Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday Roundup

At the press conference following Roy Cooper’s declaration of the players’ innocence, Dave Evans stated,

I hope that the state of North Carolina can address some issues that arose from our case, most notably, the grand jury procedures. They are a check on the power of the prosecutor and in this case, there are no records of what was used to secure indictments against the three of us.

We have no idea. The evidence shows that exculpatory evidence was there but we cannot go back and understand why we are indicted. There was no there there, there was no factual evidence, it was speculation and we do not know, and how can we, as a country, in the legal system, control the people who are supposed to enforce it if they can simply say whatever they want to say, produce whatever they want to produce, and nobody else has an opportunity to see or ever question it.

Evans’ words ring particularly true in light of the claims made in the Baker/Chalmers report. The city manager and police chief claimed that the police officers involved in the investigation knew that the April 4, 2006 lineup was not designed to secure identifications. The claim is absurd, of course—but take Baker and Chalmers at their word. The report would suggest that in their testimony before the April and May grand juries, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Officer Ben Himan carefully explained to the grand jurors that, while Crystal Mangum had picked out people, the process was fatally flawed and was unlikely to survive a court challenge.

As Evans pointed out, North Carolina law prevents the public from ever knowing what Gottlieb and Himan said about the lineup. But it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the duo described the lineup as Baker and Chalmers did in their report.

---------

Last week, the Times ran a fine article by Pete Thamel (who previously hadn’t written on the case) profiling two of the top players of this year’s #1-ranked lacrosse team, Tony McDevitt and Casey Carroll.

The duo not only are solid students, but give the lie to the caricature of the team that the media (including the Times) offered last spring. McDevitt, who’s from Philadelphia, is the son of a Teamster; Carroll, a Long Island native, is the son of a firefighter, and his two brothers served in the Navy. While Group of 88’ers such as Grant Farred might deem McDevitt and Carroll representatives of “white privilege,” few reasonable people would do so.

McDevitt recalled last year’s events: “The media and other outlets wanted to portray us all as rich, privileged, white boys because that’s how it fit into the story. It just wasn’t the truth. It was just a lie. Anytime you hear blatant lies on television, in the newspaper and on the Internet, it’s going to get under your skin a little bit.”

--------

The Thamel article, however, doesn’t suggest a change in approach at the Times. Between March 29, 2006 and April 15, 2007, the Times wrote about the lacrosse case on 151 occasions. Surely, then, the paper of record would cover the Baker/Chalmers report?

The Times didn’t mention the document.

Contrast that editorial decision with that of the L.A. Times. In yesterday’s paper, David Zucchino observed that “neither Baker's letter nor the seven-page police review addressed why Nifong pursued a flawed case—even after it was clear that no eyewitnesses, DNA tests or forensic evidence supported a stripper's rape accusations.” Zucchino also placed in context Chalmers’ bizarre claim that the police aggressively sought exculpatory evidence, noting that most of his examples “came before the defendants were indicted and involved standard police procedure,” and that Chalmers “did not address defense evidence—such as cellphone records, time-stamped ATM withdrawals and party photos—that the defense said would have cleared their clients but was not fully considered by prosecutors.”

This isn’t the first occasion in which the L.A. Times was on the case while the New York Times was absent. Zucchino was in the courtroom on December 15, and vividly portrayed Nifong’s emotions as Brian Meehan revealed the DNA conspiracy. (Duff Wilson, on the other hand, didn’t cover the December 15 hearing, and the Times relied on a brief wire-service story.) And in late December, the L.A. Times editorial page ran a strong editorial demanding dismissal of all charges. The Times editorial page, on the other hand, was silent.

Having played such a role in inflating the story, the Times has appeared to do the minimum possible to explore Durham events once Nifong’s case collapsed.

---------

Don’t expect Times sportswriter Selena Roberts to comment on McDevitt and Carroll anytime soon. I doubt her fellow anti-lacrosse extremist, John (“They’re probably guilty of everything but rape”) Feinstein, will, either. Feinstein and Roberts share another characteristic: though they denounce class privilege in their writings, and fume against the “white” and the “right” while celebrating “diversity,” they don’t exactly practice what they preach in their own lives.

Feinstein lives in an exclusive cul-de-sac in Potomac, Maryland, a city in which a mere 3.9 percent of the residents are African-American. The percentage is even lower in Feinstein’s part of town: there, the census map suggests only around 2 percent of the residents are black. You won’t find much economic diversity in Potomac, either: according to the Census Bureau’s website, the average annual income in Feinstein’s neighborhood, as of 1999, exceeded $200,000.

Feinstein’s residence is, however, a short drive from such golf courses as TPC at Avenel and the exclusive Congressional Country Club.*

As with Roberts, Feinstein, as an affluent journalist, has the right to live wherever he can afford. Yet, judged by the severity with which he condemns others for exhibiting insufficient sensitivity to minorities or the poor, it comes as something of a surprise to see that he has chosen to live in an area so bereft of racial or economic diversity.

---------

Newsday has done several strong articles on the case in recent months, and last week ran a piece previewing Mike Pressler’s forthcoming book. The article, by Graham Rayman, featured strong criticism from former Athletic Director Tom Butters, who remarked, I know I am probably stepping on toes when I say this, but it [the university’s response] was absurd. I wanted someone to step up for Mike and those kids.”

The article also contains remarks from 2006 co-captain Dan Flannery, who recounted a March 15, 2006 conversation in which Dean Sue Wasiolek told him, “Right now, you don’t need an attorney. Just don't tell anyone, including your teammates or parents, and cooperate with police if they contact you.” Looking back, Flannery observed, “We believed, albeit falsely, that these people [in administration] would look after our best interests.”

Similarly, Pressler notes that he “was told to keep it quiet” by Duke administrators in the critical week between March 16 and March 23 of last year.

---------

Duke graduate student Serena Sebring, who helped organize many of the extreme anti-lacrosse protests from last March and April, recently offered a novel excuse for both her behavior and that of her fellow potbangers.

When she urged her fellow students and Duke professors to confront lacrosse players in class—“If you see them in class, ask them who did this”—Sebring says she did so because she “typically” believed both government authorities and the media

It wasn’t my impression that the far left on Duke’s campus had a policy of “typically” accepting in uncritical fashion whatever the media or government officials say. By that standard, I suppose that figures such as Sebring and the Group of 88 members who she joined in an April 12, 2006 anti-lacrosse panel (Wahneema Lubiano and Thavolia Glymph) were strong supporters of the war in Iraq. After all, the media said Saddam had WMD’s, and the authorities assured the American people that the government was acting in our interests.

Somehow, however, I suspect that Sebring and the Group of 88 were far less trusting of government officials on matters that did not conform to the Group’s race/class/gender worldview.

---------

This week’s humor section:

  • At Liestoppers, Baldo was a hilarious cartoon of Sgt. Gottlieb discussing the Baker/Chalmers report with the perpetually absent police chief.
  • Cartoonist Dennis Draughon, meanwhile, has another take on the perpetually absent chief’s report.

---------

Finally, last Monday’s Roll Call [subscription only] reported that North Carolina Democrats are wooing AG Roy Cooper, who they see as a “particularly strong” challenger to one-term incumbent Elizabeth Dole. The article noted that Cooper had profited from the national coverage surrounding the dismissal of the charges.

A Cooper candidacy would, in many ways, be a fitting conclusion to the case: unlike Nifong, who exploited the case for political reasons, Cooper withstood pressure from some of his political advisors, who feared the effects of an unequivocal declaration of innocence. Ironically, by serving the truth, it seems that Cooper strengthened his political position.

Hat tips: B.F., M.G., K.M.J.; also, happy birthday to a regular DIW reader from Scarborough, Maine. Slightly late post today; I attended an event this evening, which also included surprise entertainment, in the form of a T.D. interpretative dance.

*--modified

61 comments:

Drew from Diego said...

Let's hope the Bar does not act as Baker did

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember this, but John Feinstein was apparently let go from his TV commentary job (don't remember with whom) for letting loose with the f bomb on national tv.

Chicago said...

1:20-

That F bomb was let loose in a game he was broadcasting for Navy against Duke, his alma mater.

Jim said...

The interpretive dancer wasn't wearing only one shoe, was she?

Mike Lee said...

What's amazing to me is the sheer number of supposedly smart people who have acted like complete fools in the wake of a drug addled prostitute's simple little lie.

Academics have been particularly well represented:

Houston Baker
Kim Curtis
Grant Farred
William Chafe
the rest of the 88

Not to mention the DPD, our leading man and still DA, talking heads like Wendy Murphy, Grace and Goslee, and writers like Feinstein and his ilk.

I wonder how these fine professionals and educators must feel about the fact that they made themselves look like complete fools all based on the word of a hopped up hooker with a petry dish in her pants.

It's been great fun to sit back and watch the carnage. I sure hope Dave, Reade, and Collin are having a good laugh over it all at this point.

scott said...

The interpretive dancer wasn't representing UBUNTU, was she?

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

AAARRRRGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!

KC, you're late because you had to witness an 'interpretative dance'???? For the love of god, tell me Ubuntu didn't make a house call!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Pressler hasn't sued Duke for wrongful dismissal? He appears to have kept a relatively low profile since his forced resignation. I hope his forthcoming book is hard-hitting and doesn't pull its punches. I hope he fires a salvo straight at Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how these fine professionals and educators must feel about the fact that they made themselves look like complete fools all based on the word of a hopped up hooker with a petry dish in her pants."

I dare say they're feeling fine. It would be giving them more credit than they deserve to think that they have seen the error of their ways and are now conscience-stricken over their folly. Self-delusion, denial, and monstrous arrogance will insulate them from any such unpleasantness.

"It's been great fun to sit back and watch the carnage. I sure hope Dave, Reade, and Collin are having a good laugh over it all at this point".

It went beyond laughable LONG, LONG ago. It's hard to see much levity in tenured radicals lying, propagandizing to their students, crusading against the innocent, abominating like witch-baiting zealots. Sadly, for every Houston Baker (did anyone EVER think that moron was smart?!) exposed as a bigoted fool, there are 500 more occupying tenured chairs across the nation lying and blustering with impunity every single day. I know... I work with many of them.

Anonymous said...

Why does every attempt here to be funny fall SO flat?

Daniel said...

one friend from EbonyFriends.com and I think it is funny, we hope they will keep it.

T said...

75 million is the number in the pipeline, in terms of the first of 3 lawsuits heading to Allen Building.

And WHERE are the durham grand jurors???

Anonymous said...

The thing that just continues to blow me away is that Duke, DPD, the City of Durham, et al. are all represented by counsel - presumably competent counsel. There's no way if I were representing any of these folks (and I'm a lawyer in NC) that any of the statements/reports we've seen since the AG's report would have been released. They are all so ludicrous - I would love to be cross-examining the authors as I asked them about the statements and how they square with the facts as we all know them to be.

To me, they are simply making the civil cases worse - if that's possible.

I'm a corporate defense lawyer, so I'm pre-disposed to be against large tort awards. However, in this case I hope the players (understand there are more than 3 victims here) and Pressler bankrupt Durham, Duke, and every professor they can get their collective hands on.

Anonymous said...

How is nifong going to explain the 6 failed id attempts and indicting on the 7th which was not even a lineup.

June is approaching.

Locomotive Breath said...

And I'll recall for everyone that at the Dec. 15 hearing the AP reporter leaned over and asked me to name for him the defense lawyers because he didn't even know who they were.

His article lead with the fact that a paternity test had been ordered and made it appear as if there were some question about it being a "lax baby". You had to get to the second half of the article to learn that Meehan and Nifong had agreed to not release all the DNA evidence to the defense.

P. Rich said...

"Ironically, by serving the truth, it seems that Cooper strengthened his political position."

Practical translation: In the absence of Black rioting and open condemnation of his carefully considered statement by the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and the NC NAACP, Cooper still has a political future. Notoriety is always a plus - brand is brand - and white Dems will vote for him too. Let's see just how much additional truth he can afford in the coming months and investigations.

Anonymous said...

I think these professionals and educators believe, the means justifies the end results. Stalin would be proud.

mac said...

Cooper has an upper hand if he
runs for the Senate:
Dole sat on her duff, whittling
or doing needlepoint while even
lefties like Obama spoke up.

Dole's gonna look like chopped
pineapple this election.

Bush's boy Gonzalez looks like
"Fez" (the character on "That 70s
Show.") If he can get of the
couch, maybe the Feds'll show
some initiative?
Hah!

Like they did after Waco.

Anonymous said...

One noteworthy thing from the Thamel article that you didn't mention--this morning Tony McDevitt will be the first member of his family to graduate from college. (Casey Carroll has siblings, I think, who have already achieved this.) An impressive accomplishment, and one that completely belies the "entitled rich kid" image preferred by the media.

2:50 wonders why Pressler hasn't sued Duke. First off, depending on what the applicable statute of limitations is, he may well still have time to do this. But the success of such a suit is not a certainty. A lot depends on the specific terms of his contract, as well as on the whole issue of the previous warnings to the coach about his team's behavior and whether, in that context, the stripper party and underage drinking alone might be deemed by a judge or jury to justify asking for his resignation. And unless he gets an attorney to take the case on contingency, Pressler would be liable for substantial fees regardless of the outcome. Moreover, no matter how justified, litigation with a previous employer over issues like wrongful termination can raise a red flag for future employers. (Not that trashing your former employer in a book might not raise a red flag also.)

Pressler may conclude, on balance, that he is better off telling his side of the story (and recouping some money) through his book rather than through the courts and avoiding the stress and expense of litigation.

Anonymous said...

The NYT is pathetic. Their silence speaks volumes. All the news, and only the news, that fits their agenda.

mac said...

Has anyone thought of Mr. Elmostada
as a potential litigant against
the City of Durh?

Also (hold your predjudices on
this one):
If Levicy's interviews with the
Investigators were skewed,
distorted, and misrepresented
by the Investigators, and the
pursuit of the case, using what
they claimed she said...as
opposed to what she might have
actually said, wouldn't she -
also - have grounds for a lawsuit
against DPD and the City of Durh?

Anonymous said...

NYT's motto: "All the news that fits, we print."

Gary Packwood said...

I have never believed that the Durham PD and DA aspect of this case is 'Fit to Print' to use the phrase from the New York Times.

The story that is 'Fit to Print' will begin soon as attention is finally focused on Duke University, a private charitable organization, their Gang of 88 and the campus cultural conspiracy that included the attempted sacrifice of three undergraduate students...Dave, Collin and Reade.

It may takes years for the justice system to sort out how tax exempt dollars can be used by universities to initiate and then defend a campus conspiracy to embrace political agendas that are not part of the mission statement of the institution.

Nifong et al. are but bit players in a much larger story that has yet to be told.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Write to the New York Times board of directors and ask why the newspaper failed to cover the so-called Chalmers-Baker report. Point out the Los Angeles Times, by comparison.

John said...

Deep in today's NYT Sports Section is an AP article on Duke's lacrosse win against Providence with a weak reference to Friday's report, saying, "Duke's return to the tournament came one day after the City of Durham expressed regret for the photograph lineup use to obtain the indictments against three former players"

Regret??!!

That's all I could find in the whole paper.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times has far too much influence based on the quality, or lack thereof, of its journalism.

Anonymous said...

simply allow the Groupo of 88, the two black managers of the city of durham and the police department, and the Duke board of Frustrees and president Broadrot, and his nasty anti student press aid heir burgess, to CONTINUE to publish, comment and try to make explanations that support their actions

the more they say, the more we have to IMPEACH them as the alledged denyers of OTHER PEOPLES CIVIL RIGHTS, and alleged accessories to the many crimes against the team, players coach and the reputations of the Duke University alumni

this case has always been about debasing the integrity of white students as being guilty of all that has befallen blacks since time immorial...we note that none of these people ever chose to give up their american citizenship and return to the racially tolerant africa where are all treated with dignity...

those that can only see the worst of america in its best students deserve to lose their right to insult us

Anonymous said...

"When she urged her fellow students and Duke professors to confront lacrosse players in class—“If you see them in class, ask them who did this”—Sebring says she did so because she “typically” believed both government authorities and the media"

KC,

Even before this post, I had been thinking the same thing about ironic it is that Sebring and her ilk decided to believe the police without question, despite the possibility of serious police misconduct. I'm guessing that she doesn't feel the same way about police action in the case of the NYPD shooting of Sean Bell, or in the case of the LAPD recently scuffling with Latino protesters.

The lesson learned, I guess, is that police misconduct is fine if it victimizes white men.

Anonymous said...

Pressler will sue and he has plenty of time to do it. I believe the SOL is at least 2 years.

Plaintiffs are able to extract sums of money for myriad reasons, not least of which is that it costs infinitely more money to defend a lawsuit than it does to bring it. Discovery is extremely expensive for institutions (they have to produce all relevant documents, e-mails, and other computer data), their executives have to be deposed (and prepped). Plaintiffs have very little in the way of documents or witnesses they have to produce.

To defend Pressler just to Summary Judgment, will cost Duke in excess of 100k, easily. His attorney(s) will have to invest 10 to 15k (including their time). Don't tell me he won't sue (though he may have already submitted a demand letter through counsel and negotiations may be ongoing).

In addition, the DPD, Duke Medical Center, and numerous individuals are likely defendants under the fraudulent inducement theory.

Duke is facing legal fees, all told for all of the coming litigation, in excess of two million, negative publicity, and lost time as well. DPD's fees will be somewhat less. One of the interesting things to me will be whether Duke agrees to pay the legal fees for any of the individuals who are going to be sued.

It's going to be a very interesting, and embarssing, few months for Duke etc.

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac said...

Mr. Elmostafa, the Cab Driver
who was arrested for some
"outstanding" charges, was
tried and found Not Guilty;
the same Mr. Elmostafa who
was allegedly "shaken down"
for his ability to verify the
whereabouts of one of the
accused students:

Is he suing the DPD and the
City of Durh?

Harry Hatwater said...

It's obvious the New York Times wants this case to go away. They may succeed, as their pages arrive in the gated cul de sacs around the country.

"Honey, anything in the Times today about that Duke case?"

"No, Dear, I think the Duke case is over."

"That's funny, I thought I heard something about it on the TV yesterday."

"Uh, Sweetie, you want the book review?"

"No, just save me the crossword puzzle..."

Anonymous said...

Nifong, Durham police, Brodhead, Duke administrators, Duke professors, the local judges, especially Stephens and Titus, Wilson, Gottlieb, Himan, the March-early April 2006 coverage in the Raleigh News & Observer, the all-year-long coverage in the Durham Herald-Sun, the New York Times, especially Duff Wilson and Selena Roberts, assorted other press enablers, other attorneys in Nifong's office, the long silence of the man who appointed Nifong, Democratic Governor Easley, the silence of the two GOP North Carolina senators, the professional agitators who stirred up the potbanging. The list could go on. This was far from a one-person conspiracy.

duke09parent said...

KC said:
"Feinstein’s residence is, however, a short drive from such golf courses as TPC at Avenel and the exclusive Congressional Country Club."

Cannot the same be said of the Evans family? I don't think a status of wealth disqualifies anyone from speakikng out. Judge Feinstein on what he writes and says, not on his status in society.

The anony corporate defense lawyer said:
"However, in this case I hope the players (understand there are more than 3 victims here) and Pressler bankrupt Durham, Duke, and every professor they can get their collective hands on."

Putting Durham and Duke out of business is out of proportion to the wrongs done here. I suppose some folks think wiping Duke off the face of the map would be a good thing (principally Tarheel fans) but despite wrong things Duke has done here it does good things too.

Americans of all stripes are litigation happy, and that includes many who post on the pro-lax player blogs. $9-12 million against Durham (or whatever agency employs Nifong) would cover attorney fees and be plenty in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Just for context, the LA Times article was on page 21 in the print version, buried amongst the Saturday sales adverts. Not really the same prominence as earlier articles.

miramar said...

To anon. 11:30

I think Sebring and her ilk assume that the police serve to support the interests of wealthy, white men, so if the authorities happen to make an accusation against these kind of people then it must be true. On the other hand, if the accused are none of the above, then it's a different story.

Also, since the non-lineup lineup has been discussed in the wake of the Chalmers/Baker whitewash, there was an interesting section in the N&O's report about Nifong's appearance at the NCCU forum in the 4/12/06 edition:

"Durham lawyer Bill Thomas, who represents one of the lacrosse team captains, said he was skeptical after hearing that Nifong said the accuser had identified an attacker several weeks after the party.

'I would find it astounding that now ... is the first time she can ID one of these men,' he said.

'And of course this is after pictures of them have been plastered on national TV for the last two weeks,' he added."

Needless to say, Thomas was absolutely right, but Nifong's accusations simply overwhelmed such a reasonable and obvious objection. I guess Nifong knew that propaganda is based on using the big lie, one so big that people would find it unimaginable that anyone would invent something like that.

Also an 09 parent said...

To duke09parent 12:03

You are right to say that Feinstein is not the only wealthy person in this picture ("Cannot the same be said of the Evans family? I don't think a status of wealth disqualifies anyone from speaking out. Judge Feinstein on what he writes and says, not on his status in society.")

I think the point here is that Feinstein seemed to be criticizing the three accused for being little rich kids, when he surely makes as much or more than their parents. I agree that we should not make assumptions about anyone because of his or her social class, but Feinstein has yet to figure out that this is one of the most important lessons of the lacrosse mess.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about it because by the time my child graduates, I will be so far in debt that I will never live near Feinstein or the Evans. But I'm delighted to do it and my only complaint in the recent Parents Survey was how the university handled the lacrosse case.

Dave said...

The NY Times’ Public Editor makes one last appearance today. There’s a column of farewell letters in the Week in Review section. More than half the column is taken up with reactions to the Times’ coverage of the lacrosse hoax. It’s VERY hard to find on their website. It’s here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/opinion/13pubedlets.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

The best letter, from Mark Throneberry of Lilburn, GA:

Even if no one else at The Times has had any decency, you should be the one with a steel backbone, a real conscience, a sense of honor and — yes — a capacity for outrage. Because what was done to these boys by The Times was, and is, an outrage.

Yet you spoon up this “Oh, The Times was mostly in the right after all.” No, it wasn’t, and you should all have the character to shout it from the rooftops, at least as loudly as the paper maligned the Duke students. These boys and their families have been terrorized for a year by the vast official power of the government and the even more vast power of the yellow P.C. press. Yet you prattle about “this overstated summary,” as if it’s nothing more than an inconvenient traffic ticket.

Not a Duke parent said...

Allow us to draw our own conclusions, that Feinstein rode a high-paid horse to incite a rabid mob.

Also that he lives a privileged life quite apart from his public musings concerning downtrodden pole-dancers of color.

Your search for moral or circumstantial equivalence obscures his offense.

As for the Duke administration, they should be held no higher, not while they continue to slam the door on decency and justice.

Anonymous said...

I think the point here is that Feinstein seemed to be criticizing the three accused for being little rich kids, when he surely makes as much or more than their parents. I agree that we should not make assumptions about anyone because of his or her social class, but Feinstein has yet to figure out that this is one of the most important lessons of the lacrosse mess.
May 13, 2007 12:29:00 PM

I'll offer a simpler explanation. Feinstein's comments reveal he has taken only superficial interest in the recent events of this case. Feinstein treats this like a pet peeve more than the serious issue that it is/was for the three accused. HIS life, that of a rich, white Duke guy associated with sports, has become a little less comfortable than it used to be and he blames the lax team for putting him in an awkward situation with his friends and colleagues. As such, I think Feinstein is utterly unconcerned about figuring out the important lessons of the mess.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it comes as a surprise to folk, when that their own private lives and short coming are exposed? Having your own "stuff" come back and haunt you, can not be fun.

Anonymous said...

"road a high priced horse to incite a rabid mob" is one of the best sentances I have read on this issue. I also liked "on line stonning'.

Anonymous said...

100K ain't what it use to be. doubt that would cover lawyer expenses.

Anonymous said...

In the event of a Federal Investigation, can the Durham Grand Jurors be called as witness to testify despite NC laws shielding them?

rrhamilton said...

KC you have a fan -- this time a real one :)

http://squaringtheglobe.blogspot.com/search/label/Durham%20In%20Wonderland

Anonymous said...

Since The Times failed to write an editorial about the prosecutorial misconduct, there's no question that they consider the Nifong disbarment and the DPD travesty a local/regional issue, not a national story.

The irony here is that an overzealous government wracked with corruption and perfidy fits The Times "template" even better than the gender/class storyline that they wrapped themselves around.

Just a sorry performance.

SG

Anonymous said...

11:44--
I didn't mean to say I thought Pressler wouldn't sue, only that he might not (and that the case might not necessarily be a slam dunk). You're probably right that the nuisance expense of litigation would be greater for the defendant here--and certainly at this point Duke might have a lot more incentive to want to make this go away than Pressler (although if he wanted to maximize his leverage against Duke, Pressler might have held off on the book--now that he has already hung out the dirty linen in public, Duke can't really avoid that embarrassment by settling).

I also agree with Duke09 Parent though--litigation isn't by any means always the best solution, for society, potential defendants, or even potential plaintiffs, and we tend to be far too quick to resort to it in the US. Maybe it's partly because I am also a Duke parent (08 and 04), but I also share with Duke09 Parent some discomfort at the seeming desire of some on these boards to destroy Duke University, which seems vindictive and short-sighted. Duke has done many good things, it has many fine scholars, it is a major employer, it has provided an excellent education to many, many students.

I certainly wouldn't want every good thing I have done in my life (and I like to think there are a few) to be wiped off the slate by my errors and failures, without any consideration for proportionality.

Though of course their negative experiences have been dwarfed by those of the lacrosse players, it hasn't been easy to be a Duke student over the last year--to be pestered by the media as you try to go to class (obviously more of a problem last year than this), to see yourself (as a generic Duke student) and your university lambasted by criticism from first one side and then the other, and to wonder if the value of your degree is dropping steadily even as you work so hard to earn it.

Some of this "collateral damage" is already done; I would like to think that people without a direct personal stake, but with major bloodlust towards Duke, could think about how much more such damage is really necessary. Those with potential law suits against the University will make their own decisions for their own reasons, which is their right. Maybe the rest of us could just let them do that without trying to fan the fire.

Anonymous said...

I think the point here is that Feinstein seemed to be criticizing the three accused for being little rich kids, when he surely makes as much or more than their parents. I agree that we should not make assumptions about anyone because of his or her social class, but Feinstein has yet to figure out that this is one of the most important lessons of the lacrosse mess.
May 13, 2007 12:29:00 PM

I'll offer a simpler explanation. Feinstein's comments don't reveal he has taken more than a superficial interest in the recent events of this case. Feinstein treats this like a pet peeve more than the serious issue that it is/was for the three accused. HIS life, that of a rich, white Duke guy associated with sports, has become a little less comfortable that it used to be and he blames the lax team for putting him in an awkward situation with his friends and colleagues.

er 31yrs said...

As an emergency physician I abhor lawsuits in general and would rank malpractice attorneys on a rung lower than pedophiles.

As Duke grad ('66) and Duke parent ('94 & '05)I would generally not be in favor of legal action against the University. However.....

(1) DUMC may have some real liability issues in the rape exam and subsequent events.

(2) The Univerity itself shows no inclination to learn from this event and it appears a lawsuit might be the only way to assess responsibility through discovery. I doubt that the University will investigate themselves as to faculty and administrative conduct in this affair.

(3) It goes without saying that Mr. Nifong and Durham/DPD will be successfully sued.

Anonymous said...

I abhor litigation, trial lawyers and such.

However this case cries out, indeed demands, litigation. This is what the founders had in mind when they gave citizens the right of redress in the courts.

To not take on lying government functionaries, their factotums and Stalinist enablers would be irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

er31 - As long as you are passing by, what is your critique of Dr Manley's evidence collecting, etc performance?

Gary said...

I wonder why Pressler hasn't sued Duke for wrongful dismissal?

Uninformed speculating but ... Just because you're a good Lacrosse coach, doesn't mean you're legally savvy especially under rapidly unfolding events. He also might just be a kind of nice, decent guy.

So, when Brodhead asked him to resigned, he might have just resigned and hurt his legal case thereby. Perhaps in hindsight he should have refused, or at least refused until he had legal counsel, but hindsight is easy and simple refusal might not have occurred to him because he felt duty bound.

Now in hind, hind sight, he probably has a fine case or at least could privately settle. If I were him, I'd certainly ask for any salary differential and/or buying out his expected time with the team had this case not happened

mac said...

8:33

I would be more interested to
find out why the investigators
interviewed Levicy and didn't
bother the good Doc.

Maybe they couldn't intimidate
a physician? Maybe a physician
wouldn't allow her words to be
twisted?

As someone pointed out: we don't
know what transpired in the meetings
between Levicy and the investigators.

I assume it will all come out, eventually.

mac said...

As part of a settlement, someone -
(Pressler, the boys...) - someone
should demand heads.

If Dukies want to see things turn
around - (several have expressed the
opinion that many posters just want to
see Duke fall) - the insitution has to find a
way to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Most posters don't want to see Duke dismantled:
they want to see it fixed.

If it can't be fixed? Sure:
let it fall to pieces, let it burn
itself to the ground.

Surely there is another way:
firing and restructuring are the best - (if not only) - of the
paths to restoration; lawsuits are
the best way to ensure that these
are accomplished.

Pressler has a grievance against two parties: the President and the AD. Part of any
settlement he might make should include two
resignations.

Anonymous said...

"it hasn't been easy to be a Duke student over the last year--to be pestered by the media as you try to go to class (obviously more of a problem last year than this), to see yourself (as a generic Duke student) and your university lambasted by criticism from first one side and then the other, and to wonder if the value of your degree is dropping steadily even as you work so hard to earn it".

Quel tragedie!

Where's my violin?

How many were seriously "pestered by the media"? What a petty complaint.

The institution was lambasted by criticism because it deserved it. Should such criticism be suppressed to spare the tender feelings of Duke undergrads?

They'll survive, poor little things.

With self-pity like this, it is a touch easier to fathom the contempt in which Duke is held by some people.

Anonymous said...

"Pressler has a grievance against two parties: the President and the AD. Part of any
settlement he might make should include two
resignations".

Point very well-taken. Money is probably not a big issue, as Pressler was immediately re-employed. (Evidence of his value as a coach.) If I were him (or the LAX players), I would demand Brodhead's head, to be solemnly carried out of the President's office by, say, William Chafe, on a plate like Salome carried John the Baptist's head. (With Chafe's resignation on the ex-President's desk.)

I doubt many people are out to destroy Duke. That's not possible anyway, so the fear is misplaced. But this case has exposed the extent of the rot, which is shocking. The admin and a sizeable portion of the faculty are politically correct zealots. Much of the rest of the faculty are timorous wee beasties cowering under their desks with their manuscripts of scholastic irrelevance. Most of the students are, as usual, indifferent and just want to be left alone to drink.

Mrs. Former Prosecutor said...

To Anonymous 8:23 pm. "I abhor litigation, trial lawyers and such."

I can understand this attitude to some degree, anon. I dislike insurance adjusters and meter maids, and especially hate my gynecologist! However...when I need my loss adjusted, want to find a parking space, or need my whoo-hoo checked, I realize these people serve a purpose.

Everyone hates trial lawyers until the government, through some cop, dep. sheriff or DA tries to railroad you. Then you want a trial lawyer: a fearless, feisty, smart guy or gal who won't back down. You want one who checks EVERYTHING and is a pain in the butt to the wrong-headed authorities causing you trouble, pain and fear. You want one with a poor opinion of the human race, who is up to detecting all their tricks. You want one who can't be intimidated.

On a daily basis, when he's not your rottweiler, a trial lawyer can be an annoying jerk. When he's YOUR annoying jerk, however, it's a different story, and you learn to love his qualities.

Ideally, the trial lawyer has the charm and smooth professionalism of Wade Smith. Some don't, but they are still guys/gals you'd want in your corner in a hard fight.

Here's to all the trial lawyers out there, fighting the good fight. How many more defendants like the Duke 3 are out there, with their imperfect lawyers trying hard to establish their innocence?

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 11:01 quoted...
..."it hasn't been easy to be a Duke student over the last year--to be pestered by the media as you try to go to class (obviously more of a problem last year than this), to see yourself (as a generic Duke student) and your university lambasted by criticism from first one side and then the other, and to wonder if the value of your degree is dropping steadily even as you work so hard to earn it".
::
A Duke undergraduate student volunteered to me ...that students on campus knew that the G88 would not read any criticism unless the paragraphs were accompanied by pictures.
If the loopy left can cause all of this harm and still collect their pay checks, the students just keep pushing towards the goal of graduation.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

We mustn't forget Sports Illustrated writer Lester Munson's remarkable statement in June 2006: "I think the state has probably a better case than most observers are describing. I have studied this at some length ... There is some voracity (sic) to the victim`s account".

Anyone know if this fool has apologized?

mac said...

anon 3:29 pm

I don't feel sorry for the "other"
Duke students.

I would feel sorry for the
Woman's Lacrosse team -
(who were ripped by certain
professors) - and those few
students who stood up to the 88
bullies and thus put their
academic careers in jeopardy.

Those, we should offer our
respect; they don't need our pity.

No, for the students who feel
aggrieved because of the negative
publicity, but who said nothing:

"Wah. Call me a Wambulance!"

Anonymous said...

I think KC should've added two more points in response to Sebring:

1) Her claim that she was unimportant in the witch hunt is both untrue and irrelevant. It's untrue because she was on several national news outlets and publications representing the Duke student body as "Duke graduate student Serena Sebring." She filled a role that the media needed to fill so the hoax could keep going, even if ten others would've jumped in her place. And I doubt she would be so convinced that words cannot wound had someone gone on the air and uttered racist or sexist profanities (in fact, she complains about them--rightly--in the comment section of this blog). So she's being quite inconsistent. Her claim is irrelevant because even if true, she still acted immorally and indefensibly. Maybe she can feel lucky the defendants weren't hurt more grievously by her statements, but she should still apologize and correct her thinking for her future causes.

2) She claimed she blindly believes not just authorities but all rape or sexual assault victims, because supposedly only 2-4% lie about such attacks. KC should point out that this statistic is wholly unfounded. It doesn't match the DOJ's reports of unfounded rape or sexual assault allegations, and really the true number of actual assaults vs. false complaints is impossible to verify with any great certainty. In fact, no one's really sure where that statistic comes from. Worse, the idea that railroading or publicly hounding the 2-4% of innocent people for the greater good is a deeply illiberal, anti-American, unjust position. So that claim too is both wrong and irrelevant.

Really, Sebring and the potbangers' whole defense pretty much boils down to them doing or saying whatever they want because they're all puny anonymities and they're probably serving the greater cause anyway. That rationale could literally justify any behavior, statement or argument.