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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — April 25, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Eric Ferreri, News & Observer:
Student column agitates NCCU -- The chancellor at N.C. Central University has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing an opinion column in the student newspaper that advocates violence.

The column in the April 18 issue of the Campus Echo bears the headline "Death to all rapists" and rips into the resolution of the Duke lacrosse case, in which three white athletes accused of sexually assaulting a black dancer were recently declared innocent.

Solomon Burnette, a Durham native, wrote that blacks cannot get a fair shake under the current American justice system and should thus stand up and fight, "whether intellectually, artistically or physically." ...

On Tuesday, Chancellor James Ammons distanced the university from Burnette's words.

"We are aware of the fact that Mr. Burnette has a right to express his opinion, but we also know that the freedom of speech comes with the responsibility to be fair and accountable," Ammons said in a written statement. "We also believe that the facts do matter in this case and every legal case and violence is not the answer."

Ammons issued the statement in response to media inquiries. He declined on Tuesday to comment further on the incident but did say he could not recall ever speaking publicly before about anything in a student publication...

John Ham, Right Angles blog:
Still mugging Duke students -- Solomon Burnette, son of former Durham City Council member Brenda Burnette, served more than a year in prison in 2000-01 for robbing two Duke students at gunpoint and violating his probation. Now he’s mugging the three exonerated Duke lacrosse players in a column in North Carolina Central University’s Campus Echo newspaper titled “Death to all rapists.” Echoing what seems to be a widely shared view on the NCCU campus, ..

Fred Shropshire, ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Some Upset by NCCU Editorial Column -- Whatever his intent, Burnette's column stirred anger off campus. "We've been getting lots of, you know, shocking response from just e-mails," said Ronny Camille, Echo student editor.

Complaints about the opinion piece have come in from as far as Maryland from people calling it racist. Camille said it's no different from other opinions the paper has published in the past. "It the past, we've had people talk about the death penalty, the war in Iraq, various issues -- abortion."

In a written statement, Chancellor James Ammon said, "In no way does the university advocate violence as a means to seek justice. We are aware of the fact that Ms. Burnette has a right to express his opinion."

Tea and Crumpets blog: Militants in our Midst -- Burnette noted that he's also attending classes in Arabic at Duke. He said he is a member of NCCU's Muslim Students Association and the UNC Association of Student Governments.

LieStoppers blog: Our Collective Voice: Anonymous said... -- I am a NCCU student and I absolutely do not agree with Mr. Burnette's article...

LS forum: More Black Racism Rears Its Ugly Head, NCCU Hatefest continued
FreeRepublic: Death to all rapists. (as in Duke)
TalkLeft: Another voice from the Durham jury pool that-would-have-been
KC Johnson:
The Finnerty Timeline -- In a June interview with Dan Abrams, Collin Finnerty’s parents made clear that their son had a strong alibi. Their attorney, Wade Smith, chose not to reveal the alibi for understandable legal reasons—a fear that Mike Nifong would try to manipulate the facts around the alibi. Indeed, this is exactly what Nifong tried to do regarding Reade Seligmann’s alibi.

With the case concluded, however, the Finnerty record on the night of the party is now public. What it reveals: Finnerty had an alibi of comparable strength to that of Reade Seligmann—and Seligmann’s alibi, it’s worth remembering, was unimpeachable in demonstrably proving his innocence...

In their interview, [Tara] Levicy told Kingsbery that on several occasions on the morning of March 14, she asked Mangum to slow down, so she could get all of Mangum’s details in her report. In the course of Kingsbery’s questioning of Levicy, it became clear that the SANE nurse had omitted a critical item from her report.

Did Mangum say when the alleged attack occurred?, Kingsbery queried. Yes, conceded Levicy. “About” 1.00am.

So at the time when Tara Levicy—whose zeal for conviction appears to have been almost equal to Nifong’s—had Mangum saying the attack occurred, Collin Finnerty was eating at a restaurant more than a mile away from the captains’ house...

comment: The Finnerty timeline is another stark reminder of how hell-bent Nifong, his minions, and enablers (like nurse Tara Levicy) were in railroading the Duke lacrosse players regardless of the truth.

LS forum: Tara Levicy - Radical Advocate - KC Breaks News, Never seen a woman who lied about rape
TalkLeft: Finnerty timeline released shows alibi
Forum topic(s) of note:
TalkLeft: Cash Michaels - Should The Black Community Apologize to the Duke Three

LS: Blog and Media Roundup, Wednesday 04/25/07
Letters to Herald-Sun:
Don't charge accuser

Mike Day's April 13 letter, and others, beg the question, "Shouldn't the accuser in the lacrosse case be charged with filing a false report?"

This whole fiasco has left our city's reputation charred and three Duke students badly burned. We should prosecute the one who broke the law and lit that fire, but not the accuser. It's virtually impossible to prove something didn't happen, so it wouldn't result in conviction.

The primary reason we shouldn't attempt to prosecute the accuser is that real rape victims are often already reluctant to report this horrific crime. Do we want real rape victims to hesitate before they call 911? To wonder, "I was raped, but can I prove it?" before they dial?

False police reports are a large problem. They fill up our limited court space, waste police resources, and abuse our 911 service. We should prosecute other false reports more vigorously, but not rape cases.

Fortunately, Kim Roberts never claimed to be raped. Her 911 call said she didn't even need officer support, just wanted to get this on record. "I just didn't know how Durham felt about this kind of thing," she said. She knew full well how Durham felt and would react, and we didn't disappoint. Durhamites of all colors were uniformly enraged. She lit that fire, tried to spin it into money and failed. She used her intoxicated fellow stripper, who, like the rest of us, are victims of Kim Robert's failed plan. She should be prosecuted, not the accuser.

Bill Anderson, Durham
Sharri Markson, NY Post:
Duke Kids Aid the Innocents -- The three former Duke lacrosse players exonerated in a racially charged rape case lent their support to others who've been wrongly accused of crimes, at a Midtown dinner last night.

Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans attended the event sponsored by the Innocence Project, which works to free convicts through DNA testing.

Although the project was not involved in the Duke case, Seligmann said, "We were honored to be in the presence of these remarkable people, and we are so happy that they can now celebrate their freedom."...

Adam Eaglin, Duke Chronicle:
Critics decry local paper's coverage -- At the April 11 press conference held after all charges against the indicted Duke lacrosse players were dropped, defense attorney Jim Cooney didn't mince words about The Durham Herald-Sun.

"People were afraid to speak truth to power," he told a live national audience, hours after the players were fully exonerated. "If The Durham Herald-Sun had bothered to stand up and demand proper processes, the presumption of innocence and doing things the way our constitution provides, do you think [Durham District Attorney] Mike Nifong would have rolled forward?"

In an interview with The Chronicle Monday, Cooney said he singled out The Herald-Sun because of its unique power as the local paper.

"I don't think Mr. Nifong paid much attention to The New York Times and Newsweek," he said. "If The Durham Herald-Sun had stood up for due process and justice, he would've been forced to pay attention."
Adam Eaglin, Chronicle Blogger:
The Sun is setting -- Of the several dozen stories I’ve report this past year, my most recent was one of the most difficult. Despite finding plenty of sources willing to comment on the lacrosse case (journalism professors, editors, watch-dog organizations), I faced one common problem. Many of my sources—and I don’t mean this to be derisive or facetious—prefaced interviews with one caveat: they didn’t want to comment because they didn’t bother reading the Herald-Sun, and thus were unfamiliar with its coverage...
Editorial, Duke Chronicle:
The Courage of Apology -- Last Thursday, the popular rapper Common set aside lyrics in favor of another form of expression: a public apology. Common, who is performing at this evening's Last Day of Classes concert, apologized for comments he made at an April 19, 2006, concert at Emory University. While on stage, the rapper had denounced the Duke men's lacrosse team and proclaimed them guilty of raping a black Durham woman, a crime that members of the team were wrongly accused of committing at the time...

We applaud Common's decision to apologize. Since the charges against the three former men's lacrosse players were dropped, Duke students and public observers alike have been waiting for individuals who publicly pre-judged the accused to step forward and admit their wrongs. For Common to do so is a sign of integrity, maturity and courage...
Shreya Rao, Duke Chronicle:
Law prof backs Duke in lax case -- Coleman says admins took necessary steps -- "I'm not sure what more the University could have said that would have been supportive of the students and would not have appeared to be Duke trying to interfere in the judicial process," Coleman told The Chronicle.

The University's position was a difficult one, added Coleman, who has been a vocal critic of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong throughout the case.

On one hand, Coleman said administrators had to consider the gravity of the charges for which the former players were charged. On the other hand, they faced potential consequences for interfering with the process or criticizing Nifong...
North Carolina Republican Party:
North Carolina Republican Party
1506 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27605
Telephone: 919-828-6423
Fax: 919-899-3815


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Linda Daves


Attorney General Roy Cooper’s slow action raises questions of why he kept silent for so long.

Quick! Name one difference between Mike Nifong and Roy Cooper.

Answer: One day.

That’s right. It took Mike Nifong only one day longer than Roy Cooper to come to the same conclusions about the Duke lacrosse case.

Cooper sat quietly in Raleigh for months, letting the infamous and obvious injustices fester, while Nifong shredded reputations and ethics rules. Cooper and Nifong must have been the last two adults on the North American continent to see and speak out against monumental injustice in Durham County.

Cooper could have properly brought pressure to bear on his “rogue prosecutor,” but he did not speak out until it no longer mattered. By law and constitutional command, the attorney general is the chief legal officer of the state. Yet year after year, on issue after issue, Democrat Roy Cooper has jumped on the train of public opinion long after it has left the station. He did it again last week.

In making his announcement, Cooper carefully chose his every word, pandering both to focus groups and his national audience. Where were Cooper’s lieutenants who actually worked the Duke case, and why were they not allowed to take questions from the news media?

Once again, the attorney general is playing politics, moving only when he saw a political advantage. Roy Cooper had an opportunity to be a leader, but that opportunity had come and gone long before he told the world what the world already knew: the Duke players were innocent.

Even Mike Nifong figured it out, just 24 hours later.

TalkLeft: NC GOP pounce on Cooper

comment: TJN started calling this the Duke/Nifong/Cooper hoax in March after Coopers's office had sat on the Duke case for about two months. Cooper is clearly a pandering politician, who let the lacrosse players twist in the wind for far too long. Cooper is not a hero in our book for waiting until he had enough cover and emotional fatigue to finally say the truth, that is, that the players were innocent. He allowed the false accuser, Crystal Mangum, to slide out the side door. Cooper is also not pursuing an investigation of the criminal acts by Nifong and his minions. That is not justice.
Jane Stancill, News & Observer:
Duke professors get ominous e-mail messages --
Duke University professors have reported to campus police that they have received threatening e-mail messages in the aftermath of the lacrosse case.

Duke police would not comment Tuesday on the nature of the threats or how many professors have received them...

Paul Haagen, law professor and chairman of Duke's Academic Council, said he had noticed an uptick in the angry e-mail after the case ended, but he has not personally received threats of violence. "It's the 'You're an idiot, why don't you jump off a building,' kind of thing," he said...
Brianne Dopart, Herald-Sun: Duke profs receive threats
Dear Duke Police... -- We read the above article concerning allegations of e-mail threats to the Duke 88. We hope you are investigating this matter thoroughly. The sending of hateful e-mails is strongly opposed by our blog and other blogs who supported the innocent Duke Lacrosse Team. No one should ever receive physical threats.

As you know, Reade Seligmann received death threats while walking into the Durham County Courthouse. Those were recorded on national TV. Do you know if those who were shown making those threatening remarks were ever questioned by the Durham PD or Sheriff's Department? During the first weeks of the Hoax, some lacrosse players mentioned they were threatened on campus. Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler also received death threats generated by this Hoax. Did you ever investigate the threats to Coach Pressler and the lacrosse team? ...
LS forum: Duke Police Investigating E-mail Threats, WRAL re: "Group of 88"
Duke Basketball Report: Latest Lax News
John in Carolina:
Innocent: A Proud Grandparent Speaks -- In his April 11 statement on the lacrosse case, President Richard Brodhead said he was not afraid to learn from this difficult experience. There is no better place to begin that education than with his own actions at the outset.

Brodhead has defended those actions on the flawed premise that he was "forced to act upon radically imperfect information" or that "action has been required in the face of deep uncertainty." In fact, once he had justifiably suspended part of the lacrosse season, there was no immediate compelling need for further action. He could have, and should have, deliberately preserved his options until there was more certainty.

A safe haven was readily available to him-the presumption-of-innocence principle...
John in Carolina:
A Question for Duke Trustees -- After listening to a tape of “the first 911 call” President Brodhead issued a full, written, unconditional apology to the caller and her friend in which he said: “I am sorry the woman and her friend were subjected to such abuse.”

After we all listened to the threats of “Justice will be done, Rapist” and “Dead man walking” shouted at Reade Seligmann at the Durham County Courthouse last May 18, Brodhead said nothing...
comment: "This was their finest hour" -- Issuing a "full, written, unconditional apology" to the bogus 911 call made anonymously by Kim Roberts will be remembered as one of Brodhead's finest hours of leadership.
John in Carolina:
The N&O & “CASTRATE” -- the N&O’s report failed to mention the CASTRATE” banner...

I hope you agree, Melanie, that it’s fair to say if groups targeting gays or blacks had rallied around a “CASTRATE” banner, the N&O would have reported prominently on such despicable actions...
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Apology and asininity -- What is stunning about Ms. Sheehan's article is not that she apologized (I expected that, after the statute of limitations on defamation expired), but what she said about her newspaper: "Last weekend, our public editor, Ted Vaden, laid me low for that first column, and the second, which called for the firing of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. According to Don Yeager, a former Sports Illustrated staffer who is writing a book about the case, Pressler blames me for his dismissal. I'm sorry he ended up coaching at a Division III school."

The key words are "[l]ast weekend." The public editor waited more than a year to talk to Ms. Sheehan about her rush to judgment! Arguably, THAT was much worse than a rape victim being duped and doing what she thought (now admittedly wrongly) was right...
Radley Balko, Fox News:
Straight Talk: Duke Case Shows Justice System's Flaws -- If there's one positive that might come out of the Duke imbroglio, it's that the unusual demographics of the parties involved and alliances it spawned may mean some much-needed new scrutiny of the criminal justice system, and win welcome new advocates for reform.

Nifong is by no means the only overly aggressive prosecutor in this country. And Durham is by no means the only jurisdiction where the wrong people have been wrongly accused. As Seligmann suggested, the only real difference may have been that the Duke players had the resources to fight back. Many others don't.

Examples abound...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia