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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — May 17, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Tamra Gibbs, ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Former Duke LAX Players to Attend Nifong's Trial [+ video] -- When Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong makes his case before a panel of State Bar judges next month, he'll come face-to-face with at least two of the former Duke Lacrosse players he charged with rape.

Defense attorney Jim Cooney said his client Reade Seligmann along with his former teammate David Evans plan to attend the upcoming trial. Cooney added whether Seligmann testifies at Nifong's trial is up to the State Bar prosecutors...

[Nifong's] attorneys cite a lack of media experience for Nifong's early statements to the press. When it comes to allegations Nifong conspired with the director of a private lab, his defense team says he followed the law by providing key DNA evidence well before a trial date was set. His attorneys contend he never intentionally misled anyone involved in the case.

That is likely the argument they will make at the trial set for June 12th. Similar to a civil proceeding, both sides will present evidence, make oral arguments and question witnesses. Unlike previous ethics trials, it will last 3 to 4 days given the lengthy list of witnesses that include both Nifong supporters and foes.
discussion:
LS forum: Former Duke LAX Players to Attend Nifong's Trial, Face to face
TalkLeft: Former Duke LAX Players to Attend Nifong's Trial
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Chelsea Allison, Duke Chronicle:
Attorneys assail DPD lax report -- A six-page internal report on the Durham Police Department's conduct during the lacrosse case has left some calling for an external investigation...

"The report by the city manager and police begs for a lawsuit to be filed against the City of Durham and the police department for their complicity in the corrupt prosecution of innocent men and to protect the citizens of Durham in the future," [Joe] Cheshire said...

"What [DPD] also failed to address is when they received evidence of Reade Seligmann's innocence-they arrested one of his alibi witnesses," [Jim] Cooney said. "How is that an attempt to find innocence? Blaming the defense attorneys isn't doing that either."..

John Burness, senior vice president for government affairs and public relations [Duke Univ.], said the report did not resolve the issues it set out to address.

"The report seems to raise as many questions as it answered," he wrote in an e-mail.
discussion:
KC Johnson:
Cheshire, Cooney on DPD -- Joe Cheshire and Jim Cooney harshly criticized the Baker/Chalmers report in an article that appeared in today’s Chronicle...

-------
Duke Chronicle:
Settlement reached in Dowd case -- The University reached a settlement last week with Kyle Dowd, Trinity '06, regarding a civil suit the former student filed against Duke and Kim Curtis, a visiting associate professor of political science...
------
Editorial, Duke Chronicle:
Dowd suit settled, but not closed -- A full year after the final indictment came down on David Evans, closure to the lacrosse case finally seems to be at hand these days.

All charges have been dropped, the media has gone away and just this week, former men's lacrosse player Kyle Dowd's lawsuit against the University has been settled out of court. This past January, Dowd, Trinity '06, said Professor Kim Curtis unfairly gave him a failing grade in a Spring 2006 class because he was a member of the lacrosse team.

"This lawsuit has been settled through mediation to the mutual satisfaction of Kyle Dowd and his family and Duke University, and without any admission by any party of legal liability," the joint statement reads. Dowd will receive a 'P' on his transcript and pass the course...

But the settlement also carries a sweep-it-under-the-rug feel to it, and its details are still murky and need to be cleared up...

It's unnerving that Duke hasn't been transparent in this case. The administration's handling of the Dowd suit sets a bad precedent...
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John in Carolina:
Duke Silent on Student Safety Questions -- I’m having trouble obtaining information concerning actions Duke may have taken in the interest of student safety last spring when the “Vigilante” poster containing face photos of 43 white male students on the lacrosse team was produced and circulated on campus. . .

What has DUPD done to investigate the production and distribution on campus of a poster that targeted a particular group of students while heightening the risk for all?

I’m sure we agree, Mr. Burness, that anyone who cares about student safety at Duke would want to know the answers to those questions and other equally important ones I’ve asked Vice President Moneta and Director Dean...
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Forum topics of note:
Prof. James ColemanLS forum: Coleman Speaking at Duke Club of Delaware May 16 -- buddy -- Just got back from the Coleman luncheon. Did not take notes, but will try to summarize. As expected, he was very impressive...

[Prof. Coleman] did criticize several actions that Duke took. I'll try to summarize in no particular order:

1. Ryan McFayden's suspension was wrong. Apparently his e-mail was one of a series which, if read together, would indicate that it was not a threat.
[see TheSmokingGun.com -- Duke Rape Case E-mail Shocker]
discussion:
LS forum: The McFadyen E-mail
TalkLeft: Is Duke liable for releasing the McFadyen email?
2. Mike Pressler's firing was wrong. He pointed out that Pressler sat two seniors for last year's championship game, and that he made them wear civvies instead of uniforms that day. He called that a commendable action.

3. The University was correct to cancel the season. There was a real danger of violence had the games been played, and it might have been impossible to protect the players and fans.

4. The Group of 88 had/have the right to express their views, but they should also be responsible for them, and they have not been.

5. He actually was more concerned about the treatment of players in class, in which he stated that several (many) instructors abused their position to harass the players. I think he is referring to situations of making the players sit on one side of the room, criticizing them in front of the class, etc. And he criticized the University for not correcting this situation as soon as possible....

related: LS blog -- Coleman at Duke Club...
------
LS forum: Why Roy Should Act, He's Not Impotent
LS blog: Why Roy Should Act

LS forum: Kathleen Eckelt -- Exactly What Certification Did Tara Levicy Have?
-------
KC Johnson:
Point of Emphasis -- Duke’s Office of News and Communications has posted what amounts to an official version of the lacrosse case and the University’s response to it. Unsurprisingly, the essay casts the administration’s actions in a wholly positive light ...

Today’s post examines the first of these issues; tomorrow’s will look at the other four.
From his first statement in March 2006, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead repeatedly emphasized both the seriousness of the charges and the need for the players to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise within the legal system ...
Richard 'Brutus' Brodheaddiscussion:
LS forum: Revisionist History from Duke University

related:
We are reminded that Brodhead fancies himself a man of Shakespeare.

Mike McCusker -- In what its author, Peter J. Boyer, might describe as "a sprawling paean to haughty self-satisfation that weaves a mellifluous filigree of genteel institution-building with the oft-misunderstood hazards of its steerage," nearly 9,000 words are used to spotlight a known conclusion: Richard J. Brodhead is a dick.

The last four paragraphs clearly demonstrate how out of touch Brodhead is with his own out of touchedness:
Brodhead reflected on all that had happened as we chatted in his office in July, and said that it brought to mind Shakespeare’s "Othello"—not for its obvious associations with interracial passions and violence but for its lesson on prejudgment. The scene at the beginning of the play, he said, was particularly instructive. Desdemona’s father hears about his daughter’s relationship with the Moor, and he sighs, "Belief of it oppresses me already."
KC Johnson -- Brodhead should have chosen a more appropriate Shakespeare reference to communicate to New Yorker readers. His record--along with that of his administration and his arts and sciences faculty--seems best captured not by Othello but by Julius Caesar, Act 5, when Messala laments:
O hateful Error, Melancholy's child!
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not?
-------
John in Carolina:
Chafe’s latest: No apology --
LETTER FROM PROFESSOR CHAFE TO JOHN IN CAROLINA
Dear John,

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your comments. I do not wish to become involved in multiple communications about what I or others have said since I believe that is more likely to result in more recrimination, and that serves no useful purpose.

I appreciate your recognizing that the “group of 88” is not an entity. Many of us do not know each other, and would not recognize each other if we passed on a street. We all did sign an advertisement. You and many of your readers have criticized that document. Each of us has a different interpretation of what the document was intended to say....
------
AP/Toronto Star:
Duke lacrosse and the sex case -- A chronology of events in the Duke lacrosse case...
------
Richard Hart, Indy Week:
... about Durham's report on the lacrosse investigation -- For more than a year now, we've been flooded with very loud satellite signals from Scarborough Country and a creature called Nancy Grace about all the problems with your Duke lacrosse case. We were relieved to see last week that the authorities in Durham said everything was actually done properly. Aren't you relieved to hear that?

Well, actually, no. You see, the authorities in Durham have a long history of not getting things right.
--------
Richard Hart, Indy Week:
Self Defense -- Nowhere has the Bar's timidity been more apparent than capital cases in which prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence. In the well-known case of Alan Gell, prosecutors David Hoke and Debra Graves withheld a tape recording of their star witness saying she had to "make up a story" to implicate Gell. When his conviction was overturned, all Hoke and Graves received from the Bar was a written reprimand.

To Brad Bannon, a defense lawyer for Gell (and more recently for one of the accused Duke lacrosse players), the Gell debacle was testament to "how bad this whole system can be, from beginning to end, especially for indigent defendants who are wronged by powerful people." Bannon told Stern he felt "frustration at the failure of the State Bar to really do anything about it."

Though the Bar is now acting tough in the high-profile case of Durham D.A. Mike Nifong's mishandling of the lacrosse prosecution, Nifong's actions were likely encouraged by an environment in which prosecutorial misconduct is barely punished....

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