For those discovering the blog through the publication of Until Proven Innocent or through Good Morning America: Welcome. I first turned my attention to the Duke case after an April 2006 ad signed by 88 members of the Duke arts and sciences faculty. The ad stated unequivocally that something “happened” to Crystal Mangum; and said “thank you” to protesters who, among other things, had carried “CASTRATE” banners and blanketed the campus with “wanted” posters of the lacrosse team. The professors’ decision to sign the ad betrayed the ideals of their—and my—profession.
Since last April, the blog has had more than 1000 posts, focused on the twin themes of Mike Nifong’s massive prosecutorial misconduct and the “academic McCarthyism” evident in the reaction to the case by Duke faculty “activists.” But the blog also has analyzed the media coverage of the case, political events, and the role of the Durham police.
In the weeks since the book has gone to press, the blog has featured comprehensive coverage (from
Advance praise for Until Proven Innocent includes the following, from a diverse array of people and organizations:
John Grisham: “Brutally honest, unflinching, exhaustively researched, and compulsively readable, Until Proven Innocent excoriates those who led the stampede—the prosecutor, the cops, the media—but it also exposes the cowardice of Duke’s administration and faculty. Until Proven Innocent smothers any lingering doubts that in this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.”
ACLU president Nadine Strossen: “This compelling narrative dramatizes the fearsome power of unscrupulous police and prosecutors to wreck the lives of innocent people, especially when the media and many in the community rush to presume guilt. The inspiring story of how the defense lawyers turned the tables on a dishonest DA points to the crying need for reforms to give defendants of modest means a fighting chance when law enforcement goes bad.”
Political columnist George Will: “In what surely is this year’s most revealing, scalding and disturbing book on America’s civic culture, the authors demonstrate that the Duke case was symptomatic of the dangerous decay of important institutions—legal, academic, and journalistic. . . . With this meticulous report, the guilty have at last been indicted and convicted.”
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas: “In their vivid, at times chilling account, the authors are contemptuous of prosecutor Mike Nifong, whom the North Carolina legal establishment disbarred for his by now well-documented misconduct . . . but their most biting scorn is aimed at the ‘academic McCarthyism’ that they say has infected top-rated American universities like Duke."
NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw: “This is a tale of grace and disgrace, researched in detail and clearly written. All of us face adversity in our lives, but thankfully very few face the adversity of national press coverage, being abandoned by those who should have defended us, and the possibility of a 30 year prison term for something which was a transparent lie. The Duke lacrosse hoax is fundamentally a tale of incredible courage and integrity on the part of the falsely indicted players, their families, their defense team, a few of their faculty (particularly Professor James Coleman), and the entire Duke lacrosse team, including their current and former coach. Theirs is a tale of incredible grace under searing pressure. People in positions of power and authority-such as prosecutors, police, and university leaders—carry the responsibility to find and defend the truth. Unfortunately, their tale is one of disgrace—and they are the authors of that disgrace. Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson have written a great book which chronicles a tale as old as humanity—the difficult but always worthwhile triumph of honesty and integrity over those who abuse power.”
ABC News legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenberg: “A chilling, gripping account of how our judicial system can go terribly wrong. This is an important book that brings the Duke story to life and exposes troubling facts about our justice system and our citadels of higher learning. You may think you know the Duke story—but you don’t until you read this book.”
Time columnist Michael Kinsley: “The analysis of the notorious Duke rape case in this book is hard to accept. According to Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, this episode was not just a terrible injustice to three young men. It exposed a fever of political correctness that is more virulent than ever on American campuses and throughout society. . . Unfortunately for doubts, the authors lay out the facts with scrupulous care. This is a thorough and absorbing history of a shameful episode.”
TalkLeft publisher Jeralyn Merritt: “Anyone interested in this travesty of a prosecution simply must read this book.”
GQ: KC Johnson embedded with the Duke lacrosse team amid the scandal that nearly tore apart the school. The result, UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (cowritten with Stuart Taylor Jr.) is the definitive account of the team’s head-on collision with political correctness and judicial posturing—and a disturbing, often embarrassing look at how the university sold out its own.”
Kirkus Reviews: “Hot-off-the-press reprobation of the badly flawed indictment process in this notorious incident . . . In this era of in-your-face Michael Moore–style media screeds, we all might be excused for being unresponsive to the promise of yet another exposé of yet another outrage. However, unlike our experience with Moore, who specializes in breathtaking generalities and over-spun characterizations, we are here flogged with innumerable details, each well reported and each implacably pointing to the same conclusion: The players were railroaded . . . The authors single out in particular the utter collapse of due process for accused students at a highly respected school. A cautionary tale for all readers.”