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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Duke Hoax: Day #266

Updated - today's items:

Judge John H. Bayly Jr. profileBenjamin Niolet, News & Observer:
Finnerty's D.C. record to be cleared — A Washington, D.C., judge said last month that he would wipe the simple-assault case against Collin Finnerty off his record, six days after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong dropped the rape charge against the former Duke lacrosse player. Finnerty was convicted in July of misdemeanor simple assault stemming from a November 2005 incident outside a Georgetown bar. He was accused of threatening and taunting a Washington man after a night of drinking.

Finnerty initially had been accepted into a first-offender diversion program, but when he was accused of rape and sexual assault at a lacrosse team party in Durham, prosecutors in Washington went forward with the assault case. He was convicted and sentenced to six months of probation.

On Dec. 28, D.C. Superior Court Judge John H. Bayly Jr. ended Finnerty's probation...

Letter by Steven J. McCool, News & Observer:
Conviction set aside — As Collin Finnerty's attorney in Washington, D.C., I am disappointed, but not surprised, that a Jan. 5 People's Forum letter-writer appears to have learned nothing from the Duke lacrosse scandal. He, like many others, ignores the procedural history, the evidence and the court's findings in Finnerty's Washington matter....Ironically, the court found it unnecessary to require that he perform community service as part of his probationary sentence. More importantly, last week the judge who presided over the case set aside his conviction, after monitoring Finnerty for several months and learning more about his fine character.
related: McCool responding to John Wright (Raleigh) letter (1/5/07) — Questionable Move — I would like to know why Duke University administrators feel that it is acceptable to readmit Collin Finnerty (news story, Jan. 4). Although the Durham sexual assault case against him appears to be very shaky at best, isn't it clear that he physically assaulted a man in Washington last year?...
LieStoppers: Finnerty's DC Conviction Set Aside — The latest indication of near universal acceptance of the actual innocence of the falsely persecuted victims of Defendant Nifong’s Hoax comes from Washington, D.C., Superior Court Judge John H. Bayly Jr.... Finnerty’s misdemeanor simple assault conviction was set aside..

FreeRepublic (7/11/06): Finnerty Convicted in Georgetown Assault Case — A D.C. Superior Court judge today convicted former Duke lacrosse player Collin Finnerty of a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an altercation in Georgetown last fall. Judge John H. Bayly Jr. gave Finnerty a 30-day sentence, but suspended the jail time on the condition that he complete six months' probation. The verdict came after a two-day trial...

LieStoppers forum: Finnerty's D.C. record to be cleared
TalkLeft: Finnerty's D.C. record to be cleared
Melissa Lafsky Melissa Lafsky, Huffington Post/Opinionistas blog:
Media Completes Its Full 180 On Duke Rape Case — (see comments) Newsweek has an exclusive interview this week with Reade Seligmann, one of the three Duke lacrosse players embroiled in the much-rehashed rape case. It's a tear-jerker of a piece, with tales of dashed innocence, traumatized siblings and parents stretched to near breaking points after their son was identified by a North Carolina stripper as one of her attackers....

While journalist Susannah Meadows is careful not to make proclamations of innocence, the sympathetic profile represents a full 180-degree turn from the fire-and-brimstone declarations that dominated the scandal's early coverage. The story, which broke last April, led to a cannonade of anger over the alleged rape of a low-income black woman by three privileged white men in a town known for heavy class and race disparities. Public furor grew as witnesses recounted racist expletives hurled at the women by Duke students, and the subsequent resignation of the school's lacrosse coach and cancellation of the lacrosse season only deepened cries of outrage. The New York Times in partcular was charged with pushing an anti-Duke agenda, with articles highlighting the university's fears over its sullied reputation and columns asking hedged questions like "What happens when a school sells its soul for sports?"...
related: KC Johnson - Huff Post Huffs — An odd post at Huffington Post, which tells us that the media has done a 180-degree shift, seems vaguely disappointed by this development, and says that Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans cannot be considered innocent "given that there [sic] case has yet to be heard by a judge." This fact, Melissa Lafsky notes, is a reminder that "it behooves us all to use reasonable care in making wide proclamations of guilt - or innocence"...Embarrassingly for Lafsky, the quote from Estrich came in August.

comment: Melissa Lafsky gets a poor grade from Professor KC Johnson. She should do a rewrite and resubmit it, perhaps she can bring up her grade. Hint: using the word "injustice" in the article can't hurt.
Editorial, E. W. Scripps Co./ScrippsNews.com:
Nifong should face prosecution — It had all the makings of a boffo case. Rich, white, arrogant jocks from a prestigious Southern college hire strippers for their drinking party and gang-rape a poor, black, single mother, holding her against her will in a bathroom. The case drew national headlines, spurred a debate about privilege and race, led Duke University to ax its lacrosse coach and program, and propelled District Attorney Mike Nifong to re-election, after he had appeared to be losing to a woman whom he had once fired. Nifong's good political fortune, however, seems to have come at the expense of justice. He now stands accused of gross prosecutorial misconduct... as well as quitting the case, he should resign, and face criminal prosecution ...

Justice demands that the rights of the innocent be protected. It is an encouraging statement about our system that now Nifong will be required to defend his actions. Let's hope that sterner steps follow, sending a message to headline-grabbing prosecutors.

Wendy McElroyWendy McElroy, FoxNews.com
In Duke Rape Case, Accused Fight Back — The legal and moral travesty that is the Duke ‘rape’ case is winding down. The aftermath is commencing…but what will it look like? - Two widely different developments from last week provide an indication...According to several state legislators, when the General Assembly reconvenes at the end of the month, Nifong’s prosecutorial misconduct and the need for new law regarding D.A.s and prosecutions could top the agenda. In short, there is no longer a political advantage to Nifong’s pressing forward and no political capital to do so...

According to several state legislators, when the General Assembly reconvenes at the end of the month, Nifong’s prosecutorial misconduct and the need for new law regarding D.A.s and prosecutions could top the agenda. In short, there is no longer a political advantage to Nifong’s pressing forward and no political capital to do so...

Last Thursday, in a small move that foreshadows future events, the victims began to define the aftermath. Former Duke Lacrosse player Kyle Dowd and his parents filed the first lawsuit against Duke University [and Kim Curtis, a visiting assistant professor]...
Elizabeth Dunbar, WRAL:
Changes in Lacrosse Case at Forefront As Classes Resume at Duke - With spring classes set to resume Wednesday, much has changed in the criminal case against three Duke University lacrosse players since students and faculty left for winter break last month.

"There are still serious charges, and I don't think anybody thinks there was reason to celebrate" when the rape charges were dropped, lacrosse coach John Danowski said Tuesday. "It was certainly a step in the right direction, toward the truth." Danowski, hired to replace former head coach Mike Pressler, who resigned in the wake of the rape accusations, said his and his team's thoughts and prayers were still with the accused players...

Paul Haagen, chairman of the university faculty's Academic Council, said he thinks Brodhead's letter will get an overwhelmingly positive response... "For some people, I think they're afraid that as the criminal case appears to have less and less strength to it, that other set of issues will get lost and confused," Haagen said. "We're going to keep moving forward (on those issues) in an intelligent, thoughtful way. That doesn't mean that you hold a couple of kids hostage"...
Jamie Schuman, Herald-Sun:
Duke urged to 'look to future' — As students and faculty return to Duke for the start of spring semester Wednesday, they are being greeted with a letter encouraging them to "look to the future" and "make Duke a better place" as the lacrosse sexual-offense case keeps the campus in the national spotlight.

One outcome of the case has been that some campus groups, such as the lacrosse team and some faculty members, have been caricatured, disparaged and stereotyped by people outside of Duke, university President Richard Brodhead wrote in the aforementioned epistle. Brodhead said he would like to see an end to those "destructive assaults." ...

John StevensonJohn Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Lawyers say Nifong should recuse — The N.C. State Bar's recent decision to charge District Attorney Mike Nifong with ethical violations almost certainly presents the prosecutor with a conflict of interest in the Duke lacrosse sex-offense case, several lawyers and professors said Monday. Because he now must defend his handling of the case in an effort to save his law license, Nifong has a personal stake in the outcome and is duty-bound to step aside in the interest of fairness, according to the lawyers and instructors. Nifong was away from his office Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment...
TalkLeft: Lawyers say Nifong should recuse

KC Johnson: Decline of the Nifong Enablers — This morning's H-S features one of the most unusual defenses of Nifong to yet appear, from a member of the Durham defense bar, Fred Battaglia....Battaglia could use a refresher course on the state bar's ethics code....
KC Johnson:
Understanding SANE: Tara Levicy Recently the defense filed notice that it planned to call as expert witnesses all of Mike Nifong’s expert witnesses save one—SANE nurse-in-training Tara Levicy. A recent post by Kathleen Eckelt explains why...
LieStoppers forum: Tara Levicy, What "dogpile.com" revealed..
Jane Stancil, News & Observer:
Duke leader calls for manners — Duke University President Richard Brodhead issued a plea for civility Monday as the campus tries to recover from the lacrosse scandal, calling on the university community to "restore the fabric of mutual respect." Brodhead lamented the way students and faculty have been assailed and their views caricatured -- mostly by outsiders. The accused players were subjected to highly prejudicial media coverage, he said, and some professors, including African-American faculty, have been the target of vicious attacks in blogs and e-mail.

"We want to see an end to these destructive assaults," Brodhead wrote. "We cannot change the nature of modern communications, but we can make an effort on this campus to promote more constructive dialogue."...

Attorney: Lacrosse Players Still Unsure About Returning to Duke — The university last week invited Seligmann and Finnerty to return to campus as students in good standing. "They have not made a decision on that yet," James P. Cooney III, an attorney for Seligmann, said Tuesday...

Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Big time boomerangs — In the Duke case, big time boomeranging has begun, with more coming soon. Ultimately, it will be many real villains of the incredible story who will swoon. Crystal Gail Mangum, false accuser, and Michael B. Nifong, egregious prosecutorial abuser, have plenty of gall. But can either or both of them be so deluded as even now not to see the huge handwriting on the wall? Then there are Duke University's Group of 88 and its President, Richard Brodhead? Will all or some become defendants and wish they had behaved decently instead?

On the Duke case, "60 Minutes" will be back. Ed Bradley died, so Leslie Stahl is on the track.

Only as to exactly when and how the remaining bogus charges will be dismissed is there a bit of suspense, Because there's uncertainty as to whether Ms. Nifong is completely dense and Ms. Mangum has some sense. Examples of major Duke case boomerangs...

John in Carolina:
Will Davidson help JinC? — I’m sure most of you know Duke University Professor and Group of 88 member Cathy N. Davidson has just written one of those error-filled and preening op-eds which seem to be the only kind Group of 88 members can write. Many, including some of you, have called attention to her errors and quite properly ridiculed her preening. Therefore, when I wrote Davidson the letter you see below, I didn’t feel any need to mention her errors and preening....

JavaZen blog:
The Duke 88 Nifong Themselves — I suppose posting this makes me a “blog hooligan” in the tiny mind of Ms. Davidson merely because I posted this post dissenting from her narrow little hypocritical rant. Ah well, little worlds, little worlds, little worlds…

My aim is not “to make academics and liberals look ridiculous and uncaring.” Rather, to point out that it is the Duke 88’s very behavior which makes them look ridiculous and uncaring. That would be the behavior which the Duke 88 thought up, which they committed and from which Ms. Davidson is now going to shrill strains to abrogate responsibility. It appears, for Ms. Davidson and possibly the rest of the Duke 88, this is more about their personal social agenda and not about the presumed innocence of the accused regardless their color.

Yesterday (1/8/07):

Duff Wilson, NY TimesDuff Wilson, NY Times:
Duke President Renews Call for District Attorney to Leave Case — The president of Duke University renewed his call on Monday for the district attorney to step aside from the sexual offense case against three former lacrosse players and give control to an independent party “who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process.” In an open letter to the Duke community as a new semester began, the president, Richard H. Brodhead, reviewed recent events in the case and sought to explain the university’s responses since last March, when a stripper accused three students of raping her at a lacrosse team party.

Mr. Brodhead said that from the early, confusing days of the case, the university had been guided by two principles: If true, the accusations were “grave and should be taken very seriously.” At the same time, “our students had to be presumed innocent until proven guilty through the legal process.” Now, he wrote, in the wake of developments that have raised questions about the district attorney’s handling of the case, the need for a fair legal process demands that he recuse himself...
related (critique of Duff Wilson and the NY Times "Lax" reporting)
Jay Ambrose,Union Leader (New Hampshire):
When news is distorted by political correctness, everyone loses - IF THE New York Times was the great paper it used to be, or even something less but still alert, still socially sensitive, still a paper with standards instead of an agenda, it could have used its extraordinary resources to thoroughly investigate gross injustice in Durham, N.C.

It could have done electrifying work on how a two-bit, ethically amiss district attorney overlooked conflicting statements by a woman claiming Duke lacrosse players raped her at a strip-tease party and closed his eyes to varied evidence that contradicted her words. It could have hammered away at how this DA broke all the rules of established procedure by having the woman identify her alleged assailants from pictures of no one but those at the party, and how one of those indicted for the rape had an alibi as good as gold....

Instead, as some devastating criticisms amply illustrate, the Times played the game itself, especially in one front-page story that minimized the hard facts while falling for flimflam that would not have fooled the rawest newsroom rookie in the land....
Duke President Explains Reinstating Accused Lacrosse Players — Duke University's president said Monday that his decision to reinstate Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann as students in good standing is about fairness....In an e-mail sent to the Duke community, Brodhead acknowledges that questions about Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the case played a role in his decision....

News & Observer/AP:
Duke president explains decision to readmit lacrosse players — Duke University President Richard Brodhead defended his decision to readmit two lacrosse players accused of sexual assault in a letter Monday that also harshly criticized the lead prosecutor in the case. And, with classes for the spring semester set to resume on Wednesday, Brodhead called for civil debate about the issues of race and class that arose after the accuser in the case alleged in March she had been raped at a lacrosse team party.

Kenneth Moton, News 14 Carolina:
General Assembly could get involved with Duke lacrosse case — All eyes have been on Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke lacrosse case. It has certainly raised concerns with respect to how we do business here in North Carolina,? said Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake. News 14 Carolina talked to several legislators who say they've been following the case and the prosecution of it. Rep. Dollar is one of them.

When the General Assembly reconvenes at the end of the month, he says district attorney conduct could be at the top of the list. There's certainly no question that prosecutors in North Carolina have a great deal of latitude,? Rep. Dollar continued. ?The General Assembly could look at the latitude; look at the oversight that is exercised....

Duke Students Amid Lacrosse Case Changes — Students eager to get a jump start on the spring semester have returned to Duke's campus. Once again they find themselves and their school in the national spotlight. Katherine Howell a Duke student stated, "I left the country and no questions, it was nice, now I'm back and it's on the news. What's new is rape charges against all three indicted players have been dropped and both Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligman have been invited back to campus.

A decision some students told us off-camera they didn't support while others do. Ashley Lloyda another Duke student stated, "I think it's good that the students are getting installed back in school because there hasn't been any proof." Howell added, "Now that things have cooled over a little bit it's time to reconsider our first decision, let these guys back in.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier
Walk Like A Man — You all know I've been blogging consistently about the Duke Non-Rape case (read about the Art of the Apology taught by a man, reported by his daughter, blog hooligan). My husband asked me recently, why I seemed so obsessed about the case. He was worried that I seemed too concerned, perhaps, pathologically concerned. Injustice, in all its forms distresses me, for one. I see dire implications for anyone seeking justice wound into this case. And this case exemplifies society's anti-male bias...

admin note: many blogs running on the old version of blogspot/blogger, like The Johnsville News, are having technical problems today and have been down for extended periods. Once Google moves everyone over to the new version these problems should be reduced.

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