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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Duke Hoax: Day #253

Updated - today's items:

Editorial, USA Today:
As Duke rape case unravels, focus turns to prosecutor — D.A.’s questionable conduct means he should step aside or be replaced....Rushing to judgment...Bringing charges based on flimsy evidence...Sitting on evidence...Nifong's performance raises so many troubling questions that it's time for the North Carolina Bar Association to investigate and for Nifong to step back from the case. If he won't go voluntarily, a judge should replace him...

Wendy MurphyWendy Murphy opinion, USA Today:
Opposing view: Job 1: Protect the victim — It’s only reasonable to be skeptical and just to wait for all the facts. For nine months, we've heard only from defense attorneys in the Duke case, and they've refused to release certain evidence. The prosecutor cannot reveal evidence without risking sanctions (such as dismissal of charges) for tainting the jury pool. The defense lawyers are not subject to similar punishment, which is why they can speak more freely. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't be skeptical about what they're hiding...the prosecutor withdrew the "rape" charge, which under North Carolina law consists only of penile-vaginal penetration. Other penetration crimes are covered by the remaining equally serious "sexual offense" indictment. This may have been a brilliant move, because with no rape charge, the victim's sexual past is irrelevant — and the cause of justice is spared a salacious and distracting sideshow.

LieStoppers blog: Wendy Murphy Strikes Again — In a horrible distortion of fact, that should surprise no one who was witnessed her continual disdain for truth on cable pseudo-news shows throughout the duration of the Hoax, New England School of Law professor Wendy Murphy presents a defense of District Attorney Nifong’s continual deception in an op-ed published by the USA Today....Murphy incredibly asserts the Nifong should be rewarded for respecting the defendants rights rather than punished for violating them...

Thankfully, the USA Today did not run Murphy’s op/ed alone but rather presented it as a counter argument to its own call for the removal of DA Nifong. That the counter argument is presented by a crackpot such as Wendy Murphy is telling, as is the fact that her postion is bolstered by the same distortions that have been used to perpetuate the Hoax from day one.

Steve Verdon (Senior Editor), OutsideTheBeltway.com: Bizzaro World Law Professor — Wendy Murphy a law professor and former sex crimes prosecutor comes up with one of the lamest defenses for Mike Nifong. First up she postulates some damning evidence…or in more simple terms she makes up stuff...

LieStoppers: Hag of the Hoax
LieStoppers forum: ARRGGGHHHH, Wendy Murphy!!!
TalkLeft: Wendy Murphy comments on the rape charges being dropped

Stuart Taylor Jr. & KC Johnson, Wall Street Journal (sub. required):
A Dirty Game — It's no secret that hugely disproportionate numbers of the innocent people oppressed by abusive prosecutors and police in this country are African-Americans. Now one of the most outrageous cases of law-enforcement abuse is unfolding in Durham, N.C., home of the Duke lacrosse case. And African-Americans are leading the cheers for the oppressors. Why? The poison of identity politics, plus class hatred of the prosecutor's three main victims, well-off white men falsely accused of rape by an unstable black "exotic dancer," and a deeply dishonest district attorney...
LieStoppers forum — The Wall St. Journal, by Stuart Taylor and KC
LieStoppers forum — Media Dec. 27th, WSJ & more
FreeRepublic - A Dirty Game

John in Carolina — Taylor & Johnson’s WSJ op-ed
Stephen Bainbridge (law professor at UCLA) — Duke Rape Case Unravels; Plus, what will Dick Wolf Do? — But on to another aspect of the case. Taylor and Johnson point out that "two weeks ago we learned--only because dogged defense lawyers cracked a prosecutorial conspiracy to hide evidence of innocence...Will DA Nifong get hit with ethics charges? With violating the players' constitutional rights....how will Dick Wolf play this story? Everybody knows that the disclaimer run before every Law and Order episode is bogus...
Letters About Nifong Piling Up With Attorney General — Outrage and frustration about how the Duke Lacrosse case is coming forward in droves from ordinary citizens, who for months have been writing the state's top prosecutor urging that District Attorney Mike Nifong be removed from the case and reprimanded....There is clearly a common thread one finds when flipping through these nearly four hundred letters and emails sent to Attorney General. Almost without exception they blast Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, calling him a menace to the justice system and even a crazy man.

Larry Klayman, PRNewsWire.com:
Duke Grad Larry Klayman Files Ethics Complaint Against Duke Prosecutor Nifong — Today, Larry Klayman, former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, U.S. Senate candidate and now in private practice, filed an ethics complaint against Michael Nifong, the Durham District Attorney who has abused his official position in the investigations and indictments of certain Duke Lacrosse players. The complaint, filed with the Grievance Committee of The North Carolina State Bar, tracks a USA Today editorial of the same date which lays out the charges against Nifong.
related: TalkLeft — Duke Grad Larry Klayman Files Ethics Complaint
William L. Anderson:
Duke and the Politics of Rape — At this writing, the Bad Ship Michael Nifong is taking on water, and the passengers are looking for the lifeboats, yet charges against David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann still stand. The Duke "Non-Rape" Case is now the Duke "Non-Kidnapping and Non-Sexual Assault" Case, but for the time being, Nifong still is trying to use the government court system as a vehicle to commit real kidnapping of three innocent young men.

But while the charges of rape are gone, one must remember that this case came about because of the politics of rape. In my lifetime, rape has changed from a crime against an individual to a crime against a class of people: women. The issue behind this sea change is the ongoing battle of individualism versus collectivism...

NC State Rep. Stephen LaRoqueWRAL:
Lawmaker Wants State Power to Check on District Attorneys — State Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Republican who has been representing Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties, said Tuesday that he thinks the state attorney general needs to be given authority to investigate actions by the state’s 39 district attorneys. LaRoque appeared Tuesday night on Fox TV’s legal affairs show with Greta Van Susteren to push his argument.

LaRoque says the attorney general's office, not the state bar, should be the one to investigate misconduct charges against a district attorney.
FoxNews: North Carolina Politician Demands Nifong Investigation - partial transcript from Greta's "On the Record," December 26, 2006
LieStoppers forum: Stephen LaRoque on Greta...
Editorial, Washington Times:
The Duke Case — District Attorney Michael Nifong is losing more than supporters these days. He's losing a case and, if he's not careful, potentially his career. Late last week, Mr. Nifong announced that he was dropping rape charges against the three Duke University lacrosse players whom he had previously labeled "a bunch of hooligans." What remains of Mr. Nifong's case are charges of sexual assault and kidnapping, yet even those are based on little more than the victim's testimony, which has proven to be woefully unreliable...

Letters to Editor, Herald-Sun/FODU:
Larry Nolan Stewart letter: Botched Investigation
Kris Christensen letter: We're Past Vigilantism
Rodney Turner letter: Where the Blame Lies
Bob Wells letter: Waiting for lawsuits
Junius A. Davis: This farcical tragedy
Ian D. Goddard: Hide the mess
Alexander Howard III: People outside Durham have a duty to speak out
related: TalkLeft - Letters to H-S
La Shawn Barber:
2007 Prediction: Mike Nifong Will Drop All Charges — The next hearing in the Duke case is scheduled for February 5, 2007, and I plan to be there to witness what likely will be rogue Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong’s last stand.

I predict that at the hearing, he’ll drop the remaining charges — kidnapping and sexual offense — against Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and David Evans.

Kathleen ParkerKathleen Parker, Orlando Sentinel:
Parody at Duke: Rape case less than a slam dunk — Given recent events in Durham, N.C., concerning the alleged Duke University lacrosse "rape" case, it is now possible to declare parody dead. How does one parody a parody?

All is not lost, however. We can celebrate the addition of a new verb to our American lexicon -- "to Nifong." When the moment calls for activities that need no elaboration, we already "Bobbitt," "Bork," and "Lewinsky."

Now we can "Nifong" someone when we want to trump up criminal charges based on flimsy evidence allegedly for political purposes. In short, when we want to screw up someone's life.

KC Johnson: To Nifong — Somehow I doubt that having his name remembered as a perjorative verb was how Mike Nifong thought this whole affair would wind up when he was riding high in late March.
FreeRepublic — Duke Rape Case Has Become a Parody
KC Johnson:
Dead on Arrival — Over the past nine months, Mike Nifong has distinguished himself as a figure incapable of thinking much about the long-term consequences of his actions...Upon hearing of Nifong's latest maneuver, Jackie Brown, one of the most astute observers of Durham politics around, concluded about the D.A.: "He's dead. Put a fork in him, he's done." Between now and February 5, perhaps Nifong and the Troika will come up with another way to manipulate the evidence so as to keep the case alive. But Brown is right--the “no-rape” theory is dead on arrival.

Forum topics of note:
TalkLeft: Rank Your Favorite Constitutional Violations!
Yesterday (12/26):

Kristin Butler, Duke ChronicleKristin Butler, Duke Chronicle:
The Gathering Storm — what we do know is this: Finnerty, Seligmann and Evans still face prison terms of up to 24 years if convicted of sexual offense and seven years for kidnapping. Their legal woes are anything but over.

And they are up against an embattled prosecutor whose behavior is growing more erratic, not less. Last spring, Nifong was making inflammatory, deceptive and even demonstrably false statements on national television. This month, he was forced to admit his role in a decision to conceal exculpatory evidence from defense counsel. What new outrages will 2007 bring? How much more damage will he be allowed to do?

I'd rather not find out. We can probably all agree that nine months of (nationally televised) disgrace have been more than enough for Durham's town and gown. And yet we are virtually guaranteed more abuse before winter's end, since the next pre-trial hearing isn't even scheduled until Feb. 5. Which brings us to the question at hand: Who is going to stop this guy?...

Madeleine Brand, National Public Radio (audio):
Sudden Shift in Duke Rape Case Raises Questions — Rape charges were dropped Friday against three Duke University lacrosse players who had been accused of attacking an exotic dancer. The three still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges.

Many wonder why D.A. Mike Nifong is pursuing the case at all. The indicted players have all maintained their innocence, and no DNA from the players was found on their accuser. National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor is writing a book about the case and talks with Madeleine Brand.

Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMagazine.com:
Nifong’s Folly — Frontpage Interview's guest today is KC Johnson...no prosecutor with any integrity would continue with this case—but if we have learned nothing else over the past nine months, Mike Nifong is not a man of integrity....continued hypocrisy of the NAACP...

Editorial, delcotimes.com (Delaware County/Philadelphia):
Duke case no model for American justice — The so-called "Duke rape" case is no longer a rape case. Those charges have been dropped by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong after it was revealed that his office withheld exculpatory DNA evidence that showed the accuser had recently had sex with some men but not any of the Duke lacrosse players she accused of raping her....The case is a mess and has been for months even before Nifong opened himself up to legal charges of prosecutorial misconduct...Mike Nifong has shown by his actions and behavior during this case he is everything that a prosecutor should not be.
related: TalkLeft — Editorial: Duke Case No Model for Justice

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