Updated - today's items:
Emily Rothberg, Duke Chronicle:
DUKIES OF THE YEAR
David Evans, Collin Finnerty & Reade Seligmann -- Formerly indicted lacrosse players
Duke's most infamous sons were the targets of scorn-and worse-through more than a year as suspected criminals. In his statement dismissing all charges, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper called the case a "tragic result of a rush to accuse" and pointedly referred to the defendants as "innocent. . .
Responding to Brodhead Comments -- three issues concerning Brodhead that keep coming up in reader comments...
1) “It’s not all Brodhead’s fault.” ...
2) “Brodhead ought to be fired.” ...
Among current university Presidents, Duke’s Dick Brodhead is unique in his refusals and his silences.
He shouldn’t be in the president’s office...
3) “The trustees pretty much got the kind of man they wanted. That’s why they’re supporting him.” . . .
Rush to judgement --
Regarding your May 15 editorial "Wasted words":
What does a law enforcement disaster look like? The Durham police/city manager report on its own Duke lacrosse investigation.
This 12-page sham wrapped in a whitewash, basted in denial, doesn't even mention that Durham cops offered money for anonymous tips to prove that a "horrific" "gang-rape" had occurred. They didn't make the pretense of saying "alleged crime."
Last May, as an attorney for one of the unindicted Duke lacrosse players, I wrote to Durham City Manager Patrick Baker asking for an investigation into a police e-mail and poster on Durham Police letterhead that was distributed to thousands of people by list-servers and to the media. It claimed: "The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party" at which the "victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."
City officials said no investigation was necessary. The matter had been taken care of.
I asked that the city make public any inquiry it had made into this matter. Baker said he'd get back to me about that.
Eight months later, I'm still waiting for a real apology, a real investigation and real leadership.
Charns: What Does a Law Enforcement Disaster Look Like?
Was Reade Seligmann a Known Innocent on March 16, 2006? – Part II -- On the evening of March 16, 2006, Durham Police investigators conducted a series of four photo arrays with false accuser Crystal Mangum. Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers described these photo lineups in his report to the mayor and city council as conforming strictly to the procedures outlined by the department’s General Order 4077 which requires the inclusion of five known innocents for each suspect. In total, twenty fillers, men known to be innocent of the false allegations made by Mangum, were included in those photo arrays. According to the report by Chalmers, the known innocents used as fillers in those arrays were each members of the Duke lacrosse team. Included among those fillers was Reade Seligmann, who was eventually charged with crimes that exposed him to the prospect of decades in prison...
Baker does not identify the many players who were no longer suspects by April 4, 2006 (nor does he reconcile his statement with Chalmers' comical assertion that defense attorneys prevented his department from exonerating the players). It appears, however, that Reade Seligmann was one player who was not only a non-suspect but also a known innocent well before April 4, 2006 and prior to the Grand Jury presentation by Himan and Gottlieb.
LS blog: Seligmann a know innocent (part 1)
LS forum: Reade Seligmann as innocent filler?, Did police already know?
False Witness-- I asked Randy [Singer] if he hopes that "False Witness" may play at least a small part in helping some of the abuses of law enforcement occurring in today’s culture.
He answered yes, saying that he began writing "False Witness" before Michael Nifong became the "poster boy" as Randy called him, for abusing the office of prosecutor.
He continued. "Some prosecutors, like Nifong, have long harbored a mentality of ‘get the conviction at any cost.’ One of my main characters in ‘False Witness’ is a law student who wants to be a prosecutor. Motivated by the murder of her own mother, she knows too well that justice is not a competition. As she says in the story, ‘Justice is a lofty ideal, even a sacred concept, but definitely not a game.’"
Durham County District Attorney Nifong was accused by the North Carolina State Bar earlier this year of withholding DNA evidence and misrepresenting the truth to a judge
Randy said, "Every defense attorney has the luxury of only having to worry about his or her client. But a prosecutor has no client. Their job is to do justice, not just secure convictions. There is such enormous power in that office, and the stakes are so high, that abuse of power can be a real problem. This book tries to explore some of the core reasons for that abuse, and shows what happens when prosecutorial ambition and manipulation go too far."
Amazon: False Witness
Farred's Secrets -- Yet another tape of anti-lacrosse extremist Grant Farred has surfaced—this one from a September address he gave on the Duke campus. In these remarks, the Group of 88 stalwart touched on some of the same themes he raised in his Williams talk last month. . .
Exactly what were these “glitzy, ruthless P.R. firms”? Farred doesn’t say: it must be a secret. And how could Duke students seeking to oust a D.A. who would less than two months later charged by the Bar with breaking three laws and violating the U.S. Constitution be aiming “to defeat the law”?* Again, Farred doesn’t say: it must be a secret. And why should people who were factually innocent worry about “the length of sentences”? As with Reade Seligmann’s alleged “transgressions,” Farred doesn’t say: it must be a secret.
It seems as if—for someone who so denounces “secrecy”—Farred has a lot of “secrets.”
INNOCENT: When bad is good -- A few days later the Raleigh N&O reprinted [David] Brooks’ [NY Times] column and a few days after that, on June 3, the N&O published a letter by NC NAACP Legal Redress Chair Al McSurely.
While the NC NAACP was claiming it was only “monitoring” the case, intelligent people knew it was really doing all it could to help rogue DA Mike Nifong prosecute it.
As you’d expect, McSurely’s letter was an attack on Brooks in which McSurely played the race card and engaged in various forms of slimes and smears without addressing the facts of the case or of Brooks' column...
In a somewhat different and much more important way, the Baker/Chalmers report is so bad it’s good for those seeking justice...
The Baker/Chalmers “report,” by its obvious inadequacy including withholding so much needed information, has spurred demands for an independent investigation.
That’s a good coming out of a very bad report...