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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Duke Hoax: Day #252

Updated - today's items:

  • Emily BazelonEmily Bazelon, Slate.com:
    Prosecutorial Indiscretion — Just when you thought DA Mike Nifong couldn't make a worse mess of the Duke rape case - Of all the strange, shoot-self-in-foot statements from Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong in the last few days—and there are so many—one stands out. In explaining why he is continuing to prosecute three former Duke lacrosse players on kidnapping and sexual offense charges—despite dropping rape charges—Nifong told the New York Times, "If she says, yes, it's them, or one or two of them, I have an obligation to put that to a jury." Nifong is talking about the woman who says she was attacked in the bathroom after being hired to dance at a lacrosse-team party last March. In other words, the district attorney is claiming that as long as she continues to accuse any of the Duke guys, he must press charges against them. That's so basic a misunderstanding of his own job that it raises questions about whether he is even qualified to hold it...

    related: KC Johnson - Bazelon Targets Nifong

  • Editorial, LA Times:
    Dropping charges at Duke — After trial by media, three Duke students are off the hook for rape. Maybe sexual offense and kidnapping charges should be out too. IN DROPPING RAPE CHARGES against three Duke University lacrosse players — while insisting that he will continue to pursue other allegations against the young men — Durham County, N.C., Dist. Atty. Mike Nifong has further undermined his already sagging reputation for fairness...

    What is clear is that Nifong, whose election campaign for a full term overlapped with the investigation, lost control of his tongue and participated in the transformation of this incident from a case into a cause — usually an ominous development for the administration of justice...

    Nifong isn't the only one who profitably could engage in an examination of conscience. Those who seized on this case as an emblem of a "larger truth" — a racial double standard in rape prosecutions, the historical exploitation of black women by white men, the arrogance of adolescent privilege — did not contribute to a clarification of the factual questions that are at the heart of any criminal case. It may be true, as a Washington Post feature put it, "she was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air." But in a criminal case, atmosphere is no substitute for evidence...
    KC Johnson: L.A. Times: Drop the Charges — The paper with the nation's fourth-largest circulation total, the Los Angeles Times, this morning published a blistering editorial demanding that Nifong dismiss all charges and that those who enabled him "engage in an examination of conscience."
  • Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor:
    Duke rape case unravels - Fueled by stereotypes of race and class, as well as a zealous prosecutor, the criminal case against three Duke lacrosse players emerged as a test of the ability of the justice system to sift evidence through a prism of prejudices. Now, after the key charges of rape were dropped Friday, the case is also being seen as a cautionary tale for prosecutors and pundits alike, emblematic of how cultural stereotypes and perceptions don't always add up to hard facts on the ground...

    "The irony is that although this involved a bunch of white, privileged young defendants, [a potential civil lawsuit against Nifong] might wind up setting a precedent which will help hundreds of other defendants who are black and lack their financial and other resources, because prosecutors around the country will be a little bit more worried about violating civil rights," says John Banzhaf III, a law professor at George Washington University...

  • The Kingston Free Press:
    LaRoque to call for Nifong resignation on Fox News — State Rep. Stephen LaRoque is expected to appear tonight on Fox News channel’s “On the Record,” with Greta Van Susteren. This is LaRoque’s second appearance on the show within a week to discuss Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong and his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case. He contends that Nifong should be investigated for possible prosecutorial misconduct, and that North Carolina law should be changed so that the state — not the N.C. State Bar Association or a superior court judge — is responsible for investigating charges of malfeasance by county district attorneys.

    “I’m going to ask that Mike Nifong resign his position as district attorney, not just for the good of Durham County, but for the good of all North Carolina,” LaRoque said. “This has become a universal issue and has put North Carolina in a bad light.”
    LieStoppers forum: Stephen LaRoque on Greta
    Greta Van Susteren, FoxNews: Duke Dad Kevin Finnerty Talks with Greta, Dec. 22nd (transcript)

  • Earl Ofari HutchinsonEarl Ofari Hutchinson, Huffington Post:
    Hard Lessons From The Duke Rape Case — Durham, North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong should do the right thing, cut his losses and drop the remaining charges of kidnapping and sexual assault against the three Duke University lacrosse players. That would close what has to be one of the dreariest episodes in the history of rape and racial victimization cases. But Nifong has given no hint that he has learned any lesson from the fiasco. Whether it's ego, to save face, or just plain bull-headedness, he's determined to barge ahead and pile more embarrassment on himself with a prosecution. But there are compelling lessons that can be learned from the aborted rape case even if Nifong hasn't learned them...

  • Michael Cornacchia, attorney for Duke lacrosse team defendant Collin FinnertyGood Morning America, ABC News:
    Defense Seeks 'Federal Intervention' in Duke Case — he lawyers of three Duke lacrosse players who are accused of sexually assaulting a North Carolina woman have asked the U.S. attorney general to look into the prosecutor's conduct during the case, Michael Cornacchia, the attorney for defendant Collin Finnerty, told "Good Morning America."

    "We're seeking federal intervention. … We can't allow this to continue another day," Cornacchia told "GMA" anchor Chris Cuomo. "Under the color of law, he's depriving our clients of constitutional rights."...

    Cornacchia called Nifong's accusations that the defense was attempting a character assassination of the accuser a diversion from the real issue. "It's a smoke screen to bring attention away from his misconduct in the case," Cornacchia said. "It's the not the victim. … It's [Nifong's] handling of the case that's being criticized by us."
    related: LieStoppers forum — Defense Seeks 'Federal Intervention'
    FreeRepublic — Defense Seeks 'Federal Intervention'
    TalkLeft — Defense Lawyer on GMA
    John in Carolina: Video of KC Johnson on GMA

  • John in Carolina:
    Stunning admission at N&O — Some of you know that shortly before the late Ed Bradley’s 60 Minutes episode the Raleigh News & Observer, aware that Bradley would be interviewing the second dancer, Kim Roberts, admitted for the first time that in its infamous and discredited Mar. 25 "crying young mother brutally gang-raped" anonymous interview story, the women identified Roberts and made statements about her. At the time the N&O decided to suppress the news that Precious had ID’ed Roberts and what she said. ..
    comments - News & Observer Editor's Blog -
    12/23/06 at 18:19, Michelle Valenzuela (N&O):
    JC: I will not say what it was because it could be harmful to people who need not be harmed, and the accuser said she wasn't sure whether or not it was true. Our story reported what the accuser said happened not what she said MIGHT have happened.

    12/24/06 at 17:17, Linda Williams (N&O):
    If we had printed that utterance- an admitted speculation without the slightest foundation to suggest the possibility of truth-- it would have been a conscious act of libel. Some people on this blog have speculated about the content of that specific utterance. You are wrong. Nonetheless, having made the decision not to print the speculation that was highly probably to be defamatory to several people, we have no legitimate reason to ever discuss publicly the specifics. Some of you have suggested that we should have printed it simply to show that the accuser was not credible.
    Such reasoning is curious. Morever, it is neither legally nor morally defensible.
  • KC Johnson:
    The Meehan Transcript — Today’s post begins with a multiple choice quiz...Mike Nifong maintains that the exchanges above had nothing to do with his abrupt decision to depart from his eight-month precedent and send Linwood Wilson to interview the accuser; and then to use that interview to drop the rape charges. It’s all a coincidence, suggests the district attorney. He must hope that the court is as gullible as Dr. Meehan.
Forum topics of note:

TalkLeft: Nifong's Dismissal of Rape Charges: A Personal Cover-UP

December 25:
  • Crystal Gail MangumMike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
    It's Time, Crystal — It's time, Crystal. Time grow up. Time to acknowledge that you can't go through life using other people. It's time to stop the destruction of others' lives to shield yourself from the consequences of your own poor choices....Time to find your conscience. Time to exhibit character, honor, integrity. It's time to stand before the cameras and admit to the fantastic lies so clearly already proven....It's time for the truth, Crystal. You may even avoid a prison sentence. Hell, your pals at Fox have already all but annointed you Nifong's "victim." Once you raise your hand, swear your oath, and lie from the witness box in open court, however, you will have comitted a felony.
    LieStoppers forum: NDLax84 Publishes Yearbook Photo

    The Johnsville News (Apr. 30): Open Letter to Crystal Gail Mangum

  • KC Johnson:
    Christmas Roundup — NC editorials, Herald-Sun (Snooze Room), silence of NC Democratic Party, Michael Munger, Duke Chronicle msg. board, Richard Brodhead's latest, Duke grad, and the Washington Post weakness in coverage of story.

December 24:

  • Brian MeehanDavid Barstow, Duff Wilson; New York Times:
    DNA Witness Jolted Dynamic of Duke Case — The moment that may have changed the course of the Duke lacrosse rape case came in a packed courtroom two Fridays ago....defense lawyers describe Mr. Meehan’s testimony as a moment that opened a window on the tactics of a prosecutor they say is all too willing to trample state law and ethical duties to get a conviction. In the most unvarnished terms, they accuse Mr. Nifong of deliberately hiding test results — results they say further confirm their clients’ innocence. What’s more, they say that Mr. Nifong’s decision to recast his prosecution on Friday is a cynical attempt to sidestep damage from Mr. Meehan’s testimony...
    KC Johnson:
    Nifong's Fantasy World — Mike Nifong’s arrogance is breathtaking. Today’s Times features another article based in part on the three-hour interview the D.A. granted with Times reporters on Thursday....

    Aaron Burr, False Prophet Inc. blog:
    You can’t really fall on your sword half-way — What strikes me most about the latest in the Duke lacrosse rape case is not the various dimensions of the prosecutor’s misconduct, but that he seems to think he’s managed to salvage something by trading rape charges for anything short of a dismissal.

    LieStoppers forum: DNA Witness Jolted Dynamic of Duke Case

  • Greg Couch, Chicago Sun-Times:
    False rape allegation an affront to women — This is a betrayal. If this rape allegation was false, then it is the lowest thing a woman can do to other women..

    LieStoppers forum: False Accuser Hurts Women

  • Niolet, Neff; News & Observer:
    As state's witness wavers, defense solidifies — Pretrial hearings, court filings and documents show that District Attorney Mike Nifong has meager evidence to prove the remaining charges against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, and the defense has much evidence to bolster the claim that the allegations against them are untrue...

  • Neff, Niolet; News & Observer:
    Pressure on Nifong in Duke case — To press forward in the Duke University lacrosse case, District Attorney Mike Nifong must rely on scanty evidence while deflecting serious questions about whether he broke the law or violated the ethics rules governing prosecutors....But Nifong has bigger problems than his conflicting statements to reporters. Since May, Nifong has repeatedly misrepresented his actions in filings and in face-to-face dealings with judges. Nifong has repeatedly said that he disclosed everything about the DNA evidence....
    KC Johnson: Today's Papers — The N&O story, meanwhile, examines how Nifong’s statements to the Times contradicted his own previous explanations of his actions...

    LieStoppers forum: Misstatements may cost him his career

    TalkLeft: Neff Torpedoes the S.S. Nifong!

  • Aaron Beard (AP):
    Dropped rape counts could cripple rest of Duke lacrosse case, legal experts say — A prosecutor's decision to drop rape charges but keep other counts against three Duke University lacrosse players has left many legal experts -- including some who had supported him -- wondering what case he could have left.

  • Ryan, Lenkowitz; NY Post:
    NY Post: LI Jocks All Done at Duke — "As much as we like Duke, it would be hard to send Collin back into Durham with Mr. [Mike] Nifong as the lead law-enforcement official," Kevin Finnerty, of Garden City, L.I., said a day after his son and two teammates were exonerated of raping a stripper. "Collin would love to be back at Duke," the elder Finnerty added. "He has a lot of friends there. It was a great experience while he was there."....He said his son has kept busy this fall by taking classes at Hofstra.

  • Franco Ordonez, Charlotte Observer:
    Blacks aren't judging Nifong — While scrutiny of the Durham district attorney's handling of the Duke lacrosse case intensifies, key members of the county's influential black community still back the prosecutor, though cautiously....But several members of Durham County's African American community said they believe Nifong is keeping his word to fully investigate.

    "It's not going in our favor at this point," said Durham County commissioner Michael Page, adding that he felt Nifong would continue only if he had evidence of something occurring that deserved punishment.

    "The question is what and who did it."

    Cora Cole-McFadden, Durham's mayor pro tem, said she thinks Nifong is doing what he believes is right.

    "I'd rather not be judgmental," she said. "I'm certainly anxious to see how this legal process is going to work."

    The Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, urged patience.

    "This is not a sound-bite case," Barber said. "We do not want a rush to judgment or a delay of justice."

  • Stephen A. Smith, philly.com:
    Injustice has spoken — We have serious problems all across America, but nothing compared to the kind that exists in the black community, and the perverse pleasure it evokes from those who watch from afar. On more than a few occasions, when something insidious occurs involving an African American and a white person, race is automatically attached. Time is turned back. And the issue that provokes the very reflection that permeates our thoughts as a people potentially ends up wasting our time, dividing black and white America even further....
    Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess:
    Stephen A. Smith? Well, I Guess He's Better Than Cash — Welcome to the bandwagon, hypocrite...

    LieSoppers forum: Injustice has spoken in the Duke lacrosse case — What Cash Michaels didn't write...
    FreeRepublic: Injustice Has Spoken In The Duke Lacrosse Case

    The Johnsville News (May 30): Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Dufus Patrol — Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is a clueless dufus....

  • Eric Earling, Sound Politics:
    About That Duke Case — I have a confession to make. I think the rape case involving members of the Duke University lacrosse team is a fascinating story, and as compelling a criminal case in the public realm in years. I wish the local media would have given it greater coverage given that it's shaping up to be possibly one of the more publicly stunning cases of prosecutorial misconduct in recent memory, though I can understand why they didn't. That being said, I really can't let this commentary from the Stranger's Blog stand without a response.
    Erica C. Barnett, The Stranger's blog:
    Rape Charges Dropped in Duke Lacrosse Case — The second thing that struck me is how many people have rushed to the players’ defense...

  • John McCann, Herald-Sun The Organ:
    Reaction varied on city's streets — On the streets of Durham, reaction varied to District Attorney Mike Nifong's decision to drop rape charges against three Duke lacrosse players....

  • Daily Dispatch, Henderson, NC:
    Duke lacrosse accuser might merit identification — Another chapter in a sordid story concluded Friday when rape charges were dropped Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players...Expect to see her named and then to have her turn at being criticized by the public just as her accused attackers have been for months.

  • Freedman, Chung; Newsday:
    Newsday: Relief for Duke alumni — A North Carolina NAACP officer Saturday urged observers of the case not to jump to conclusions. "We just don't want people to prosecute this case in the press and the news media," said Jarvis Hall, political action chair of the state's NAACP and a professor at North Carolina Central University, the school the 28-year-old accuser, who is black, attended. "We want the evidence to speak for itself." Duke alumni from Long Island interviewed Saturday were pleased by the latest development, which legal experts said dealt a serious blow to the case.

  • David R. Usher, Men's News Daily:
    An Open Letter to Duke President Brodhead — The Duke Lacrosse case and the horrid abuses of justice by prosecutor Mike Nifong speaks to the larger causal problem: an educational deficit common to most colleges and universities. There is no such thing as men’s studies programs. The monopoly of women’s studies programs empowered radical women to cross all boundaries of reasonability to the point they dictate all campus thinking and instill brute misandry into core coursework via interdisciplinary programs...

  • State NAACP President William BarberWRAL:
    NAACP Reinforces Call for Law — The state NAACP’s insistence that the Duke lacrosse case be processed in the court of law rather than the court of public opinion is unaffected by a decision to drop rape charges against the players, the group’s president said Saturday. We’ve always been the one, and from Day 1 it’s in writing, that we never wanted to rush to judgment, or a delay of justice ... but a thorough and meticulous investigation,” the Rev. William J. Barber II said. “In some sense, we’re seeing the process work when things get sifted through,” Barber said....

  • William L. Anderson:
    Duke: The Lies Continue — when one examines the performances of members of the so-called mainstream media (or MSM) such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and the broadcast outlets, one finds that these were the organizations that from the start were the engines publicizing the false charges – and desperately trying to give them credibility. Even now, we see someone from the MSM trying to salvage something out of it....Here is a writer who still wants to believe that these "privileged, white" athletes at least attacked the woman even though the other evidence that has come about since last spring makes such an event so unlikely as to be impossible. He does not seem to understand that there is no basis for charges,
    Lester Munson, Sports Illustrated: Case not dismissed — They (the defendants) still face some serious charges. There is little doubt that something unsavory happened at the party on March 13. After the dismissal of the rape charges, it will be easier for the accused players to attempt to settle everything with a guilty plea on lesser charges...

  • Joan Foster, LieStoppers:
    Posting Resumes December 26 — To the now 410 members of the LieStoppers Forum, we extend our gratitude for joining us on our journey. We wish you a holiday filled with family, friends, and holiday festivities.....Thank you for your perseverance and patience. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for being an integral part of the LieStoppers Team....

  • Michael Gaynor:
    Christmas greetings — Ugly racial politics explains the Duke case. It was, is and always will be a disgrace....

  • opionion, Charlotte Observer (humor):
    Charlotte Observer: Who's naughty, who's nice? — For Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong: The complete "Law and Order" series on DVD, to study during the holidays.
December 23:
  • (Columbia Professor) Michael C. Dorf, Dorf on Law:
    The Duke Sexual Crime Case and the Foibles of Memory... — I could cite scientific evidence about the fallibility of memory, but instead I’ll simply relate my own experience as a crime victim....
    The Volokh Conspiracy: The Duke Sexual Crime Case and the Problem of Fading Memory (see comments)

  • editorial, The Charlotte Observer:
    Investigate the investigation — We're baffled. Who wouldn't be, given the way Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has handled the prosecution of three former Duke University lacrosse players charged withraping a dancer at a team party?....This latest twist leads you to conclude either (a) Mr. Nifong has been misled by an uncertain or unreliable witness; (b) he is incompetent; (c) he skillfully manipulated a case charged with racial and class overtones in an election year where he faced a challenge; or, (d) all of the above. It's time for an investigation of the investigation by the prosecution.

  • KC Johnson:
    Only in DurhamThe highest-profile case in the city's history; and police officials were caught unawares that Nifong dropped the rape charge? And is Chalmers perpetually on vacation?

  • Boswell & Julio, Duke Basketball Report:
    El Pollo Loco! — we read an old article about a previous Nifong case where he referred to his opponents in court as "poultry." Later he explained that he was calling them chicken....But when the shoe is on the other foot, the braggadocio, the taunting, it stops rather quickly. Before Friday's announcement - timed absolutely as close to Christmas as possible to avoid as much discussion as possible, Nifong had someone tape a note to his door requesting "No Media Please!" Et Tu, Poultry?

  • JinC, Bob Wilson, former editorial pages editor of the Durham Herald Sun:
    Four who failed — In "Brodhead’s Failed" JinC goes straight to the issue with Duke's President Richard Brodhead: moral cowardice. Now, who's really in the catbird seat at Methodist Flats, Brodhead or Duke's own Red Guards, the Group of 88? For Brodhead, who quoted Shakespeare as Mike Nifong trampled the civil rights of his students, we who hold Duke degrees say: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”...

  • Stevenson, West, Herald-Sun The Organ:
    RAPE DECISION TURNS UP THE HEAT — John F. Banzhaf III, professor of public interest law at George Washington University, said Nifong simply was seizing a "face-saving explanation" -- that the accuser acknowledged she no longer could testify with certainty "that a penis was the body part that penetrated her vagina."

    "I think that basically he's got a tiger by the tail," Banzhaf said. "It's very difficult for him to let go. He's got to come up with some kind of face-saving excuse. It doesn't make him look good, but it's better than saying, 'I screwed up.' "

    He also pointed to another possible explanation.

    "It also could take some of the steam out of a [state] bar investigation, which might lead to his disbarment or a reprimand, and it could mitigate the damages in a civil lawsuit," Banzhaf said.

  • John in Carolina:
    JiC: Nifong Roasting (humor)

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