sponsoring a panel to discuss legal issues around this case does not count as the ACLU getting involved, is that correct?

Since when does the ACLU get involved in active cases? Their speciality is appeals and friend of the court briefs and of course filing lawsuits to get information from the government that the government doesn't want to make public. Them crazy libs!

Anonymous said...

Anon sez ...


What in the world was it about these boys that Nifong went to such lengths to hurt them? I trusted the DA's office to be truthful - maybe is is a good thing, I will be more skeptical.


What we have here is a serious failure to think.

It was not about the boys.

We are talking about the actions of two sociopaths.

First, Mangum simply saw the rape allegations as a way to avoid the problems attendant with her disgusting behavior.

Secondly, Nifong saw the rape allegations as a way to ensure that he could enjoy his sunset years, and fuck everyone else.

Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm not quite sure what exactly you wanted them to do. Once again, the Rush Limbaugh case made much more sense for the ACLU to actually get involved in by filing an amicus brief, because it invoved a novel issue.

Ironically, the ACLU seems to have done MORE in this case before trial than they usually do for defendants.

I didn't know about this until I looked into it. Thank you, as prior to reading your posts, I did not have the occasion to research whether the ACLU had anything to say about this case.

-Don

M. Simon said...

10:56AM,

You might consider that CGM's problems began when she was raped.

It does not excuse her behavior it does explain it.

Anonymous said...

I would virtually guarantee that if the three students had been convicted based on the line up the ACLU would have gotten involved in the appeals process.

However, since the charges are likely to be dropped within the next month, there is nothing at this stage for the ACLU to do beyond sponsoring a legal discussion panel which they've already done.

Do you REALLY think an organization that is dedicated to the presumption of innocence concept and the dangers of pre trial publicity is going to be making public statements during an ongoing case?????????????????

WTF is wrong with you people.

bill anderson said...

If people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, that's their business. I assume, absent any evidence to the contrary, evidence of innocence, that if you plead guilty to a crime you ARE guilty, and you are probably guilty of a more severe crime than what you pled to.

2:26 PM


There are times when people will plead out due to guilt, and that is most of the time. However, a lot of people will plead guilty to a lesser charge because the cost of going to trial simply is too high, or they have lost all confidence in the system.

For example, Betsy Kelly, one of the Edenton Seven in the Little Rascals case, pleaded nolo contendere because she saw that others had gone to trial and had lost and were serving life sentences. (She pleaded no contest as opposed to a guilty plea on lesser charges because she still could say she was innocent of the charges but did not have the resources to fight them.)

I had a friend who served time in federal prison who told me that people who are held in detention centers often will plead to something just to get out of the hellish detention holes.

Most of us cannot believe that innocent people would plead to anything, but as an economist, I can see the choices people make that might seem foolish to us, but make sense when one has a very bad set of choices set before him or her. Remember, when someone goes to criminal court, there is a prosecutorial team with all of the vast resources of the state trying to have someone thrown in prison. The other person must depend upon his or her resources for a defense, while juries are long-time conditioned to believe the prosecutors.

That is the reality of our criminal "justice" system. Those readers who have been dropped into it can testify as to what a hell it really is.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who works in corrections and he says that it is a total fallacy that most people in prison proclaim their innocence. He says the vast majority admit they are guilty.

I'm sorry I don't believe that factually innocent people routinely plead guilty to crimes they did not commit. If you are factually innocent, how is the state going to prove you're guilty? If you are talking about people who were present during the commission of crimes but may or may not have committed them pleading to lesser charges, they get no sympathy from me.

Poor, uneducated people with public defenders are acquitted every day in every state.

This idea that once you are caught in the maws of the criminal justice system you can't get out is a fantasy.

Anonymous said...

For those of you unfamiliar with the ACLU, the LAST thing they are known for is taking on popular causes. The very facts one poster here set forth in support of their argument why the ACLU would NOT take a stand are the reasons the ACLU WOULD take a stand. The ACLU is well-known for taking on cases almost identical to the one at Duke (specifically because -- especially at the beginning -- EVERYONE abandoned these guys, the press, the school, the professors, the community, etc.).

I don't think they litigate cases involving Rush Limbaugh, NAMBLA and suspected terrorists because they want to be media darlings.

Anonymous said...

Polanski

ACLU has about as much credibility as Karla Holloway.

re Duke ACLU panel: If I were there, I would have asked the ACLU rep if the introduction of stricter false-accusation statutes would be beneficial to protect the constitutional rights of men.

LOL

Anonymous said...

K Lopez at National Review has a problem with Amanda Marcotte as well, enjoy ...

"Unholy Hire
The anti-Catholic rants of John Edwards’s blogospherically famous staffer.

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?
A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.


That update on the Baltimore Catechism comes via Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog in her “FAQ ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S ‘CRAZY’ TEACHINGS ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL.” In it she explains that “the intent” of “mainstream Catholic teaching” on artificial contraception “is to make women suspect their gynecologists* are out to get them and possibly kill some babies for fun.”






Unholy Hire 02/06

Latter-Day Lifer 02/06

Dad-in-Chief? 01/31

Third Time’s a Charm? 01/27

Missing: The Vision Thing 01/24

Dreaming about Hillary . . . 01/19




Lopez: Unholy Hire

Nimouse: Not-So-Super Ads

Lopez: Latter-Day Lifer

Hanson: Give Petraeus a Chance

Jeffrey: Rudy’s a No-Go

Editors: Entitlement Credit

Sowell: Married to an Ideology

Lowry: It’s Howard Dean’s Party

Document: A Critical Crossroad

Seavey: Hillary Finds Jesus (Jones)

Kudlow: Bull-Market Cheers for Bush

Derbyshire: Out of Africa

Nordlinger: A dismaying pair, &c.

McCarthy: What’s Our Iran Policy?


It’s a free blogosphere, of course, and Marcotte can ridicule my religion and its teachings all she wants (though I'll lay off her Church of the Mouse and the Disco Ball), but Democratic former North Carolina senator John Edwards, if he cares about avoiding offending Catholic voters, might care to take another look at the online writings of the woman he has just hired to be his campaign blogmaster. Her hostility to religion and in particular the Catholic Church should alarm Edwards.


It should alarm Edwards, of course, because I’d assume Edwards would want to avoid “anti-Catholic” from appearing in too many stories next to his name. And that’s not just because Catholics vote. If Edwards buys what he was saying on Meet the Press this weekend, it should thoroughly offend him too.

On Sunday, in answering a question from (Catholic) Tim Russert about gay marriage, Edwards went on about his own “faith belief.”

SEN. EDWARDS: I think it’s from my own personal culture and faith belief. And I think, if you had gone on in that same quote, that I, I have—I, I struggle myself with imposing my faiths—my faith belief. I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, I was baptized in the Southern Baptist church, my dad was a deacon. In fact, I was there just a couple weeks ago to see my father get an award. It’s, it’s just part of who I am. And the question is whether I, as president of the United States, should impose on the United States of America my views on gay marriage because I know where it comes from. I’m aware of why I believe what I believe. And I think there is consensus around this idea of no discrimination, partnership benefits, civil unions. I think that, that certainly a president who’s willing to lead could lead the country in the right direction on that.

If he’s worried about imposing you’d think he might be worried about offending.

If Edwards cares to continue to browse through the Pandagon archives, he’ll find Marcotte reacting to a story about the Catholic teaching about limbo by comparing the Catholic Church to fascist dictators.

She continues:

There’s a pragmatic reason that the Vatican might be a little hesitant to come right out and say that there’s no limbo (definition here, for those who don’t know much about Catholicism) is because the concept is wielded by everyday Catholics to explain where the souls of unborn babies go, which is just an extra way to guilt trip women who have abortions. But it’s sort of a balancing act, as far as I can tell, because as most people understand it, unbaptized children go to limbo but when Jesus returns, they all get to go to heaven. So it’s a way to guilt trip women who have abortions without casting god as such an uncruel monster as to throw souls into hell that never even had a shot at sinning. So that’s limbo: it sucks enough to make women feel guilty about abortion, but it doesn’t suck so much as to run people off.

I suspect Pope Ratz will give into the urge eventually to come out and say there’s no limbo and unbaptized babies go straight to hell. He can’t help it; he’s just a dictator like that. Hey, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, the Pope’s gotta tell women who give birth to stillborns that their babies are cast into Satan’s maw. The alternative is to let Catholic women who get abortions feel that it’ll all work out in the end, which is just not doable, due to that Jesus-like compassion the Pope is so fond of. Still, it’s going to be bad PR for the church, so you can sort of see why the Pope is dragging ass.

Which all brings me to recommending this great post by Austin Cline at Jesus’ General about why authoritarian types are so damn interested in cobbling people’s sex lives and meddling around in people’s private sexual decisions, like in this case why the Catholic church is so interested in making sure that people can’t make the perfectly sound decision to limit their family size while enjoying a healthy sex life—either you’re going to have to forgo birth control or you’re going to have to feel guilty to the point where you fear you’re casting babies into hellfire, by their standards. It’s a way to disrupt people’s lives so the church can get more control.

Yep, that damn patriarchy, that’s what it’s all about — has nothing to do with a sacrament of marriage or other “nonsense” Catholics believe.

At least Marcotte has men she can admire, like George Tiller, the late-term-abortion practitioner, whom she regards as a “brave motherf**ker.”

She could do without the adjective when writing about Rick Santorum, with whom John Edwards served in the United States Senate from 1999 to 2004. Of the latter, Amanda Marcotte began a blog post in July 2005 thus:

The problem with Rick Santorum is that every time he talks about sex, that little part of all of us that wants to run into a preschool and yell “f**kslut” or go to a born-again church and scream about how God loves to come in our backyards for our milkshakes, well, it just grows a hundredfold, and the restraint that most of us show just flies out the window. As a Senator, however, Santorum finds himself frequently faced with many of the most pressing issues of penis insertion that have ever faced America—and so he must speak, lest his lack of self-control be manifested by f**king his desk on the Senate floor. (There’s a knothole that’s just the right size, y’know.)

While Marcotte seems to hold a special ire for the Catholic Church, it’s no surprise, given, as others have already noted in recent days, she’s written the likes of:

One thing I vow here and now—you motherf**kers who want to ban birth control will never sleep. I will f**k without making children day in and out and you will know it and you won’t be able to stop it. Toss and turn, you mean, jealous motherf**kers. I’m not going to be “punished” with babies. Which makes all your efforts a failure. Some non-procreating women escaped. So give up now. You’ll never catch all of us. Give up now.

And, by the way, Senator Edwards, if you’re not sufficiently sure that your campaign has just made a bad hire, we could get into the “Protestant anti-choice a**holes,” too.

Marcotte is clearly a staffer who should have been vetted a bit more. She represents someone John Edwards ought not be employing and serves as a warning to other candidates as they gather blogosphere supporters on their payrolls on their road to the White House. The lesson is fairly simple: Google first."

* Typos are Marcotte’s. Asterisks are mine.

Anonymous said...

Polanski, I think that is a perfectly legitimate question and that you'd get a perfectly legitimate response.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the ACLU is full of people with nutty ideas about due process, privacy, free speech and government transparancy.

Crazy stuff, really.

Anonymous said...

"This idea that once you are caught in the maws of the criminal justice system you can't get out is a fantasy."

You probably will, but there is no guarantee. And in the process, you will lose time, income, savings, home, reputation, presumption of innocence by society.

Wanna spin the wheel and give it a try? For some, they are denied the luxury of choosing.

bill anderson said...

Do you REALLY think an organization that is dedicated to the presumption of innocence concept and the dangers of pre trial publicity is going to be making public statements during an ongoing case?????????????????

WTF is wrong with you people.

3:42 PM


Some old-line ACLU people like Harvey Silverglate would fall right into the category of which you speak, but the ACLU today is much less concerned with civil liberties and instead has become an advocacy organization.

For example, I remember when police were roughing up abortion protesters in Pittsburgh, using tactics that the ACLU had condemned when used elsewhere. However, because the ACLU has declared that abortion rights are the most important "constitutional rights" that exist, individuals who protest abortion are due no right of protest. Thus, no condemnation of the police tactics.

That is what we call politics, and the ACLU long ago decided to place politics above principle. I realize that some may disagree, but I long ago gave up on the ACLU as anything but yet another PC outfit.

Anonymous said...

I guess its hard to defend the allegations that the ACLU has a one-sided agenda when they defend only liberals like Rush Limbaugh.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I don't remember any stories about police "roughing up" anti abortion protestors.

Since the ACLU has gone to court to protect the rights of Neo Nazis who think killing jews was a fine and noble idea, it is very suspect that they would fail to protect the rights of the anti abortion crusaders.

hman said...

To 3:35
There is a possible, quite a bit darker, explanation for Nifongs strange cruelty toward these three college guys.
After radical prostate surgery and heavy radiotherapy, Mikey is almost certainly useless below the waist. That is not his fault and normally that is not the right sort of thing to talk about in regard to someone.
Prostate cancer is common and treatment with a BAD side effect is also common. Most guys so afflicted just deal with it as best they can; either philosophically or by getting an implant, etc.
But for a bitter, aging sociopath who happens to be a DA there is another option: Torture some young, conspicuously virile guys to show the world that you are still a "Man." Along with getting a pension, etc.
These are not pretty ideas to contemplate. But this has not been pretty from the start.

bill anderson said...

I'm sorry I don't believe that factually innocent people routinely plead guilty to crimes they did not commit. If you are factually innocent, how is the state going to prove you're guilty?

This is an amazing statement. It is a declaration that every single person who ever has been convicted was guilty, since it is impossible for the state to wrongly convict.

Does this writer say that the Innocence Project should be disbanded? What the hell was Nifong trying to do here? He was trying to railroad a conviction, and his plan was to use rape shield laws to do away with literally ALL of the DNA evidence and Crystal's admission of using a vibrator earlier that day. And, he might have succeeded.

So, it is interesting to read someone who believes the state always is right. No doubt, Nifong was correct, too. Right?

And, if those guys were innocent, then they really did not even need lawyers, since the state would not be able to prove guilt. Right?

Anonymous said...

I can only say thank god Mike Nifong isn't jewish or we would never hear the end of the socialist/communist/democratic/jew/ACLU conspiracy to destroy white christian America.

Michael said...

> Poor, uneducated people
> with public defenders are
> acquitted every day in
> every state.

Why are these people even brought to trial?

How many poor and uneducated people with public defenders are found guilty every day in every state?

For those in jail that say that they are not guilty, is anything done for them? Seeing as everyone that is guilty admits it.

Anonymous said...

I have been a supporter my whole life of the ACLU. Including financial. Not anymore. They have been a dsigrace in this issue. As has been said, I will never look at many institutions the way I did in the past. Justice is for all - not just people of color.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, check this out!:

"ACLU, Conservative and Liberal Allies Denounce National ID Card Plan in Intelligence Reform Bill (11/15/2004)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today joined with organizations from across the political spectrum to run a full-page open letter advertisement in the Washington Times, asking the conference committee on intelligence reform to remove the national ID provisions from its final 9/11 intelligence reform legislation. The conferees are currently working to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.

"When groups this diverse unite against an issue, it is clearly about poor policy - not partisan politics," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "A national ID is a bad idea. It would strip Americans of their rights to privacy while doing nothing to protect America from future terrorist attacks."

The ad urges the committee to remove provisions from the final intelligence reform package that would create a national ID card. A national ID card, the open letter says, would create an unprecedented invasion of the privacy rights guaranteed by the Constitution and would allow the government to constantly monitor everyone with a driver's license or identification card.

A national ID card would do little to stop terrorist attacks and would cost billions of dollars to develop and implement. Similar attempts to create a national ID were rejected by every Congress and Administration that has considered it since President Ronald Reagan.

In addition, the creation of a national ID card system would not prevent the use of faulty documents, such as birth certificates, to obtain government ID. Such a system would not have thwarted the September 11 hijackers, many of whom reportedly had identification documents on them, and were in the country legally.

The letter was signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union, American Library Association, Gun Owners of America, Republican Liberty Caucus, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Free Congress Foundation, and approximately 40 other organizations.

"We all want a country that is as safe as possible," said Marvin Johnson, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "But 'Big Brother' provisions such as a national ID card would only serve to restrict our freedoms and invade our privacy and do nothing to ensure our security." "

-Don

Anonymous said...

OJ Simpson says he's not guilty.

I've got news for you, criminals LIE. They lie and say they are not guilty because they don't want to go to jail.

My personal favorite was the nut who kept a diary while in prison of how terrible it was to be wrongly convicted, he went to his death proclaiming his innocence.

The Innocence Project took up his cause, thinking they were going to get the first ever proof of an innocent person put to death.

Trouble is, the DNA proved he had in fact brutally raped and murdered his sister in law.

See, he was a SOCIOPATH. He got off on knowing he was guilty and being able to fool people that he was innocent. It made his crime that much more enjoyable to remember.

Anonymous said...

ACLU Asks Court to Protect Confidentiality of Rush Limbaugh's Medical Records (1/12/2004)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PALM BEACH, FL - In a motion filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said state law enforcement officers violated Rush Limbaugh's privacy rights by seizing the conservative radio talk show host's medical records as part of a criminal investigation involving alleged "doctor-shopping."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Rush:

August 22nd, 2003:
“I warned you about this ever-broadening interpretation of the so-called right to privacy. It’s not a ‘right’ specifically enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.”

A quote that makes an odd preface to this next one:

December 23rd, 2003:
“Now they need my medical records, my private medical records to find out if I’ve committed a crime called doctor shopping? They now have to invade my privacy to learn whether I have broken the law?

Michael said...

[This is an amazing statement. It is a declaration that every single person who ever has been convicted was guilty, since it is impossible for the state to wrongly convict.]

I agree with you Bill. Let's say that you have an offer of pleaing to a misdemeanor with no jail or a felony. Lawyer's going to cost you at least $2,500 just to look at it and maybe a lot more if it takes a lot of time. What do you do?

This guy reminds me of Nifong: if you're not guilty, you don't need a lawyer.

How about: if you're not rich, take the expedient way out.

Michael said...

[I've got news for you, criminals LIE. They lie and say they are not guilty because they don't want to go to jail.]

Do prosecutors and police officers lie? Do they go to jail? Please point me to the last prosecutor thrown in jail.

Anonymous said...

So, if you "say" you are not guilty then you must be not guilty, is that how you want to run the system from now on?

Isn't that kind of like "saying" that some white guys raped you and being believed despite evidence to the contrary?

It's OKAY to assume that anyone who says they are innocent is innocent, why even try them at all, they say they are innocent. Why, even the people who say they are guilty probably falsely confessed and are really innocent. Conversely, if anyone says they were a victim, we should assume they are GUILTY of LYING, lest we harm the presumption of innocence.

Exactly who do you think makes up the 2 million people in our prison system? Did they ALL get railroaded?

Do you know anything at all about how the legal system works?

duke09kparent said...

Bill A--
Sorry this is OT, but it was raised way up above and I wanted clarification. If you want to send me an email instead, I think you have it.

Baker was accused of "attempted fondling"? As much as I despise him for his actions in this case, I'm not much impressed with an allegation of attempted fondling. Does that mean his accuser says he reached for her but failed to make contact? It sounds a bit like convicting Collin of assault because he brandished a fist.

Anonymous said...

***Exactly who do you think makes up the 2 million people in our prison system? Did they ALL get railroaded?***

Ah yes, here we have another example of a strawman argument, argument by no one except for this poster himself/herself, and then knocked out of the park when the same poster totally obliterates the logic of the fake argument!

M. Simon said...

2:04 PM,

What would you consider a high rate?

It is a matter of rounding up the usual suspects. People who, if there is a miscarraige of justice, will get no sympathy.

This case is different because the defendants have some sympathy outside Durham and a www to connect the sympathetic.

My estimate for wrongful convictions? 1 to 10%. Especially high in dope cases. They got a whole industry going in those cases. Usually lying about probable cause - testilying. Pretext stops - Your left rear tail light looks a little dim, can I search your car for dope? Federal rules of evidence such that you can have no dope dope deals. All you have to do is to get the victim to shoot off his mouth about how much dope he can get.

The system is in very bad shape.

Corruption is Routine.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

Hman, Nifong was desperate to win an election nothing more nothing less. He did not care that whether or not it took indicting Evans, Finerty and Seligman or Larry, Currly and Moe or for that matter Jamal, Shedrick and Daymeoun. He was not even personally a racist but played to racists because a large number of his constituence are racists.

Nifong did not care whether the defendant were better or worse than him in virility any other dimension. He had to win that election and was willing to do anything, break any law to win it.

Anonymous said...

I make my decisions based on evidence.

There isn't any evidence the Duke accuser was raped. There is a lot of evidence that she is lying. I follow the evidence and believe she is lying.

There isn't any evidence that either false confessions or false accusations or false convictions are more than a teeny, tiny fraction of one percentage point. The weight of the evidence indicates that 99.999% of people in prison are guilty. Thus, I follow the evidence that in almost all cases the system works as it should and convicts the guilty only.

It is very simple as long as you are willing to follow the evidence.

Anonymous said...

My estimate for wrongful convictions? 1 to 10%.
--------------------------

Based on what evidence?

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: 4:09

Except that privacy rights are mentioned in the FL constitution or statutes. And they are NOT mentioned directly in the US constitution.

Thus a textualist and a civil libertarian would naturally find Roe v. Wade the bad US Constitutional law while naturally asserting their rights under the FL Constitution and statutes. If you don't know which law someone is talking about, you don't have the context to evaluate their comments.

Cedarford said...

Don the ACLU attorney - Curiosly, I don't think the posters here have ever cared about innocent accused being railroaded by law-breaking prosecutors.

As an ACLU member, I doubt you have ever been concerned yourself, unless the accused is part of a group the ACLU favors - like terrorists, racial minorities, gay cannibals.

It makes me wonder what about this case is so special...

It isn't. If you had been paying attention, you would have seen plenty of past cases where the public gets involved in a case where it looks like actual innocence is in play. Unlike the ACLU, the public does not call a suspect "innocent" based on their being found with a dead body in their trunk but the search warrant was improperly dated or similar legal technicality.

but the nagging question remains as to why you all care sooooooo much about this particular case... we -- the ones who fight this good fight all the time -- could really use your continued interest in standing up for the rights of the accused, well after this case is over.

The ACLU could care less about cases that do not fit their anti-Christian, anti-American agenda. The only time the ACLU deviates is to have a high profile case like Limbaugh or Nazis marching in Skokie that they hope will serve as a red herring or smokescreen from what 99.9% of their cases, the actual agenda, is.

M. Simon said...

The decision came after a hearing in which [Sgt. Franco] Sanzo's lawyer, Jake Donovan of Middletown, called another retired officer who said that police frequently sign their names to warrants - and swear before judges - that they've seen things they haven't.

So basically Sanzo's defense was that this type of misconduct is a matter of routine at his department. And it worked!

from my above link.

More from the same link:

Katherine Goldwasser, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who served as a prosecutor in Chicago before joining academia, suggested that misconduct often occurs out of sight, especially in cases that never go to trial. Those cases by definition do not generate appellate opinions (and thus are for the most part beyond the scope of the Center study). Goldwasser told the Center. "It is not a safe assumption that cases ending with guilty pleas are absent prosecutorial misconduct."

Jim said...

Judge in Raleigh censured for ethics violations .

Makes you wonder what it takes to remove these people. Hey, maybe she'll apply for a job at Duke.

M. Simon said...

4:18PM,

Read the article I linked to.

Read my 4:23PM for some excerpts.

Anonymous said...

Personal anecdotes are not evidence.

I could fill this blog with hair raising cases of career criminals paroled numerous times, ending with murder and mayhem and with cases of guilty criminals who were acquitted and went on to commit more hideous crimes.

If that is all the evidence you have that 1-10% of people in prison are factually innocent, then, you don't really have ANY evidence, now do ya?

Jim said...

I'm having trouble with my html links, lately. Here's the story on the bizarre Raleigh judge.

Justice is seriously f'ed up in Raleigh/Durham.

Anonymous said...

3:49 PM, your argument does not prove what you think it does.

Your friend in corrections may be right that the "vast majority" of people in prison are guilty, but that does not necessarily mean that the proportion of innocent people who plead guilty is tiny.

For example: If the proportion of people charged of crimes who are actually innocent is small enough, then even if 100% of them falsely confessed, they would still make up a small part of the jail population.

M. Simon said...

The decision came after a hearing in which [Sgt. Franco] Sanzo's lawyer, Jake Donovan of Middletown, called another retired officer who said that police frequently sign their names to warrants - and swear before judges - that they've seen things they haven't.

It is so prevalent police have a name for it "Testilying".

1 to 10% is an estimate.

The Duke case is evidence of a lot of bad habits. How do bad habits develop? Practice. How much practice is required? One case in a hundred is probably the minimum.

Here is another reason to think it is prevalent Duke Meets O.J.

Anonymous said...

The cases where people were falsely convicted almost all have several things in common...the accused usually had some type of criminal record, often times the accused lied to police about something, faulty eye witness ID's usually wrongly identifying someone of another race, lack of DNA testing at the time of the trial, a poor, uneducated defendant who was easily led into making questionable or inculpatory statements by police.

Very, very, very few of even the documented cases of innocent people wrongly convicted involve allegations of planted evidence or police misconduct beyond continuing questioning after one asks for a lawywer or debate about when the Miranda was to be given.

It does not add up to more than a minisicule fraction of all convictions. And you can keep saying until you are blue in the face that factually innocent people plead to crimes that send them to prison on a routine basis but I don't believe you. No one has given any evidence this is true and it goes against any type of common sense.

Anonymous said...

2:31 PM
Good ol' Don, attorney and member of the ACLU says "we -- the ones who fight this good fight all the time..."


You don't sound like you need support from a bunch of selfish bloggers. Seems that you give yourself all the credit anyone should require.

Anonymous said...

4:40 PM, Given that an innocent person might rationally accept a plea bargain rather than take the risk of being erroniously found guilty and suffering a far greater sentence, and that it is considered perfectly ethical for prosecutors to offer such bargains, I fail to see how the rarity of "allegations of planted evidence or police misconduct" has any bearing on how many innocent people cop a guilty plea.

Anonymous said...

I will ask again, where is the evidence of factually innocent people pleading guilty to crimes that result in prison sentences???

I'm not saying it has never happened in the annuls of American jurisprudence, but I AM saying the idea that it's a widespread problem is freaking nonsense.

There are dozens of organizations dedicated to helping criminal defendants, there are public defenders offices, free appelllate work, The Innocence Project is in every state I think, watch dog groups...and amid all of this, I am supposed to think that innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they didnt' commit and going to prison for crimes they didn't commit...no way.

In fact, what I see are guilty criminals getting great deals and serving a small portion of the sentence they actually deserve as sa result of plea agreements. The evidence for this is the high percentage of repeat offenders. This is a verifiable fact, unlike your contention.

M. Simon said...

4:40PM,

Where there is smoke there will soon be a fire.

The major prosecutorial misconduct takes place at the plea bargain stage. Do you take a chance - even if innocent - with a 30 year sentence or do you take 2 years with time off for good behavior?

Snitches get bounties or time off their sentences for fingering people. What are the odds your snitch is going to be a moral person should he need some extra cash or a get out of jail free card?

BTW we know for a fact alcohol prohibition was a great corrupter of the justice system. We do have dope prohibition. Does dope make us more moral?

Michael said...

]I will ask again, where is the evidence of factually innocent people pleading guilty to crimes that result in prison sentences???]

How about we take off the result in prison sentences part?

Anonymous said...

People go to trial every day, a lot of them get acquitted, so the answer, I guess based on EVIDENCE is yes.

M. Simon said...

4:40PM,

Care to give an estimate?

Anonymous said...

Well, if I'm pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and paying a fine rather than go to a jury trial that isn't really the same thing is going to prison for something I didn't do, is it?

Your premise has been that our prisons are full of innocent people who plead guilty.

Pleading guilty to reckless driving when all you were doing was speeding is hardly the same as going to prison for 2 years when you are completely innocent of any crime.

Anonymous said...

Good job recognizing when the ACLU strays from your caricature of the ACLU, and then saying the ACLU only takes those cases to make themselves look "even-handed" or whatever nonsense you set forth.

Seems they can't do anything right by you. Anyway, the funny moment of the day was everyone here being forced to accept the fact that the ACLU did, in fact, have some involvement in this case.

But hey, its always more convenient to rant and rave without actually looking into your allegations and finding contrary FACTS.

Chumps.

Anonymous said...

Snitches get bounties or time off their sentences for fingering people.
------------------------------

Now, I wonder how the "snitch" is going to get my name unless I am already known to him and part of a criminal enterprise? Is the "snitch" going to say that Mr. Smith who runs the local bank, has no known drug connections or arrests is really a drug lord or is the snitch going to accuse a known gang member with a criminal record and long history of criminal associations?

Now, if your premise is that criminals with long criminal histories and crminal associations are sometimes wrongly fingered by their known criminal associates, e.g, he IS a thief, but he didn't commit this particular robber, or he IS a drug dealer, but this wasn't his deal, then you might have something.

But calling that type of person "innocent" is a bit misleading, no?

Anonymous said...

5:07:

You sound exactly like Nifong when he asked why innocent men would need attorneys.

Chump.

Anonymous said...

No, dude, all I am asking for is some kind of objective evidence that supports the idea that there are alot of innocent people in prison for crimes they didnt' commit.

Obviously, that evidence does not exist, so you resort to comments about innocent men not needing lawyers.

Me thinks that makes you the chump, chump.

Anonymous said...


The Innocence Project took up his cause, thinking they were going to get the first ever proof of an innocent person put to death.

Trouble is, the DNA proved he had in fact brutally raped and murdered his sister in law.


Can you provide a link? Like the perfect storm of race, class, and privilege that the Duke non-rape case was, this also sounds too good to be true.

Anonymous said...

No one is claiming that the prisons are "full of" innocent people. That's completely beside the point.

"Pleading guilty to reckless driving when all you were doing was speeding is hardly the same as going to prison for 2 years when you are completely innocent of any crime."

Well actually if you're facing 20 years if you're convicted at trial, it kind of is.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, chump, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. Either it is okay to assume that people accused of crimes are guilty, or it is not.

You can't carve out exceptions for the Duke kids based on who they are, and who the accuser is.

If you argue that it only applies here due to the particular set of facts, I'd set forth that same is true in all instances where someone is accused of a crime. In that respect, the only thing special about this case is the attention it gets from people like you.

Chump.

Anonymous said...

Since we're talking about why many of us aren't precisely pleased with the ACLU, perhaps the following quote will help the ACLU's supporters understand:

Steven Watt and his colleagues do not like extraordinary rendition. How much they don't like it was made clear by Watt on the Riz Khan Show tonight. The show, described by Al Jazeera International as one which

...allows viewers from around the world to question world leaders, newsmakers and celebrities directly via phone, email, SMS, video-mail and fax

...took a call from a viewer who asked the question: what is the worse human rights violation - extraordinary rendition or terrorists beheadings? Watt fumbled for a moment - I imagine he was thinking "will anyone be watching Al Jazeera International in the US?" - before answering that

Both are equally dispicable.

Equally dispicable? That's right: according to Steven Watt and the ACLU extraordinary rendition is so horrible that it is equivalent to having your head sawn off as terrorists chant 'God is Great'.

Watt's 'victim' of extraordinary rendition is alive and seemingly well enough to file suit against the US government and take questions on the courthouse steps. The victims of muderous Islamic beheadings are not so lucky.


Now, I'll grant that this was the flub of one - just one - ACLU representative, and the blogger involved is a bit over the top. However, when a statement of that level of fatuity is made, people may get a little outraged, and suspect the motives of the organization for which said idiot works.

The blog post may be found at: http://www.freewebs.com/kisdm001/blog.htm?blogentryid=1203995

I am not exactly an html expert, and preview is indicating that I have somehow failed the linking examination. I apologize. Copy and paste, if you want to read the post and follow his links.

Anonymous said...

Google Roger Coleman you can find all the stories about him.

Anonymous said...

The general character (or lack thereof) of the ACLU is not at issue here. What is at issue is the fact that a bunch of turd-burglars on this site were ranting and raving about how the ACLU hasn't been involved.

In reality, the turd burglars were wrong. THE BUMS WILL ALWAYS LOSE LEBOWSKI!!! YOU HEAR ME!!!

Anonymous said...

Modern DNA tests have confirmed the guilt of a Virginia man who had proclaimed he was innocent of murder and rape even as he was strapped into the electric chair and executed more than a decade ago, the governor announced yesterday.

The results stunned and disappointed those who have fought a 25-year crusade to prove that Roger K. Coleman was innocent. They also dashed hopes among death penalty foes that the case would catalyze opposition to capital punishment across the country.



Roger Coleman (Steve Helber - AP)

Video
Post's Fisher on Warner's Role in DNA Tests
The Washington Post's Marc Fisher discusses Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner's last move DNA tests of convicted killer Roger Coleman confirming his guilt.


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Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) yesterday said genetic analysis conducted in recent weeks proves that Coleman, who was executed in 1992 for the slaying of his 19-year-old sister-in-law, was a rapist and killer. The tests show there is a one in 19 million chance that semen found on the victim's body belonged to someone else.

"We have sought the truth using DNA technology not available at the time the commonwealth carried out the ultimate criminal sanction," Warner said in a statement. "The confirmation that Roger Coleman's DNA was present reaffirms the verdict and the sanction."

Coleman's case had become a focal point in the debate over capital punishment, with opponents insisting that DNA tests would prove that an innocent man was put to death and proponents saying that justice was served. Coleman had maintained his innocence in a series of television and newspaper interviews that generated attention around the world, and his backers tried for years to get the courts or politicians to order the tests. Warner, in his last weeks in office, agreed to allow the analysis and became the nation's first governor to allow post-execution testing.

Legal scholars said the test results denied death penalty opponents a long-sought opportunity to put a human face on one of their most compelling arguments: that the U.S. justice system makes mistakes that result in the executions of innocent men.

"The opportunity to bring new people into the abolitionist movement has been lost," said Phyllis Goldfarb, a professor at Boston College's law school.

But Goldfarb said that though the exoneration of an executed inmate could have profoundly eroded support for the death penalty, confirmation of Coleman's guilt won't change many opinions. "Supporters of the death penalty will be confirmed in their skepticism of claims of innocence," she said. "Opponents still have reason to oppose. The risk of executing innocents still exists."

Coleman, a coal miner from the small Appalachian town of Grundy, Va., was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1981 rape and stabbing of Wanda McCoy.

Coleman's assertions of innocence and questions over the strength of the evidence prompted Centurion Ministries, a New Jersey charity that investigates wrongful convictions, to investigate the case. Media organizations, including The Washington Post, joined Centurion in an unsuccessful court fight to have the DNA tests conducted years ago.

Yesterday, James C. McCloskey, Centurion's executive director, said he felt betrayed by the man whose last words included the statement, "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight."

Anonymous said...

The general character (or lack thereof) of the ACLU is not at issue here. What is at issue is the fact that a bunch of turd-burglars on this site were ranting and raving about how the ACLU hasn't been involved.

In reality, the turd burglars were wrong. THE BUMS WILL ALWAYS LOSE LEBOWSKI!!! YOU HEAR ME!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, had to write that post down twice, since -- once again -- the argument's losers have tried to shift the boundaries.

You all claimed the ACLU was hypocritical for not being involved. We proved you dead wrong... in fact, they were more involved at an earlier stage than they usually get involved.

Nice try moving the goalposts... what are you, George Bush playing war games in Iraq?

Anonymous said...

3:57 PM
"I guess its hard to defend the allegations that the ACLU has a one-sided agenda when they defend only liberals like Rush Limbaugh."

What the hey? From reading all of these posts, I'd think that Rush Limbaugh was the new ACLU poster child! I think that poor ol' Rush is just being exploited as some kinda ACLU fig leaf.

MGM

M. Simon said...

5:21PM,

The number of proven innocent men found on death row in Illinois was on the order of 5 to 10% during George "I Was A Crook" Ryan's term in office.

If that is the rate in Illinois for death penalty cases which get a lot of scrutiny what are the numbers likely to be for cases that get less oversight?

Is Illinois representative? Is North Carolina? Well once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, third time? Enemy action.

Anonymous said...

Don,
You're hardly in a position to criticize anyone. The nagging question for me is why the ACLU has paid soooooo little attention to this case. Could it be that you don't care about the civil rights of supposedly privileged white males?

I can't think of another high profile case where the defendants were so vilified by the press, the public and the faculty of their own university - one two three right down the line. I suppose Timothy McVeigh would be comparable. Now that things have turned around and they have support all you're doing is complaining about it. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU is a convenient target since they defend people and ideas that are unpopular, like the idea of not torturing suspected terrorists, not holding American citizens in prison without charges, freedom of speech even for speech the majority finds offensive, life for the worst of the worst criminal scum in the country...

The fact that Rush's oxy habit happened to place him in alignment with the ACLU's insane idea of medical records staying between the patient and the doctor was just dumb luck I guess.

Anonymous said...

The number of proven innocent men found on death row in Illinois was on the order of 5 to 10% during George "I Was A Crook" Ryan's term in office.
-------------

Got a link for that?

There must be thousands of prisoners in Illinois, so I assume that your link is going to show at least SEVERAL HUNDRED exonerations.

M. Simon said...

Here is how you make permalinks:

<a href="url">text to display</a>

replace url with:
http://www.siss.duke.edu/schedule/1190/WOMENST
leave the quote marks

replace text to display
with
Women's Studies Courses at Duke

Women's Studies Courses at Duke

Anonymous said...

In fact I just check and you ARE A TOTAL LIAR.

Gov. Ryan commuted the sentences of 156 death row inmates in Illinois, he did not EXONERATE them.

He pardoned 4.

What kind of new math are you using?

Anonymous said...

I just enjoy the arguments evolve after almost everyone here was proven wrong about whether the ACLU had done anything at all in this case. My prediction is that the argument will continue to evolve.

Wise man say that sometimes, you look better when you admit you were wrong.

M. Simon said...

Ryan first gained national attention in the area of capital punishment when, as governor, he declared a moratorium on his state's death penalty in 2000. "We have now freed more people than we have put to death under our system — 13 people have been exonerated and 12 have been put to death. There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied." [2]. Ryan called for a commission to study the issue, while noting, "I still believe the death penalty is a proper response to heinous crimes, but I want to make sure ... that the person who is put to death is absolutely guilty."

The issue had garnered the attention of the public when a death row inmate, Anthony Porter, who had spent 15 years on death row and was within two days of being executed, was exonerated with the help of a group of student journalists at Northwestern University who had uncovered evidence that was used to prove his innocence. In 1999 Porter was released, charges were subsequently dropped, and another person, Alstory Simon, confessed and pleaded guilty to the crime Porter had been erroneously convicted of.

Ultimately, on January 11, 2003, just days before leaving office, Ryan commuted (to "life" terms) the sentences of everyone on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' Death Row — a total of 167 convicts — due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly. He also pardoned four inmates, Aaron Patterson, Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange (who were released), and Stanley Howard (who remained in prison due to a separate conviction). These were four of ten death row inmates known as the "Death Row 10," due to widely reported claims that the confessions that they had given in their respective cases had been coerced through police torture.


George Ryan

13/167 = 7.8%

M. Simon said...

5:40PM,

You were saying?

M. Simon said...

Or say it was actually 13 out of 167+13.

13/180= 7.2%

Anonymous said...

Illinois killed 12 people since 1976 and exonerated 13, but you would need the sum total of ALL the people that were on death row from 1976 onward to get the right percentage.

If the number you cite is correct as the baseline number, then among the death penalty population your number would be correct.

If you add in the rest of the prison population and non death penaltiy exonerations, I fear your percentage cannot be supported and it goes back down to .0000001 percent.

If I only look at two cases, I can get a 50% rate, but extrapolating that to hundreds or millions of cases won't pass muster and neither does your premise.

Anonymous said...

re the black MIT professor on hunger strike because he's been denied tenure

Name is James Sherley. Visit mit.edu, and ckeck out his publications.

Perhaps Karla Holloway can take up his cause.

The funny thing about the Sherleys of the world is that they really think they're brilliant, and that society's gifts to them are bona fide credentials.

Polanski

Michael said...

[Illinois killed 12 people since 1976 and exonerated 13, but you would need the sum total of ALL the people that were on death row from 1976 onward to get the right percentage.]

He was only Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the original post stated the time "term of office".

M. Simon said...

5:57PM,

Why when you see a high error rate in death penalty cases which get a lot of scrutiny would you assume a drastically lower error rate in other cases which get less scrutiny?

Rather unlikely don't you think?

Even if we take 2X as the number on death row from '76 to 2000 that still gives you an error rate on the order of 3.5%. For death penalty cases where there was enough evidence left or some one else confessed etc.

Anonymous said...

"If you add in the rest of the prison population and non death penaltiy exonerations, I fear your percentage cannot be supported and it goes back down to .0000001 percent."

That conclusion does not even remotely follow.

Given that the vast majority of the non-death penalty prison population have never had the benefit of the Innocence Project scrutinizing their cases, we have no idea how many could potentially be exonerated.

Anonymous said...

I guess that means your percentages are not accurate, then.

But I think it pretty unlikely that Illinois sentenced 150+ people to death in the span of four years.

But until you know the accurate number of people in Illinois who were sentenced to death since 1976 you don't know what the percentage of exonerations is.

And EVEN if the number is correct, it does not translate to other crime categories, or even to all murders.

If you want to argue that death penalty cases have a higher than average percent of false conviction rates due to the fact they are usually henous crimes with major publicity and pressure on police to solve them, you might have something.

But the bare fact is of ALL exonerations as a percentage of ALL felony convictions in the US is less than ONE PERCENT.

Anonymous said...

PS, you know The Innocence Project does not focus exclusively on death penalty cases since you have repeatedly erroenously used their data on rape cases as evidence of the rate of false rape cases.

I can only conclude for the last time that you are totally full of it.

Anonymous said...

Death rown inmates make up about one quarter of ONE PERCENT of the entire US prison population.

Do you really think that such a small sample can tell us anything about the other 99.75% of prisoners?????????????

Give it up.

M. Simon said...

6:15PM,

The thing about death penalty cases is that the prisoner stays in jaily until death or case solved.

Most felony convictions do not last long enough to make it worth while to look into the evidence and go through the motions.

The fact that less than 1% are reversed based on innocence is not proof that less than 1% are innocent. All it says is that less than 1% could be proved innocent while they were serving time. Cases where the time has been served are very very hard to re-open. Not statistically significant.

Anonymous said...

The fact that less than 1% are reversed based on innocence is not proof that less than 1% are innocent. All it says is that less than 1% could be proved innocent while they were serving time. Cases where the time has been served are very very hard to re-open. Not statistically significant.
---------------------

In other words, just because there is no proof doesn't mean it isn't true?

Now where have I heard that before.....

You have to either live and die based on evidence and what is provable or not. You can't go by evidence in some categories and then draw conclusions based on speculation for other categories.

That's called being a hypocrite.

M. Simon said...

6:20 PM,

A sample size of 30 is adequate to make a statistical estimate that will be well within 10% of the final value at the 99% confidence level.

So you could say the likely error rate for murder is 3.5% +/- .4%

You really need to study your statistics before making such statements.

It is a fascinating subject.

Anonymous said...

"You have to either live and die based on evidence and what is provable or not."

This from the person who asserts without any evidence whatsoever that 99.999999999% of inmates are guilty.

Michael said...

> You have to either live and
> die based on evidence and
> what is provable or not. You
> can't go by evidence in some
> categories and then draw
> conclusions based on
> speculation for other
> categories.

Sure you can. You just need
sufficient statistical correlation.

I'm glad mathematicians, scientists and philosophers
in the last five centuries don't have your view.

M. Simon said...

6:26PM,

All I'm saying is that your evidence does not support your contention.

BTW why would you expect a lower error rate on less scrutinized cases?

In any case based on the factors I have presented I would accept your number as an absolute lower bound.

Anonymous said...

This from the person who asserts without any evidence whatsoever that 99.999999999% of inmates are guilty.
----------------------------

The EVIDENCE for that statement is the number of people nationally that have been exonerated. It's quite simple. It is a fraction of one percent of the total prison population.

You can argue that it doesn't represent all of the innocent people wrongly convicted and you might be right. But you don't have any evidence.

My understanding has always been you need a 300 person random sample to extrapolate to a national population. I know that is the minimum for public opinion surveys, don't know about any other categories.

Anonymous said...

A well know that may DNA tests done with dna from people in jail for a rape, the result comes back that the right person is in jail. It seems that if you are in jail for rape and did it, why not take the test? Maybe the lab will make a mistake, many of these people are not very bright.

Michael said...

re: 6:20

I'm pretty amazed at the data you have off the top of your head.

The guy that you're dealing with seems to be a binary thinker. It's scary if he's
a lawyer or prosecutor.

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