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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Duke Hoax: Day #245

Nifong deserves to be removed from office and disbarred. If he gets away with all this, it will be a blank check for every prosecutor in the country to abuse the powers of the office. - Thomas Sowell
Updated - today's items:

Congressman Walter B. Jones, NC 3rd DistrictCongressman Walter B. Jones, NC 3rd District:
Jones Renews Call For Federal Probe As Evidence Emerges In Case Against Duke Athletes — Washington, D.C. – In a letter yesterday to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Third District Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) reiterated his December 7th request for a federal inquiry into Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong’s prosecution of three Duke University student athletes accused of an alleged sexual attack on a woman at a party earlier this year. Specifically, Rep. Jones asked the Attorney General to review new evidence that Mr. Nifong withheld exculpatory DNA results from the defendants to determine if his conduct has illegally denied the students their civil rights as U.S. citizens under federal law....

Jones concluded. “At the request of a growing number of my constituents, I again urge you and your staff to fully investigate these matters to ensure that Mr. Nifong’s conduct has not illegally denied these students their constitutional rights to due process.”

KC Johnson: More from Jones
LieStoppers forum: Ted Williams on Greta, Rep. Jones scares him
LieStoppers forum: Jones on Fox (10:44 pm) - Ted Williams thinks that what Congressman Jones is doing is obstruction of justice.
Michael GaynorMichael Gaynor:
Duke case: Why I focused, now need not, but still will, focus on it — I focused on the Duke case because I feared it was a travesty of justice with enormously important implications for America generally, especially America's criminal justice and higher educational institutions and politics, instead of routine pursuit of justice in a small city...

I hope to continue to focus on it until the innocent are exonerated and those who should be called to account, be it in criminal court or civil court or before the North Carolina State Bar, are called to account and justice is done...
Michael David Cobb Bowen, political & cultural blogger 'Cobb'Michael David Cobb Bowen, political & cultural blogger 'Cobb':
Nifong & The Rape of Justice — So the DA was basically engaged in a conspiracy to conceal exculpatory evidence in a rape case that made national headlines and generated all kinds of race and class controversy. Instead of outing the truth he basically let America stew in its juices. He destroyed the lives of innocent college kids by allowing their indictments to stand. This guy needs to be smacked with some kind of sanctions. I'd disbar him at the very least. I suspect that he'll get sued somehow if being a DA doesn't foreclose that possibility, but this really stinks. If I was the parent of one of those kids, I'd be absolutely livid. I'd have to be restrained.

Nifong has undermined the integrity of his office and done great damage to a lot of people. He is a complete and total disgrace. This is the kind of malfeasance the destroys the credibility of the justice system. Off with his head.

John F. Banzhaf III, Professor of Public Interest Law, Geo. Washington Unvi.Prof. John Banzhaf, Professor of Public Interest Law, via Friends of Duke University:
Duke Rape Case Could Create Major Civil Liability — "Although prosecutors generally enjoy absolute immunity from civil liability for violating the constitutional rights of defendants, there are instances -- and this may well be one of them -- where that immunity doesn't apply," says Law Professor John Banzhaf. Moreover, Durham County, NC, does not have absolute immunity, and so the county could be held liable for millions of dollars in civil damages even if District Attorney Michael Nifong is protected from law suits, notes Banzhaf.
related: Mike McCusker — The Needle And The Damage Done

LieStoppers forum - Law Professor John Bahnzhaf on Civil Liability

John F. Banzhaf III - banzhaf.net
La Shawn Barber:Brian Meehan at court Friday
Duke Rape Case: Conspiracy in Durham? — Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. It’s becoming incredibly obvious to anyone with sense that Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong is a rogue prosecutor, at least when it comes to the so-called case against the indicted Duke lacrosse team players. At last Friday’s hearing, Brian Meehan (pictured), director of DNA Security, the private lab that analyzed DNA found in and on the stripper-accuser, admitted, under oath, that he and Nifong agreed to suppress evidence favorable to the defense....

Roger Koppl - dir. of the Inst. for Forensic Science Admin. at Fairleigh Dickinson UnivRoger Koppl, letter to LA Times:
A rape case under the microscope — The private forensics lab hired to perform DNA tests in the Duke rape case withheld evidence that exculpated the accused rapists. How could this happen? During the testimony in which this coverup was revealed, lab director Brian Meehan referred to Durham Dist. Atty. Mike Nifong as "my client." Instead of serving the truth, they were serving their "client," the prosecutor's office. Unfortunately, such identification with the "client" is human, all too human. Crime labs should be independent of police and prosecutor, and public defenders should be given greater access to forensic advice and testing. Justice will suffer as long as forensic scientists work for the prosecution rather than the truth.

The writer is director of the Institute for Forensic Science Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison. N.J.
related: KC Johnson: Another Scientist on Meehan (see comments)
A Two-Fonged Approach — Throughout the Hoax, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has demonstrated on many occasions that truth and he have a fickle, on-again/off-again relationship. This tumultuous love-hate affair is most apparent when comparing Mr. Nifong’s statements to the court with his own contradictory statements to the public and the press...

Information Week: Google 2006 Top Searches — Google searchers appeared to have a moral dilemma, with promiscuous topping the list of definitions sought. Three of the five top terms related to U.S. scandals were connected to the alleged rape of an exotic dancer during a raucous party involving members of the Duke Lacrosse team.

John in Carolina:
Prof “Engineers” Op-Ed Removal — On Nov. 14 The Durham Herald Sun ran a column questioning the innocence of the three young men falsely indicted in the Duke Hoax case. On Dec. 1 the H-S published a letter from the columnist retracting his column because of its many errors. But as defense attorneys noted in their change of venue motion last Friday, the H-S had continued to run the column online and without informing readers the columnist has retracted it.

Thomas Sowell, TownHall.com:
The worst worsens — After all this time, it finally came out in court last week that the DNA samples collected from the underwear and private parts of the alleged victim contained DNA from other men -- but none from the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of raping her. The head of the DNA testing laboratory testified in court under oath that both he and Nifong knew this and kept it secret.You think that is incredible? How about a statement made afterwards by District Attorney Nifong that he didn't say anything about this publicly because he was "trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud"?...Nifong deserves to be removed from office and disbarred. If he gets away with all this, it will be a blank check for every prosecutor in the country to abuse the powers of the office.
Betsy Newmark, Betsy's Page: Replace Nifong

Joe's Dart Blog: The Latest on Mike "Ahab" Nifong and Lax

Forums: FreeRepublic — Duke Case: The Worst Worsens (Thomas Sowell)

Morris W. O'KellyMorris W. O'Kelly, eurweb.com:
THE MO'KELLY REPORT: It's Time to Be Honest About Duke — The problem with the blind allegiance to the alleged victim in this Duke case is that there will come a time in which an African-American woman WILL be raped in the future. She WILL need the support of the African-American community and WILL deserve justice.

And it won’t be there for her, because ‘we’ spent all of our morality money and credibility elsewhere in an incredulous way.

This will not be a popular stance or even arguably an appreciated stance…but it’s truthful and fair. There’s little if any reason to support the assertions of this alleged victim…and that’s a conclusion after almost 10 months of changing testimony and disappearing corroborating witnesses. It has nothing to do with her chosen career or supposed lack of morality.

Mo’Kelly WANTS to believe this accuser and in his heart believes “something” transpired that night. Mo’Kelly WANTS justice for this woman…provided she’s actually a victim. Whether it was sexual assault…one can’t be sure. But what is clear to me is that this accuser is shaky all the way around. And in criminal proceedings, we’re talking beyond reasonable doubt with a burden of proof landing squarely on the accuser’s shoulders not the Duke lacrosse players....

related: LieStoppers forum — Mo'Kelly Article
FoxNews, On the Record w/ Greta:
Transcript, "On the Record," (12/18) - Well, some astounding fallout from last weeks' events in the Duke rape case scandal....
LieStoppers: Woody Vann - on Greta, Shocked if Lineup Is not Tossed — PANEL = Vann, Pierro, and Hammer -- UNLOAD on NIFONG.
Editorial, Herald Sun The Organ:
Allow judicial process to work — There is immense pressure building in the Duke lacrosse case. The pressure is to toss out the rape charges against three players, and it's coming from the players' families, their defense lawyers and their many supporters on campus and across the country. It is directed against anyone who thinks the case should be decided in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, and it has two basic targets -- the accuser and District Attorney Mike Nifong....There have also been instances of, at a minimum, prosecutorial sloppiness. But are they enough to toss the case? That's for a judge to decide, as part of the judicial process, which should be allowed to work.
Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess: Ashley? He Just Went Along For the Ride

LieStopper forum - Ridiculous Herald Sun Editorial, what an enabling tool!! - What on earth do they owe Nifong?
Reactions to Richard Brodhead statement on Monday:
Jason Trumpbour, Friends of Duke University, Press Release:
Subject: Duke University President Richard Brodhead responds to our previous press release — While we are pleased to see that our Monday morning press release apparently generated a public response from Richard Brodhead, Friends of Duke University is distressed by the president’s meager statement and apparent refusal to endorse the request by Congressman Jones that the Department of Justice investigate the conduct of District Attorney Mike Nifong...

Ray Gronberg Herald Sun The Organ:
Group to Duke: Join bid for DA inquiry — A spokesman for Friends of Duke University, Maryland lawyer and Duke alumnus Jason Trumpbour, criticized Brodhead's statement. The president's response "contains absolutely nothing new, and it studiously avoids the central issue," Trumpbour said. "It speaks on one hand of a belief in the system, and yet the fundamental problem we and others have been pointing out is that the system has not been working. You can't have it both ways. You can't express your belief in the system and at the same time ignore substantial and compelling evidence that the system isn't working."

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess: You DICK!

Fox News:
District Attorney Mike Nifong on Trial as Much as Lacrosse Players in Rape Case, Duke President Says

LieStoppers: Brodhead: Nifong's case 'will be on trial' along with defendants
FreeRepublic: Nifong's case 'will be on trial' along with defendants
TalkLeft: Brodhead: "The DA's case will be on trial just as much as our students will be"
Clueless — It appears that the experts from DNA Security will be called by District Attorney Mike Nifong not to validate their scientific findings but rather to debunk the science of DNA and the merits of their own laboratory. In what appears to be professional suicide, Dr. Brian Meehan gave a preview of what we might expect his testimony to resemble if the Hoax endures to trial...One thing that is certain, however, is that Dr. Meehan’s inept reporting and complicity in the conspiracy to deceive the public and withhold evidence from the defense has raised the ire of his peers...

Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
What Did Mayor Bell Know, And When Did He Know It? — Mayor William Bell, Durham, NC, interview with Nancy Grace, and questions?

KC JohnsonKC Johnson:
Leadership, Not Leakers — "Leadership," stated Katharine Bartlett, dean of the Duke Law School, is "a critical value" among her institution’s faculty. An article in yesterday’s Herald-Sun, however, suggests otherwise....An unknown figure—either a law professor or an affiliate who teaches a course at the Law School—leaked to the Herald-Sun e-mails showing that at least four members of the Duke Law faculty, in writing, opposed signing a statement criticizing Nifong’s prosecutorial misconduct. One of the quartet, visiting professor Michael Tigar, cavalierly dismissed efforts to assemble such a statement: he pronounced himself "at an age where I get to pick my clients and causes"...

related: TalkLeft - Re: Ekstrand urges petition signings

Forum Topics of Note:
LieStoppers: All Hail the Potted Plant — Nifong never saw the Plant (Judge Oz Smith) coming!
LieStoppers: State Bar Action
LieStoppers: Greta Van Enabler transcript — Greta: We are here in Durham, NC, tonight to discuss the Duke case. We have spoken with the accuser's family..
Updated - yesterday (12/18):

John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum:
Nifong and Legal Ethics - If Nifong asked a witness to conceal exculpatory proof, there could be a lot more on the line than just an ethics violation. Civil and even criminal liability could become issues...
John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum: More on Legal Ethics
Joe' Dartboard:
Another Word on the Duke Rape Case — Michael Cote, a recent graduate of Duke University, now an engineer with the United States Air Force, sent me the message below, and I thought I ought to share it.

...Upon my alma mater coming up in conversation, I would much rather have a person comment “I thought it was great how Duke stood by their students once the truth came out,” instead of “Oh man, what ever happened with those lacrosse kids? Did you know any of them?”
Nifong Rejects Threats of Charges in Duke Case — There's no word on whether there will be a federal investigation, and no word from Nifong on the possible fallout. "I don't really want to comment on anything involving the case outside of courtroom," Nifong said. Nifong did tell Eyewitness News that he believes he can fairly prosecute the Duke Lacrosse rape case, and while he prepares for the battle in the courtroom, there's a battle brewing on the outside. Jason Trumpbour, with Friends of Duke, a grassroots organization comprised of Duke alumni told Eyewitness News that the group endorses Congressman Jones' request for a federal probe. "This is hardly a witch hunt," Trumpbour explained. He said they're taking it a step further, calling for criminal charges against the Durham prosecutor. "These are willful violations of both the professional conduct and the actual application of a law. It's more than just a mistake," Trumpbour said.

Nifong did tell Eyewitness News that he wasn't concerned about Congressman Jones' complaint to the U.S. Justice Department.

Susan Estrich, Fox NewsSusan Estrich, Fox News:
Duke Justice Demands Nifong's Removal — This is not the way the system is supposed to operate. Prosecutors are supposed to be out for justice, not blood; committed to the truth, at all costs, not winning, without more. Prosecutors aren’t just morally obliged but legally required to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense. Prosecutors aren’t just one side in a battle....Enough is enough. What will it take for Mike Nifong to be replaced on this case?

LieStoppers: Estrich Rips Nifong — As the Hoax began, USC Law Professor Susan Estrich was a firm supporter of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong. As Nifong's Hoax began to unravel, Estrich became critical of his disregard for procedure. Today, she finally appears to see clearly the rampant misconduct and deception that defines the Hoax. In a devastating missive at Fox News, Estrich shreds Nifong...

TalkLeft: Susan Estrich - Duke Justice Demands Nifong's Removal
FreeRepublic: Duke Justice Demands Nifong's Removal (Susan Estrich on DukeLax)
KC Johnson:
Accreditation Agency Will Investigate Meehan — [Meehan's] lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). I emailed the board to ask if it planned to investigate Meehan’s accreditation status in light of Friday’s testimony. Executive Director Ralph Keaton responded,
As the accrediting body for the laboratory in question, ASCLD/LAB will conduct a review of the issue in question. ASCLD/LAB is aware of the ongoing legal process and will take that into consideration in determining the appropriate time to review the circumstances.
Richard BrodheadRichard Brodhead, Duke University:
Statement by Duke President Brodhead Following Last Friday's Court Hearing in Lacrosse Case - In the aftermath of Friday’s hearing, Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead made the following statement:
"Under American law, the legal system is the place to establish the facts and bring a case to a just resolution. For that reason, it is of the essence that everyone involved in the legal system act fairly in pursuing the truth and protecting the rights of the individuals involved. As I told Ed Bradley during a ‘60 Minutes’ interview last summer, given the concerns that have been raised, when it goes before a judge and jury the DA’s case will be on trial just as much as our students will be. In the meanwhile, as I have said before, our students must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise."
Jason Trumpbour, Friends of Duke University, Press Release:
Subject: Request by Congressman Walter Jones to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate civil rights violations by Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong — The Friends of Duke University enthusiastically endorses Congressman Walter Jones’ call for the Justice Department to open an inquiry into the misconduct of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong....We believe Duke University needs to stand up for its students and for itself.

Jon Ham, JLF - Right Angles: Gonzales interested? — U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales didn’t rule out an investigation into the prosecution by Durham DA Mike Nifong of the Duke lacrosse rape allegations when asked about it in an interview with Fox News over the weekend...

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