One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork. — Edward AbbeyUpdated - today's items:
KC Johnson blog:
Comment from Mike in Nevada -- Shakespeare could not have written a more incredible farce. .
A lying black prostitute/stripper/ex-felon about to be committed for being completely blasted out of her mind on drugs and alcohol drops a stone in the water, “I was raped” yet again! The ripples that resulted were mind boggling. All along the way there are actors of varying degrees of culpability. Duke is bumped from national championship in lacrosse. A gutless university president ends the season prematurely. He fires the coach.
Forty-six players are forced to “volunteer” their DNA. The university advises them not to call their parents. A player is suspended for sending a series of email which are a spoof on American Psycho, after a moronic judge releases the email to the public. The other black stripper initiates an exchnage of racial epithets for which LAX players are blamed repeatedly in the press. The other stripper contacts a PR firm to determine how best spin the events in a way that is most favorable to her. A professor gives a failing grade to a student for merely playing on the lacrosse team.
A cop, biased against Duke students, rigs a line-up. A taxi driver, whose only part is being the alibi of one player, is prosecuted by a rogue DA after he was arrested by a complicit police department. Two extortionist black clowns jump on the case like two flies which just got a whiff of the dung heap. The NAACP send their brown shirts to town. The New Black Panthers show up with physical threats against the innocent accused.
The politically appointed DA, who promised not to run for election and who is 18 points behind in the polls, decides to indict three clearly innocent students. He hides exculpatory evidence from the grand jury in order to get the indictgment. He excoriates the accused in dozens of press conferences. When the case starts to go south, he conspires with the head of the DNA lab to withhold the exculpatory evidence of at least four sets of extrinsic male DNA from various orifices and panties of the accuser, who had said that she had not had sex within the week immediately prior to the non-rape...
If Shakespeare had produced such a farce, he would have been forcefully expelled from the Globe. After all, an audience can only be expected to believe so much.
'NEWSMAKER' Panel -- "The Duke Lacrosse Case: A Rush To Judgment and Journalism's Future" -- Tuesday, May 22, 2007 -- 10 a.m -- National Press Club (Lisagor Room) -- Spurious rape charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team triggered a year's worth of emotional news stories, blogs and 24/7 media specials. Many allegations were flung and many reputations ruined, but in the end all charges were dropped. Now, the original prosecutor himself faces potential charges, and journalists must work through the wreckage to find lessons for the future.
Stuart Taylor, columnist with National Journal and author of an upcoming book on the Duke scandal; Joseph Neff, investigative reporter with The Raleigh News & Observer; and Rem Reider, editor of The American Journalism Review; will discuss how this case ran awa with media and what journalists can do differently the next time.
Prosecutors are rewarded for convictions, not justice -- Law is supposed to be impartial, with a presumption of innocence. Unfortunately, as we learned from the case of the three former Duke lacrosse players who were exonerated after being indicted last year on charges of rape and sexual assault, the criminal justice system is all too often used to advance political agendas at the expense of justice.
"This entire experience has opened my eyes to the tragic world of injustice I never knew existed," said wrongfully accused student Reade Seligmann after the 395-day ordeal. "If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not have the resources to defend themselves." What a sad, but true, statement.
Although many want to characterize District Attorney Michael Nifong, who pursued the charges, as a rogue prosecutor, we should examine why he acted as he did and why such a wrongful prosecution could go on as long as it did.The answer stems from the incentives created by our highly politicized legal system, which rewards law enforcement officials for high conviction rates, rather than meting out justice...
Matt or Adam? -- While his report to the mayor and city council is nearly void of useful information, Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers does offer some insight into the Fake Names Hoax Within a Hoax that was employed to secure a non-testimonial identification order for DNA samples and photographs of 46 innocent men. Contrary to the impression given by the affidavit of DPD Investigator Benjamin Himan and Assistant District Attorney David Saacks, Chief Chalmers admits that the Fake Name Theory was hatched by police prior to Inv. Himan’s interview with accidental outcry witness Kim Roberts. The Chalmers report also provides additional reasons to believe that the “evidence” offered in support of the Fake Names Theory was either transparently false or blatantly manufactured...
comment: This utter confusion by Ms. Mangum and Durham PD in getting their 'suspect' names straight takes us back to a small point that TJN made last year.
It still seems very possible that Ms. Mangum suffers from some form of prosopagnosia or "face blindness."
Ms. Mangum never, in all her many lineups, made consistent identifications. In fact, the final AG report said:
In the same [Special Prosecutor] interview, the credibility of the accusing witness's ability to identify the alleged attackers was further called into doubt. When asked how she could recall with such certainty who allegedly attacked her she claimed she was good at remembering faces. When the special prosecutors brought Officer Gwen Sutton of the Durham Police Department into the interview room, the accusing witness claimed she did not know Officer Sutton and had not seen her before that day. Officer Sutton had spent more than five hours with the accusing witness during the early morning hours of March 14, 2006.It would have been very interesting if Durham PD (or the special prosecutors for that matter) had presented Ms. Mangum with a photo array consisting of her partner, "Nikki" aka Kim Roberts, and four or five 'fillers' and seen if Ms. Mangum could even identify Ms. Roberts. If she failed that ID what would that have said?
Prosecutors Feeling Impact of 'Duke Effect' -- New Jersey prosecutor Paul DeGroot knew it wouldn't take long for the Duke University lacrosse rape case to wreak havoc on prosecutors.
"It's becoming a tool and a buzz word for defense attorneys to say, 'Look what happened at Duke,'" DeGroot said. He speaks from experience...NATIONAL FALLOUT
Prosecutors across the country are seeing fallout from the Duke case, as defense attorneys use it to discredit other criminal cases and paint them as overzealous prosecutors with something to prove...
Prosecutors, meanwhile, believe that the Duke case is tarnishing their image, and could potentially hurt future cases...
LieStoppers blog: The Nifong Effect
TalkLeft: Prosecutors Feeling Impact of 'Duke Effect'
Karen Franklin, forensicpsychologist blog:
First CSI, Now Duke -- For several years, prosecutors have had to contend with the so-called “CSI Effect” – jurors’ unreasonable expectations for scientific evidence based on fictional TV shows such as CSI and Cold Case.
Now comes the “Duke Effect,” fallout from prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke University lacrosse rape case. Shortly after rape charges were dropped against three lacrosse players, ethics charges were levied against the prosecutor for allegedly withholding exonerating DNA evidence...
Revisions -- Yesterday’s post referenced the summary version of the lacrosse case, and the University’s response to it, produced by Duke’s Office of News and Communications.
That essay has now been revised, and no longer contains the sentence (“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”) discussed in yesterday’s post....The revised ONC essay indicates a desire for accuracy by Duke that is worthy of praise—even if, as would be expected of an official publication, it presents the administration’s case in the most favorable light possible.
comment:KC Johnson continues -- The essay does make one new revelation: “With input from the athletics department and some of the players themselves, Brodhead suspended the remaining games—not as punishment, but as a necessary action until the legal situation became clearer, based on concerns including the safety of Duke’s players.” ...
So the Duke Office of News & Communications edited their "Looking Back at the Duke Lacrosse case" essay and the fifth paragraph was changed from this: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. Simultaneously, he moved to address broader university issues highlighted by the case, forming a council of advisers and four committees to examine the lacrosse team, the administration's response to the incident, the student judicial process and Duke’s campus culture. In the weeks and months that followed, the committees issued their findings, all of which Duke made public immediately.to this:Faced with the case and its larger implications, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead moved to address broader university issues highlighted by the situation, forming a council of advisers and four committees to examine the lacrosse team, the administration's response to the incident, the student judicial process and Duke’s campus culture. In the weeks and months that followed, the committees issued their findings, all of which Duke made public immediately.
comment:This issue about the "safety" of the Duke lacrosse players is a "Will-o'-the-wisp" argument the keeps floating in and out the discussion of Duke's actions during the rush to judgement. The safety issue is related to the distribution of the Vigilante/Wanted posters on campus and to the removal of the player information and pictures from from the Duke website. However, these actions are at odds with each other.
How can Duke have it both ways? On one hand it can say the following:
"Universities show their mettle by how they respond to such circumstances, not by their ability to prevent these things from ever happening," he [Brodhead] said.But, on the other hand, Duke allowed and may have aided in the distribution of the "Vigilante" posters on campus?
Duke Athletics Director Joe Alleva said the team roster has been removed from goduke.com, the department's Web site, so that team members would not be harassed.
Where you heading Sam? — Former Duke University Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Sam Hummel and the Vigilante Poster.
- Where were the threats against the safety of the players coming from: Duke faculty, Duke employees, Duke students or other Durham residents?
- What specific threats against the team did the Duke University Police Department know about? And what actions did they take to protect the players?
- What about the safety of Coach Mike Pressler and his family? Did Duke do anything to protect him?
- After Duke took down its lacrosse website the News & Observer published a copy of the Vigilante poster with the player photos in an April 2nd article. Did anyone at Duke ever criticise the News & Observer for doing that?
Max-imum satisfaction: Duxbury’s Quinzani finds Duke lacrosse to be a perfect fit -- Some moments were expectedly crude, like three king-sized signs held high in the stands by jeering fans during a game at Maryland that said, “No Means No.”
“That was OK,” said Max Quinzani, a freshman on the Duke lacrosse team. “We just went out and killed them -- beat them by nine points.”
Other experiences were more instructive for the Duxbury native, who made the hardest decision of his young life last spring by accepting a scholarship offer from the most infamous college lacrosse program -- check that, the most infamous college sports team period -- in the country.
Who ever would have thought that lacrosse could extend to a lesson in civics?
Quinzani had barely begun his first semester at Duke when he and other members of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams campaigned at several polling places during last fall’s elections for Durham County district attorney.
They stepped up for Lewis Cheek, who ran in a failed bid to unseat incumbent Mike Nifong, who now faces ethics charges for his handling of sexual assault charges that were eventually dropped against three Duke lacrosse players.
Nifong was easily re-elected, but the lacrosse players did their part. They sponsored legal defense fund-raisers, ran in local road races and worked shifts at the local Ronald McDonald House on behalf of the three charged athletes -- Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans...
NCAA Quarterfinal Game Offers Tar Heels Upset Opportunity -- Tar Heel Men's Lacrosse Team Headed to NCAA Quarterfinals for Second Time in Three Years ...the eighth-seeded Tar Heels meet top-seeded Duke, a school a mere eight miles down the road from Chapel Hill. However, the game will be played at a neutral site on the campus of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md...
Dowd, Duke & Curtis Questions -- Questions... Was it just a coincidence the [Dowd] suit was settled before thousands of parents, grandparents, alums, etc. came to campus? Or were the powers that be at Duke thinking the last month or so about all those questions they’d be asked at graduation about the Dowd suit?
Questions such as:What has Kim Curtis done that’s so academically outstanding that Duke would invite her to serve as a visiting professor in the first place, and then invite her to stay on as a visiting professor semester after semester after semester?
She’s listed at the Political Science Department’s website as a current faculty member. Is that a mistake? ...
Duke Case Demonstrates Feminist Justice -- The gravity of the Duke University “rape” case has been seriously underestimated, even by many of its staunchest critics. The corruption of the criminal justice system by political ideology is far more advanced than has been brought out by most commentators.
The central point to be made about this case is precisely the one even most critics have not raised: It is far from unique. If such a blatant injustice can be perpetrated against men whose case attracts vast media attention – the supposed “disinfectant of sunlight” – what befalls those who languish in obscurity, victims of rigged justice that is less palpable? “If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us with absolutely no evidence whatsoever,” said one defendant, “I can’t imagine what they’d do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.” Not what they “would do”; what they are doing...
Critics say news media ignoring Knoxville couple slaying -- Bloggers and media critics are complaining that the national media has ignored the rape and murder of a young Knoxville couple because of the racial implications of the story.
Channon Christian, a 21-year-old University of Tennessee student, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, were raped, tortured and killed in January. Separate trial dates were set Thursday for four people charged in the slayings.
Online critics have angrily insisted that reporters are ignoring the story because the victims are white and the defendants are black...
Jamie Satterfield, KnoxNews:
All's quiet at hearing for slaying suspects -- Extra security not needed as angry Internet posters don't show -- The courtroom was packed. Two rows of grieving family and friends, two parents of an alleged killer, four suspects, six attorneys, one prosecutor, one community activist, four television cameramen, seven journalists, one photographer, one sheriff and a dozen deputies - all inside Knox County Criminal Court on Thursday.
And one 500-pound gorilla that everyone expected but didn't show: A swarm of angry white people who have flooded the Internet and local media with complaints that a heinous hate crime has been committed, and no one cares.
Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones turned out a dozen deputies and court security officers for a hearing Thursday to set trial dates for four suspects in the kidnapping, raping and slaying of a young Knox County couple in January.
Jones beefed up security as much to protect the suspects as to shelter parents, relatives and friends of slain University of Tennessee senior Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23.
That's because this fatal double-carjacking case, in which the suspects are black and the victims white, has captured the attention of white supremacists, who have, in turn, used the Internet to tout the case as a glaring example of a media double standard in reporting black-on-white crime...
Using the Duke case to assess credibility -- The Duke case has the interesting benefit of allowing one to assess the credibility of various people and organizations -- especially those with a liberal point of view. Conservative organizations and people generally got this one right because their natural tendency was to
believe the defense case. So the fact that they did so doesn't tell us anything about whether they are credible or not. Assessment of their credibility will have to wait for another issue.
So, with that in mind, here are my assessments: Susan Estrich grade: A- ....The New York Times grade: F .... Hillary Clinton grade: C .... Barack Obama grade: A
Jon Ham, Right Angles blog:
The REALLY dangerous book for boys -- I don’t know what all the fuss is about The Dangerous Book for Boys by British author Conn Iggulden. I leafed through it at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Charlotte last weekend and remarked to my wife, “This is just the Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook combined and presented in a different format” with some non-Scout-type typical boy stuff thrown in...