Monday, September 17, 2007

Civil Suit Watch, I

Today’s primary post discusses the transparent biases of some critics of the civil suit settlement. It also raises an obvious, if largely overlooked, point: it’s fanciful to believe that everything bad about the DPD’s performance has already come to light.

For instance, City Manager Patrick Baker has yet to be deposed. This is the same Patrick Baker who, on May 10, 2006, gave an interview to the N&O, in which he asserted, “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the investigators in this case and with officials at Duke, and at no time did anyone indicate [Crystal Mangum] changed her story. If that were true, I’m sure someone would have mentioned it to me.”

As we know now, Mangum never told law enforcement the same story twice; Baker’s portrayal of the evidence was, therefore, false.

Only two explanations exist for his statement: (1) in the highest-profile case in the city’s history, he allowed police to mislead him, causing him to mislead the public—calling into question his competence; or (2) he willfully misled the public—calling into question his ethics.

Under oath, what explanation would Baker provide?


mac said...

Hard to tell how many rats are in the hole until you've gotten 'em all out. Depositions should prove interesting, unless there's a settlement.

Our family had a rat problem; we sent in a large elaphe obsoleta (black rat snake) when rats made tunnels under our terrace.

That's what would happen in the circumstances of a Durrhh settlement - when the nest is cleared, but you don't know how many rats were actually consumed.

Ralph Phelan said...

Under oath, what explanation would Baker provide?

I'm betting on:
"I refuse to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself."

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Query: Why would not punitive damages be availiable for certain of these prospective causes of action, thus pushing the settlement value of the civil action much, much higher that what some Durham pundits are speculating?

Let us be frank: It is unfathomable that the Durham public servants are going to learn anything from this catastrophe absent a monetary payout that hurts. The innocent civilians of Durham will certainly benefit as a result because their public servants will be far less likely to trample on THEIR civil rights in the future. Conversely, a minimal settlement might actually embolden the city to continue on its path of "business as usual" of urinating on the Constitution.

In addition, the fact that Durham allegedly has gotten away with not paying other wronged parties greater settlements or trial awards may speak to many things -- perhaps Durham's lawyers did a good job, or the other side's lawyers did not, or maybe Durham just got lucky. None of that has anything to do with THIS case.

jim2 said...

There are indeed some sharp points on the horns of the dilemma upon which Durham decision-makers have emplaced themselves and their city.

If they settle, the plaintiffs' lawyers have essentially required (1) the specified $ to be accompanied with (2) admissions and (3) corrective actions - all three have been publicly declared unpalatable.

If they fight, they face discovery, depositions, and cross-examinations under oath, and then they risk having to face later whatever those actions unearth.

Maybe they should counter-offer MORE than $30M, but w/o admissions and corrective actions?

You know, something like: "How about we give you not $30M but $50M, but we get to remain as corrupt as we are?"

I bet THAT would sit well with voters.

Anonymous said...

Is Baker a Communist?

Debrah said...

I totally believe that the DPD knew, just as Nifong knew, that there was no case.

They proceeded because they knew the public in Durham would back them 100%...given the dynamics of the case.

They didn't care about the truth. Just the story.

And that story was supposed to have made Durham--in their jaded, out-of-touch view--a glorious and righteous place where the legal system was "fighting for the rights of a poor black woman".

This was all a show and now Durham must pay the tariff.

Anonymous said...

Book news

Rosen's NYT review reprinted on Minding the Campus

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Is Baker a Communist?

9/17/07 1:30 PM

No, you're confusing him with Baker.

Anonymous said...

JFK said "Life is unfair" " there are always inequities in life." This is true of everyone. The trick is to keep soldering on.
I agree with the poster who wrote that these guys are damaging their reputation. Duke paid them millions - how much is enough? Durham should go to court.

mac said...

I guess you think Durrhh did nothing to be ashamed of? Hmmm? And you think CGM should just go on, unscathed in all this? And Gottlieb? NoFang? The rest of the crew?

I hope it does go to court.

Sometimes it's fun to watch sharks eat.

Anonymous said...

Duke may have, and probably did, pay them millions. That money may have covered their legal fees to that point in time, if they were lucky.

This money is for a completely different set of reasons, and I would bet anyone lunch that this civil action is being handled on a contingent basis. Even if they were awarded $30M, the attorneys would then get at least 40% most likely.

Wait and see how this plays out. I don't see "greed" as motivation for any of this.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:08 . I don't think JFK came up with the life is unfair idea. This is a situation of legal abuse, extensive abuse of power by those representing the good guys, the guys entrusted to follow the rules of the law and the constituion. I don't think JFK would be on their side if presented with the facts as we now know them.
Durham trashed the reputation of these three innocent young men, do you really think they care what Druham citizens think about them now? What a joke.
No one knows what Duke settled with the families, I doubt it was millions. As I have said before. The amount of money a person has is not relevant in seeking damages for a rightful civil action suit. Poor or rich, we are protected by the same rules of law and the same rules of renumeration. It's actually a small amount with all that's happened.
Court would be fine too, either way there is future pain for many coming.

Anonymous said...

2:08 says..."Duke paid them millions - how much is enough? Durham should go to court"

But..the City officials DON'T want to go to court. No,no,no..Whose side are you on anyway? The award may end up being less (not great odds on that, though), but every public figure you see in the PD and City government will be gone from sight and eviscerated. It will be like a big vloud hanging over the city for the next several years, perhaps. Is that what you want?

Anonymous said...

Duke apparently was in a very big hurry to settle and not get caught up in a very embarrassing court case.
I doubt money was any problem for Duke and they paid out millions.

Anonymous said...

i think Duke settled so quickly because of the keycard violation. Who did that????/

AF said...


I so hope you are right. Court is exactly where the good criminals of Durrrrrhm need to be.
Please don't let them settle. That would be like licking all the candy off the lollipop.

mac said...

If it goes to court, CGM will likely be deposed. Anyone think Durrhh wants this?

Anonymous said...

In your previous post, you talk about assessing intellectual honesty. Before you go after others, I suggest you assess your own. Why are you so keen to attack certain Duke faculty and certain kinds of academic endeavor? You claim to be "liberal," but are not. You hide this self-labeling when you attack others/programs with which you disagree.

It is not by chance that some of your most supportive voices come from the student right. Students of the right ("conservative") can be radical and destructive as we know from the 1930s. But, I'm sure you and the hounds of hell who support you think it's all good. I suspect what you have done in moving from the LAX case/Nifong, etc. to picking off other people who disagree with you and trying to ruin their lives will not result in much that is good. What do you want? "Truth?" Truth is rather in the eyes of the beholder.

mac said...

1:40 anon

Ah, the old humidity argument: truth is relative, like the humidity.

Like most of the dopes criticizing KC, you have failed to acknowledge one simple fact (fact; not supposition, nor superstition): the "academic endeavors" you speak of are merely put on display. Like zoo animals, perhaps, but without much comment from the collector.

Except from the readers, of course, who don't mind pointing out that the dogs in this particular zoo seem awfully fond of licking themselves, and the monkeys seem to be mostly engaged in throwing their feces. The snakes are eating their own, and the collared peccaries are attracting lots of flies, but do little else.

If you'll skip to KC's newest post, where there are quotes from people like Mark Neal Anthony - (who apparently doesn't know how to use the word "women" in its singular form) - you'll see what I'm saying. The quotes are self-inflicted wounds.

But then again, you won't see it; even blunt, over-the-top satire can't get through to some of you pseudo-academics. Why should reality?

Right, Kathy?

Anonymous said...

1:40 AM -- people ruin their own lives. These folks did a rather good job of it. Folks posting here are just pointing it out.

Note: K-88 and company could have stopped at any time before running the train off the track.