Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Postscript: The Addison Response

The 26-page response of former Cpl. (now Sgt.) David Addison stands out as the most churlish of the reply briefs. It’s the handiwork of Durham attorney James Maxwell, who certainly knows his way around law enforcement officials whose behavior raises ethical questions. Maxwell represented the prosecutors in the Alan Gell case. He described David Hoke and Debra Graves as victims in “a novel case where [the Disciplinary Hearing Commission members] are asked to impose discipline for an unintentional, neglectful, no controversy, honest mistake.”

Maxwell advances three arguments for dismissing all claims against Addison:

1.) Addison was simply doing his job as DPD public spokesperson, relaying information that had been provided to him by others. Indeed, Maxwell goes to great lengths to allege that Addison made no independent effort to verify any of the “facts” that he shared with the public. This line of argument recalled Mike Nifong's claim in the ethics hearing that he shouldn't be held responsible for lying about the contents of the Meehan report because he never reads documents in his file.

In any event, Addison frequently offered his own editorial comments about these “facts.” Maxwell doesn’t reveal whether Addison made these comments on his own or whether he was instructed by unknown persons to do so. Maxwell also doesn’t go into any detail about how Addison obtained the “facts” he shared with the public in March 2006.

2.) Addison has qualified immunity as a public spokesperson, since his remarks came in an official capacity. If he did anything wrong—and Maxwell quickly points out that he’s not saying Addison did anything wrong—Durham is responsible for any civil liability, not Addison.

Maxwell adds, “As a police officer of Durham, David Addison owed a duty to the public to serve and protect it. He did not owe a specific legally cognizable duty to the Plaintiffs to carry out this public responsibility in a manner they found acceptable.”

It’s worth remembering that Addison was promoted last fall—suggesting that his superiors in the DPD didn’t find anything particularly objectionable in his actions in the lacrosse case.

3.) As noted in the Gottlieb and Durham memoranda, Maxwell argues that the grand jury indictment should shield Addison from any legal liability. Even if the court doesn’t accept that argument, Maxwell asserts that Nifong and Nifong alone was responsible for securing indictments, so all blame should go to the disgraced former DA.

Maxwell’s memorandum, however, repeatedly veers into ill-concealed attacks on the lacrosse players. As did the response of Sgt. Gottlieb’s attorneys, Addison’s lawyer suggests that the lacrosse players were, basically, lucky: “Fortunately for these plaintiffs, they never experienced a trial,” because the “judicial process of North Carolina” worked for them.

If this case represented the judicial process of Durham working, what would a case look like where the process failed?

Even more oddly, Maxwell denies that Addison made “made some false, misleading, or inflammatory statements.” What, again, were Addison’s public statements on the case?

  • You are looking at one victim brutally raped. If that was someone else’s daughter, child, I don’t think 46 (tests) would be a large enough number to figure out exactly who did it.”

That statement was false, misleading, and inflammatory.

  • Addison said police approached the lacrosse team with the five-page search warrant on March 16, but that all of the members refused to cooperate with the investigation.”

That statement was false.

  • We’re asking someone from the lacrosse team to step forward . . . We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime.”

That statement was misleading and inflammatory.

  • Addison said police can’t force samples from anyone they believe to be implicated in a crime. But he said that, in this situation, there was ‘really, really strong physical evidence.’”

That statement was false.

  • “We’re not saying that all 46 were involved. But we do know that some of the players inside that house on that evening knew what transpired and we need them to come forward.”

That statement was misleading and inflammatory.

  • “The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.”

That statement was false, misleading, and inflammatory.

Was Maxwell unaware of his own client’s record?

16 comments:

Search for Meaning said...

Twenty-six pages to basically say my client did nothing wrong and even if he did he has immunity.

bill anderson said...

There really are no honest people working in an official capacity in Durham. That is what we are reading, and apparently all of them are proud of the fact that they are dishonest.

The Addison response really takes the cake and is the most arrogant of all of them.

Michael said...

I have the feeling that Durham lawyers are used to no scrutiny of their documents and responses and believe that they can get away with the most obscene rubbish.

What would be really amusing is Lane Williamson as the judge in the civil lawsuit. I know it won't happen but I can just imagine him politely ripping the defense to shreds.

Anonymous said...

Players lawyers must be laughing until the tears roll down their faces.

This is going to be one of the best trials of the century.

Debrah said...

This is really incredible.

The DPD and the leaders in Durham are becoming parodies of themselves.

Someone needs to come in and literally clean the place from top to bottom.

RighteousThug said...

I liked 'churlish' better than arrogant, Bill.

Churlish, from the Latin root 'churl' meaning to simultaneously chunk & hurl (the Romans had no word for 'spew'). Descibes common involuntary actions that occur immediately following reading these Answers.

Anonymous said...

What is this? If you get caught lying . . . lie some more. Tell a bigger lie, and . . . lie some more. Does false have no meaning at the Durham Police Department? These people wanted to create their own reality. The police in Durham seemingly have no understanding of the law and its meaning to protect people . . . to protect a community . . . to protect a community from itself. To them the law seems to be victory at any cost even the cost of putting innocent people behind bars. The truth would have served everyone in this horrid situation better than the public lie. The truth was this: that nothing happened that would justify the lie at the heart of the document being discussed here.

Anonymous said...

Addison's comments are all on the record! He can't change them.

Let's hope these people get what they deserve.

mac said...

As they say:
Please pass the dutchie, Mr. Maxwell; don't bogart that joint, my friend.

Michael said...

[Twenty-six pages to basically say my client did nothing wrong and even if he did he has immunity.]

That's kind of like Nifong's shotgun excuse approach at his bar trial.

Let's say that you're one of the lawyers for the law officers now and later on, you have a client charged with a felony. Could you then say that your client shouldn't be charged because police lie to grand juries and then call your former client to testify to that effect?

Ralph Phelan said...

Addison has qualified immunity as a public spokesperson, since his remarks came in an official capacity. If he did anything wrong—and Maxwell quickly points out that he’s not saying Addison did anything wrong—Durham is responsible for any civil liability, not Addison.

Addison says "Durham should pay, I was just following orders." [And, given that he has since been promoted, the second half of that statement is clearly true.]
Durham says "Nifong did it all and he should pay, (except of course he's immune.)"

But Nifong did not have the authority to order Addison to make those statements. Either the city or Addison is stuck with any damages directly consequent to them.

The paintiffs' lawyers are masters of multi-defendant blameshift chess.

Ralph Phelan said...

I have the feeling that Durham lawyers are used to no scrutiny of their documents and responses and believe that they can get away with the most obscene rubbish.
Well we did see exactly that happen multiple times during this case.

I just hope the Federal judges serving in NC di9stricts are less corrupt than NC state judges.

Does anyone have any solid reason for believing that to be the case?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I laughted at Addison's reply, "Sorry, we did not run the investigation to the satisfaction of the team". psraphasing

Anonymous said...

If the law is not in your favor, argue the facts, if the facts are not in your favor argue the law.

If neither are in your favor, as is the case with the City of Durham, lie with no remorse.

Apparently this is the strategy of the City, DNA Security and all the defendents in this case.

Anonymous said...

The three monkees...


The police:
"We didn't say anything false or misleading"

The administration:
"We didn't say anything false or misleading"


The faculty
"We didn't say anything false or misleading"


What did you say?

Anonymous said...

From Addison's court filing- "Therefore even assuming that in his official capacity as a spokesperson for the Durham Police Department, Addison made some false, misleading or inflammatory statements (which is all denied by the defendant, David Addison) a properly convened grand jury’s quasi-judicial determination to issue an indictment is and has been consistently held to break the chain of causation..."

I'm not sure KC gave the proper amount of emphasis to this pont. Addison is directly blatantly and publicly saying the sky is blue.

I thought it was illegal to suborn perjury or file statements that are known to be false. I wonder if his attorney can get into trouble for this.

Unless anyone believes the rape happened, there is no possible way that Addison can argue he did not make false statements.

This is absolutely unbelievable, he doesn't even use the Mike Nifong excuse of saying they were false but he didn't know they were false. He just denies making any false statements.

You would think that the first requirement to be hired as a police officer anywhere would be honesty. I guess that's not the case in Durham.

David Addison is not fit to wear a uniform. He is a disgrace and it is the most pathetic thing I can imagine that he is a police officer who has been promoted recently. Only in Durham.