Friday, May 16, 2014

Civil Suit Settlement

Anne Blythe at the N&O brings word of the final resolution of the civil suit filed by the three falsely accused players. The suit was effectively neutered by the 4th Circuit, and the settlement reflects that reality: the city has agreed to make a $50,000 donation to the state Innocence Inquiry Commission, but otherwise make no payments or admit to any wrongdoing.

Updated, 1.07pm: The city of Durham released a statement, indicating the following: “As the City has maintained throughout, it believes that its police officers had an obligation to investigate the allegations made by Crystal Mangum in 2006 and that no police officer nor any other City employee engaged in improper conduct.”

And so Durham has now reaffirmed that it was not improper conduct:

--for a member of its Police Department to give misleading testimony to the grand jury;

--for its Police Department to run a rigged photo array confined only to photos of the suspects;

--for one of two investigators on the case to not keep contemporaneous notes on his exchanges with witnesses, and then months later to produce a straight-from-memory report that seemed designed to fill in holes in the case;

--for its senior police leadership to transfer supervisory control of a major police investigation to a county prosecutor;

--for members of the police department to (at the bare minimum) not speak up when the prosecutor and lab director discussed, in the officers' presence, producing a report that did not include all DNA test results;

--for members of the Police Department to enter Duke dorms and seek to interview suspects that the department knew were represented by counsel;

--for a police department employee to give wildly misleading, and in some cases simply inaccurate, public statements about the case.

According to Durham, none of this constituted improper conduct.

[Updated, 1.46: WRAL has a longer version of the Durham statement. In addition to describing the above conduct as not improper, the city also forcefully rejected the Cohan/Nifong theory of the case: “Today, the city reaffirms that it fully concurs with the attorney general’s decision to dismiss the charges and with his conclusion that Mr. Evans, Mr. Seligmann and Mr. Finnerty were innocent of the charges for which they were indicted.”


Jim In San Diego said...

And so, the citizens of Durham live on in the justice-challenged Durham court system.

Not to beat too hard on a dead but rather obvious horse (yes, we are mixing metaphors), but the losers are those most afflicted by injustice in Durham. That is to say, blacks and those without the resources to defend themselves from a rogue state.

As Stuart Taylor has pointed out elsewhere, this is the true tragedy of the Rape Hoax. The missed opportunities.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

As Dickens once pointed out, the law is an ass.

skwilli said...

Wonderland Redux

Anonymous said...

Being Durham means never having to say you're sorry...

Anonymous said...

In last Friday's "Cohan's Greatest Hits" post by KCJ, I commented on Cohan's dismissing those with a differing opinions as haters. I listed "some behaviors that I hate. For starters, how about a prosecutor: making ethically improper public statements, over a period of several months; improperly withholding exculpatory DNA evidence; lying to a judge in open court."

Well, you can add to the list of "some behaviors that I hate" the 7 instances of DPD misconduct listed above.

Anonymous said...

Legal fees paid or are the players eating tose?

Mike Lee said...

I will never understand how David Addison, Mike Nifong, Brian Meehan, 88 Duke University Professors, and so many others who made grave errors and harmed innocent people can continue on with their lives without seeking out David Evans, Reid Seligman, Colin Finnerty, and the rest of the Duke lacrosse team to apologize personally.

If I had done the things Addison did I would not be able to sleep at night without admitting my mistake and apologizing. It's a sad sad commentary on him and so many others who cannot simply say, "I was wrong. I made some mistakes. I am sorry. Please forgive me."

I can understand everything about the case except this one issue. I'll never be able to understand how none of the people in this case have apologized. Not one of the 88....really amazing.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, Professor Johnson can clarify this, but I think I remember one lone member of the Gang of 88 making some sort of apology, perhaps a very tepid one. I don't remember the name nor the Department. I half-heartedly tried to google such an event but came up with nothing. Maybe I dreamed it.

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 1.48:

Yes: Math prof Arlie Petters was the sole Group member to apologize and not subsequently retract the apology--and, as you say, the apology was tepid. (He gave a statement about how he generally wouldn't want to do anything that would upset students.)

Chris Halkides said...

Durham's leaders remind me of corporations which pay fines but admit nothing. Robert Steel's willingness to sacrifice individuals for the good of the organization also seems to have come out of a corporate mentality. I don't have anything against corporations per se, but I see no reason for universities an role models for every behavior.

Anonymous said...

The Duke students should know that the Southern style is to be extremely narrow-minded, extremely aggressive, and to never apologize when errors are made. African-Americans are still waiting for an apology for slavery and segregation, but such apologies will never be forth-coming from the South. It is unfortunate that Sherman did not burn Durham, NC when he had the chance.

Anonymous said...

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but not always exceedingly fine: only a grudging admission of possible dereliction of duty, eight years after the fact.

See Wikipedia for the following and additional detail.

In March 2006 Crystal Gail Mangum, an African American student at North Carolina Central University who worked as a stripper, dancer and escort, falsely accused three white students, members of the Duke Blue Devils men's lacrosse team, of raping her at a party held at the house of two of the team's captains in Durham, North Carolina on March 13, 2006.