Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nifong's Legacy of Misconduct

Some reactions to the expanded ethics charges filed yesterday by the State Bar:

1.) These charges suggest that the Bar’s intent is to strip Nifong of his license.

From the AP story:

  • UNC law professor Joseph Kennedy: “If these allegations are true and if they don’t justify disbarment, then I’m not sure what does. It’s hard for me to imagine a more serious set of allegations against a prosecutor.”
  • Duke law professor Thomas Metzloff: The new charges “have significantly increased the chances for a serious sanction, possibly including suspension or disbarment.”

2.) Joe Neff is prescient.

In a December 24 N&O story, Neff and Ben Niolet analyzed Nifong’s ever-changing explanations as to why he didn’t turn over exculpatory DNA evidence to the defense. The district attorney had just given an interview to the New York Times suggesting that his heavy workload led to an oversight on his part.

But this excuse, Neff calculated, “was Nifong’s third explanation why he did not turn over the evidence.” Nifong previously had claimed he hadn’t heard about the matter prior to a December 13 defense motion; and then made the extraordinary claim that “we were trying to, just as Dr. Meehan said, trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud.”

The Bar noticed Nifong’s evasions as well—and added a fourth. On December 28, in a letter to the Bar, the D.A. returned to justification #2—a desire to protect privacy rights.

Yet, as paragraph 283 of the amended complaint noted, Meehan’s report listed the names and DNA profiles of two lacrosse players not then indicted (Dave Evans and Kevin Coleman), plus the names of all lacrosse players who had contributed DNA specimens.

In an extraordinary move, the Bar used that information to deem Nifong’s response not only unpersuasive but an ethical violation in and of itself. Nifong’s December 28 assertions that privacy concerns explained his approach to not turning over the DNA test results, the amended complaint argued, “were knowingly false statements of material fact made in connection with a disciplinary matter.”

[In an article published in today's Times, Duff Wilson (writing under the sole byline, alas) paraphrases Nifong's December Times interview to offer yet another explanation for his withholding the evidence. "In an interview last month," writes Wilson, "Mr. Nifong agreed that the DNA results had been potentially exculpatory, but said they had not seemed important to him because he was no longer then pursuing the case on the basis of DNA evidence."

The original article had mentioned the first point, but not the second. In any case, the distinction is irrelevant--the Open Discovery statute requires turning over all evidence, whether or not the prosecution considers it exculpatory. And if Nifong were no longer then pursuing the case on the basis of DNA evidence, how to explain the May decision to indict Dave Evans?]

3.) Nifong’s false representations to the court over the past several months were damning.

Nifong, the amended complaint makes clear, does not deny that Dr. Meehan told him of the exculpatory DNA evidence. That admission alone contradicted multiple written or oral statements by Nifong to various judges in the case.

On May 18, Nifong wrote, “The State is not aware of any additional material or information which may be exculpatory in nature with respect to the Defendant.” At the hearing where he stood idly by as a hate group member threatened Reade Seligmann, Nifong also Judge Ronald Stephens, “I’ve turned over everything I have.”

On June 22, Nifong again deceived the gullible Stephens, who wanted to make sure that he had discussed with Dr. Meehan nothing other than the contents of Meehan’s report. “That’s pretty much correct, your Honor.”

On September 22, Nifong deceived the new judge, Osmond Smith.

  • Smith: “So you represent there are no other statements?”
  • Nifong: “No other statements. No other statements made to me.”

4.) The breadth of the ethics complaint was surprising.

On the surface, the amended complaint dealt only with the Nifong-Meehan conspiracy and Nifong’s false representations of the duo’s agreement. But at least two other paragraphs of the amended complaint touched upon additional questionable behavior by Nifong.

Paragraph 205 noted that Nifong “sought and obtained these indictments [against Seligmann and Finnerty] . . . despite his office’s prior representation in the application for the NTO [non-testimonial order] that the ‘DNA evidence will immediately rule out any innocent persons.’”

Paragraph 206 added that Nifong “repeatedly refused offers from counsel for the players who were eventually indicted to consider evidence and information that they contended either provided an alibi or otherwise demonstrated that their clients did not commit any crime.”

These moves hinted at other ethical violations, specifically a violation of Rule 3.8, comment 2, which states that “a prosecutor should not intentionally avoid pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor’s case or aid the accused.”

The Bar didn’t need these two paragraphs to make its case in today’s amended complaint; but they provided a compelling reminder of Nifong’s general aura of misconduct.

5.) The amended complaint made several subtle, interesting points.

The complaint cast a negative light on Nifong’s disparate approaches to similar issues. For instance, the Bar noted, when the defense requested the underlying data and complete file from Dr. Meehan, the D.A. accused defense attorneys of seeking a “witch hunt list.” He read a letter into the record from Meehan expressing privacy concerns. He complained about the excessive cost of the move.

Yet, as the Bar observed, when the defense requested the identical material from the SBI, Nifong “raised no such concerns or objections.” Could it have been that Nifong had something to hide in the Meehan material?

On a second point, the amended complaint argued that Nifong committed a “continuing violation” of the Open Discovery statute up to the very second that AG Roy Cooper took over the case.

As paragraph 255 explains, “Even when Nifong ultimately provided the underlying documents and materials on October 27, he did not provide the Duke Defendants a complete report from DSI setting forth the results of all its tests and examinations, including the potentially exculpatory DNA test results.”

On a third point, Nifong’s non-testimonial order ultimately backfired on him. At the time, it served the D.A.’s purpose to have the 46 lacrosse players engage in a “perp walk” before tipped-off media representatives.

But because the defense accepted the non-testimonial order, by law, Nifong was required to hand over to the players or their attorneys a “copy of any reports of test results as soon as the reports are available.” Nifong, of course, didn’t do so.

6.) There’s no longer much mystery to why Inv. Linwood Wilson picked December 21 to interview the accuser for the first time.

The amended complaint states that the initial grievance letter from the Bar about Nifong’s withholding the DNA evidence arrived on December 20. “Coincidentally,” Nifong decided to have the accuser interviewed the next day, when she produced a story that downplayed the significance of the DNA evidence that Nifong had withheld.

7.) The closing section underscores the extent of the Bar’s concerns.

The complaint traces a “systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion in the underlying criminal cases,” accusing Nifong of having “engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

It asserts that Nifong committed professional misconduct, violating Rule 8.4(d) of the bar’s ethics code. Comment 4 of the rule clarifies: “A showing of actual prejudice to the administration of justice is not required to establish a violation of paragraph (d). Rather, it must only be shown that the act had a reasonable likelihood of prejudicing the administration of justice.” And, as Comment 6 outlines, “Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers.”

The amended report paints a picture of a prosecutor who has flagrantly violated multiple rules of professional conduct over a period of many months, and showed no indication that his behavior was going to let up in any way even as he turned the case over to the attorney general.

How can Nifong possibly not take a leave of absence as District Attorney until these charges are resolved?

265 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 265 of 265
Anonymous said...

huesofblue
maybe you should take this case to the Sheep of Durham who piled on the lax boys.

Anonymous said...

JLS says.....

As I just asserted on FreeRepblic is Nifong through is attorney trying to bring condemnation down on the accused who are still under indictments brought by his office YET ANOTHER VIOLATION OF THE NC CANNONS OF ETHICS?

I don't get how he can not make self serving comments to bring comdemnation on the accused in his own defense outside of the hearing and not have that be yet another violation?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure we want to go so far as to literally prevent prosecutors from saying they think the people they charge with felonies are guilty in public. As they say, bad cases make bad law.

Anonymous said...

re Anti-Leftist Liberal

Great post. Fellow posters: IMO, this dude is a legit Duke professor. His distinction between the classical marxists and the multicultis is absolutely correct.

Please don't bust his balls with BS about his bona fides. It's insulting to him, and counterproductive to the nature of this forum.

Thank you.

RP

Cedarford said...

Anti-leftist Liberal - An interesting perspective. While I think you may be onto a facet of this with nerds vs. jocks, nerds (like me, err...with a few jock trophies and military service...) tend to go with the Ordered Society, Hard Work and Perserverence Rewarded ideal. Nerds align against "entitlements", and generally tend to oppose favortism of people just for who they ARE, rather than what they DO. Nerds also dislike the arts and humanities more than most folks.

If you look at activist faculty, I think you will see they generally come from the clique of not jocks or nerds, but the smaller clique of "touchy feely" activist students who "awaken" and find their passion in various adolescent movements and in organizing and advocating for them. This smaller clique is intelligent, finds like-minded fellow "concerned" people out, and judge their worth from the extent of their committment and the degree of approval of others. It helps to be alienated from "the group" at an early age - by extreme sensitivity, homosexuality, broken family

They are not jocks or nerds - they are the ones at the table discussing how their high school can ban non-union grapes or drafting a resolution of disapproval about NATO killing Bosnian babies -- or 15-year olds discussing who memorized the Qu'ran at an earlier age and follows the Hadiths the best, and if Sayyid Qutb, Arafat, or Attaturk is the future...

Perhaps a study of who tends to grow up to be a white-male loathing, postmodern Foucault minion is out there.. There are hundreds of lavishly funded studies on who grows up to be a serial killer, Noble Prize winner, terrorist...maybe a study exists on who grows up to be in the world of the Group of 88??

*******************

Anonymous said...

Several miscellaneous thoughts after reading this thread:

1) Duff Wilson's latest article should be forwarded to the NC State Bar so that they can amend their amended complaint to add still another instance of Nifong fabricating reasons for not turning over the DNA evidence.

2) Re the 3-hour interview that Nifong granted to the NY Times in December: wasn't that on Dec. 21, the same day that Wilson interviewed the FA?

3) Re Nifong's decision to meet with the FA: I saw that he was quoted as saying he wanted to get her approval before recusing himself. Still another example of just how inverted this process is in his mind. Now he needs HER approval prior to acting?

4) Re Nifong's decision to drop the rape charges and yet retain the other charges (and the statement by his attorney that he would bring the same charges if given the opportunity to do it over): he has no alternative at this point but to say that. If he didn't say and do these things, he'd be inviting a charge of malicious prosecution. I think that's where this case is headed, but he's scrambling to cover his a** with a bandaid on this one.

5) I saw somewhere that Easley spoke at NYU Law School and, when asked about Nifong, he volunteered his less than enthusiastic opinion of the man and said that he had only appointed him the the DA's job on the understanding that it would be an interim appointment and that he wouldn't run for election as the permanent DA. Leaving aside for the moment Easley's embarrassingly late entrance on the scene (leaving the sinking ship, perhaps?), this comment, if true, lends even further support to the notion that Nifong took the appointment under false pretenses and then acted out of political motivation when, as his own former campaign manager reported, he ran for office to maximize his pension by sticking around for another 4 years. This could also clear up any discrepancy about when a full pension vests -- even if Nifong was entitled to a full pension prior to this election, perhaps he was in a position, as another post suggests, to maximize the amount by staying on for that much longer at a higher salary.

6) Nifong's attorney said today that his client was "devastated" at the level of critical response by other attorneys about his case. He said "it's like he's Public Enemy #1." I can't help but point out the irony of that observation, considering that the defendants in this nightmare have been held up by many as Public Enemies #1, 2 and 3 for the past 10 months because of his actions.

7) Re the 10:13 post by Gayle Miller: I'm intrigued by your comment: "Mike Nifong has long promoted himself as having an exceptionally high IQ and definitely sought special treatment because he is so 'brilliant'." I don't doubt it -- just curious where this is from.

8) Finally, regarding the seven comments in this thread alone that refer to Nifong as someone who is either mentally unbalanced, suicidal or otherwise, I have thought all along that he was delusional at best. That, coupled with his politically motivated handling of this case, makes for a disturbing combination.

Anonymous said...

1:35 PM Cedarford:

A agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Paul Graham wrote an excellent essay on nerds called Why Nerds Are Unpopular. We nerds are inclined towards doing things like building bridges, building (from scratch) computers, writing software, etc. And we come in all shapes and colors, mostly odd.

Thus I had difficulty with Anti-leftist Liberal's 11:34 AM post.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Cedarford said:


Nerds also dislike the arts and humanities more than most folks.


Hmmm, I am not sure I can agree with you there.

For example, I like Kipling, Shakespear, Frost, Colleridge, 孫子, Da Vinci, Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, learning foreign languages, speaking to people in foreign languages, being helpful, building things, feeling strongly about someone special, things that go bang, and making a difference.

Oh, I see.

Anonymous said...

Oh Cedarford, THE arts - a jar of urine with a submerged icon, a bull whip up someones ass, a symphony of breaking Glass, wrapping the great outdoors, ad infinauseum.... Cedar, you shall go to the prom!

MTU'76

Anonymous said...

Anti-Left Liberal,

Can you give us a definition of "postmodernism" and "poststructuralism"?

This passage from Charlotte Allen's piece (good overview of the case at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/190uejex.asp?pg=2

"Postmodern theorists pride themselves in discerning what they call "metanarratives." They argue that such concepts as, say, Christianity or patriotism or the American legal system are no more than socially constructed tall tales that the postmodernists can then "deconstruct" to unmask the real purpose behind them, which is (say the postmodernists) to prop up societal structures of--yes, you guessed it--race, gender, class, and white male privilege."

I'm reading "The Killing of History" by Keith Windschuttle dealing with these things but how would you define the terms as you see them at Duke?

Michael said...

re: Nerds

I think that nerds gravitate towards constructive (and sometimes destructive) things but that they can have interests in the arts and humanities too. But the amount of time spent in traditionally nerdy areas may crowd out time for other things.

If you look through history at mathematicians of great accomplishment, you'll find that they generally had many interests and that many were essentially philosophers. Some relatively modern examples of nerds with varied interests are Bertrand Russel and Richard Feynman.

Anonymous said...

"Not all Duke marxists signed the letters. I'm not sure if that was because they have a modicum of integrity ..."

Or maybe just sufficient intelligence to see the potential downside if the charges did turn out to be false.

RogerA said...

Anti-LL--your 1:10 post certainly rings true--I was on a very small faculty of a very small college and know full well how little things build up over the course of tenure.

I am sure you have heard the academic's credo: the battles are so intense in academe because the stakes are so small.

Why does this situation arise? My theory: academicians being intelligent (not necessarily smart) understand that conflict is deemed undesirable in academe--even though they may genuinely wish to do physical harm to many of their colleagues, the prevailing norms prohibit them from doing that--thus they resort to passive aggressive responses; and because they are intelligent, they are very adept passive aggressive personalities.

My ultimate solution would be to perhaps have one day a year where the faculty could be locked into cages and permitted to commit mayhem on each other, thereby releasing the pent up aggressiveness.

Anonymous said...

Boy, even Stevenson is beginning to turn on Nifong. He actually reported some facts.

Will wonders never end!

John Stevenson : The Herald-Sun

Anonymous said...

Anti-Leftist Liberal wrote:

"A deeper reason for the hate stems from the students’ likely future occupations. Most of the letter-signers are Marxists at some level, and hence hope for the overthrow of our political and economic systems. Many if not most of the lacrosse players are headed for the financial heart of that system, aiming to work in firms such as investment banks. They are therefore the class enemy – and for Marxists, class struggle is ultimately what it is all about."

How hypocritical of the G88 whose salaries depend on the investment bankers' management of the endowment. The G88 operate comfortably within a framework that must be destroyed, an irony I suspect is completely lost upon them.

dl

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure we want to go so far as to literally prevent prosecutors from saying they think the people they charge with felonies are guilty in public. "

Why not?

When you see a case being tried in the press it's usually the prosecution that started it and the defense that's responding.
That's because most defendants, being private citizens, don't want their name in the paper, while most per^H^Hrosecutors, being public officials, do.

But prosecutors are paid by the state to try people in court and put them in prison, not to slime them in the court of public opinion.

So except in the rare case when the defense makes public statements first, I don't see why prosecutors should ever make public statements about a current case beyond the name of the accused, the charges, and the nature and date of the next scheduled hearing.

Anonymous said...

To DL 2:35

Another thing that seems lost on the 88, and their ilk, in relation to their hatred of the students is that another word for “student” is “customer”.

Can you think of any enterprise, outside of academia, that would survive with a significant number of employees voicing hatred for the customers? What’s more illogical is that the management of academia supports the people who dislike the customers.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with that.

It is the defense attorneys that try cases in the media, the laws about what a prosecutor can and cannot say and do are MUCH more strict than those for defense attornies, who can do everything short of put someone on the stand they know for a fact is lying.

Really, did anyone think a satanic cult killed Laci Peterson?

In general, I believe defense attorneys are given much, much too much leeway in constructing and making public fantastic alternative scenarios without any proof, or alleging police evidence planting without any proof.

This case is, in my opinion, a true rarity where the defendants are obviously factually innocent and the prosecution is obviously breaking the law to keep the case alive.

Anonymous said...

2:43 -

LOL. I own a company that provides services for the F500 and had the same thoughts...

"How about a side of contempt with the "F" you got on that paper?"

;-)

dl

Anonymous said...

2:47 PM
"This case is, in my opinion, a true rarity where the defendants are obviously factually innocent and the prosecution is obviously breaking the law to keep the case alive."

Yes, and perhaps we should just do away with those pesky trials, presumption of innocence, due process and the very annoying probable cause.

Cause probably they're all guilty anysways...

Anonymous said...

"Can you think of any enterprise, outside of academia, that would survive with a significant number of employees voicing hatred for the customers? What’s more illogical is that the management of academia supports the people who dislike the customers."

Most illogical of all are the customers who kep coming back, and the former customers who keep on paying.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to Peter Wood, someone should do some research and present a paper on Wood's vitriolic hatred of lacrosse players at Duke.

In plain language, what's his beef with Pressler's players? Is it geographical dislike? A delusional need to defend American Indians?

If I recall correctly, in an interview with NYT, Wood distinguished lacrosse players from basketball and (hatwearing?) football players.

Anonymous said...

The presumption of innocence is a term of legal art reserved for the courtroom. The fact that it is so widely misunderstood is another example of the failure at all levels of the educational system in this country.

It would be pretty stupid to force the prosecutor to presume the person he's charged with a crime was innocent and speak about him as such, now wouldn't it?

The fact remains that there are many more constraints on a prosecutor than a defense attorney, perhaps for good reason, perhaps we've moved too far toward protecting the accused at the expense of society.

Anonymous said...

3:02 PM

From Former Prosecutor under KC's "The Bar Lays Down the Law" 8:24 PM post:

"The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman. And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway. A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility."

I'm trying to make this square with your comment:
"It would be pretty stupid to force the prosecutor to presume the person he's charged with a crime was innocent and speak about him as such, now wouldn't it?"

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

3:09

Sorry I don't get you.

A prosecutor who brings charges, must believe the person he is charging is guilty, otherwise it would be an obscenity. Hence, my statement that it would be stupid to extend the 'presumption of innocence' narrative to the prosecutor or to force him to treat the charged individual as presumptively innocent, it would in effect, mean he starts with the assumption that he's made a mistake. It's silly.

The presumption of innocence is for the judge and jury. No one else. It means that the charging of the case is irrelevant in terms of deciding guilt, the charge must be proven and the charge itself does not constitute evidence of guilt. That's it.

Pre-trial publicity issues are not about the presumption of innocence per se, but that negative and inflammatory publicity can prejudice the defedant's right to a fair trial by eroding the jury pool's ability to presume innocence at the outset.

Being gentlemanly or humane has nothing to do with believing the person you are prosecuting is guilty, I hope we expect that at the least.

Anonymous said...

“Another thing that seems lost on the 88, and their ilk, in relation to their hatred of the students is that another word for “student” is “customer”.”

I don’t think “student” and “customer” should be interchangeable. Maybe I’m being naïve or romantic, but admissions should be a privilege you earn without regard to income or ability to pay. Those with the means should pay and those without the means should receive the assistance of the school to make attendance possible. Neither admission, grades nor graduation should be for sale. You can look tuition as a students purchasing a service or look at it as students paying a share of the expenses associated with their education. It’s not a huge distinction, but I think it is a real one.

I also think it’s wrong to say that no business could get away with treating its customers the way that elite colleges do. If the same supply and demand existed, I’m sure they could. Look at the velvet-rope night clubs in New York and Las Vegas that screen patrons by appearance and make people wait for hours for the privilege of paying $20 a drink.

M. Simon said...

anon 10:42AM said:

www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/columnists/

Anonymous said...

3:16 PM

I stand corrected. My mistake was in looking for the protection of truly innocence individuals by judicial system. if "Being gentlemanly or humane ...I hope we expect that at the least" is a given, then I agree.

M. Simon said...

anon 10:48AM said:

abcnews.go.com/US/LegalCenter/

Anonymous said...

re "nerds"

that word has absolutely no value. its constitutionally vague

what's "cool" to 1 person, is "uncool" to another

to me, lacrosse looks like fun. would I want to be identified as a "lacrosse player" for getting-laid purposes?

Absolutely not

RP

Anonymous said...

erratum

meant uncon...

Anonymous said...

dl

2:35 PM

I think you are right. Remember that marxists are about DESTRUCTION of society, as they are not capable of building anything. As one who visited East Germany back in the days of commieland, it was a very depressing place where things really did not work very well, the food was pretty bad, and life was endured. (Kind of like the picture that the G88 try to paint of Duke. You know, Duke University, where the KKK abounds, women are raped, and those damned lacrosse players strut around raping women and wearing white sheets.)

I don't have much respect for these kinds of people. They are given jobs where they don't have to work hard, are paid very well, and spend all their time complaining about their poor, oppressed lives.

Anonymous said...

to 2:05 "bullwhip up someone's ass"

You're alluding to the late Robert Mapplethorpe, a good friend and collaborator of mine. I'd do my research before poking fun at Mapplethorpe. He produced masterpieces for me, including brilliant portraits of Katlleen Turner and Deborah Harry. I showed some of these works to Andre Kertesz, 1 of the greatest photographers ever. He liked them a lot. Don Barthelme, the great short story writer, also was a fan of his work. That bullwhip photo was intended as a pastiche of celebrity photos. Whenever Robert was asked about that self-portrait, he would laugh.

Jim Clyne

Anonymous said...

"Can you think of any enterprise, outside of academia, that would survive with a significant number of employees voicing hatred for the customers?

JLS says.....

NFL, MLB, NBA, Hollywood, Pepsico etc. I can think of scores of enterprises just in those industries that have employees that express contempt if not out right hatred for their customers. If we like the product, we customers ignor the people providing it. "Hollywood" certainly hates much of America, their customer base.

That is in some sense the market way. We want the product. Our interaction with the person providing the product is pretty tangential.

Heck every time you go to a shop and the sales clerk makes you wait until they are off the phone, they are expressing their contempt for you right in your face.

M. Simon said...

anon. 11:46 AM,

Yeah. I hate the neocons too.

They think self government is a human right and that the USA should promote it by any means neccessary.

Such evil people.

M. Simon said...

joe B.,

re: 1:03 PM

Try the University of Chicago.

Anonymous said...

m. simon

I suspect if you are waiting for the neocon view of life to bear fruit--other than strange, warped, poisonous fruit--you have a long, long wait.

Anonymous said...

Again, many thanks for the insightful comments on my off-topic posting on academic radicals and "nerds." I think that 1:35 and 1:46 are basically right, but I would still argue that many radical intelllectuals have been and still are desperate NOT to be considered nerds, hence their constant posturing. I use the term "cool" ethnographically -- I have often heard radical profs. talk about "the cool people" (in other words, themselves). All too often at Duke, I was reminded of High School.

Instead of defining terms like "poststructralism," may I recommend a few books to add to the list beginning with The Killing of History? 1. Frederick Crew's Postmodern Pooh -- a delightful parody of pomo literary theory (by such "authors" as Carla Gulag, Sisera Catheter, and Das Nuffa Dat). 2. Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals and the Abuse of Science. Sokal alone should have killled the pomo movement entirely. 3. Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. Published in 1994, but still timely. 4. Richard J. Ellis, The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America. A comprehensive and brilliant historical account. 5, Susan Haack, Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate -- only for those with a real taste for epistemology.

Anti-Leftist Liberal

M. Simon said...

1:58 PM,

Nerds also dislike the arts and humanities more than most folks.

Should be rephrased:

Nerds also dislike the arts and humanities faculty more than most folks.

Most nerds I know (I know a lot being a member of the tribe) know more about the humanities than humanities folks know about engineering and science.

C.P. Snow territory.

M. Simon said...

2:12 PM,

Richard Feynman.

Funny you should mention him. He was really into strippers.

Anonymous said...

"Nifong's comment via his mouthpiece today is that he could not interview the accuser due to pregnancy complications"

Apparently, it was so complicated, that her family couldn't see her either. Hogwash. I've had complicated pregnancies...never stopped me from talking. And it doesn't explain why he didn't interview her BEFORE she became pregnant, either.

I'm not convinced, at this point, that even Nifong knows what the truth is.

M. Simon said...

2:47PM,

Really, did anyone think a satanic cult killed Laci Peterson?

Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

I think the cult had one member. Who was tried and convicted.

M. Simon said...

anon. 3:02 PM,

perhaps we've moved too far toward protecting the accused at the expense of society.

Until the rogue prosecutor puts you in the dock for something you didn't do.

I've actually heard of cases like that. How about you?

M. Simon said...

4:08 PM,

I suppose you are right. Look at how poorly the neocon experiment has worked in the good old USA.

It appears to be failing all over the world.

Where is my Little Red Book? Where is Mao when you really need him?

Anonymous said...

m. simon

This case is a rarity, people who are obviously, factualy innocent and have alibi witnesses, receipts and themselves on bank cameras and the only witness is a known criminal, substance abuser with a long history of mental illness and other false accusations are rarely if ever wrongly prosecuted. This is a one in a million case. I don't believe innocent people are railroaded right and left in this country by unethical prosecutors.

I think you are confusing democracy with the neoconservative philosophy. In case you've missed the recent news, the neoconservative experiment has failed miserably because it has nothing to do with democracy at its heart, it serves an altogether different and darker purpose. In my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

UM 4:50

You might try googling “freed dna”, without the quote marks. Then click on the News tab in the Google results page. Keep going through the pages you’ll find plenty.

On the Google web results page you’ll get things like:

“Since 1989, 188 prisoners have been freed after DNA tests proved their innocence, according to the Innocence Project in New York. ...”

&

“A man who served 18 years in prison after the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old McDonald’s manager will be freed because new DNA tests found he didn’t commit”

&

“Florida man freed by DNA after 24 years behind bars”

&

“inmates cleared by DNA to be freed”

That’s without even getting to the bottom of page 1

Not saying the prosecutors were crooked, but quite a few guys have gotten “get out of jail cards” because dna said someone else did the crime.

What is your idea of a “acceptable” number of people being thrown in jail when hard evidence says they didn’t do it?

Oh! By the way ! in most cases there actually was a crime – not like the Duke hoax – so the actual “bad guy” got away.

Anonymous said...

People freed by DNA represent less than one percent of prison inmates, that means over 99% of them have not been freed by DNA, and are most likely guilty.

Also, those wrongly convicted in these types of cases are almost ALWAYS the result of being misidentified, they looked like the perp or they were in the area where the crime was committed, maybe they had a record, and things snowballed on them.

None of the DNA exonerations were for FAKE CRIMES such as we have here in this case. So I will stick to my view that innocent people going to prison is a boogeyman used by the defense bar that doesn't reflect reality.

I am pretty happy with a 99% plus success rate at convicting the guilty. What I am not so happy about are all the criminals that do not get convicted, or are convicted only to be let out after a few years so they can work more mayhem.

Anonymous said...

PS,

If you do the math it is like 99.99 percent of incarcerated persons have not been exonerated.

188 cases over 15 years compared to the MILLIONS of people that have been convicted since 1989.

It is actually a pretty good track record, and getting better all the time, now that DNA technology has improved so much.

Anonymous said...

5:17

It makes heart warm to know that you’re happy that, in your words: “I am pretty happy with a 99% plus success rate at convicting the guilty.”

Since, per the DOJ, the prison population is 2,193,798, that would mean that you’re happy that ONLY 21,938 wrongly convicted people are in jail. Guess that's okay with you.

AND the guy that REALLY did the crime is out on the street, laughing at the system while doing more crimes.

Anonymous said...

Prof A-L-L,

Thanks for the references. My extra-occupational reading list is getting pretty long, but I do have an interest in the area. I deal with lawsuits in allegations of professional malpractice, so it's been a long time since I really looked into these abstract matters.

I read part of Sokal's explanation of his ruse in 1996 on the postmodern journal Social Text here: http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/lingua_franca_v4/lingua_franca_v4.html

I gave an internal cheer for this passage:
"For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful -- not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right. The recent turn of many ``progressive'' or ``leftist'' academic humanists and social scientists toward one or another form of epistemic relativism betrays this worthy heritage and undermines the already fragile prospects for progressive social critique. Theorizing about ``the social construction of reality'' won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity."

I didn't realize how much the subjectivist thinking had taken over in the humanities. In my college days (early 70's) an "Old Lefty" meant American Communist Party. Now I guess it means somebody like me who believes that social injustices like invidious discrimination based on race and sex could be overcome by "rational thought and fearless analysis of objective reality". The New Left is a different breed entirely, it seems.

Anonymous said...

IF NIFONG TOLD JUDGE SMITH THAT THERE WERE NO OTHER COMMENTS PERTAINING TO ANY CONVERSATION BETWEEN MEEHAN AND HIM, AND THERE WERE, THEN WHY IS SMITH NOT SEEKING PERJURY CHARGES?

Anonymous said...

5:36

188 wrongful convictions since 1989 as I said is 99 percent PLUS.

More like 99.99 percent of convictions.

So, your 21,000 number is not supportable, at all.

Anonymous said...

anti-leftist liberal 12:34

Interesting view of why the nerds hate the jocks. The jocks get the girls, too. They are all the things the nerds are not. Forthright, brave, strong, cheerful, socially competent, admired by others.

Now, figure that as it applies not to college jocks but to....soldiers.

For a condensed version of what the nerds (now lefties) desperately envy, see Michael Yon's site about a party. Search for "punishers ball". Nice pix.

I'd add your point to the mix when thinking about lefties and the military

Anonymous said...

re: Jim Clyne "You're alluding to the late Robert Mapplethorpe, a good friend and collaborator of mine. I'd do my research before poking fun at Mapplethorpe. He produced masterpieces for me..."

And what would that research be Jim? I know who Mapplethorpe was and that photograph reminds me of an old saying, opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one. You are grounded Jim, go to your room.
MTU'76

Anonymous said...

Duke erg93: From your post this morn---I have to say you are absolutely correct about FODU. That place was full of unrealistic Leftists who were trying feebly to maintain their political credentials while watching those from their peanut gallery railroad these three lacrosse players.
FODU had some lawyer write to Governor Easley for help. And he did nothing. The lawyer's letter even included bashing of conservatives. She sounded like a buffoon. Stereotyping people at the same time she was complaining about stereotypes.
That's why they all have to come over here and to other blogs. They don't ever confront the BS of the G88 as they should. As any supporter of the Duke 3 would. In essence they are useless.
Just panty sniffers invited to this party.
You made a very good point and one that has been voiced by others.

M. Simon said...

Richard Aubrey,

Uh not all nerds are leftists. In aerospace work (some of the nerdiest you can find) the nerds are almost all right wing hawks.

Besides science and technology they know history and economics.

M. Simon said...

BTW did I mention I'm a member of the a very select group: the nerdiest people in the military by a long margin? Nuclear Reactor Operators.

Our favorite pass time was not acey-deucy or pinochle, it was bridge.

Anonymous said...

6:59

I don't think you are familiar with his work. Start with his flower photos. He was a good photographer.

Jim Clyne

These images are at the Mapplethorpe Foundation. Google it.

Anonymous said...

M. Simon,

No, but most lefties are nerds.

Seen any mesomorphic lefties lately?

Any lefties who were, say, all conference linebacker in high school? "Most popular" in the yearbook? "Best smile"? Second in the state in powerlifting? Metro student athlete of the year (four varsity letters and a 3.95)?
Lead in "Sound of Music" or "South Pacific"?
Played Guinevere in "Camelot" and started at goal in soccer?

Anonymous said...

"Pre-trial publicity issues are not about the presumption of innocence per se, but that negative and inflammatory publicity can prejudice the defedant's right to a fair trial by eroding the jury pool's ability to presume innocence at the outset."

They are also about the fact that negative publicity can ruin a person's life *even if they are found innocent*, giving prosecutors the power to hurt people that they can not prove beyond a reasonable doubt are guilty.

"A prosecutor who brings charges, must believe the person he is charging is guilty, otherwise it would be an obscenity."

In which case public statements regarding the accused's guild are redundant.

Press conferences serve the prosecutor's reelection campaign. How do they serve the public?

Rudy said...

Aubrey (if anyone is still reading this long string),

I don't know if you would consider me a leftie (see my note above at 5:53 p.m.) I consider myself a sort-of old leftie on many issues. (Somewhere in between the old American Communist Party-really old irrelevant fogies--and the New Left Loonies who believe that history is just a white supremecist fiction).

Anyway, this leftie was Student Body President in a midwest high school of 1300 students, two year letterman in football, one year letterman in basketball and a two year member of the National Honor Society. In those ancient days of the late 60's I was also a drummer in a rock band, since it was fairly common for jocks to play music badly, too. Our sophomore year our band members were 5 out of the starting 11 defense squad on the J.V. football team. I wasn't leftie (nor were my other jock friends who turned left later) at the time. It was the Vietnam War and many of our countrymen's hideous reactions to growing recognition of civil rights for black folk which opened my eyes and turned me left.

Anonymous said...

randolph.

There's always an exception. But I was on campus in the Sixties and my point stands. Lefties were primarily nerds.
I even worked in the civil rights movement and it does not detract from my admiration for my colleagues to say that most of them were unathletic nerds.

The point I was making was to agree with another poster's observation that one motivation for lefties is resentment of an establishment which kept them out of the good stuff. Like cute girls, fun parties. Guys are, imo, built to honor physical capabilities. For a million years, that meant survival. So, those who don't have it look at those who most obviously do--jocks in the helmet sports--and get annoyed. Normal.

Anonymous said...

Richard,

The point has some validity, especially when considering the "New Left" group which so thoroughly reject societal values and therefore reject the predominant value of what's success and attractive: athletic, pretty, leadership qualities.

But they could turn that argument on its head by saying those of us who embrace and pursue the predominant societal values only do so because we aren't as advanced intellectually or culturally, and therefore we resent them for their superiority.

The exceptions are so many they virtually swallow up the rule. Consider some athletic icons of our youth: Jim Brown, kareem abdul-jabbar and Bill Walton.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Jim Brown isn't a Marxist or Marxist wannabe.
Kareem joined Islam under a misapprehension and he's not a Marxist or a Marxist wannabe.
Bill Walton has parleyed a bad foot into a heck of a career.
You need better examples.

During one riot on our campus in 1968, I found some weedy little guys trying to convince some football players to get on board with the revolution. Quite literally, they were looking for muscle, since they and their friends were not up to it.

Anonymous said...

The chief of police here in Durham is under scrutiny due to extended absences from his job. Already known as being corrupt and violent, now lazy can be added to the list of his character attributes. He matches Bill Bell, the mayor, in ineptitude, but is better armed.

My girlfriend, who is white, was raped by a black man here in Durham. She was beaten with sledge hammer in the head, and her life has never been the same. She was a Duke grad who stayed in this urine soaked hell hole for god-only-knows what reason.

The police never found any suspect, the DNA was never tested by any lab, and Nifong could do nothing. Total incompetence, from top to bottom. I know, and Cash Michaels, the man who never met a side of a hog he didn't eat, the man is keepin' the poor blacks down here. Of course the entire power structure is black, and criminality is not genetic, it just goes with the culture. So Cash, I hear ya, brother, the man is keepin' tha folks down. Only it is a black man doin' it now.

I used to teach at a local college but couldn't take the amorality that the indigenous population displays. Truly an irredentist bunch of criminals. Crystal Gail Mangum is just a product of a broken system, lookin' to get paid. May God have mercy on her dishonest black soul.

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