Friday, May 02, 2014

"Counselor" Cohan on Law & Procedure

Author William D. Cohan carried his “something happened” media tour to two additional programs, appearing Sunday on the Jim Campbell show and Monday on WYNC, where he was interviewed by Leonard Lopate (a politically correct type who rarely defends prosecutorial misconduct). Continuing his penchant for offering more extreme statements on the radio than made in the book, Cohan even appeared to defend—for the first time—the rigged photo array ordered by Mike Nifong, the only “evidence” Nifong ever had against the three falsely accused students.

Cohan also extended his conspiracy theory beyond previous claims of an alliance between Roy Cooper, the state bar, and the defense attorneys to block the truth. He suggested to WYNC that ethics charges appeared in the case because Cooper “could be more easily controlled by the powers that be in the state. Mike Nifong was somebody that the defense and Duke clearly could not control.” Exactly who or what these shadowy “powers” were Cohan left listeners guessing.

DNA

Host Jim Campbell started this section of the discussion by prompting Cohan (whose book he subsequently positively reviewed): “They did find DNA of semen on a towel in that bathroom.”

COHAN, at 38.40: Yes, and the defense said . . . that’s one interesting thing. She says that after he “finished,” he wiped himself off with his towel and threw it in the corner. They found that towel with his DNA on it. And of course the defense says, “Of course, they found a towel with his DNA on it, because it was his bathroom in his house.”

But the interesting thing, the thing that I keep going back to, a bit of evidence that the defense does not like to talk about [Cohan, albeit incoherently, is referring here to the results of the Meehan DNA test, which “the defense” fought tooth and nail to reveal, and which Nifong sought to conceal], which is in his statement to the police, a few days after the alleged crime, Matt Zash . .  . told the police that he was the one who—

Let me just go back here. Crystal Mangum said that in the bathroom, she was raped and sexually assaulted, there was a struggle, and she was struggling for her life. She thought she was going to die, and she was struggling to get away from her attacker [who conveniently left no bruises on her…], and during that struggle, her fingernails came off. OK? She had these plastic fingernails that she had glued on [Cohan presented no evidence that Mangum had glued them on]. They came off. Red fingernails.
In his statement to police, Matt Zash said that he was the one who went into the bathroom after the party, took the fingernails, and put them in a wastebasket. OK?

Later on, those fingernails were tested for DNA. You would have thought Matt Zash’s DNA would be on those fingernails . . . In fact, David Evans’ DNA was on those fingernails, with 98 percent certainty. Now, 98 is not 100, and maybe in the DNA world, that’s a big gulf [As the author of the “definitive, magisterial” work on the case, why didn’t he ask an expert on DNA if a result that means the DNA could belong to thousands of men is a “big gulf”?], but . . .

Still, with 98 percent certainty, the DNA matched David Evans’ DNA. So if Matt Zash was the one who put those fingernails in the trash and now David Evans (by the way, the defense explains David Evans’ DNA being on those fingernails because they say he was the one who put them in the trash [What??]). But he wasn’t the one who put them in the trash! Matt Zash was.

So my question is: how did David Evans’ DNA get on those fingernails?

Comment: Perhaps because the fact a test result that says that Evans, plus two percent of the sample pool, can’t be excluded from the test results doesn’t mean that “David Evans’ DNA get on those fingernails.”

The issue of transference—that is, DNA from a discarded item of Evans’ in Evans’ bathroom trashcan possibly cross-contaminating the false fingernails—is a concept that Cohan appears unable to grasp, even though the attorney general’s report specifically raised it.

Nifong and Ethics

Host Jim Campbell asked a question about Nifong’s myriad ethical violations, triggering what is perhaps Cohan’s longest defense of Nifong’s conduct.

COHAN, at 41.41: So I would say now that clearly [Nifong] admits now that he made mistakes along the way—but he does have an explanation for each of those things! You know, you can believe him or not. [Isn’t is the job of a “serious investigative journalist” to test a source’s credibility?] He had 28 years’ worth of experience before this incident in the DA’s office in Durham. [Again, Cohan brushes past the Darryl Howard case.] This idea that he was exploiting this case for his election, I think, is ridiculous. He’d been appointed the interim DA . . . the governor appointed him to be the DA. He decided to run for his own election in his own right in December 2005. This incident occurred in March 2006. So he was already an announced candidate.

The defense, you know, loves to say that he was exploiting this incident for his own electoral benefit. I think that’s ridiculous. Of course, Mike Nifong does, too.

Comment: It’s not clear to me what the defense “loves” to say, and since Cohan never tried to speak to the “defense,” it’s not clear to me why he chose to describe their mindset. In the event, it was the State Bar disciplinary panel, not simply the “defense,” that found Nifong exploiting the case for his electoral benefit. That’s not a finding that author Cohan wants to talk about.

Cohan’s description of politics is either willfully naïve or outright deceptive. (I suspect the latter.) His argument, as far as I can determine, is that because (a) Nifong had decided to run for election in late 2005; (b) nothing that occurred between that time and the May primary could be exploited by Nifong for political benefit. A typical high school student could offer more sophisticated political analysis.

To review: Nifong was down in the polls and saw his fundraising drying up, with his best chance of winning maximizing the black vote, when the lacrosse case emerged. He then decided to personally try his first criminal case in years.

COHAN: But he did make mistakes. In retrospect, it was a mistake to be so public about his views, about what he believed happened. He made—clearly, you know, his judgment was to believe Tara Levicy, the nurse who examined Crystal Mangum. He believed her report, which said that she had been sexually assaulted [and which he did not appear to have read before beginning his pre-primary publicity crusade…]. He believed the police investigators, who had spoken extensively to Crystal and wrote it up in the reports [sic] as she described it. [At the time of his crusade, one investigator, Himan, had written his report, and Nifong doesn’t appear to have read it.] You know, once she settled on a version [Mangum’s myriad, contradictory stories are reduced to a minor inconvenience of not “settling.”]. He believed them. He believed, you know, in his gut that something had happened that cause Crystal Mangum to react the way she did after this incident occurred. [Prosecuting people based on the DA’s “gut” feeling is quite an approach to evidentiary analysis.]

But, you know, in retrospect he was way too outspoken about it. What the defense did, because he was so outspoken about it, they filed a bunch of letters with the State Bar which eventually filed a complaint in the middle of the investigation and even before the trial had started in the middle of all of this, claiming that Mike Nifong’s public statements had sort of biased any potential jury and were prejudicial to the case, and they also claimed that he did not disclose the so-called exculpatory DNA in a timely fashion. But, you know, actually that’s not true! There were two DNA examinations—one by the state DNA experts, and as soon as he got that report back, which showed no DNA on the players in or on here, as they say, he shared that information with the defense, who then had a press conference on the Durham Co. jail to proclaim, you know, their clients’ innocence, you know, or however they said it at that time.

Then he had a second laboratory, a private laboratory, test the DNA, which is sort of how he found out about David Evans’ DNA on her fingernails. When he got those results back, too, he turned that over to the defense, who once again held a press conference proclaiming their clients’ innocence.

What they claimed he did not do in a timely fashion was turn over the entire file of thousands of pages of the DNA evidence.

Comment: Add this item to the many inaccuracies (all tilted toward bolstering Nifong’s version of the case) in Cohan’s book and commentary. Actually: “What they claimed he did not do in [any] fashion was turn over [a report that contained the results of any DNA tests that were done, instead of only some tests, with the limitation the result of an intentional agreement between Dr. Meehan and prosecutor Nifong].” Other than the bracketed items, Cohan’s statement was entirely accurate. After all, “they” did “claim” something!

Race

Host Campbell asked a bizarre question about whether the lacrosse player who responded to Kim Roberts’ racial taunt with a racial slur should have been charged with a hate crime. Cohan used the question to claim that no one denies the use of racial epithets (but lots of people, unlike Cohan, deny use of epithets at the party, when two of the defendants were present), elided the question, and then said:

COHAN, at 51.22: That’s just part of the story that nobody focuses on. In Manhattan, or New York City, probably a bigger deal would have been made about that, that didn’t seem to get anybody too jazzed up in Durham, North Carolina.

Comment: That’s true—nobody got “jazzed up” about the racial slur. Except the Group of 88, and President Brodhead, and the potbangers, and the New Black Panthers, and much of the media. Other than that, no one.

Targets

On WYNC, Cohan exhibited rather different attitudes toward the falsely accused than toward their accuser. Of the falsely accused, he harrumphed (at 2.58), “If I was flush with $20 million and somebody reputable was writing a book about it, I’d be more than happy to talk to them.” Perhaps the falsely accused students considered someone who would falsely claim they were each “flush” with “$20 million,” an inflated figure for which Cohan produced no evidence, to be non-reputable. Of Mangum (at 11.00), Cohan deemed her life story “so heartbreaking”; she made “efforts to better herself,” including by “dancing.” Cohan concluded that “the whole thing is extremely heartbreaking.”

Legal Commentary

When asked by WYNC why it was improper for Cooper to acknowledge the falsely accused students’ innocence, Cohan unleashed this response:

COHAN, at 22.54: Again, it’s [innocence] not a word that’s used, uh, in jurisprudent lexicon. I mean, uh, Cy Vance or somebody like that would have thoughts on that, I’m sure.

Here is a link to the audio above.

Comment: The first sentence is word salad—the musings of someone who knows little or nothing about the law trying to sound as if he’s a legal expert. What exactly is “jurisprudent lexicon,” anyway? A google search of the term reveals exactly one match—to this post.

As for the second sentence: Cohan has proclaimed himself such a “serious investigative journalist” that the Attorney General of North Carolina won’t be taken “seriously as a public official” unless Cooper speaks to him. So why didn’t Cohan call up Vance, the Manhattan DA, and ask his “thoughts on that”? Surely Vance would have taken the call, given Cohan’s importance.

Cohan then offered his insights about North Carolina public records law, seemingly referring to NCGS § 132-1.4, which holds that criminal records are not public documents.

COHAN, at 23.36: But of course, [Cooper] declared them innocent, so there was no crime, so it’s not technically a criminal investigation. He should turn them over.

Comment: I’m sure any lawyers listening to this explanation chuckled—regardless of its outcome, the investigation was a criminal investigation. The nature of the investigation is based on the charge, not the outcome.

The feckless WYNC host asked if Nifong felt he was being railroaded, setting up this response.

COHAN, at 20.28: Absolutely.

At 21.00: [Nifong] thinks the justice system was subverted, because it’s not supposed to work that, you know, if the prosecutor believes something happens, and he’s got witnesses who are ready to testify, he’s supposed to be able to bring that case to trial. It’s not [voice cracking] right that the case is not brought to trial because of the clever legal strategies of defense attorneys and their deep pockets.

Comment: Cohan again displays his passion for defending prosecutorial misconduct. The justice system is subverted when prosecutors lie to a judge, or don’t follow the law, or withhold exculpatory evidence, or make public statements inflaming the populace to benefit politically. These subversions don’t seem to bother Cohan.

The WYNC host asked a sympathetic question about Nifong’s being disbarred. Cohan responded with passion:

COHAN: Oh, my God! And completely disparaged! There are still lawyers working for these three indicted players who won’t be happy until Mike Nifong is silenced. They were unhappy that he was able to speak with me for this book, and they want to silence him, and bury him, if they can. Literally, I would think.

Comment: This seems to be another example of “Conspiracy-Theory-Bill” in action. He presents, of course, no evidence that attorneys for the falsely accused players have attempted to silence Nifong—indeed, since they sued him, they gave Nifong an opportunity to respond in open court. Since Cohan didn’t try to interview any of the civil-case attorneys, it’s not clear how he determined they were “unhappy that he was able to speak with me for this book”; if anything, given Nifong’s using the book to continue to attack the former students’ reputations, the book would be helpful to the civil case.

A follow-up Q from the hard-hitting WYNC host (WYNC has a reputation as the most high-brow of the nation’s public radio stations): “The irony here that the DA was the only person who spent time in jail.”

COHAN: Yes, it’s unbelievable, frankly, for what he thought was just doing his job. I mean, there are people who think he’s the anti-Christ to this day, and, again, won’t be happy until he’s not on earth anymore. You know, he made mistakes, and he’s the first to admit them, but for him to be the only person to spend a day in jail and to have his life essentially terminated—as he knew it—after having a long and distinguished career is extraordinary.

Comment: It’s terrifying that Cohan appears to think that for Nifong, “just doing his job” consisted of violating myriad ethics guidelines, ignoring the requirements of two separate North Carolina statutory provisions, and lying in open court to a judge.

Nifong and the Array

Finally, an item for the archives, from the WYNC interview, with Cohan whitewashing the rigged photo array:

COHAN, at 18.19: She couldn’t, at first, remember how many people had attacked her. She couldn’t remember their names. Of course, they may have given her fake names. She eventually did identify, with the help of the police, [emphasis added] in an identification process, she did identify three of the players, two with 100 percent certainty, one [sic] with 90 percent certainty, and those were the three who were indicted.

Comment: It’s hard to know where to start here. Obvious point: Mangum identified four, not three, people, in the rigged array—two with 100 percent certainty, two with 90 percent certainty. It’s not clear why Cohan misstated the facts here. Perhaps he never saw the transcript of the array session.

More broadly, it’s true that Mangum eventually did identify people “with the help of the police” (who rigged the process by giving her an array with only lacrosse players, and then telling her that). But in a fair process, an ID process isn’t supposed to occur “with the help of the police.” And in this case, the rigged array occurred under the direction of Cohan’s protagonist, Nifong, who by this point had assumed supervision of the police investigation.

That Cohan seems untroubled with the rigged array is unsurprising, but nonetheless revealing.

36 comments:

A Duke Dad said...

On April 28, Jim Campbell, Host of Nationally Syndicated - "Business Talk with Jim Campbell" [sic] posted a review of Cohan's book on amazon.com. He gave it 4 stars (out of 5)

4 of 23 people voted Campbell's review was 'helpful'.
More telling, 12 people separately posted rebuttals to his review. They tore him apart, in detail.

Campbell's comments on amazon include:
oo A Riveting Account of the Duke Lacrosse Scandal
oo He [Cohan] has written now the definitive account of the Duke Lacrosse scandal in his typical riveting "you can't put it down" style.
oo The book is destined to be the definitive history of the Duke Lacrosse scandal - a sad chapter in the life of an elite university. Cohan gets into big issues like the power of the elite institutions and those that can afford to pay any amount for justice; to the "hook-up" culture and binge drinking that permeate our college campuses; to the huge injustice of a rush to judgment that forever stained the reputation of innocent student-athletes. If you want the inside story, this is the book to read, Judge for yourself.

Chris Halkides said...

“The irony here that the DA was the only person who spent time in jail.” It would be helpful to know who else should have spent time in jail according to the host or to Mr. Cohan. My first choice would be Gottlieb.

Anonymous said...

"My first choice would be Gottlieb."

What about Mangum?

Anonymous said...

This interview in particular screams out for a question that I have been hoping someone would ask Cohan. "It is clear from your book and interview tour that you believe justice was subverted by a corrupt Duke and the power elite. It is also clear that you believe that Mike Nifong was misjudged and treated unfairly. You often reference the defense attorneys, but as you say, they were just doing their jobs. Do you, William Cohan, believe that Duke Law Professor James Coleman was the real villian in this story? He made critical statements about Nifong from a procedural perspective very early. He was the first to call for a special prosecutor--in June 2006! He went on 60 minutes twice and was devastating in his critique of Nifong. When Nifong dropped the rape charge in December 2006, which you Mr. Cohan cite as evidence of Nifong's integrity, Coleman said in the press that Nifong was "mooning the justice system." Coleman was a powerful and credible source because of his experience and scholarship (and, yes, because his is a liberal, African American). Do you Mr. Cohan believe that James Coleman was acting, not based on his experience as a criminal defense attorney, and not based on his activism against wrongful prosecution, and not based on his academic scholarship, but instead to "silence" Mike Nifong on behalf of Duke and the power elite? If so, why was that not more of a focus in your book? if you are correct, wasn't Duke subverting justice through its law school? Did you interview Coleman about his motivations? Did you get his view of your legal analysis of Nifong's conduct? For that matter, does any lawyer or legal scholar share your view? Why did you not quote them in the book? Where are the law review articles describing how the "system" was subverted by money and power here? Are you alone in your discovery based on your cursory review of news articles and documents and an interview with Mike Nifong?

Chris Halkides said...

Obviously I don't claim professional expertise, but I think that Ms. Mangum may well be mentally ill. If not, then yes, she should have been charged with bringing a false accusation. IIRC KC Johnson supported Attorney General Cooper's decision not to prosecute her.

Highdesert 2006 said...

I am reluctant to wade in on this, but here goes. I just finished reading the book and I began reading it basically without having seen Mr. Cohan and/or reading much about the book. My interest came from my connection to Durham (where I was born and raised) and though no longer living there I still have family residing there and have spent much time visiting over the past decades. So, the incident was something with which I was aware and had followed as it unfolded. There seems to be quite a disconnect between my reaction to what the book portrays and what Cohan's subsequent comments etc. seem to imply.

That is, when I completed the book, while in no way wishing to defend the behavior in general of the Duke lacrosse team RE the party etc etc...I closed the tome with complete amazement at the misguided behavior of Nifong et. al. in their pursuit of the team...also my view is that Duke itself was pathetic in how they handled the entire matter. But, basically there is nothing in Cohan's final pages recording Nifong's comments that convinced me not to think that he got what he deserved. So, it is strange that Cohan would write this very lengthy book wherein I think a vast majority of people would come away appalled at the miscarriage of justice that took place and that by comparison what the Duke students did was not in any way comparable. As for Crystal Mangum, she was and is a very sad case and joins Nifong in my view as being equally culpable in the entire matter.

I have posted one previous comment, about a week ago, because I was pointed to this blog by the book's noting it in the "Sources" section, so over the past 10 days or so I have become aware of all the on-going commentary. I have read much of what you have written (KC) and watched some of the posted interviews and just caught Cohan on The Daily Show a few days ago...yes, he does fudge quite a bit in his comments...again compared to what I think his book actually portrays. Perhaps this is a rather clever way to promote interest in his book to entice folks to give it a look at all this seemingly "loose ends" that he implies...in his comments...but, again, and I am sorry to repeat myself, but the book he has written certainly nails Nifong and Mangum.

I have a long career in academia, at several universities who are considered major sports centers. A comparable culture to Duke's lacrosse environment, at least in terms of the behavior portrayed in the book, would have a couple of mid-western institutions where wrestling held a particularly strong presence. Collegiatge wrestlers, I think, have had a reputation of not being the best of citizens, often, and their home universities have protected them from consequences of their untoward behavior.

You, as someone who has written a very good book about this whole sad affair certainly are justified in this on-going fact check effort and I find it very interesting, but I simply wanted to weigh in by noting that this one reader came away from the book appalled at both Nifong's actions as well as Mangum's total lack of believability and that Cohan's lame stance that "something happend in that bathroom" is certainly pathetic and sadly (tragically?) perpetuate the injustice visited on the three lacrosse players.

Thanks for listening, for whatever it is worth.

Best, Highdesert

Anonymous said...

I read *Until Proven Innocent* when it was first published and just bought it again as an e-book. It occurs to me that this is one of the most important books for our age. With the facts spelled out so clearly it is harder for writers with the level of integrity of a Nifong to try to sell us (once again) on distortions and lies about what really happened at Duke. The Cohan version will hopefully crumble because the truth matters to people like us.

Cohan's book is like a 2nd run. People were fooled the first time around...why not give untruths and distortions that create a compelling story that once "sold", a 2nd run? As entertainment for the masses and exoneration for Duke and those peculiar professors.


Anonymous said...

"A comparable culture to Duke's lacrosse environment, at least in terms of the behavior portrayed in the book,"

Except that this is part of the myth. The lacrosse players were basically unheard of on campus; anonymous (according to an article written a few months before the case broke). It wasn't a known sport. Basketball was the Duke sport.

But the narrative reads so much better the other way, if the players can be stereotyped to fit the story...

Anonymous said...

Quite remarkably, while Cohan's entry at Wikipedia lists his three prior books on Wall Street in the Bibliography section, there is no page for TPoS.

IMO, what's needed is a "fair and balanced" Wikipedia entry for TPoS with links to both favorable and unfavorable reviews, esp. KCJ's posts at DiW.

Sorry, but I have neither the Wikipedia skills to create such a page, nor the willingness to engage in a continual edit war with TPoS supporters.

Any volunteers?

[On a positive note, the Wikipedia entry for WDC currently includes as Reference #10 a link to Stuart Taylor's superb review at TNR. That's a start, but not nearly enough.]

Anonymous said...

"Obviously I don't claim professional expertise, but I think that Ms. Mangum may well be mentally ill. If not, then yes, she should have been charged with bringing a false accusation. IIRC KC Johnson supported Attorney General Cooper's decision not to prosecute her."

Well, she's now in jail for an unrelated conviction.

Anonymous said...

Broken Record Department/Parallel Universe:

1. Cohan should be shamed by both academia and media, but it's not going to happen.

2. TPoS is in no conceivable way the "definitive" work on Duke Lacrosse.

3. You may find some fault with Taylor and Johnson's "Until Proven Innocent" (UPI), but by almost totally ignoring UPI, one cannot say Cohan's book is now the definitive source.

guiowen said...

I just read a favorable review (on Amazon), giving the book 5 stars, which reads, "I was familiar with the case, and have followed Duke for years, and wondered how it turned out ..."
Are we supposed to believe that someone familiar with the case, who has followed Duke for years, DIDN'T know how the case turned out?
I guess Cohan's friends are doing what they can to help him.

William L. Anderson said...

KC, you are a better man than I. You can listen to the broadcasts without having a coronary, and then reply with facts in a clear and concise manner.

Keep up the good work. Cohan truly is a lying jerk.

Chris Halkides said...

Norah Rudin and Keith Inman wrote in 2007, "To re-visit the conventional raison d’être for interpreting low-level DNA profiles to in[f]er contact, the literature so far indicates that:
1. Where there is a known single habitual wearer, that person tends to be detected as the major source of DNA on a garment; minor profiles may also be detected from individuals with whom the habitual wearer has had close contact as well as from unknown sources.
2. The examination of evidence for handler DNA can reveal DNA of people who have, or have not, handled the item; the stronger profile may, or may not, be the person who last handled the item; An inference of direct contact between an individual and the item may or may not be supportable, depending on the circumstances of the case."

Mr. Cohan seems to be drawing an inference based on the lack of Matt Zash's DNA on the fingernails. I don't think any inference is warranted.

A Duke Dad said...

@ guiowen 11:00 AM
Cohan's friends are doing what they can to help him

The large majority of favorable reviews (3-5 stars) are by people who reviewed just ONE book (Cohan's). [click on "See all my reviews"]
I agree with guiowen -- these are likely Cohan's friends and paid rent-a-critics.

Anonymous said...

To Highdesert,

As Anonymous 10:04 am said, Duke basketball players are the BMOC, not lacrosse players. KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor reported in their book that Duke basketball players had a party with strippers not long before March 13, 2006.

Why do you think only college wrestlers are "not the best of citizens?" Do you think college basketball and football players never exhibit bad behavior?

By the way, I'm a long-time sports fan as well as someone who follows trials.

Trial Junkie

Anonymous said...

I wonder what readers think Cohan's intent was in writing this book? I wonder if he meant to bury Nifong and Magnum, while talking sympathy...intended to be cavalier towards the students to fit his narrative...to help his agenda to de-stain Duke University and the 88 professors who responded shamefully. In other words, did Cohan have an agenda that did not include having to tell the truth?

Anonymous said...

"In other words, did Cohan have an agenda that did not include having to tell the truth?"

Lying?

Highdesert 2006 said...

Dear Trial Junkie,

Well, I was curious as to just how long it would take someone out there in the great realm of the cyber world to jump on something I, or anyone else said...trust me, I in no way am trying to defend Dook basketball players or any other athletes, but simply drawing a singular comparison with another so-called non-revenue sport (wrestling)...football and basketball at Iowa are certainly "big-time" but wrestlers held (and may still hold) a somewhat lesser, though known place in the sports world of that campus, and they, like the lacrosse team, were known for very serious infractions, which in many ways never made it to the light of public day, all I was saying or trying to say that the record of the Dook lacrosse team in terms of their interactions with Durham and Dook authorities is matched in other places and by similar minor sports, as are the "major" sports...which is in no way to say that the other big-time sports participants were innocent...nor did I say that...as a UNCCH graduate (a very elder grad btw), I have no illusions about just who are innocent or guilty or whatever...witness the crap that has been unfolding in Chapel Hill over the past several years...and trust me, as someone who witnessed Art Heyman et. al in the olden days of Dook basketball, well I hope you get my point.

In my comments this morning, I was simply trying to make an observation regarding the disconnect I have experienced with my surmise of the whole sordid episode, even as it is told in the book,and then the bizarre book tour unfolding before us all...its as if, from my view, Cohan did not write the book, at least based on his subsequent commentary...because for me, the book is an incredible indictment of Nifong, Mangum and Dook...pardon me, Duke.

As a rather retro older guy, I find it so interesting that when one seeks to post a comment, and attempts to be civil and measured, there are always those few out there who just can't resist either missing the point or simply piling on...you sir, or ma'am, truly underestimate what I know about collegiate sports and also what is fair and just...as the recent Vanderbilt rape scenario shows, things are truly amiss everywhere, and let's not even get in to FSU's stellar quarterback and his love for crab legs...the latter certainly not being in the same league as rape and sexual assault.

So, to conclude...rather than trying to argue with me...or somehow accuse me of overlooking other similar issues as they exist among many so-called student-athletes, I suggest you step back and see if we might have a conversation.

Best, Highdesert2006

Highdesert 2006 said...

Highdesert2006, again...

Just to be clear...I never said lacrosse jocks were BMOC...I was drawing a link to their behavior and interactions with authority in the same way that wrestlers have also been portrayed, not their place in the hierarchy of sports at Duke or anywhere...same with wrestlers...maybe I was not articulate enough for the twitter/text world, but I think I said that wrestlers were sometimes known as rowdy, loutish and in need of a cotillion...not that they, nor lacrosse, was a big deal on campus...heck, when I was a kid I can recall the then lacrosse players at Duke simply playing on a dusty parking lot above Duke Stadium (which of course is no longer there) with simple chalk marking off the field of play and goals marking the end boundaries...more like a pick-up game...anyway, just understand that what happened in Durham was incredibly misguided on the part of the legal authorities, and again, this view of mine is in no way intended to imply that I condone the behavior of the lacrosse team...in terms of how they got in the mess in the first place.

RighteousThug said...

Highdesert 2006 said...

"they, like the lacrosse team, were known for very serious infractions"

That is simply not true about the Duke Lacrosse team, esp the 2005-2006 team.

Lance the Intern said...

Highdesert 2006 -- FWIW, the most serious infractions I could find in regard to the Duke Lacrosse team prior to the rape allegations were incidents of public urination and hitting golf balls at buildings.

That's nowhere near as bad as Iowa wrestlers hunting rabbits on campus without a license ;)

Rick said...

KC - the Obama administration just released a report that says that one out of every five women who attend college in the US are sexual assault victims.

You have written on numerous occasions here that you are an Obama supporter.

Given this federal report, basic logic says that you shouldn't be surprised that people still believe that the former Duke lacrosse players are guilty of rape. After all, all these girls the Obama administration claims are being raped aren't raping themselves, right? Someone must be.

What do you think about the Obama-directed study, headed by Biden, that says that 20 percent of the women who attend college in the US are victims of sexual assault?

Rick said...

Additionally KC - you are a professor at a college, right?

Are 20 percent of the young women on your campus being sexually assaulted?

The Obama administration says so. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

By the way, here's the federal report:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/report_0.pdf

The 1 in 5 stat is on page 2.

- Rick

Rick said...

I feel so strongly about this because I'm a retired USAF officer and I know that the recently released Obama administration report claiming that 26,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2013 is also a complete lie.

Nifong is a Democrat, and a coward who avoided service in Vietnam by claiming conscientious objector status. He obviously, later in life, had no problem also claiming a moral objective in railroading innocent young men to further his political ambitions.

It's high time someone called him on his cowardice, and also high time someone calls this administration on it's moral cowardice. 1 in 5 girls in college in America are not being raped. 26,000 girls in the US military were not raped in 2013.

The truth will set you free. Embrace it.

RighteousThug said...

KC

"because the fact a test result that says that Evans, plus two percent of the sample pool"

KC, can you refresh our memories - how large was the sample pool that DNASI used? That was one of the items that Brad Bannon had to glean from the mythical 1800 pages that Meehan/Nifong dumped on the defense, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Cohan's book, as of a few minutes ago, has gathered 50 one star reviews. That is 50 one star reviews in the space of less than a month. That must be some kind of record.

Anonymous said...

Cohan's book has four 1 star reviews on Barnes and Noble and on reviews on Books a Million.

Anonymous said...

For comparison's sake, Until Proven Innocent gathered only four i star reviews in 4 years, It's Not About the Truth gathered five 1 star reviews in 7 years. Rush to Injustice has yet to be reviewed on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Cohan's book has racked up more 1 star reviews than all the other books on the Duke Lacrosse case combined, including The Last Dance for Grace.

Anonymous said...

Dear KC, you teach in Brooklyn, WYNC? W York New City? WNewYorkCity WNYC...

Chris Halkides said...

The American Bar Association issued standards on DNA evidence. Stadard 1.2 reads in part "(d) Test results and their interpretation should be reported and presented in an accurate, fair, complete, and clear manner." Standard 3.3 reads in part "(a) A summary of all DNA testing and data interpretation should be recorded promptly in a report."

There is also the issue of release of the unprocessed data. Standard 4.1 reads in part, "(viii) all raw electronic data produced during testing;" I don't know whether or not the defense requested this, but they might have done so in the fall of 2006. The raw data require both software and expertise to produce an electropherogram as the output, but every DNA expert whom I have asked has been unequivocal in the utility of the data in this form. I don't think that we know enough to know whether Mr. Nifong was derelict in his duty with respect to this aspect of discovery.

Anonymous said...

Any sane cogent rational person who paid attention at the time and since knows Nifong did everything in his power to obstruct subvert and pervert justice in this case. There was DNA from multiple unidentified males in out and about Mangum. Where was the inquiry to find those potential suspects? Answer is, Nifong knew the case was bs from before the first test result. He was always only trying to cop a plea, not prosecute a real case. Illegitimate unconstitutional non-lineup lineups, witness tampering and intimidation, never interviewing the accuser on record, not taking notes of meetings, conspiring with "expert Meehan", sending goons and henchmen to elicit false testimony, engaging in outrageous canonical professional and ethical breaches, gross disreputable courtroom behavior, lying to a judge, and yet many still seek to parse words and split hairs in some pathetic attempt to exhume this McCarthyite witch hunt. Shame on Cohan and his daisy chain of positive reinforcers.

Chris Halkides said...

Gary L. Wells, Brian L. Cutler, and Lisa E. Hasel wrote a chapter in the book "Race to Injustice" on lineups. They acknowledge that they are not disinterested parties. However, they are clear about the problems in this lineup: "...the identification procedures used in the Duke lacrosse case were profoundly flawed, dangerous, and nondiagnostic of the guilt or innocence of the accused individuals."

One of the driving forces for changes in the way police conduct line-ups is the fact that 75% of DNA exonerations involve mistaken eyewitness testimony. Why anyone would want to do a rape investigation the "good, old-fashioned way" is beyond me. I doubt that Nifong wanted to do an honest investigation. What Mr. Cohan wants is less clear. One of these radio hosts should ask him.

KC Johnson said...

Agree completely with Chris on the "oldfashioned way" comment.

On the general point about the book & the case: I believe it's possible for someone who didn't closely follow the case to come away from the book believing the guys were innocent, because the book is stuffed with so much material (presumably based on preps from the research ass't) that provides the narrative.

On the other hand, just listening to Cohan's comments in interviews (and not reading the book), you'd come away certain the guys were guilty and Nifong was "railroaded." It certainly seems that's what Cohan actually believes. For whatever reason (editorial pressure, legal rejection) he couldn't be so clear in the book itself--although his approach was absolutely clear to anyone who followed the case closely.