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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Duke/Nifong Hoax: Day #278

Today's items:

Jim Coman (r)Joe Neff, News & Observer:
Duke prosecutor treads familiar ground — In the coming weeks, the new lead prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case can expect a deja vu moment when he meets with defense attorneys who will argue that charges should be dropped. Special Deputy Attorney General Jim Coman had a similar meeting in 2003 with some of the same lawyers when they tried to persuade Coman to drop charges against former death row inmate Alan Gell.

Gell had been convicted in 1998 after prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office withheld evidence that could have proved his innocence. In some respects, Gell's case foreshadowed the one against former Duke lacrosse players Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty. Previous prosecutors had withheld evidence favorable to the defense. There was no physical evidence against the defendant. The timeline had major holes. There was a solid alibi.

Coman chose to retry Gell...

Mary Dombalis WinsteadBenjamin Niolet, News & Observer:
Winstead thrust into spotlight - Mary Dombalis Winstead has kept a low profile throughout her 25-year career as a prosecutor. That's over now. A week ago, Attorney General Roy Cooper appointed Winstead, 50, as a special prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case. She will work with the lead prosecutor, Jim Coman. Winstead's friends, family and colleagues say she is an ideal choice to handle such a case...

Winstead and District Attorney Mike Nifong worked together. Although Winstead will not be charged with investigating Nifong, part of her job will be to review his actions in the lacrosse case. Alex Charns, a defense lawyer in Durham, said the fact that Winstead and Nifong were colleagues in Durham could raise eyebrows. Charns said he thinks Winstead can do the job, but in such a highly scrutinized case, the link seemed an unnecessary risk.

"I don't understand why the attorney general would do that, to put Mary Winstead in that situation," Charns said...

Forum topics of note:

LieStoppers: March on Raleigh planned Feb. 10, NAACP,others, march for new agenda
WRAL: North Carolina NAACP, Other Groups Announce March to Legislature Next Month — The state chapter of the NAACP and at least 20 other groups announced plans Tuesday to march in downtown Raleigh next month to push their aims at the General Assembly. The February 10 march will highlight a 14-point agenda that includes more help for public schools, abolishing the death penalty, collective bargaining power for government employees and expanding health care coverage for all...

Chapel Hill's Alternative Media blog:
Black Terrorize Hispanics in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC — Nearly half of robbery victims in Durham are Hispanic...
Tema Okun, NandO letter to editor 1/20/07 — I was not surprised to see Tema Okun speak out about unequal justice. I looked up Ms. Okun months ago because she is an active member and organizer of the potbangers at UBUNTU.
John Stevenson, Herald-Sun The Organ:
N.Y. law firm badgers DA's faithful aides — District Attorney Mike Nifong conceded long ago that he had become accustomed to receiving nasty mail about his handling of the Duke lacrosse sex-offense case, but now even his assistants have been badgered with invective by a New York law firm that wants Nifong ousted from his job. Anton J. Borovina of the Melville, N.Y., firm Borovina and Marullo wrote Durham's assistant prosecutors this month, saying that if they had any sense of decency and honor, they would ask their boss to resign.

Attached was a letter to Nifong himself, calling him a "corrupt and morally bankrupt prosecutor" and a "low-life, a racist and a despicable human being." The letter asked Nifong to resign as district attorney for alleged "fraud and deception" and "gross prosecutorial misconduct" in his work on the lacrosse case, which he recently handed off to two special prosecutors appointed by the state attorney general....
KC Johnson: Important Insights from the Herald-Sun — John Stevenson might have outdone himself in this morning's H-S....
KC Johnson:
Sunday Roundup — The last week has featured several extraordinary articles from the mainstream media. In addition to the must-read Charlotte Allen article in Weekly Standard (highlighted yesterday by Liestoppers), begin with a two-part commentary from John Podhoretz in the New York Post, “Senseless” and “Orwell University.” ...

John Stevenson, Herald-Sun The Organ:
Nifong's out, but heat's still on — Although battered by mean-spirited mail about their boss, District Attorney Mike Nifong's subordinates continue to stand by him, while professors debate whether Nifong is subject to possible criminal or civil liability over his handling of the Duke lacrosse sex-offense case. Nifong stepped away from the case earlier this month and handed it off to special prosecutors from the state Attorney General's Office.

But that did nothing to calm the debate, with some calling for Nifong to be sued on grounds that he violated the civil rights of three former lacrosse players by getting them indicted on sex-offense charges without sufficient evidence. Some contend he also should be charged criminally for obstructing justice by allegedly withholding DNA results favorable to the defendants...

Michael Goforth, tcpalm.com:
What if they didn't play lacrosse at Duke? - This is satire. It's not true. It's too absurd to have any basis in facts. Isn't it?

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski turned himself in today to Durham police after being accused of groping an exotic dancer....


John in Carolina:
Is Duke's Starn "typical?" — Readers’ Note: The number of op-eds by Duke faculty that contain misrepresentations continues to grow. Professor Orin Starn frequently writes such op-eds. After reading his most recent one, I decided to send the following letter to his department chair. I’m also sending a similar letter to Duke's chief academic officer, Provost Peter Lange....

KC Johnson:
Nifong's Last Campaign Finance Report - The fourth quarter report for Mike Nifong's campaign has just been posted by the state Board of Elections.

Older items:

Peter Lange - provost of Duke UniversityPeter Lange, provost of Duke University, address to the Arts and Sciences Council:
Provost Peter Lange on 'Free Speech and Speaking Freely' (Jan. 11, 2007) — My second concern is the way public discussion in the blogs and emails often moved from characterizations of what faculty have said or are alleged to have said to attacks on their persons, on their motives and even to hateful personal, threatening or racist rants. I have seen emails and blogs which attribute the views of a faculty member to the alleged weakness of his academic record, or the fact that she studies subject matters which the writer finds objectionable, or that attribute to the faculty member hidden motives of self-interest. These criticisms are often couched in language that reflects profound disrespect not only for the faculty member but for the university.

Worthy of special mention – because they are so distasteful and beyond any form of acceptable speech - are the emails that I have seen in recent months which are nothing more, or less, than the anonymous racist – personally vilifying - rants sent primarily but not only to African American faculty members. Faculty members, like all of us, are responsible for what they say and must be prepared for the consequences of speaking freely. However, the rhetoric of these emails – so easily sent and far too easily dismissed as ravings from the fringe - are profoundly disturbing and sometimes debilitating to those who receive them.

But, what does it do to our community when a subset of its members is singled out by their race, or any other quality other than the quality of their thinking, for speaking up? What does it do to our community when a sector of it feels tempted to withdraw because members of that sector are being pummeled for exercising their rights?
Peter Lange, provost Duke Univesity:
Provost Responds to Faculty Letter Regarding Lacrosse (Monday, April 3, 2006) — The following is an exchange of letters between Provost Peter Lange -- the university's top academic officer -- and English Professor Houston Baker....Houston,....I cannot tell you how disappointed, saddened and appalled I was to receive this letter from you....
Alton H. Maddox Jr., New York Amsterdam News:
Can anyone defend Black women with impunity? (1/18) — Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong is a traitor to the history and precepts of white supremacy.
In four hundred years, no white man has ever gone to prison for raping a Black woman. Either Black women are not sexually attractive to white males or Black women find white men sexually irresistible. The former is untrue. See Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hennings. The latter is also untrue. See Melton A. McLaurin’s “Celia A Slave.”

On Sunday, “60 Minutes” claimed that the Duke rape case is “unraveling” before our eyes. This is also untrue. Instead, the legal system is destroying Michael Nifong before our very eyes. The North Carolina General Assembly and Congress are holding the hammers.

In only one other case, in American jurisprudence, has an attorney been destroyed amid a criminal proceeding. The New York Legislature and Congress were holding the hammers. This is a breach of the “separation of powers” doctrine. It was People v. Sharpton wherein a grievance committee gave me the option of doing in my client, Rev. Al Sharpton or else. I chose “or else.” It would have been unethical to do otherwise. The hammer was designed to undermine Sharpton’s rights under the Sixth Amendment...
comment: Alton H. Maddox, Jr. is a lawyer who was disbarred following his involvement in the Tawana Brawley hoax...

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