Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Bryan

A reader reminded me of another stunning articulation of the unimportance of due process from Duke judicial affairs officer Stephen Bryan (mentioned in the Elliot Wolf post below).

In a fall 2006 memo to Wolf, Bryan explained his rationale for using illegally obtained evidence:

"However rare it is that a judge rules that evidence against a Duke student was illegally obtained, the issue you [Wolf] raise still needs to be addressed: What is the university's policy in using that evidence as an indication of a violation of university expectations? Since one of the purposes of our disciplinary process is to help students process the difficult choices they could have made in a situation, it would be antithetical to that mission to dismiss such a learning opportunity because of a technicality in how information was obtained." [emphases added]

In the specific case that Bryan referenced, the "technicality" was a warrantless search.

Could it be that some Duke administrators were so unwilling to speak up for due process in the past 18 months because they themselves do not value the concept?

Hat tip: B.N.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taken together, all of these statements paint a picture of Duke as an institution at war with its students, or more precisely, with some of its students. Why pay Duke's exorbitant tuition to be on the receiving end of this sort of treatment?

Anonymous said...

"Could it be that some Duke administrators were so unwilling to speak up for due process in the past 18 months because they themselves do not value the concept?"

----

Yes. Clearly.

Duke was so determined to promote the impression of war against the 20-year-old beer drinkers and of course against the terrible, awful, occasional public urinators, that the University was perfectly willing, even enthusiastic, about all unlawful efforts to trample the constitutional rights of students.

And it didn't matter if the price to be paid (always by the students) was an illegal one-night incarceration in the hoosegow by Gottlieb, or 30 years of hard time. Spoils of cultural war, don'cha know.

haskell said...

Man, gimme a break on Stephen Bryan. He is obviously well-qualified to be the judicial affairs officer at Duke.

From their website: "he graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Business Administration and from the University of Georgia with an M.Ed. in higher education administration. He also serves as an academic advisor for the Advising Center."

Uh ... on second thought, disregard the above.

Anonymous said...

Is Bryan a Communist?

Ralph Phelan said...

"Could it be that some Duke administrators were so unwilling to speak up for due process in the past 18 months because they themselves do not value the concept?"

Well duh. "Islands of tyranny in a sea of freedom" and all that.

Bryan's notion of judical procedures would have been mainstream in the old Soviet Union.
Is Stephen Bryan a Communist?

JeffM said...

@ KC

Neither you nor I are likely to have time for an extended discussion of the issues raised by this post, but it seems worthwhile to raise them in the form of questions.

Is the relatively recent legal doctrine that the proper sanction for improper police behavior is for the criminal courts to ignore the evidence uncovered by that behavior wise? That the Supreme Court has opined that the policeman's blunder means that the criminal goes free may simply be additional evidence that the law is an ass.

On the other hand, what other sanction will be practically effective in enforcing due process in criminal cases?

Even if, on balance, it is wise that the criminal courts be precluded from using evidence improperly obtained by the police, is it wise to impose that same constraint outside the criminal justice system? If M's criminal conviction for pedophilia is overturned for failure by the police to get a warrant, does that mean M must also be re-hired as a kindergarten teacher?

None of this is to be construed as a defense of Bryan's argument, which seems to me disingenuous at best.

Debrah said...

"Could it be that some Duke administrators were so unwilling to speak up for due process in the past 18 months because they themselves do not value the concept?"

Yes.

Anonymous said...

The worst part about Duke's conscious decision to declare null and void the civil rights of its own students, all in the interest of mollifying the local prigs and shits, is that said local prigs are not your traditional Southern reactionary, pro'bitionist, lib'rul-hatin', puritanical townies.

Not at all.

No, the filthy Trinity Park scum that Duke so yearns to mollify are a mob of high-minded hypocrites, who fancy themselves liberal and sanctified, but who in fact are enemies of the Constitution whenever civil rights might favor the young, white males, whose behavior as typical young, white males might offend or inconvenience the lifestyles and sensitivities of these "liberal" thugs.

And when that happens, watch out: They will move heaven and hell, using every filthy lie and hypocrisy, and every power of government and academia, to stigmatize and hopefully incarcerate you forever.

And you get no sympathy, certainly not from a toady like Broadhead -- because you are young, white and male, and therefor the natural prey of these scum and tyrants.

Oh, and yet they are so holy and so "liberal".

Trinity Park needs to build a new monument, in the form of a mirror, with a carved motto: "Look into yourselves, you liars and hypocrites."

By the way, I live in Trinity Park and I know these shits for what they are.

Debrah said...

To Stu Daddy--

Just saw your comment in The Diva World.

I left a reply...although you already had the right idea.

:>)

Gary Packwood said...

Re: Learning Opportunity

This is another wonderful opportunity for bloggers to observe a real life example of insanity in higher education.

The Duke staff person here in this example is convinced in his own mind that Duke undergraduate students are both ignorant and stupid.

Duke undergraduates students see this guy as one more rock in the middle of the road on their way to graduation ...so they... you guessed it...play stupid and ignorant.

Whatever.

And the Duke systems keep spitting out those paychecks.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Simply shocking!

Michael said...

If Bryan is fine with ignoring illegally obtained information, then I'm sure that he wouldn't mind police and hackers going through his computers just in case he's guilty of something. After all, if one is guilty of something, it doesn't matter how any evidence was obtained, right?

In fact, how about applying that to Brodhead?

scott said...

Bryan said,

"Since one of the purposes of our disciplinary process is to help students process the difficult choices they could have made in a situation, it would be antithetical to that mission to dismiss such a learning opportunity because of a technicality in how information was obtained."

Would Bryan's logic also apply to a student being disciplined for suspected cheating on an exam by using a crib sheet?

In other words, does it matter how the information was obtained (from memory, from a crib sheet, from copying another student's paper), when it is offered in response to the learning opportunity provided by an exam, the purpose of which is to help evaluate the student's ability to process the difficult choices they could have made in that exam?

Michael said...

Brodhead could have used a little help in processing the difficult choices that he faced in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Only the gang of 88 and the enablers are to be accorded due process, the infidels or normal mortals are to be punished with out regard to guilt or innocence.

Anonymous said...

"JeffM said...

...

Is the relatively recent legal doctrine that the proper sanction for improper police behavior is for the criminal courts to ignore the evidence uncovered by that behavior wise? That the Supreme Court has opined that the policeman's blunder means that the criminal goes free may simply be additional evidence that the law is an ass."

Jeff -- this is a very difficult question. In my opinion, the decision and the precedent of Mapp v. Ohio is the correct one. The law would be an ass if it said "You are supposed to respect the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens but if you trample all over them instead to make your job easier you'll get away with it" and then expected law enforcement to respect those Fourth Amendment rights.

There must be some deterrent force to keep rogue law enforcement personnel from violating citizens' rights at will. Actions against officials who commit or who authorize such violations are possible -- but it may not be enough of a deterrent. Look at how much support Mike Nifong still has from people who claim he was just sticking up for the "poor black girl". If these people don't understand what's wrong with illegally concealing evidence which shows that an accused defendant is innocent (and for that matter, would have been the most vital evidence towards finding the real perpetrators, had there actually been a crime) then good luck trying to get them to understand that a police officer violating the Fourth Amendment anytime he wants is a villain and not a hero. There is too great a probability that a rogue lawman's trampling on the Constitutional rights of Americans would be treated with a knowing wink and a look the other way.

The only effective deterrent for such misbehavior is to take away the motive. If a case is now weakened instead of bolstered when illegal search and seizure tactics are used to obtain evidence, then the motivation for such tactics is removed. While it's a shame that some guilty parties might get away, when they could have been put away by the use of evidence gained through a search that violated the Fourth Amendment -- the same applies for any Constitional protection. It's a shame that some guilty parties won't be convicted because their lawyers argued their case too well, when if they had been denied counsel they might have been convicted. It's a shame that some guilty parties don't confess to their crimes, when they might have confessed under torture. Et cetera.

Anonymous said...

Nifong was appalling - Without Titus and Stephens alowing his court and press stuff, this would have been stopped a lot earlier than a year. These are the ones who deserve the Martin quote.