A summary from a quite busy January:
Duke's decision to sue one of its insurance carriers boomeranged; in an explosive filing, National Union revealed that the University has already spent more than $5 million on its defense--and that it notified its carrier of possible civil liability not when Crystal Mangum first made her allegations but instead the day after Nifong received DNA evidence almost certainly proving that Mangum's fanciful claims were wholly false. In other words: Duke appears to have recognized as early as March 30, 2006 that a civil suit likely would come not from Mangum but from its own students.
Durham inaugurated a new "minister of justice" who at best misled voters and at worst outright lied about her role in the lacrosse case. To make her priorities clear, new DA Tracey Cline invited as her special inauguration guest someone that the State Bar disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct. Cline also refused to endorse the findings of the Attorney General's investigation into the lacrosse case.
Cline also previewed a potential purge of her office--and didn't list ethics as among the top three criteria that she desired in potential assistant district attorneys.
Duke promoted to a deanship the third member of the Group of 88.
In 2008, the four leading Democratic presidential candidates were an African-American (Obama), a woman (Clinton), a Hispanic (Richardson) and a white male (Edwards). Yet, according to Huffington Post's campaign contributions database, the race- and gender-obsessed Bill Chafe and Tim Tyson donated money to . . . the white male. Will the equally race- and gender-obsessed Group of 88'er Grant Farred now label them "secret racists," as he did the Duke students who dared to register to vote in Durham?
Richard Brodhead's predecessor, Nan Koehane, offered excuses for Brodhead's performance in the lacrosse case, and fantastically suggested that, during her tenure as president, she had attempted to address the "root of the problem" exposed in the case. In fact, of course, problems such as faculty groupthink and the University's cavalier attitude toward the due process rights of students had grown much worse during Keohane's time in office, and no evidence exists that she had ever attempted to address them, either at their root or in any other form.
In legal developments, two discouraging developments for the civil suit team of Duke, Durham & Nifong. In Pearson, the Supreme Court gave lower courts more fleixibility in addressing claims of qualified immunity. In Van de Kamp, as Liestoppers noted, the Court reaffirmed that a prosecutor doesn't get absolute immunity for actions (as occurred with Nifong in the lacrosse case) undertaken in a police or investigatory capacity.
Not deterred, Nifong attorney Jim Craven filed an 11-line motion to dismiss the civil suit against his client. The falsely accused players' attorneys had little difficulty in responding. Perhaps, as one reader cleverly suggested, Craven would have had better luck (at least he would have received points for creativity) had he shortened his 11-line response to a haiku:
Fails to state a claim
No standing for injunction
D.A. is immune
The newest book on the case, Race to Injustice, combines impressive legal analysis with, unfortunately, essays that read as if caricatures of Group of 88 musings.
And the Wall Street Journal reported that Bob Steel's misleading remarks about Wachovia might cost him more than merely a spot on CNBC host Jim Cramer's "wall of shame."