Financial cutbacks led to a consolidation on the Boston Globe’s op-ed pages, and the paper unfortunately decided to eliminate Cathy Young’s weekly column—by far the most interesting offering on the page. In her last column, Young noted, “The apparent collapse of the rape charges against the lacrosse players at
As if to confirm Young’s observation, a post from Kathleen Bergin, a law professor at South
The post’s thesis: the players are “not innocent,” and, “If brought to trial, my bet is they will be found ‘not guilty.’ And yet, they are so far from ‘innocent.’” This view is an amplification of the Group of 88’s assertion that their crusade would continue regardless of “what the police say or the court decides.” Bergin termed it “undisputed” that racist and sexist epithets were used toward the dancers in the house, and also termed it “undisputed” that the broomstick comment was a threat of rape. Yet the only “witness” to have made the first claim is the accuser; the first figures to make the second claim were the police.
Case expert Bob in
No, but the implication was as clear as it was absurd. No further comments have appeared on the post. So--if even the blog’s commenters are out of step with the post, it’s not because the post is off-target; instead, it’s because Brad Bannon is busily posting anonymous comments when he’s not busy cracking conspiracies to hide DNA evidence. Not exactly the most convincing argument.
Amanda Marcotte, it’s worth recalling, simply deleted comments critical of her view on the case.
As Young observed, people who refuse to consider facts that contradict their worldviews are those whose “credibility is likely to sustain serious damage” from the case.
Friday is the deadline for Mike Nifong’s attorneys to file his response to the State Bar. If nothing else, the response should be creative—especially since the words of one Nifong lawyer, David Freedman, powerfully indicted the defendant for the very offenses the bar cited.
Also on Friday, Stuart Taylor will be speaking on the case at the
WUNC (a public radio station well-known in the Triangle for its politically correct views) ran a segment on the case last week, featuring an interview with Sara Lipka, the author of the lengthy story on the Group of 88 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The teaser? “One of the less-publicized impacts of the Duke Lacrosse case has been a widening division among the University’s faculty. It began with an open letter published in the Duke student newspaper back in the early days of the case. It was paid for and signed by a collection of faculty now referred to by some as the ‘Group of 88.’”
The interview was basically a fair one. When even NPR won’t put its credibility on the line to defend the Group, it seems the 88 have few reliable allies remaining.
Today’s Liestoppers contains a summary of an important article, by Henry Korn, in the New York Law Journal. Korn’s conclusion:
This is a story that squarely teaches that 'rushing to judgment' without wisely stepping back and reviewing the evidence runs directly counter to the ethical obligations that govern how attorneys are required to conduct themselves. The harm of such ignorant conduct is that others are grievously wounded. Familiarity with, and adherence to, the code of professional responsibility provides the foundation for attorneys to avoid abuse of their license and harm others by so doing.
The significance of the piece: Nifong’s record is increasingly making it into national legal circles as an example of gross prosecutorial misconduct. This development heightens pressure on the Bar to deal with him severely.
A peculiar column in today’s Des Moines Register, which to my knowledge has not previously commented on the case. Columnist Rekha Basu writes on what she terms the myths about sexual assault, with a thesis that attackers often come from family or friends.
It would seem the lacrosse case has nothing to do with this thesis. But that she quotes from Wendy Murphy gives some sense of Basu’s perspective. On the case, Basu writes,
Recent reporting on the Duke lacrosse case, including a "60 Minutes" segment, also gives the impression that the prosecution’s case fell apart because the victim recanted the allegation (and therefore that it didn’t happen) . . . As to why the rape charge was withdrawn, instead of blaming the victim, you could blame the limitations of North Carolina law, which limits its definition of rape to penile-vaginal penetration.As if eager to prove Cathy Young’s thesis that this case will be devastating to the credibility of so-called victims’ rights groups, Basu turns to the head of an organization called North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault to establish the validity of her portrayal of events.
It’s not clear from her article if Basu actually watched the 60 Minutes broadcast; if she had, she would have learned that the prosecution’s case fell apart because Nifong’s massive prosecutorial misconduct was eventually exposed. As for the “victim” recanting her allegation, the significant issue came in the December 21 version of events contradicting in virtually every important way every other story the “victim” had previously told.
In a post last week, I erroneously attributed the following quote to Christina Headrick: The real enemy was “white people who are incredulous and skeptical that racism exists at all and attribute claims that racism does indeed exist to some sort of enigmatic and massive hallucination on the part of people of color.” That quote actually came not from Headrick but from another potbanger. I apologize for the error.
An event from a week ago that I should have mentioned last Sunday: Assistant Attorney General Brian Wilks has just become a
John Stevenson—faithful to Nifong to the end—assured Herald-Sun readers that the move “has nothing to do with the controversial Duke lacrosse sex-offense case.”
Right. Every day, bright and talented people give up a post in the state attorney general’s office to go work for a prosecutor who faces an ethics trial a few months down the road.
Wilks' background is interesting: an African-American, he has a J.D. from NCCU, served as a public defender, and seems to have good ethical reputation. (“Seems” is necessary here because the figures that Stevenson quoted praising Wilks’ ethics also had defended Nifong’s ethics, and so have little or no credibility on the issue.)
A Machiavellian observer might suggest that Wilks is the frontrunner to get Easley’s nod if and when Nifong is forced to resign.
I received two follow-up tips to the post from last week on the potentially “jaw-dropping” proposals under consideration from the Campus Culture Initiative. The first suggested that the Towerview article understated the degree to which Peter Wood, chair of the athletics subgroup, had misrepresented the views of his subgroup in his report to the full committee. The second suggested that the CCI's most dramatic recommendations involve changes to university housing and athletics policies, changes that overwhelming numbers of alumni would oppose. Neither piece of news came as a surprise, given the dominance within the CCI of the most extreme critics of the lacrosse team.
It is my sense that most Duke alumni look back fondly on their time at the institution; at some point, they might need to mobilize to counter a body whose leadership the Chronicle effectively critiqued last month: "Stacking the CCI with critics of 'white male privilege' suggests that the initiative was created to pacify countercultural professors, rather than to shape a new and improved campus culture."
Bill Anderson has a must-read column up this week outlining the possible criminal charges to come, in a case that he calls a classic example of “a criminal fraud.” Ominous signs that he sees: the erasure of police recordings whose preservation the defense had requested. Police spokespersons covering up the fact that the captains “willingly gave DNA samples, and then offered to take lie detector tests,” and refusing to consider how this behavior suggested strongly for innocence.
The case should have ended, Anderson notes, no later than March 22: “Police should have told the district attorney that there was no evidence for rape other than the numerous conflicting stories told by a woman whose previous criminal behavior and dishonesty were well-known to the Durham police . . . Instead, the Durham police at this point chose to lie; why they chose to lie is a question that has not yet been answered.”
Nifong, meanwhile, “conspired with Brian Meehan, who directed a private lab that tested the DNA samples, to withhold a large amount of exculpatory evidence.” This action,
And how would investigators view Gottlieb’s “straight-from-memory” report?
Finally, was the December 21 statement from the accuser simply an attempt to continue the frame against innocent suspects?
Based on this record,
March 24 is a critical day in the case, since it was on this day that Mike Nifong—in a violation of standard procedures—assumed personal control of the criminal investigation.
March 24 is also the day in which the national media first came to know Cpl. David Addison, who, it turns out, was filling in for Kammie Michaels as the department’s spokesperson.
Is it any coincidence that on the day Nifong assumed personal command of the case, the police department starting making factually inaccurate, inflammatory public statements?