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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — May 24, 2007

Updated - today's items:

Durham PD Chief Steve ChalmersWRAL:
Durham Police Chief Wanted Outside Probe of Lacrosse Case [+video]-- Durham's police chief said Thursday that he had wanted a third-party review into investigators' handling of the Duke lacrosse case, but City Manger Patrick Baker wanted to go ahead and release an internal report on the matter.

Talking for the first time about the case, Chief Steve Chalmers said he also wanted an in-depth detailed report, but that someone in Baker’s office told him to keep the report to four to five pages. Baker has said that the police report was never meant to be a comprehensive one.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell called for an outside review following the May 11 police department report that found no wrongdoing by investigators in the case. Bell said the report lacked focus and left questions unanswered about the yearlong criminal investigation of rape and sexual assault charges filed against three former lacrosse athletes.

“As a matter of fact, I would just like to clear the record and let it be known that I had actually requested a third-party review even prior to the mayor asking for one,” Chalmers told reporters. “I felt that was probably the best alternative for us from the start.”

Bell seemed a bit skeptical about Chalmers' claim, wanting to know why that wasn't known when the departmental report was released...

LS forum: Durham City Council to Meet at 1 P.M. Today, Police Review Under Consideration
LS forum: Here is the list from SBI & Cooper, Panel for outside investigations
TalkLeft: City Council votes to Pursue Outside Investigation

KC Johnson:
Chalmers: Revising History -- In an impromptu press conference posted with WRAL, the perpetually absent chief Steve Chalmers gave a series of astonishing statements this afternoon...

John in Carolina: Durham votes DPD Probe; Chalmers speaks out


Matt Dees, News & Observer:
Council votes for independent lacrosse probe -- City Council members in a split vote today conveyed their intent to set up a third-party investigation of the Durham Police Department’s handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

But they agreed on little else during a fractious debate where questions flew about just what such a report would achieve, who would conduct it and how much it would cost.

They plan to discuss it again on June 1 after a budget work session.

Police Chief Steve Chalmers said after the council meeting he worked behind the scenes to try to coordinate a third-party review. This was before he issued a report May 11 about the case that many city leaders have said left key unanswered questions.

Chalmers spoke to reporters briefly after the council session, a rare public appearance for the chief.

Sergio Quintana, NBC17.com:
City Council Approves Review Of Duke Case -- The Durham City Council voted Thursday to launch an independent review of the Police Department’s role in the Duke Lacrosse case.

he Council announced that a review committee of area law enforcement officials will be tasked with reviewing the Durham Police Department's work while working with Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: Any N&O accountability? -- Who were the N&O journalists who decided those early Duke lacrosse stories would repeatedly tell the public the accuser was “the victim?” And why did those journalists do that?

Readers should have been told that during her interview with the N&O on March 24, 2006 Crystal Mangum said “the second dancer” had also been sexually assaulted but hadn’t reported it because of fear of losing her job.

Why weren’t readers told Mangum had said of Roberts: "I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money?"

Why did the N&O decide to withhold that important exculpatory information? ...

For thirteen months the N&O covered up that information and other information regarding what Mangum said during the interview. Thirteen months! ...
Melanie Sill, Executive Editor, News & Observer:
Nose for news runs in family -- For fans of Joseph Neff, The N&O investigative reporter, there's good news. Joe has a brother, and he's an investigative journalist too.

I met James Neff, who heads The Seattle Times' investigative team, during a recent conference of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The brothers share more than the same slender build and low-key intensity. Both are passionate about open government and demonstrate its benefits with their work.

Joe wrote a five-part series last month that tore back the curtain on Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong's decisions...

John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: H-S v. N&O – 5-24-07 -- Both papers failed to report something that should have been reported: Durham’s Chief Assistant District Attorney David Saacks, who prosecuted the Beaty case, also sought the non-testimonial court order directing all 46 white members of the lacrosse team to submit to police DNA testing and mug shot and torso photographing. Attorneys have said they can’t recall any other NC prosecutor signing a DNA testing request so broad in its scope. “A big fishing net,” one attorney called it.

How did the N&O and the H-S run stories with headlines Dismissal bears marks of Duke lacrosse case and DA's office ran afoul with tactic, and then fail to let their readers know of the prosecuting ADA’s very important involvement in the Duke Hoax case?
Duke Conservative Union - Advertisement - 'we are listening' Duke New Sense blog:
DCU to Gang of 88: "We're Listening" -- In a full-page advertisement in today's edition of the Duke Chronicle (found HERE), the Duke Conservative Union takes the "Gang of 88" to task for their shameful actions and public comments in regards to the Duke lacrosse case. These radical professors exploited a tragic time in Duke's history for the advancement of their own political and social agenda, as seen in the "Social Disaster" advertisement of April 6, 2006 and in other inflammatory and divisive statements throughout the legal process. Today's advertisement was written as a tongue-in-cheek parody of the original Gang of 88 "Social Disaster" ad (found here). However, the message is decidedly serious. The Duke Conservative Union expressly calls upon these professors, and the departments that signed on to the "Social Disaster" ad, to apologize...
KC Johnson:
DCU: "We're Listening" -- The Duke Conservative Union has published a powerful advertisement today taking to task the Group of 88...
Shuchi Parikh, Duke Chronicle:
DSG asks judicial affairs to review evidence policy -- The Office of Judicial Affairs has come under criticism from the Duke Student Government [DSG] for its evidentiary standards, raising questions about the University's relationship with the Durham Police Department following the lacrosse case.

Former DSG President Elliott Wolf requested in a March 28 memo to Stephen Bryan, associate dean of students and director of judicial affairs, to not pursue action against students based on evidence that was illegally obtained or would otherwise not stand up in criminal court...
Amber Rupinta, ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Council Considers Investigation into Duke LAX Case -- We could find out today if the City of Durham will launch its own investigation into the handling of the Duke Lacrosse case.

The city council will discuss a third-party investigation for the second time this week. Even though the Attorney General's office and the City of Durham have both released reports investigating the handling of the Duke Lacrosse case, at least three city council members and the mayor are calling for another probe - this time by a third party. Councilman Eugene Brown says, "What we need now is a good and thorough and candid report which unfortunately we did not receive from police dept or the city manager." ...

The mayor has received a list of names of law enforcement expects who would be willing to investigate and the council could vote during a work session Thursday afternoon.

News & Observer:
Durham Council may push further review of police

Shreya Rao, Duke Chronicle:
Council gives nod to DPD inquiry -- Following up on criticism of Durham Police Chief Steven Chalmers' May 11 report on the department's role in the Duke lacrosse investigation, City Council supported plans to pursue an external investigation of the Durham Police Department Monday.

A decision about who will be charged with leading the effort has been postponed until today's work session.

"I feel very strongly that the citizens of Durham have for 13 months been embedded in lies and we've got to get to the truth as much as it hurts," council member Eugene Brown told The Chronicle. "The public needs to know what happened in one of the worst chapters of Durham's judicial history." ...
A Rush To Judgment and Journalism’s Future -- La Shawn Barber offers a detailed review of Tuesday’s National Press Club panel discussion, “The Duke Lacrosse Case: A Rush To Judgment and Journalism’s Future” which featured Stuart Taylor, co-author (with Professor KC Johnson) of Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, and Joseph Neff of the News & Observer. Two days after the event, Barber’s thorough report remains one of the only published accounts of the discussion which criticized the old media’s rush to judgment while offering kind words for the blogs. As expected, Taylor took the New York Times deservedly to task while Joseph Neff, whose investigative reporting stood far above all of his peers, loyally, if not entirely convincingly, defended his co-workers at the News & Observer...
Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
DA races may become nonpartisan -- The state Senate hopes to take party politics out of district attorney races. In a close 26-to-24 vote on Wednesday, the Senate tentatively approved a bill that would add district attorney elections to the growing number of nonpartisan judicial system elections.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the proposed legislation again today. If it passes again, it will go to the House for consideration.

The bill started out as a proposal to give governors the power to suspend district attorneys facing formal misconduct charges before the N.C. State Bar.

Sen. Daniel G. Clodfelter, a Democrat from Mecklenburg County, introduced the proposal at a time when many people were disturbed by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's handling of the Duke lacrosse case. Nifong faces potentially career-ending ethics and misconduct charges by the State Bar.

As the lacrosse case crumbled and questions arose about Nifong's zeal to prosecute and whether he withheld crucial evidence, many people complained about the inability to oust the Durham prosecutor from office. They sought legislative remedies...
Eddie Timanus, USA Today:
High-scoring duo effectively making points for Duke -- Perhaps the best sign for the Duke men's lacrosse program is that most discussion about it is now focused on the field.

"It was slow in coming, but it's finally here," says coach John Danowski, who took over the embattled program this year. "We still get the other questions. It was such a major story, we still have to be patient in answering those, but it sure is wonderful to be talking about lacrosse."

Featuring the hottest scoring pair in the nation, the top-seeded Blue Devils (16-2) face Cornell (15-0) on Saturday in the national semifinals before an expected record crowd in excess of 45,000 in Baltimore. Duke hopes to reach Monday's final and claim the title it came within a whisker of in 2005 and could not pursue in '06 when its season was prematurely cut short.

DUKE'S REQUEST: School aims to restore lost year of eligibility
Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer:
Duke petitions NCAA for extra year -- University files request for lacrosse players who had 2006 season canceled -- Duke senior captain Matt Danowski acknowledged Thursday he has thought about the possibility of returning to school for one more year but has tried to put that question aside until Duke's tournament run ends.

"At this point right now, I couldn't tell you what I would do after this season is over," Danowski said. "I think it's pretty much a long shot for us to get the year back. If it did happen, it's something we'd have to all sit down and discuss, because a lot of things go into that, not just playing lacrosse." ...
Jeff Barker & Gary Lambrecht, Balitmore-Sun:
Virginia's Starsia not a fan of Duke's eligibility -- Duke's bid for an extra year of eligibility for men's lacrosse players isn't sitting well with Dom Starsia, the coach of Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia.

The Sun reported Wednesday that Duke is asking the NCAA to grant the additional year because the team's 2006 season was cut short by the university after rape allegations -- since discredited -- were lodged against three players.

Starsia, whose Cavaliers won the 2006 men's title, said that Duke is, in effect, asking the NCAA to bail it out.

"I've got some real problems with it. Does Duke University deserve this resolution of the problem, over issues that were kind of self-inflicted?" Starsia said today.

"I feel like this is an out for an institution that has never stood up and said we made some mistakes. There's an accountability to what they did that they haven't owned up to, and now they're looking to the NCAA to resolve it."
The Ithaca Journal:
CU men's lacrosse: Matchup with Duke will turn friends into foes -- Shortly after the Cornell men's lacrosse team won at Duke in March, Big Red attackman Henry Bartlett received a text message from Duke's All-American defenseman, Tony McDevitt.

“He said, ‘Congratulations, you guys deserved it,'” recalled Bartlett Wednesday afternoon, prior to the team's practice in preparation of Saturday's NCAA Division I Championship semifinal against the Blue Devils. “Then it said, ‘We'll see you again.'”

And so it shall be, only this time on the sport's grandest stage...
KC Johnson:
Who Are the Clarifiers? -- Public attention about the behavior of Duke faculty activists had two turning points. The first came on December 15, when—for what appears to be the first time in American history—the statements and actions of their own professors were cited as grounds for why college students could not receive a fair trial locally. The second came in the so-called “clarifying” statement, issued by 87 Duke faculty members in mid-January.

The statement, which purported to “clarify” the Group of 88’s ad, formed the first leg of the ill-fated Group of 88 rehab tour. The defiant refusal to apologize and the professors’ inability to explain the guilt-presuming statements from the original ad (something “happened” to Crystal Mangum; “to the protesters making collective noise, thank you for not waiting”) generated national attention. Drudge (16 million daily hits) linked to the statement itself; within days, Dan Abrams, John Podhoretz, Mary Laney, and Charlotte Allen had condemned the statement on television or in widely circulated newspapers and magazines....
Mother Jones blog:
DA Refuses to Prosecute Rape Case, Despite Eye Witnesses, DNA -- What's the penalty for gang-raping a drunk, 17-year-old girl at a party with 10 of your buddies? Bupkus, said the Santa Clara, California District Attorney's office yesterday.

The rape occurred March 3 at a wild, off-campus party hosted by a member of the DeAnza College men's baseball team in San Jose, California. Three partygoers, members of the school's women's soccer team, said they saw a young girl on a mattress on the floor, clothes around her ankles and vomit on her face, with one man on top of her and approximately 10 more looking on in a dark bedroom. Feeling "something wasn't right," the girls pushed their way into the room and rushed the victim the the hospital.

In the months since the rape, a grand jury has taken testimony in the case, DNA samples from some partygoers have been obtained, yet an assistant district attorney cited "insufficient evidence" as the reason the DA would not prosecute. The alleged rapists will not even be charged with a crime, not even statutory rape. The only consequences so far have been that eight baseball players were suspended, resulting in the cancellation of three games. At least one of the possible rapists thinks justice has been served: "From the beginning, I kind of felt like it was a witch hunt and the De Anza players were victims, and not really this girl," pitcher Chris Knopf told the San Jose Mercury News.

One of the infamous Duke lacrosse players made a similar statement just last month when prosecutors dropped all charges in that case, saying that “this entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice." He was talking about himself, not the African American stripper hired for the player's party...

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