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Monday, March 5, 2007

Duke/Nifong Hoax: Day #321

Updated - today's items:

Duke takes over top spot in Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll — Baltimore, Md.- For the fourth straight week there is a new No. 1 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse DI Men's Media Poll. Duke took over the top spot this week, receiving 13 of the 16 first-place votes. Three other teams received votes as Georgetown, Cornell and Navy received one apiece. . .

  1. Duke . . . 3-0 . . . 313 (13 first-place votes)
  2. Georgetown . . . 2-0 . . . 297 (1 first-place vote)
  3. Cornell . . . 3-0 . . . 279 (1 first-place vote)
  4. Virginia . . . 2-1 . . . 268
  5. Johns Hopkins . . . 1-1 . . . 262
  6. Princeton . . . 1-1 . . . 243
  7. Navy . . . 3-0 . . . 237 (1 first-place vote)
  8. Syracuse . . . 1-2 . . . 188
  9. Albany . . . 2-0 . . . 180
  10. Maryland . . . 2-2 . . .164
WRAL: Blue Devils Reach #1 Ranking for First Time — The Duke men's lacrosse program has reached the No. 1 ranking in two polls for the first time in school history. The Blue Devils - who had their season canceled last year amid rape allegations against three players - received six of 10 first-place votes in the USILA coaches poll to move past Georgetown for the top spot.

The Blue Devils (3-0) also reached No. 1 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll, earning 13 of 16 first-place votes . . .

LieStoppers forum: Duke LAX Team Named #1 in Country

Jeff Emanuel, HumanEvents.com
Sacrificing Others' Lives for Political Gain a Hallmark of the Left — Now, almost a full year into the case, we learn from Nifong himself the very good reason why he continued the rape prosecution of these young men, destroying their reputations and threatening to deny their freedom with years in jail. That reason, which was disclosed in a letter on the case from Nifong which was “included in a voluminous filing [February 28] to the State Bar,” was this:
The lacrosse case arose “during the last few weeks of a hotly-contested Democratic Party primary in which I was seeking to retain my office,” [Nifong] said. “I was not always able to give the case my full attention
Well, that clears everything right up. I mean, had it been something trivial, well, then it would have been worth getting upset about the fact that three young men’s lives were ruined by his wrongful, unethical, and potentially criminal prosecution. But hey, this was about politics -- and that’s clearly more important than the lives and freedoms of others! . . .

By Henry H. Korn, Esq., partner, LePatner & Associates LLP, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, and former Member, Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department.
The New York Law Journal (published Jan 30, 2006)/ LePatner.com:
The D.A. Scandal in the Duke University Case: Michael B. Nifong's Violation of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct
— April 2006 marked the beginning of the nightmare for three members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team when the Durham County District Attorney, Michael B. Nifong, charged them with raping a stripper at a lacrosse team party. The charges were filed even though Mr. Nifong never interviewed the victim.

He was quick to comment during this prosecution, however, that the defendants were guilty of the rape. Reviled by faculty and senior administrators at Duke who had prejudged them (and all members of the nationally ranked lacrosse team) and by the news media that escalated the feeding frenzy,(2) these three men faced the dark and dirty side of the criminal justice system, or what Norman Mailer once described as "the belly of the beast." . . .

Lack of Evidence . . .The Criminal Case Unravels Based on the D.A.'s Conduct . . . False Statements to the Court and Counsel . . . ABA Standards: Failing to Interview the Victim . . .
FreeRepublic: The D.A. Scandal in the Duke University Case
TalkLeft: The D.A. Scandal in the Duke University Case

Michael Gaynor: Mr. Korn's NYLJ article: Right on DA scandal, wrong on DA ignorance, error-riddled — But, Mr. Korn concluded (erroneously, in my view) that Mr. Nifong's misconduct was the result of ignorance and recklessness, not willfulness . . .

NC Lawyer Report Card - 'F' - Fiftieth in nationMike McCusker, Crystal Mess blog:
Disgraced Nifong Should Resign Now — In 2002, HALT, An Organization Of Americans For Legal Reform, undertook the first comprehensive evaluation of the legal profession's system of self-regulation in ten years. Of fifty-one "Lawyer Discipline Report Cards" issued (one for each state and the District of Columbia), the State Bar of North Carolina ranked fiftieth in the nation. Only North Carolina and Pennsylvania flunked outright, each then receiving an overall grade of "F."

2006 NC Lawyer Discipline Repord Card - 'D' - fiftieth in nationIn 2006, HALT again issued Report Cards on lawyer accountability. In the interim, overall performance of the Pennsylvania Grievance Committee leapt to fifth best in the country. North Carolina? Fiftieth. The NC Bar received "Incomplete" grades in the categories of "Adequacy of Discipline Imposed" and "Promptness" because it failed to provide data related to those categories to the American Bar Association. Actually, it failed to provide the data because it doesn't even keep records or statistics attending such insignificant issues. Incredibly, despite the pig circus staged by the Bar in the aftermath of Hoke & Graves v. Gell, the NC Grievance Committee somehow did manage to raise its overall grade, to a pitiful "D." . . .
Steve Ford, column, News & Observer:
More clout for corruption fighters corrupt DA's - how come our local district attorneys haven't been allowed to use a basic tool that their federal cousins in the prosecutorial tribe find as handy as a pair of Channellocks? (Adjustable pliers -- they squeeze.) comment: A better pair of pliers for NC Nifong's? Sounds like a winner.

Letters to Herald-Sun:
Michael Lavine (current Duke faculty member), Durham:
Many Duke students are unprepared to do math — a large number of Duke students cannot do middle school math or else they deliberately give wrong answers to get placed into easy courses. In either case, we should expect better. We should expect Duke students to do at least high school math and to enroll in courses that challenge them. . .

Jeffrey C. Mensh, Chapel Hill:
Complete system failure — . . . The gross miscarriages of justice, phony lineups, DNA misrepresentations, refusals to meet with the accuser and accused, lies regarding the stonewalling by team members, arrests without cause, special deals for witnesses, not to mention indictments coming after DNA evidence was hidden, should settle this abomination once and for all. Did something occur? For certain, bad judgement. But, beyond that, the DA has established a case of innuendo, falsehood, illegality and worst of all an inability to ascertain whether a true crime has been committed by the accuser or accused.

What we observed was a complete system failure. Our hope at this point should be the ability to correct the injustices on all fronts: legal, school mismanagement, outcries from uninformed and racially biased city leaders and clergy, team behavior, and, the sad commentary from the questionably tenured professorship.

The last thing needed at this point is further inaccuracies and false, malicious reporting. Let's leave that to the district attorney.

William B. Anderson, Cumberland, Md.:
Enabling Nifong — In your March 2 editorial, "N.C. Bar also faces scrutiny," The Herald-Sun once again defends Michael Nifong as though his actions simply were "mistakes," something akin to putting down the wrong answer on a math quiz. Then you say: "Nifong certainly made mistakes, as he concedes, but no one has been wrongly convicted, and no trial has been held."

Throughout this ordeal, The Herald-Sun has been demanding that the case go to trial. Now you tell us that there has been no "wrongful conviction." True, but are you saying that if a jury actually were to convict the three young men, that it would be "wrongful"? Are you saying now that there should be no trial?

No harm? What about the millions of dollars the families have had to spend to defend their sons, with the charges being transparently false? What about the damage to the reputations of individuals and to Duke University? . . .

Travis R. Nesbit, Lawrenceville, Ga.:
Editorial Disappointing — The end of your March 1 editorial is simply disappointing. The fact that a trial has not been held or the accused Duke lacrosse players have not been jailed does not negate the suffering they have been through. Two have had their college careers interrupted for more than a year now. One lost out on a job offer. All three have had their reputations tarnished and seen shame heaped on their families.

All of this may be due to the alleged unethical and illegal activities that District Attorney Mike Nifong orchestrated. Wrong is wrong, period. Do not trivialize what these families have gone through on the argument that others have endured more.

Andrew Webb, column, The Cornell Sun:
An Error in Judgment — When I started my column, my sole purpose was to mock the high-horse ignorant judgments that plague our media. I chose to talk only about myself and my experiences because those are the only things that I can claim to know anything about. Josh Perlin’s March 1st Daily Sun sports column “Seligmann Not Worth The Hassle” affirms why I have written in the fashion that I have and also forces me attack someone that I do not know personally. The article details the aspiration of Reade Seligmann, one of the accused players in the Duke lacrosse case, to attend Brown University. The errors in ethics, judgment and sheer writing ability in Perlin’s column prove to be one of the worst cases of journalism that I have ever had the misfortune of reading.

To begin with, Perlin worries that “the team, the University, collegiate lacrosse —anything and everything at Cornell — would have been under incredible scrutiny from the media and the public” if Reade came to Cornell. He goes on to say that, “Reade Seligmann may be innocent — for all we know, he may be a great person to build a program around — but is one athlete really worth all of that trouble that could follow him?”

Right on, Mr. Perlin. It’s a good thing that people in history have strayed from doing things that are right just because it would bring attention to the cause. It’s a good thing Martin Luther King shied away from leading the civil rights movement given all of the “incredible scrutiny [that he received] from the media and the public.” (And, no, this is not different. While Dr. King worked to free thousands of oppressed people from the ignorant and unfair clutches of racism, Perlin’s column is furthering the unfair and ignorant oppression of these three boys.) . . .
Josh Perlin, Sun Assistant Sports Editor, Cornell Sun:
Seligmann Not Worth Hassle

Forum topics of note:
LieStoppers: DEF Attorneys Knew Immediately, FIX was in — The Defense attorneys knew what the Durham Justice League had planned. They knew that evidence would have to be ignored or manipulated to make a case against young men - two of which had proof they were elsewhere. . .

LieStoppers: Nifong as the bumbler — The enablers newest argument

Moezeldin ElmostafaLieStoppers: William L. Anderson - Obstruction of Justice in Elmostafa Case? - if what Moez Elmostafa said about his arrest last April is true -- and I suspect it is -- then Linwood Wilson very likely committed a felony. As I recall, Wilson took part in the arrest, but before Elmostafa was arrested on what clearly was a trumped-up charge, Wilson allegedly asked him if he had anything else to say on the lacrosse case. (Elmostafa was the cab driver who picked up Reade Seligmann at the LAX party and took him to a bank teller and then a restaurant, before dropping him off at his dorm.) . . .

TJN (8/29/06): Cabbie escapes Nifongery

Leslie Williams and BriAnne Dopart, Herald-Sun:
Student reaction to CCI report diverse — The prospect that Duke University might eliminate fraternities and other "selective living" programs from its West Campus dorms leaves some students simmering but others willing to consider the recommendation, suggests a study of campus culture.

"It's really pretty much aimed at getting rid of Greek life," said Austin Stevens, a junior. "And the fraternities contribute a lot to campus life."

Stevens said the recommendation struck him as the most extreme in a series contained in the Campus Culture Initiative report issued Tuesday, and that the university has a lot to lose by disrupting the current order. He belongs to Delta Kappa Epsilon, which is housed in Craven residence hall on West Campus.

In addition to citing concerns about student drinking, admissions policies and faculty-student interaction, the CCI report cited a need to encourage more social interaction among diverse student groups. By eliminating "selective living," it said, the university would force fraternities and other groups -- which now can book large blocks of rooms -- to spread out among dorms or rental housing rather than cluster on campus. . .

Natalie Zitnak, Badger Herald (Univ. of Wisconsin):
Duke tackles race issues — A committee at Duke University recently released a report summarizing 10 months of research on campus atmosphere that will result in a requirement for students to take classes on race and ethnicity. The Campus Culture Initiative Steering Committee, a Duke University coalition, submitted the report to Duke University President Richard Brodhead to address aspects of undergraduate life.

The report states the goal is to create “a diverse, inclusive and engaged community that affirms difference is the social context necessary for the transformative educational experience that Duke intends to provide.”

Though spurred by the accusations and subsequent publicity of the Duke lacrosse team, Duke’s vice president for student affairs, Larry Moneta, said the initiative addresses universal collegiate problems and represents conversations that have been taking place at Duke for several years. . .

Jane Stancill and Eric Ferrer, News & Observer:
Report divides Duke's campus (3/4) — A proposal challenges key areas of university life, but some say not much will or even needs to change - The campus culture report released last week at Duke University diagnosed an environment often dominated by white men, fraternities, sports and an alcohol-drenched social scene that promotes casual sex.

To some, though, the report was a politically correct treatise by leftists intent on social engineering and a top-to-bottom remake of a great university.

Like the Duke lacrosse case itself, the report has stirred strong and conflicting emotions. After nine months of study, a two-dozen member campus committee has recommended 28 changes covering a wide range of topics: dorm space, dining halls, social life, athletics and what types of students are admitted. President Richard Brodhead has said the recommendations will be considered but aren't a done deal. The debate is on. . .
News & Observer:
About the report - The committee that issued the report was made up of administrators, faculty and students. Its chairman was Robert Thompson, vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of Trinity College. The committee is one of five Duke formed in April in response to issues raised by the lacrosse case. The report offers 28 recommendations in six areas. . .


Michael Gustafson, Duke professor:
CCI I: Curriculum and Experiential Learning — my thoughts on the three recommendations in this section . . ."3. Initiate ongoing forums on issues of difference through such means as a conference that promotes dialogue and guides consideration of approaches and initiatives."

I will admit to a bit of snark here. First thing I thought of was that we should host a "Conservatives in the Classroom" conference in 2008. There would be breakout sessions, such as "Republican Perspectives on Literature - A One Woman Play," or, "The Right Wing Academic Diaspora - A Histogrammatical Analysis of Ideological 'Diversity'." I have a feeling though, other kinds of conferences are imagined.my thoughts on the three recommendations in this section . . .

Adi Joseph, DiamondBackOnline (Univ. of Maryland)
Danowski, Blue Devils pound men's lacrosse — With four minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Duke senior attackman Matt Danowski took the ball from behind the cage, charged forward, turned and fired a ball into the back of the net.

With that goal, Danowski tied a career-high with six goals as the Blue Devils (3-0, 1-0 ACC) stomped the Terrapin men's lacrosse team Friday night, 14-7. He sparked the Duke offense with a varied array of shots and befuddled two All-American Terp defenders in the process.

"He just had our number today," senior long pole Ryan Clarke said. "He was pretty much unstoppable out there. He could have shot the ball behind his back, and it would have went in." . . .
Sign at Univ. of Maryland v. Duke game March 3rdDuke Chronicle:
Lax team sees mixed welcoming — Small groups of fans taunt Duke in 1st road contest - Only a handful of signs mentioning the scandal were present at the game, and they all had long been packed up and put away by the time the Blue Devils wrapped up their 14-7 win. Three different groups of Maryland supporters sported posters saying "No means no," a phrase that Terrapin basketball fans have chanted in the past at opposing players who have been accused of sexual assaults.

Although the taunt has been heard at the nearby Comcast Center, some fans felt the signs had no place at the lacrosse game.

"I think that this is probably one of the most ignorant things I've ever seen University of Maryland students do," Maryland sophomore Amy Mackown said. "This is serious business. These are just kids out here, and they shouldn't have people chanting stuff that brings up such a bad incident that I think they were wrongly accused of." . . .

KC Johnson:
The Sports Reporterstwo excellent posts at Liestoppers pointed out, Bomani Jones’ recent espn.com column reveled in its prejudice. It dripped with contempt for the lacrosse players and revealed a mind (like so many in Durham) unable to process the information that has come to light since April 6. . .

DBR has run scores of columns and summaries on the case, ranging well beyond athletics to include examinations of prosecutorial misconduct, vestiges of McCarthyism, and the role of the bar. Its forceful endorsement of the Recall Nifong-Vote Cheek line looks prescient as Nifong now appears to be on its way out. . .

KC Johnson:
Paula McClain: No Means No — Will Professor McClain (G88) apologize? ... No.

KC Johnson:
Sunday Roundup — the latest jaw-dropping comment from NAACP case monitor Irving Joyner . . . Liestoppers uncovered a leaked document from Duke’s Academic Council, revealing the newly planned Department of Scapegoatology . . . Bill Anderson’s latest excellent article looks at how those who expected “that Nifong would simply become background noise” had not counted on how the DA’s bar response would make him “front-and-center once again.”

John in Carolina continues his excellent series profiling the actions of Cpl. David Addison, acting DPD spokesperson during critical days last March and DPD liaison to “Crimestoppers,” the group that produced the “wanted” poster stating unequivocally that a rape occurred at the lacrosse house. . .

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