Friday, January 21, 2011

Four Updates

In an expected move, Crystal Mangum will not be re-tried on the most serious arson charge that she faced. What message the jury’s original majority-acquittal vote sends to Durham is anyone’s guess.


In another unsurprising move, a new (albeit minor) demonstration of the continuing vise the Group of 88 and their allies exercise over Duke. The issue is the five-year review process for Blair Sheppard, dean of the Duke business school.

It would be hard to come up with an area of the academy further away from the Group’s race/class/gender vision than the business school. Yet the six-person review committee includes two Group members—Paula McClain (the political science professor who said she wouldn’t publicly call for Mike Nifong to respect due process in his treatment of Duke students) and Cathy Davidson (she of the fact-challenged, “revisionist” interpretation of spring 2006 events at Duke). A third member of the committee is the “vice provost for faculty diversity.” The administrator’s purview, of course, does not include pedagogical or intellectual diversity.

Does anyone want to bet against the proposition that the McClain committee will recommend the business school adopting new measures for certain types of “diversity”?


An item at least tangentially related to the civil suit. Ames et al v. County of Harford, Maryland et al is a lawsuit by various anti-abortion rights activists against police and municipal officials in Maryland. As in the lacrosse civil suits, the Maryland police and municipalities filed motions to dismiss the case, citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which they (like the Duke/Durham defendants) contended should shield them before discovery could commence.

In May, a district court judge dismissed the motion; and a Fourth Circuit appeals court panel has just upheld the decision, thereby allowing the suit to continue. Two passages from the district court decision that should resonate to anyone who followed the lacrosse case:

“The Court finds that the qualified immunity issue cannot be resolved at the current time because of the fact-dependent nature of the required inquiry and the undeveloped status of the record.” The Maryland case can’t hold a candle to the lacrosse case in this regard, given the reams of e-mails likely available from the Duke and Durham defendants.

And, as to the standard that the court should use, in cases like the lacrosse case and the Maryland case where claims of civil rights violations are involved: “Where, as here, the Defendants seek to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ civil rights complaint, this court ‘must be especially solicitous of the wrongs alleged’ and ‘must not dismiss the claim unless it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any legal theory which might plausibly be suggested by the facts alleged.’” [emphasis in original]


Finally, for those concerned about the lax editorial standards at The Atlantic, the letter to the editor form is here.


Anonymous said...

"Ames et al v. County of Harford, Maryland et al"

This being a decision by the Appeals Court of the Fourth Circuit, I would hope that all judges in that Circuit take notice of the opinion...

Anonymous said...

"Ames et al v. County of Harford, Maryland et al"

Note that this case was just filed last year--2010--and the first deposition of a plaintiff was scheduled for mid-January.

IE, it has already had one APPEAL of a lower-court decision decided; and depositions are now beginning--less than one year after filing.

Anonymous said...

Is Sheppard a Communist?

Anonymous said...

The Hurled-Scum managed to get recent quotes from exactly two people: Victoria Peterson and Jackie Wagstaff. The same biased reporting continues, although I think Wagstaff got this bit about the Potbanger Madonna right: "[S]he's Durham's top criminal."

On another topic, it has been obvious from day one that discovery is necessary for the Lax plaintiffs to maintain their case. Does it really take a federal judge four years to figure this out? There is a rotten smell coming from that courtroom. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Judge Beaty still must rule on 150+ dissmissal motions before anything else legal transpires?

Anonymous said...

One more comment, and it was the most "important" one. Sure is disturbing that Durham will not re-try the Potbanger Madonna on a reduced charge of felony destruction of personal property. That case was a slam dunk and would have taken about a half-day to try. I guess Durham doesn't really want to go after "Durham's top criminal." MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

"Judge Beaty still must rule on 150+ dissmissal motions before anything else legal transpires?"

The ONLY thing Judge Beaty has to rule on at this stage is whether or not the plaintiffs have alleged actual federal violations, so that their case may then proceed. For purposes of making that decision, he must assume that all of the facts alleged by the plaintiffs are true.

In addition, we know that Nifong gave press conferences defaming the players and lying about a non-existent strangle-hold. There is no question of FACT involved; this is on video. And we know that a DA steps outside the protections of his immunity when he speaks in press conferences. There is no question of LAW

Ergo, if Judge Beaty wished, he could even grant summary judgment NOW against Nifong.

We also know that the Supreme Court has ruled that arrest without probable cause violates the Forth Amendment. (Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 152 (2004) We know the DPD made arrests of the plaintiffs without any probable cause (there was NO EVIDENCE of any crime; and police had to manufacture some evidence--the false assertions that the complaintant had "injuries").

Again, Judge Beaty could render summary judgment for the plaintiffs, NOW.

This isn't rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project said:

"One of the most important reasons for civil lawsuits, for civil rights lawsuits, is not just to get compensation for somebody who's been wrongly convicted, but to publicize the causes of that miscarriage of justice. That's why people sue -- to bring about change, to bring about reform. It's not just about compensation. ..."

Can I suppose the reverse of that may also be true--that one of the most important reasons for delaying or stalling a civil lawsuit is to avoid publicizing a miscarriage of justice; and to defer any reforms which might result?

Anonymous said...

KC -- Selena Roberts of Lax Hoax fame (infamy?) has written a hit piece on Lance Armstrong, accusing a prominent doctor in the field of PEDs of covering up results to protect Armstrong. The doctor has responded, eviscerating Roberts' story, such as Roberts' refusal to show him any evidence to back up her claims when she interviewed him. Roberts cited no documents or evidence in the story.

Like Flanagan, Roberts will never stop. Their employers refuse to hold them accuntable for bad or false reporting, so it will never change.