At the press conference following Roy Cooper’s declaration of the players’ innocence, Dave Evans stated,
I hope that the state of
can address some issues that arose from our case, most notably, the grand jury procedures. They are a check on the power of the prosecutor and in this case, there are no records of what was used to secure indictments against the three of us. North Carolina
We have no idea. The evidence shows that exculpatory evidence was there but we cannot go back and understand why we are indicted. There was no there there, there was no factual evidence, it was speculation and we do not know, and how can we, as a country, in the legal system, control the people who are supposed to enforce it if they can simply say whatever they want to say, produce whatever they want to produce, and nobody else has an opportunity to see or ever question it.
Evans’ words ring particularly true in light of the claims made in the Baker/Chalmers report. The city manager and police chief claimed that the police officers involved in the investigation knew that the April 4, 2006 lineup was not designed to secure identifications. The claim is absurd, of course—but take Baker and Chalmers at their word. The report would suggest that in their testimony before the April and May grand juries, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Officer Ben Himan carefully explained to the grand jurors that, while Crystal Mangum had picked out people, the process was fatally flawed and was unlikely to survive a court challenge.
As Evans pointed out,
Last week, the Times ran a fine article by Pete Thamel (who previously hadn’t written on the case) profiling two of the top players of this year’s #1-ranked lacrosse team, Tony McDevitt and Casey Carroll.
The duo not only are solid students, but give the lie to the caricature of the team that the media (including the Times) offered last spring. McDevitt, who’s from
McDevitt recalled last year’s events: “The media and other outlets wanted to portray us all as rich, privileged, white boys because that’s how it fit into the story. It just wasn’t the truth. It was just a lie. Anytime you hear blatant lies on television, in the newspaper and on the Internet, it’s going to get under your skin a little bit.”
The Thamel article, however, doesn’t suggest a change in approach at the Times. Between March 29, 2006 and April 15, 2007, the Times wrote about the lacrosse case on 151 occasions. Surely, then, the paper of record would cover the Baker/Chalmers report?
The Times didn’t mention the document.
Contrast that editorial decision with that of the L.A. Times. In yesterday’s paper, David Zucchino observed that “neither Baker's letter nor the seven-page police review addressed why Nifong pursued a flawed case—even after it was clear that no eyewitnesses, DNA tests or forensic evidence supported a stripper's rape accusations.” Zucchino also placed in context Chalmers’ bizarre claim that the police aggressively sought exculpatory evidence, noting that most of his examples “came before the defendants were indicted and involved standard police procedure,” and that Chalmers “did not address defense evidence—such as cellphone records, time-stamped ATM withdrawals and party photos—that the defense said would have cleared their clients but was not fully considered by prosecutors.”
This isn’t the first occasion in which the L.A. Times was on the case while the New York Times was absent. Zucchino was in the courtroom on December 15, and vividly portrayed Nifong’s emotions as Brian Meehan revealed the DNA conspiracy. (Duff
Having played such a role in inflating the story, the Times has appeared to do the minimum possible to explore
Don’t expect Times sportswriter Selena Roberts to comment on McDevitt and Carroll anytime soon. I doubt her fellow anti-lacrosse extremist, John (“They’re probably guilty of everything but rape”) Feinstein, will, either. Feinstein and Roberts share another characteristic: though they denounce class privilege in their writings, and fume against the “white” and the “right” while celebrating “diversity,” they don’t exactly practice what they preach in their own lives.
Feinstein lives in an exclusive cul-de-sac in
Feinstein’s residence is, however, a short drive from such golf courses as TPC at Avenel and the exclusive Congressional Country Club.*
As with Roberts, Feinstein, as an affluent journalist, has the right to live wherever he can afford. Yet, judged by the severity with which he condemns others for exhibiting insufficient sensitivity to minorities or the poor, it comes as something of a surprise to see that he has chosen to live in an area so bereft of racial or economic diversity.
Newsday has done several strong articles on the case in recent months, and last week ran a piece previewing Mike Pressler’s forthcoming book. The article, by Graham Rayman, featured strong criticism from former Athletic Director Tom Butters, who remarked, I know I am probably stepping on toes when I say this, but it [the university’s response] was absurd. I wanted someone to step up for Mike and those kids.”
The article also contains remarks from 2006 co-captain Dan Flannery, who recounted a March 15, 2006 conversation in which Dean Sue Wasiolek told him, “Right now, you don’t need an attorney. Just don't tell anyone, including your teammates or parents, and cooperate with police if they contact you.” Looking back, Flannery observed, “We believed, albeit falsely, that these people [in administration] would look after our best interests.”
Similarly, Pressler notes that he “was told to keep it quiet” by Duke administrators in the critical week between March 16 and March 23 of last year.
Duke graduate student Serena Sebring, who helped organize many of the extreme anti-lacrosse protests from last March and April, recently offered a novel excuse for both her behavior and that of her fellow potbangers.
When she urged her fellow students and Duke professors to confront lacrosse players in class—“If you see them in class, ask them who did this”—Sebring says she did so because she “typically” believed both government authorities and the media
It wasn’t my impression that the far left on Duke’s campus had a policy of “typically” accepting in uncritical fashion whatever the media or government officials say. By that standard, I suppose that figures such as Sebring and the Group of 88 members who she joined in an April 12, 2006 anti-lacrosse panel (Wahneema Lubiano and Thavolia Glymph) were strong supporters of the war in
Somehow, however, I suspect that Sebring and the Group of 88 were far less trusting of government officials on matters that did not conform to the Group’s race/class/gender worldview.
This week’s humor section:
- At Liestoppers, Baldo was a hilarious cartoon of Sgt. Gottlieb discussing the Baker/Chalmers report with the perpetually absent police chief.
- Cartoonist Dennis Draughon, meanwhile, has another take on the perpetually absent chief’s report.
Finally, last Monday’s Roll Call [subscription only] reported that North Carolina Democrats are wooing AG Roy Cooper, who they see as a “particularly strong” challenger to one-term incumbent Elizabeth Dole. The article noted that Cooper had profited from the national coverage surrounding the dismissal of the charges.
A Cooper candidacy would, in many ways, be a fitting conclusion to the case: unlike Nifong, who exploited the case for political reasons, Cooper withstood pressure from some of his political advisors, who feared the effects of an unequivocal declaration of innocence. Ironically, by serving the truth, it seems that Cooper strengthened his political position.
Hat tips: B.F., M.G., K.M.J.; also, happy birthday to a regular DIW reader from Scarborough, Maine. Slightly late post today; I attended an event this evening, which also included surprise entertainment, in the form of a T.D. interpretative dance.