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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Duke Case: Wasted Days

updated/edited: 10:30 p.m., June 27, 2006

Wasted days and wasted nights:

- 105 days since the Duke lacrosse party and when the false rape accusations were first made. (Mar. 14)
- 69 days since Collin Finnerty & Reade Seligmann were charged with with first-degree rape, first-degree forcible rape and kidnapping. (Apr. 19).
- 43 days since Duke lacrosse captian David Evans was indicted and charged. (May 15)
- ??? days until trial starts

CBS News Chief Legal Analyst, Andrew Cohen, spins a story for the prosecution in the Washington Post: The Media Rush to Duke's Defense.

It's obvious he hasn't been paying close attention to this case. He probably doesn't have time to read the discovery information that's come online and do his homework. But, that doesn't stop Mr. Cohen from voicing an opinion and saying things that are wrong and not relevant. Cohen says:

And the prosecutor, after saying a bit too much too early about his case, now is saying nothing at all, leaving the defense spin unchallenged and gaining both in perceived credence and volume...

The case against the players didn't publicly get weaker last week -- so far as I know...

For years, I have considered the media a co-conspirator in the government's efforts to influence pretrial publicly. And now that the co-conspirator has moved to the defense side, I find the practice just as deplorable...
When the wheels of justice grind to a halt like they have in North Carolina doesn't the media have a responsibility to shine a light on the injustice?

Isn't the reporting of facts that support our traditional "Presumption of Innocence" better than reporting presumption of guilt?

The History of the Presumption of Innocence:
It is better than 5, 10, 20, or 100 guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be put to death. This prinicple is embodied in the presumption of innocence.

1st update:

From CourtTV.com message board regarding - Andrew Cohen Column, Washington Post:
My candidate for most bizarre quote from the column: "The case against the players didn't publicly get weaker last week -- so far as I know..."

Last week, in response to a public challenge by Nifong's investigator, the defense released the report of Officer Sutton from the night of the incident. Among other things, it said that the alleged victim claimed at one time that she was raped by five men and at another by no one. Doesn't that make the case weaker?

Police reports are not defense spin.
They are evidence that we will see in court. Defense spin has not turned the media around on this case. Police reports attached to defense motions have.

2nd update:

Lead & Gold Blog critiques Mr. Cohen's drive-by Washington Post column:
At the end, Cohen cuts to the chase. Nifong does not have a weak case. Oh, my no. This is all about race and class:
I suspect race and money and access to the media have a lot to do with it. I have often wondered how media coverage might be different -- how the cynical, skeptical skew would turn -- if the alleged victim in the case were white and the alleged defendants black.
....Andrew Cohen does not have to think while he grinds out columns and stories for the Post and CBS.

Other News:

The Herald-Sun reports - Defense lawyers: Dancer claimed she wasn't raped:
A new batch of prosecution information showed that no rape occurred during a Duke University lacrosse party in March and revealed roughly a dozen conflicting statements by the accuser...

The News & Observer reports - Lawyers press for specifics in lacrosse case:
"None of the discovery shows that any crime actually occurred," the lawyers wrote. "It is essential for Reade Seligmann to have a forecast of exactly which of the many stories Mr. Nifong, on behalf of the State and in his own self-interest, will use in his attempt to falsely prosecute the defendant."

3nd update:

Mike Nifong now needs this hoax case to last until the November election in order to keep his job. Attorney Michael Gaynor writes:
Since Mr. Nifong is "absolutely resolved" to keep his job and his re-election depends upon the black vote, he is "absolutely resolved" to keep the Duke case, a deplorable political prosecution, pending at least until he is re-elected.

133 days and counting to the Nov 7th election

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