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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Duke/Nifong/Cooper+66 Hoax

Updated - today's items:

Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
State Bar attorneys target Nifong motion — As lawyers for District Attorney Mike Nifong continued to push for dismissal of part of the State Bar's ethics complaint, the bar issued its own rebuke of the veteran prosecutor's arguments.

The lawyers filed briefs late Friday to meet a deadline set by the Disciplinary Hearing Commission, which acts as judge in the bar's case against Nifong.

The State Bar has accused Nifong of breaking rules of professional conduct during his handling of the case in which an escort service dancer alleged she was gang-raped by three members of Duke University's lacrosse team at a party last March.

Nifong, who turned the case over to special prosecutors in January, is now in a fight to save his law license.

Katherine E. Jean, Carmen K. Hoyme and Douglas J. Brocker, the lawyers representing the bar, argue that Nifong intentionally withheld evidence favorable to the defense and then lied about it to the court and bar. . .

John Stevenson, Herald-Sun:
State Bar rips into DA's stance — The N.C. State Bar says Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is engaging in "semantic hair-splitting" in an effort to fend off its charges against him and contends alleged misconduct like his is "seldom, if ever, excusable."

When all is said and done, the State Bar contends in newly filed papers, Nifong violated North Carolina law, the U.S. Constitution and the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers by misrepresenting important scientific evidence in the Duke lacrosse case and deceiving a judge about it...

Law Professor John Banzhaf III of George Washington University, who has followed the case closely, saw things differently Monday. In a telephone interview, he characterized the defense brief as a "frivolous" exercise in semantics. "He makes the case for his own disbarment even stronger," Banzhaf said of Nifong. "He tries to defend clearly indefensible conduct." Banzhaf added that the State Bar's new paperwork "literally shreds Mr. Nifong's arguments and turns his hair-splitting against him." ...
Forbes/AP: More Papers Filed in Duke Lacrosse Case

Duke Basketball Report:
Lax: As The End Draws Near, More Questions Arise — Other people will have more difficult questions to answer, including many people at Duke...

It’s growing increasingly hard to avoid the conclusion that the real “crimes” here are that the lacrosse players are white and (at least appear to be) privileged (not all of them are from what we understand).

For too many, there is no interest in truth when it collides with ideological predisposition. When this case is dismissed, which seems inevitable, aside from a flurry of lawsuits which will hit Duke as an institution and a number of individuals as well, people should be held accountable for their positions and their unwillingness to be…well, honest. Bob Harris of all people crystallized the case when he was caught on camera telling Mike Nifong that, no, the case wasn’t about Duke, “it’s about honesty. And you’re not honest.”

We mean no disrespect to Bob Harris when we say this. He is a wonderful man and very bright and accomplished. But: for all the academic firepower Duke has, for the amazing intellects and formidable accomplishments, why is it that a sports announcer nailed this case, absolutely pegged it, and the geniuses who sneer at him and the world he represents can’t even admit they were wrong? They don’t have to apologize. But why is it so hard to admit they were wrong?

Harris was right when he told Nifong it’s about honesty. But he might have also said it’s about character. And for highly intelligent people, who are entrusted with young students and their intellectual growth, for them to perpetuate lies, to accept and encourage prosecutorial misconduct, is just an unbelievable abdication of character. And Duke deserves better.

Michael Gaynor:
NC State Bar Brief Gives Nifong Grief, Not Relief The North Carolina State Bar was slow to begin, but it is apparent from its amended ethics complaint and memorandum of law in opposition to Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong will be called to account for his grievous ethical “sin.” ...
Baldo, LieStoppers: Up Yours! [Cartoon]
Mike McCusker, Crystal Mess blog: "You Will Pay For The Rest Of Your Life"
D. Martyn Lloyd-Morgan, Liberty Sphere blog: NC Bar Issues Statement on Nifong

discussion of NC Bar response continues:
LieStoppers forum: Bar responds to Nifong's 2/28 motion...
FreeRepublic: State Bar Says Nifong Skirted System....
TalkLeft: NC Bar DHC files Memo...

KC Johnson:
March Madness, III: The Faculty — Today’s bracket features the 10 worst case-related publications of the Duke arts and sciences faculty. As with yesterday’s bracket, the worst of the worst ranked is #1. Reader nominations are welcome in the comment thread. Worst of the soundbites come tomorrow...
  1. Grant Farred, “Secret Racism Underlying Lacrosse Case,” Herald-Sun, October 29, 2006.
  2. William Chafe, “Sex and Race,” Chronicle, March 31, 2006.
  3. Karla Holloway, “Coda: Bodies of Evidence,” Scholar and Feminist Online, July 2006.
  4. Cathy Davidson, “In the Aftermath of a Social Disaster,” N&O, January 5, 2007.
  5. Houston Baker, “Awaiting the Restoration of Confidence: A Letter to the Duke University Administration,” public letter, March 29, 2006.
  6. Wahneema Lubiano, “Perfect Offenders, Perfect Victim: The Limitations of Spectacularity in the Aftermath of the Lacrosse Team Incident,” NewBlackMan, 13 April 2006.
  7. Elizabeth Chin, “Out of Their Worlds,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 26, 2006.
  8. William Chafe, “Opinion: What Next at Duke?,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 3, 2006.
  9. Mark Anthony Neal, (White) Male Privilege, Black Respectability, and Black Women’s Bodies,” NewBlackMan, 11 April 2006.
  10. Orin Starn, “A Grand Show of Arrogance by Duke Athletics,” Herald-Sun, Sept. 15, 2006.

Kristin Butler, Duke ChronicleKristin Butler, Duke Chronicle:
Talking the talk — What a surprise it was to read Elliott Wolf's March 7 guest column, which declared the report of the Campus Culture Initiative "trite" and worth only a "C" in an academic setting...

you could trace the CCI's problems all the way back to President Brodhead's decision to announce the Initiative in an April 5 e-mail that implicitly assigned Duke students-and particularly Duke lacrosse players-a "culture of privilege," an "arrogant inconsiderateness" and certain "attitudes of superiority." Of course, subsequently sprinkling the committee with individuals who decry our "subculture of reckless 'entitlement,' sexual acquisitiveness and aggressive arrogance," to quote CCI member Sam Wells, was equally ill-advised.

In fact, the committee's highly controversial membership was so poorly considered The Chronicle worried the CCI had been stacked with "critics of 'white male privilege'" seeking to "pacify countercultural professors, rather than to shape a new and improved campus culture." Given these serious charges, it is hard not to wonder whether President Brodhead intentionally stocked the committee with voices sure to be considered illegitimate by many in the Duke community. Alternatively, were Allen Building officials so ignorant of student and alumni opinion that they simply didn't realize their error?
KC Johnson: Today's News — The incomparable Kristin Butler takes aim at the Campus Culture Initiative in her column today....

Craig, Lead & Gold blog:
Duke lacrosse: That "Blue Wall of Silence" — A great thread underway over at LieStoppers. This part is telling:
If you go back and watch Nifong's March 29, 2006 interview (the famous choke hold interview) on the Abrams Report he makes a very revealing comment on Bill Anderson's point. Abrams asks him if the statement by Lax player Zash's attorney is true that he is cooperating with police. Nifong begins by saying yes Zash has talked to police but then goes out of his way to point out that if Zash made an untrue statement to police then "that would not be cooperation" ...

Brian Delaney, The Ithaca Journal:
Men's lacrosse: At Duke, father and son in a unique situation — In some ways, it was amazing that John Danowski didn't collapse under the strain. A year ago, Danowski was in his 21st season at Hofstra as the men's lacrosse coach. The Pride were loaded, and ranked in the top five nationally for most of the season.

But for the longtime coach, lacrosse was little more than a means of escape. He spent the rest of his time worrying for his son, Matt, one of the nation's best attackmen and then a junior at Duke. In Durham, N.C., Matt Danowski and his Duke lacrosse teammates were going through a rape scandal that quickly grew into one of the biggest stories, sports or otherwise, in the nation....

Galen Vaisman, Duke Chronicle:
Team preps for Cornell rematch — Players keep focus despite ongoing case — Almost exactly one year ago, Duke walked off the West Campus turf fields on a snowy Tuesday afternoon looking lost.

Appearing distracted in their play, the Blue Devils had just experienced an uncharacteristic defensive breakdown, giving up five goals in the fourth quarter to be upset 11-7 by a Cornell team that Duke had soundly beaten in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

As fate would have it, the reason for the team's lack of focus would soon become the center of a national media firestorm.

When No. 5 Duke (5-1) and the No. 1 Big Red (4-0) square off in Koskinen Stadium at 7 p.m. tonight, it will be more than just a significant test against the nation's top team. It will also be a rematch of what ultimately proved to be the Blue Devils' last game of the 2006 season...

Jackie MacMullan, The Boston Globe:
New school, old wounds — Now at Bryant, ex-Duke lacrosse coach still grapples with scandal's fallout - During the most harrowing moments, when the hateful, threatening signs cropped up on his lawn under the cover of darkness, when the anonymous e-mails mentioning his children by name were delivered to him, when a university that once embraced him warmly suddenly shunned him like a pariah with a contagious disease, former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler laced up his sneakers and walked it off.

"One day, I walked 10 miles," Pressler said. "All by myself, through the Duke forest. It's a beautiful place." He paused, his face creased with sorrow and resignation.

"We just sold our home there." The Pressler family will settle in Smithfield, a few miles from the Bryant University campus where he is the new lacrosse coach.

He is grateful to be given an opportunity to continue doing what he loves...

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