Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Turn of Season

For the politically correct, the lacrosse case proceeded through three stages. The first came in spring 2006, when figures like Selena Roberts and factions like the Group of 88 not merely presumed guilt, but drew broad moral lessons from the crime they were certain occurred. The second came in winter 2006 and spring 2007, when many of these same figures denied they their previous comments had referred to the criminal case at all, and instead launched a biting cultural critique against the lacrosse players. The third came in summer 2007, when the politically correct rushed to move on.

A few recent signs, however, suggest we might be moving back toward that second phase. The most obvious comes from cnn.com, which found time to break away from its round-the-clock coverage of the Malaysian Airlines disaster to run a column on the  . . . cutting-edge . . . topic of lowering the drinking age (to 19, rather than 18, suggesting that the author believes it’s OK to prevent some people who can vote and die for their country from drinking alcohol).

The argument of the column, by William Cohan—that the lacrosse players were drunken louts, that we’ll never know if something happened to Crystal Mangum, that despite their innocence the players should have faced a trial—is little more than a warmed-over version of the Herald-Sun editorial pages from winter 2006. But given the column’s ill-concealed status as a promotion for Cohan’s forthcoming book, presumably this thesis will reappear in Cohan’s April publication as well. So I assume we’ll be hearing lots more about how college students should be judged on how the worst of their group behaved at a spring break party—a standard that the paragons of political correctness rarely apply to all college students.

A second sign came in Jim Coleman’s comments to Radley Balko. The Duke law professor wildly claimed that the three falsely accused students failed to have used their experience “as an opportunity to subject the criminal justice system to a searing review. It’s as if they believe the only bias in the system is against wealthy white college students.”

Less than a minute on Google proves the falsity of Coleman’s statement: Reade Seligmann, for one, has been extremely active with the Innocence Project, to such an extent that his work received extensive press coverage and an “Advocate for Justice” award from an Innocence Project committee. (Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans likewise have worked with Innocence Project events.) Would Coleman be willing to compare Seligmann’s record on this issue with that of any member of the Group of 88? Why does Coleman consider a law student repeatedly working with the Innocence Project to constitute a failure “to subject the criminal justice system to a searing review”?

As with Cohan, it appears that Coleman has retreated into a factually-challenged cultural critique. To date, he has not retracted his statement about Seligmann.

Finally, this tweet from the left-leaning journalist Howard Fineman

recalls what might have passed for humor on the Upper West Side in summer 2006.

Expect more of this sort of cultural “critique” to coincide with the Cohan book.


Chris Halkides said...


Thank you for highlighting the disparity between Professor Colemen's comments versus Reade Seligmann's actions. Perhaps Professor Coleman could study and take action on wrongful convictions involving poor, white victims of wrongful prosecutions, such as Billy Wayne Cope of South Carolina. Perhaps we should all be color-blind when it comes to errors in the CJ system, but a good-faith gesture from him might mend a fence or two. MOO.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't Coleman focused his criticism in his own backyard? Why hasn't he exposed the racism, bigotry and blind "guilty till proven innocent" behavior of the 88? Why hasn't Coleman taken ACTION HIMSELF to push for an outside expose of the true incompetent corruption that was Nifong-Cline-et al? Before you trash these young men, professor, I suggest you look in the mirror and ask yourself what you have done to empty the trash in Durham.

Anonymous said...

KC, I wonder if you would have time to compile a "where are they now" article on the entire 2006 Duke lacrosse team and coach.

Anonymous said...

You have to take into account how Cline was so upset because she thought that the people she supported were on her side, and she didn't understand why they would turn on her, to understand what the problem is with what the Innocence Commission did and why they were not perceived as effective as savers of the innocent instead of just more of the same bs that weary the hearts and minds of many and cause so much harm to many.

There is a one word explanation: Duke.

Anonymous said...

Is Cohan a Communist?

Chris Halkides said...

I posted two comments at the site hosting the Cohan article. The second one was, "If the Duke lacrosse case is meant to be the centerpiece of this article, the author's whole argument falls down spectacularly. Perhaps the author can explain how Reade Seligmann (a mile away, according to a security camera) and Collin Finnerty (out of the house and on the move, according to cell phone records) could have committed a sexual assault. I cannot."

Strangely, the first comment (in which I quoted one sentence from the article) I wrote is gone. IIRC I wrote something close to, "'Whether it also led the three indicted players to rape Crystal Mangum, as she said happened in one of the bathrooms, will never be known.' Based on the DNA evidence, the only people in Durham we can be certain did not have sex with Ms. Mangum are the Duke lacrosse players. I wish that this were the only ill-judged sentence in this article." It is unclear to me why the comment was apparently deleted.

Jim In San Diego said...

To be fair to Prof Coleman, we should try to make an accurate list of those who have, and those who have not, used the Mangum experience to improve justice for all in Durham and elsewhere.


- Reade Seligmann, (Innocence Project)

- Collin Finnerty,(Innocence Project)

- Dave Evans, (Innocence Project)

The Innocence Project has won the exoneration of more than 300 innocent people, who unfortunately served an average of 10 years of their lives in prison for crimes they did not commit. (A disproportionately large percent of the exonerees were Blacks and hispanics.)

The Innocence Project has also worked with State organizations nationwide to end practices which have led to conviction of innocents: overly suggestive police lineups; unreliable "eyewitness" testimony; use of jail house informants with a motive to lie, etc.


- Jim Coleman

- Duke President Richard Brodhead

- The Group of 88

- The Duke Law School

- Any one at all within Duke University.

My oh my.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

The innocence project may do good things, but what has been done in Durham with the Cline and Hudson episode is what is well known at this time in Durham and NC.

The only thing visible was that justice was being mocked and disrupted in seriously unprofessional ways.

Anonymous said...


You left one name off the list:

Crystal Mangum.

Jim In San Diego said...

To: Anonymous at 2:09

The Innocence Project has especially increased justice to Blacks and Hispanics.

1. A greatly disproportionate percent of the 300 exonerees were, in fact, Black or Hispanic. Of the 300 exonerees, 20 were at some time on Death Row somewhere. That is to say, 20 innocent people faced death for crimes they did not commit.

2. The Innocence Project's nationwide campaign to improve courtroom protections for the innocent disproportionately benefits Blacks and Hispanics, who,for example, are disproportionately convicted by unreliable cross-racial eyewitness identifications.

Durham? The Lacrosse players have done more than any other group I know to try to improve justice in Durham. They filed those legal actions available to them, and have generally been thwarted by a Court system unable to come to grips with the miasma in Durham.
What, exactly, do you think the (non-resident) lacrosse players should do, in addition?

On the other hand, don't you think those now living and working in Durham should pick up the cudgel some time? (Coleman? Brodhead? the 88? the Law School? anyone else at Duke? How about the good citizens of Durham, who have voted for the likes of Nifong, Cline, and their ilk? How about YOU?)

Just asking.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to do with them and if i did i would need a lawyer to assist in a complaint - which duke has made conventienly unavailable in nc - so what would you suggest be done?

Jim In San Diego said...

Anonymous at 6:46:

"..so what would you suggest be done?"

A surprisingly good question. When all our protections have failed, what can an ordinary person do?

I, personally, would move from Durham. I would, however, not stop to criticize other victims of Durham justice for not changing what they did not have the power to change.

The United States was colonized by people fleeing persecution from unjust laws and unjust prosecutors.

I would flee if at all possible. (Best answer from afar.)

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

If the only people who can make a dent in fixing the duke / durham judicial system do so in a vendetta driven way - and then ignore the injustice that is highlighted in the current Mangum case that could potentially affect every person in NC negatively - while again going on a vendetta driven campaign against the duke / durham justice system and Nifong - and publicizing their intentions as if that is all it takes to achieve their vendetta driven agenda - while having others who only support duke because of bb or sports or their prestige or whatever ignore and blame the complaints of those who are harmed by their games of real life and death consequences to the truly innocent - yeah right!

Just more of the same - not a righting of the justice system - not a protection of the innocent - just more we are duke see our evil type 'show' and mockery of the justice system and the intelligence of the people.

But - continue to laud their behavior and misquided intentions for what reason? I'm curious, why?

Anonymous said...

No, they need to be stopped. People do not have to migrate in the USA because of the need to flee persecution. All citizens of the USA have a right to be free from that afforded through the constitution and bill of rights. This is the USA afterall, not duke in non-USA-wonderland - that is BS and not even a viable alternative if you are concerned about the rights of all citizens.

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Jim In San Diego said...

anonymous at 12:18:

Your post is unintelligible.

I conclude you are not for real.

Why bother with this?

Jim Peterson

Jim In San Diego said...

edit: to anonymous at 12:10

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

seriously, yeah edit is the answer

hows this: looks like the innocence commission throwing their weight around in order to show their support for duke by making non-news and hoping for another disruptive duke / durham justice system news hoopla event to distract from the current Mangum case and the newly revealed second autopsy which clearly shows many of the errors contained in the first autopsy.

They got in trouble at their party by being accused of rape - and have gone on to try to make a three year old look guilty for false rape accusations even though she died from being shaken too hard so she probably couldn't talk to begin with and then the 'innocent' freed person ended back in the system for more crimes committed after he was freed; a mentally ill man carrying around a bag of bones look innocent even though he finally admitted to the killing of the person those bones belonged to, etc. - all while the DA screamed and the duke challenged judge's rulings that backed the innocence commission were overturned at appealed. That is what has been seen in durham with the innocence commission.

And then watch people on these blogs pretend those things didn't happen. YOU get real.

Anonymous said...

... and the fired DA is still screamin' while the DA judge that was put into her place by a governor who quit cuz she said she (the gov.) wasn't good enough so now she's schooling at duke is being confronted now during the Mangum case appeal by the innocence commission in their gleeful news story as if it's in the bag for them and of course they are right - or right enuff for their blog friends to harrass anyone who complains about the true lack of justice or even reasonableness in the duke / durham justice system or the actions of the innocence commission there ...

... and the judge is reported to have stated that he won his election after the last innocence commission play because he was black running against a white DA person ...