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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Speedy Justice or Slow Truth?

"We all hope that the legal process will proceed to a speedy resolution so that everyone can know the truth."

John F. Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke Univesity said that on Monday, May 16, 2006, following the indictment of the 3rd Duke lacrosse player, David Evans.

Sorry, but there will not be a speedy trial and resolution of this scandal. District Attorney, Mike Nifong, will not take the Duke lacrosse rape case to trial until next spring.

Why is Mike Nifong delaying the case until the spring of 2007? Who exactly does this benefit? Does it benefit the alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, who will be forced to hideout for another ten months to a year?

The old Nixon era phrase, "twisting, slowly, slowly in the wind," comes to mind.

Does it benefit the three Duke lacrosse players who have been charged with the gang rape of Ms. Mangum?

What is going on here?

Does Mike Nifong secretly want to sabotage the will of Ms. Mangum to hang in there and testify at the trial? If she was raped, he is doing her a great disservice by requiring her to put her life on hold until next spring.

Is this delay solely for the benefit of Mike Nifong so that he can get his act and his case together? Is he hoping the nation and the media will lose interest in the case and go away?

Sorry, but we have to wait before answering all these questions.

Thomas Sowell Thomas Sowell, of The Washington Times, has an opinion on why Mike Nifong is delaying the trial:
If there is a smoking gun in the Duke University rape case, it is not about the stripper who made the charges or the lacrosse players who have been accused. The smoking gun is the decision of District Attorney Michael Nifong to postpone a trial until the spring of 2007.

That makes no sense from either a legal or a social standpoint, whether the players are guilty or innocent. But it tells us something about District Attorney Nifong.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, the players are guilty. What is the point of letting a bunch of rapists remain at large for another year? What about the dangers they would pose to women on or off the Duke University campus?

Now suppose the players are innocent. Isn't it unconscionable to have this damning charge hanging over their heads for another year?

The Constitution of the United States includes a right to a speedy trial, to keep people from being jerked around by unscrupulous or vindictive prosecutors who cannot prove they have committed any crime. Prosecutors have to put up or shut up.

This is not a federal case, however, and the laws of North Carolina do not require a speedy trial. Justice delayed is justice denied, whether the players are guilty or innocent.

What purpose does the delay serve? The most obvious purpose is the same one delay serves in confidence games. After a fraud has been perpetrated and it is only a matter of time before the victim finds out, it can still make a big difference whether the victim finds out suddenly or slowly over an extended time. This is called "cooling out the mark."

If the mark (the victim) finds out suddenly and immediately, instant outrage may lead to a call to the police, who can then get hot on the trail of the con man.

However, if the realization of having been taken begins to emerge at first as a sense of puzzlement, then as a sneaking suspicion, and ultimately -- after some time -- as a clear conclusion a fraud has taken place, the emotional impact is not nearly as strong. The victim of the fraud may even be reluctant to go to the police, having had time to think about what a fool he seemed and how little chance there is now to do anything about it...

postponed until the spring of 2007 may be Mr. Nifong's way of beginning the process of "telling the truth slowly."

source:
Justice delayed [washingtontimes.com, May 18, 2006]

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