Updated - today's items:
John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
Appreciation luncheon held for beleaguered district attorney — "District Attorney Appreciation Week" was launched Monday for embattled Durham chief prosecutor Mike Nifong, who suggested the event's organizers are more in tune with reality than countless out-of-state hecklers who criticize his handling of the controversial Duke lacrosse sex-offense case.
"If you rely on certain media, you might think there is universal disapproval of me," Nifong said, referring largely to national television outlets that have relentlessly hammered him over the lacrosse incident.
"But if you're closer to home, you realize that's not true," he added.
Two of those behind Monday's Nifong appreciation luncheon in the DA's Office in the Durham County Courthouse were Victoria Peterson, rebuked by City Council members last month for making an anti-Duke statement at a public meeting, and former school board member Jackie Wagstaff, who five years ago received a favorable plea bargain on charges that she used a nonprofit organization to falsify requests involving $1,452 of taxpayers' money. The original felony charges against Wagstaff were downgraded to misdemeanors...
related:Benjamin Niolet, News & Observer:
LieStoppers: News of the Weird
Joan Foster, LieStoppers: Overheard at Appreciation Day
LieStoppers: Appreciation luncheon held for beleaguered DA, Victoria Peterson resurfaces
KC Johnson (see comments): Only in Durham
TalkLeft: Appreciation luncheon held for beleaguered district attorney
Nifong's problems just static in courts — Durham DA office even cuts backlog - While many people in Durham and the nation talked about the Duke University lacrosse case and what will become of District Attorney Mike Nifong, Durham's assistant prosecutors have been plowing quietly through tens of thousands of cases.
For nearly a year, Nifong has been under siege by reporters, bloggers and county residents who question his actions in the sexual assault investigation that grew out of a lacrosse team party last March. In December and January, the State Bar, which regulates lawyers, filed ethics charges against Nifong.
In the world outside the courthouse, Duke lacrosse often seems to be the only pending case in all of Durham. Inside the building, the case is one of more than 40,000 filed each year...
Joyner's Jurisprudence — One of the most troubling aspects of the lacrosse case has been the decision of the state NAACP to adopt positions at odds with a 70 years’ legacy on criminal justice matters, on issues ranging from changes of venue in racially charged cases, to skepticism about suggestive witness lineups, to opposing victims’ rights efforts.
The extent of this transformation becomes particularly stark in examining the legal opinions of Irving Joyner, a law professor at NCCU who the state NAACP designated as “case monitor” on April 19. Until this case, Joyner had a reputation as a civil rights lawyer, suspicious of state power in general and police misconduct in particular. Yet in the last 10 months, he has embraced a pro-prosecution view with the fervency of a convert.
Victoria Ward, Duke Chronicle:
As lax legal fees rise, groups pitch in — Eleven months after rape allegations thrust the Duke men's lacrosse team into the national spotlight, several of the team's supporters have undertaken major fundraising efforts to help members of the 2005-2006 team finance their legal expenses.
The Association for Truth and Fairness, a Delaware-based nonprofit organization, has raised $750,000 toward this cause, said Sherman "Tiger" Joyce, a founding member of ATAF.
Joyce estimated that legal bills for the three players accused of kidnapping and sexual assault have already reached a total of $3 million. ATAF organizers intend to raise $5 million, using excess funds to advocate against abuses in the criminal justice system, he added...
Lawrence Evans, Professor Emeritus of Physics, letter to Duke Chronicle:
Time to address the real classroom issue — I know for a fact that some faculty immediately wanted the whole lacrosse team expelled; if that opinion was kept privately it did little harm. However one hears stories, many with the ring of truth, about classroom discussions and even instructor's lectures on the subject that clearly assumed the worst and suggested retribution against the players. There is even a case in which retribution may have been taken in terms of grades. It is these things that ought to be brought into the open and discussed, because if true they outweigh in importance to Duke anything that seems to have happened at the Party From Hell.
There must be students (other than the players, who are reasonably keeping quiet) who know about these things. They should open up about them.
Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies, letter to Duke Chronicle
Guest column misrepresents professor's words (see comments) — The Chronicle recently reprinted a column from The Daily Princetonian by Brandon McGinley ("Faculty should stand by its students," Feb. 16) that misrepresents and distorts what I actually wrote and said. By so doing The Chronicle continues misrepresenting my language while hiding behind someone else's actual lies.
McGinley quotes two word from my writing and then surrounds those with lies. The piece from which he quotes is actually my criticism of a reading of the lacrosse team players as perfect offenders and my criticism of a reading of the accuser as a perfect victim.
Please refer to the following link to the actual essay so that The Chronicle and its readers can then see for themselves what a distortion McGinley has written.
comment by Locomotive Breath/Duke graduate with a BS, MS and PhD. — Your last letter to the Chronicle on 1/25/2007 complained that the late August 2006 ESPN article by Jon Pessah "Months later, unanswered questions haunt Duke" saying that "Lubiano knew some would see the ad as a stake through the collective heart of the lacrosse team" as quoted in a Chronicle article by Dave Kleban on 1/23/2007 was false. You made this same assertion at the "Shut Up and Teach" event on 2/12/07. Essentially, you're claiming that Jon Pessah is a liar. Other than to do that, you've yet to correct the record and tell us what you actually DID say.Letters to Herald-Sun:
Now here you are again calling someone else a liar. Why does this kind of thing seem to follow you around? You've pretty much used up your line of credit.
Howard C. Buchanan, Durham:AP/News & Observer:
True or false? — True or false? That is the question. Is she lying or are they lying? Or has our president lied concerning the war in Iraq?
What brought this to my mind was when I read in the paper concerning the innocence of a black man and 11 other people exonerated by a DNA test that proved their innocence from a guilty verdict in Texas. A Texas lawmaker calls the situation an international embarrassment. Anyone can get into this situation. You, I , lawyers and judges, if someone were to say they had been raped or assaulted. Who would you believe?
There are only two ways I know of -- the accuser saying they were not raped or assaulted; the other a polygraph test. If I was a lawyer or district attorney, the accuser would have to take the test before I would take the case, if they proved their point. I know this can't be used in court, but it would be for my advantage and no emabarrassment to the state. The state should pass a law to this effect.
Margaret S. Hood, Durham:
Bring on Sowell — It has now become more evident than ever that the charges brought against the Duke lacrosse team were fraudulent and laced with class warfare, racism and a very deliberate political agenda. We have to ask ourselves who are the biggest losers in all this.
It would appear that many so willingly contributed to this farce, even Duke professors who were just a bit too quick to point an accusing finger and side with those loyal to their political agenda or brand of politics.
Thomas Sowell, a black writer and serious educator addressed this very sad issue with great balance and fairness in his Jan. 30 column that is posted on his Web site -- www.tsowell.com.
Sowell is a prolific writer and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. I would like to encourage The Herald-Sun to return Sowell's column and make Durham a much wiser place. And Durham could use a taste of the truth and replace the denial of a senseless tragedy forced upon those who have sought justice in the American courts the right way, and not justice by a vigilante system which thrives for the sole purpose of enriching a power base and lining pockets! This case should wake up both blacks and liberals on how easy it is for their emotions to be manipulated and exploited by demagogues such as The Rev. Al Sharpton and The Rev. Jesse Jackson, both of whom have prospered greatly by leading other blacks down blind alleys of resentment along with other supporters with a less favorable agenda of American politics and America.
City offers settlement, apology to Darryl Hunt — The city of Winston-Salem agreed Monday to pay $1.65 million to Darryl Hunt, who was imprisoned for 18 years for a murder he didn't commit. City council members also issued a formal apology to Hunt during a meeting Monday night, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
Hunt was convicted twice in the stabbing death of Deborah Sykes, who was raped and killed in 1984 while walking to work downtown. DNA evidence linked the crime to another man, Willard Brown, who has pleaded guilty to murdering Sykes. In a written apology, Mayor Allen Joines and city council members said a report detailing the case revealed "actions of city officers and employees, and of others, which fall far short of the standards this city holds and espouses.
"For such actions...the city expresses its sincere regret, extending its profound and sincere apology to Darryl Hunt for all that he has endured and suffered in this matter."...
LieStoppers forum: Winston-Salem Apologizes to Darryl Hunt