Thursday, April 12, 2007

Star-Ledger Speaks Out

A powerful editorial in Reade Seligmann's hometown newspaper today, the Star-Ledger (Newark). The paper concluded:
Shame, however, is not Nifong's alone. With hardly a scintilla of evidence, all too many, for whatever reasons, were unable to resist buying into a story of privileged white jocks degrading and sexually abusing a poor black stripper.

The case quickly catapulted into a national sensation. With the notoriety, Duke University, under pressure to act, unceremoniously dumped the lacrosse coach and two of the accused young men, and students and professors took sides and talking heads spewed views.

But the young men and their resolute parents fought for the facts, and their lawyers were able to produce compelling evidence that there was no case against their clients . . .

Not only did Nifong do great damage to their lives but to the administration of justice. And he encouraged an atmosphere in which any calm assessment of the facts was seen as a defense of injustice.

Properly, there are calls for reform in North Carolina. One proposal would give the state's top court the authority to remove prosecutors in certain circumstances. Given what we now know, that seems like a good idea.

Yet it provides little solace to three young men looking to reclaim their lives.

30 comments:

Mike Lee said...

And through it all (to this very moment!!) the NC NAACP still has its famous talking points listed on its website.

They include this gem-
"The three defendants they have two mountains to climb. First, they must deflect public attention from their boorish, racist, and illegal behavior by mounting outlandish attacks on the survivor and the D.A. Second, they must deal with a mountain of physical evidence, that is corroborated by, we have reason to believe, accounts of some of the men who were at the party who have cooperated with the police and the D.A. from early on."

I guess it makes no difference what anyone including the state's Attorney General says. The NAACP will continue to tout the mountain of evidence.

Memo to Roy Cooper- the NAACP of NC is calling you a liar on their website to this very moment.

Congratulations NAACP, you've shown your true colors and where you really stand on race relations!

jamil hussein said...

Check the comments from NCCYU students. (from liestoppers):

"I don't think [Nifong] meant wrong, that it was a rogue attack. I think he went more with his passion than maybe his professionalism. He might have been wrong in some instances, but I don't think he was totally wrong." — A.J. Donaldson, an N.C. Central University senior

"The whole situation is so flaky at this point. I just question everyone's motives in the whole situation. Even to this day, I think there's some sympathy for [Mangum], but it has been prolonged and the university has gotten a lot of negative publicity. You don't know who to believe." Jason Jowers, N.C. Central University senior

"I thought it was unbelievable cause somebody who does a crime like that and gets caught on it, they should be put away, not have the charges dropped on it especially if people have gotten evidence against them on it. So, as far as that goes...in my opinion, the people responsible for it deserve to get put away for it and those who had nothing to do with it in the first place they should be the ones who are let go. I mean, if a girl went to the party, whether she was drunk or sober, high or not, she still said no, but the only word she has is hers against all theirs, and that's the only thing that got them off, that she didn't have anyone there with her, so that;s probably the only reason that they say it's a no contest case, cause it's her word against all theirs saying no." -- Bryan Parham NCCU 20, Sophomore

"Candice Benbow, a graduate sociology student who said she knows the accuser, said she had to sit down when she heard about the charges being dropped.

"I knew it was going to happen," Benbow said sadly. "You're rich and you're white and the world is pretty much your oyster. I will stand on the belief that something happened to her, but she was up gainst Duke money."


"I do believe something happened but we don't know," said a neighbor, Lafardella David, 68, a retired chef. "No one will ever know. Money is involved," he said in a reference to the status of the families of the accused. "If you got the money you can't do no wrong."

"Prosecution definitely screwed up on that...they're not innocent, they should go to jail!" --Michael McKoy NCCU Student

"I think they should look more into the situation because a rape charge is not something to be dropped it is something to be taken seriously" -- Sade Ridenhour (to the Greensboro News-Record), NCCU Student

"The prosecution definitely screwed up, the players they shouldn't be let by because they are athletes, they need to very much go more into this situation." -- Sade Ridenhour (to the LA Times), NCCU Student

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson,
Jeralyn Merritt (a very liberal defense attorney) also wrote a great article today on the travesty of this case. She linked to it from her website, TalkLeft. It's pretty insightful.
Thanks for everything you've done.

Mike Lee said...

I was shocked the NAACP had not removed the garbage from their website until I read the comments of the NCCU kids.

I am speechless.

jamil hussein said...

some day these NCCU kids are (thanks to race quotas) judges, prosecutors, congressmen, professors and reporters.

This country is doomed.

Greg said...

KC's coverage of this entire affair deserves formal recognition. In our new age of journalism, bloggers like KC and others should qualify for Pulitzer nominations in the same manner as traditional print and TV/radio journalists.

jamil hussein said...

it's better to have a new prize. Pulitzer is just a far-left BDS-suffering propaganda outlet so they would never accept anybody like KC. Yes, even centrist democrats are considered dangerous by gang88/pulitzer people. It would be nice to have a real journalism award (free of political ideology).

Anonymous said...

"KC's coverage of this entire affair deserves formal recognition."

Agreed...the players mentioned him by name in their press conference yesterday...as well they should have.

Greg said...

Did KC do any talking head stuff on CNN etc. yesterday? I would have expected even the MSM to reach out to him given his objective and exhaustive coverage of the case.

Anonymous said...

On an earlier thread, posters listed remaining unanswered questions. Here's one to add to the list: given that we now know that Mike Nifong had the lineup IDs and all the DNA results in hand before the indictments of Finnerty and Seligmann, why did he wait to indict Evans?

I had earlier assumed he was waiting for the DNA evidence of the inconclusive match that couldn't rule out Evans, but he would already have had that. So the only reason I can think of for him to wait was to let Evans graduate before indictment and not risk his losing his degree. If that's the case, doesn't that suggest that he already at least suspected either that there was no rape or that Evans didn't commit it? Because if he thought he had the right guy, why care whether he got to graduate from college?

Have I missed or forgotten something that would explain this?

Anonymous said...

I saw Jeffrey Toobin on Anderson Copper 360, and Toobin was underinformed about the case.

Anonymous said...

If Jeffery Toobin, or any other talking head, seems uninformed or underinformed, well, think about other stories they hype. They are newsreaders, nothing else. They are clearly lacking in any depth of knowledge on this case and probably on many other issues. And yet they are believed by millions gullible citizens. Sad, is it not?

Shouting Thomas said...

I've followed this case because I also had hoped at one point that the transparent injustice done to these young men would be the beginning of a breakdown of the demonizing of hetero white men so common in the media and academia. I'd also hoped that we would see the black community change course. Like so many others, I am waiting not so patiently for the day when black people cease blaming white men for their problems.

So, what can we do? Perhaps only a few minds and hearts were changed. Life isn't like the movies. The bad guys don't just fold up their tents and quit.

The black racists are going to continue to be black racists. Resign yourselves to it. We're going to be chipping away at this for years. There is no easy fix.

Anonymous said...

Your sterling job contrasted with the sodden and dismal performance by the rest of the media.

The focused and continuous reporting was a stunning contrast to the episodic attention paid to this story by so-called MSM "reporters." More MSM reporters ought to try it. Its how Woodward and Bernstein broke Watergate, since everyone else was too busy reading press handouts to talk to witnesses. I guess little has changed.

The "reporters" in the Duke case never took time to become acquainted with the facts. So the "too hip, get me a short memo on the case, 2 pages max" reporters parroted statements from all sides with the same weight. ("Mr. Charles Manson claims he had nothing to do with the crime and that he is being unfairly imprisoned.") Their micrometer deep factual understanding alowed no more.

Basic constitutional law went out the window for almost all reporters. They faithfully reported the notion that cases "must go to trial" to be resolved.

The presumption of innocence still requires a Rosetta stone for 40 watt FOX commentator Mercedes Colman, who said last night that she hoped the case doesen't lead prosecutors to stop giving women claiming rape the "benefit of the doubt." Alone among the sodden line up who responded was Megyn Kelly, who properly (and with a bit of justified anger)pointed out that the accused gets that benefit.

Thanks again for the high level of continuous professionalism. We all benefitted. Please hurry on the book. And don't give up this new vocation.

Anonymous said...

While I am horrified at the ignorance of the NCCU student comments, I am bothered by the notion that they are representative of the so-called "black community." I do not believe that such a community exists, just as I do not believe there is a "white community." We are all individuals who are responsible for ourselves and think for ourselves. The minorities I know deal with the same things I deal with, such as making house payments, arranging to pick up the children, getting dinner ready, etc... They are not part of a monolithic group. They are individuals. They do not have formal spokepeople, because they think and speak for themselves. Do not fall into the same trap as the Group of 88 by taking the most extreme examples of a particular group and using them to define the entirety.

Anonymous said...

Jamil Hussein's post
featuring NCCU students'
quotes was a valuable reminder
that you can teach someone
to read, but you can't make
them think.

Mac

Anonymous said...

The newspaper's editorial couldn't have voiced it any better.

Those who have dared to suggest that people should look at the facts have endured namecalling from those in the black community whom we all thought would know better.

What I have seen from this case, and now the Imus fiasco, is that everyone is expected to overlook logic and reality in favor of the self-serving, ever-gluttonous whims of those in the black community who have not---nor do they appear to want to ever---move into society at large where we all are held accountable.

The media do not have the courage to confront this sickness.

Equality? Most of us thought that was the goal.

There can be no authentic equality when one group expects to be treated like spoiled, destructive, and gluttonous children.

The comments made by NCCU students are simply depressing.....depressing because those students will be going out into the world soon, still semi-literate and ignorant.

Don't take my word for it. Lots and lots of people from across the class, political, and gender spectrums are looking with more than a bit of disdain.

Debrah

Jhn1 said...

A defendant would have to have a lot of money invested in the legal procedures to get at the state supreme court to set aside a local procecutor. How about a simpler procedure, and have the grand jury proceedings available if there was an inditement? If there is none, then the lack is part of how it "disappears" hopefully without damaging the unindited, but if an inditement is brought forth, then it should be reasonable for a defence team to see upon just what grounds the charges were brought?
State supreme court overriding authority is not nearly as useful as sunlight into the grand jury proceedings.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

After reading the sickening NCCU clips posted by Jamil Hussein, I sadly agree with Shouting Thomas and Mac.

jamil hussein said...

quick google search reveals that NCCU students are complaining a lot:
Michael McKoy, NCCU Student who said that "they're not innocent, they should go to jail":

Students have also been complaining about the absence of toilet paper in the residential halls. “They really need to supply us with a reasonable amount,” said music education freshman Michael McKoy. “Even when housekeeping comes they don’t supply us with enough.”

http://www.nccu.edu/campus/echo/archive2-0607/c-toilet%20paper.html
Mc

Richard Aubrey said...

If I were a member of the KKK, despite passing the intelligence test, I would make up the answers the NCCU students provided.

"I know what I know," said with a meaningful look means, don't confuse me with facts when I've got a good metanarrative going on here.

Anonymous said...

maybe NCCU students were just bitter because of the lack of toiler paper??

Anonymous said...

Rich Aubrey,

Got that right! Who could
make up such crap - (unless
the NCCU "student" writing
actually had similar material
for brains.) Then again,
crap could be a great source
for stem cells, in case they
need a brain.

But seriously...why is it that
alleged "Reverends" can't
recall the lessons of Joseph
and Potifer's wife?

The best analogy in this case
is Haman: NoFang is a perfect
Haman. (ref. Book of Esther)
Wonder why people who are supposed
to be Biblically literate can't
see? Right: they're dumber
than Balaam, who was "out-thunk"
by his donkey.

Mac

Anonymous said...

And where is wonderful Wendy Murphy? She will probably continue with her nonsense

Anonymous said...

Wendy Murphy?
I think her broom broke.
Offal; just offal!

Haven't seen her lately -
someone mentioned that she'd
appeared on MSNBC.

100 or so of the Dalmations must
have escaped already.

Mac

Anonymous said...

I just think this whole ordeal was very very much a simple case of prosecutorial misconduct and overstepping boundaries. The saddest part, however, may be the response by Duke's own and the media. How absolutely unprofessional and biased! We are innocent until proven guilty, folks!!

scott said...

Is anyone aware of whether the Star-Ledger previously commented on this case in the past year?

Just trying to determine if they had been silent before / cautioned against a rush to judgment or if they had previously piled on and are now trying to rehabilitate their reputation like other media outlets, such as the H-S and NYT, are trying (and failing) to do.

Anonymous said...

Before I moved to the South I was under the impression that it had far more than it's share of racists. After just a few years of living in Durham NC, I now understand that what I had then suspected was quite true. What I did NOT then realize was that most of those racists were black!

Anonymous said...

7:57
There are racists all over this country. The South just got branded with it because they didn't try to hide it.
And I agree. Some of the most rabid racists are in the black communities.

Foaming at the mouth said...

This saga has many vile villins: NiFong, Wendy Murphy, the Gang of 88, DPD, Prescious, Duke, Mehan, and others.
It also has heros: Dave, Reade, Collin, Joe Cheshire, KC Johnson, Roy Cooper, and others.
But the title of HERO OF ALL HEROS has to go to BRAD BANNON, the partner of Joe Cheshire who, when handed over 1,000 pages of DNA gobblie-gook not only was able to determine that there were other male non-Lacrosse donors, but that a conspiracy had occurred between Mehan and NiFong! This single "Perry Mason Moment" broke this case wide open and compelled the dismissal and exonoration that we have seen.
Please, please profile BRAD BANNON and give us more information on this remarkable young attorney!