Updated — today's items:
A Message from Nifong’s “Political Opponent” -- As the first of Nifong's days of reckoning approaches ... I found myself reading back through some of LieStoppers' old posts and came across an election day post, "Today and Tomorrow", by Joan Foster...
Recall Nifong supporters were cautiously optimistic going into election day -- we knew there would be a narrow margin and believed we could pull out a win. Election night was devastating -- for me and the many who had worked so hard to defeat the minister of injustice.
Late that night I had a voice mail message from someone close to the case... He promised that in the coming months, "Mike Nifong will come to wish he had lost the election." I held onto the hope that he was right. . .
LS forum: Beth Brewer Introduction to Blog
Nifong's handling of Duke case 'reverberates' heading into ethics trial -- Mike Nifong spent nearly three decades building a reputation as an honest prosecutor. Yet he is seen today as a bane to peers, many of whom feel tarnished by his mistakes in the now-infamous Duke lacrosse rape case.
His colleagues at the courthouse in Durham remain at a loss to explain how it happened.
"It's still kind of difficult for me to see how we got here," said Woody Vann, a lawyer in Durham for nearly as long as Nifong has been a prosecutor there. "It is kind of a tragedy. He reached a certain height and ... he got presented with a matter that was just more than he could handle."
On Tuesday - more than a year after he took the lead in investigating claims three men raped a stripper at a March 2006 party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team - the Durham County district attorney will stand trial on ethics charges ranging from lying to the court to withholding potentially exculpatory evidence.Gone are the days when Nifong railed against the lacrosse team to every reporter and TV camera within earshot. Mocked in the press and by the public for his handling of the collapsed case, Nifong is keeping a low profile in the Durham County Judicial Building as he prepares for a fight that could end with his disbarment...
A timeline of events in the Duke lacrosse investigation
Nifong, bar will both be judged -- Recent lapses put regulators on spot -- Many North Carolina lawyers, starting with the state's attorney general, have shunned Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong as a rogue prosecutor.
But when he faces a disciplinary hearing this week for his handling of the sexual assault case arising from a Duke lacrosse team party last spring, the entire State Bar will face judgment with him.
The N.C. State Bar, the state agency that licenses and disciplines lawyers, will be on a symbolic trial for its own spotty history of effective oversight.
"I hope everybody is watching the State Bar," said state Sen. Tony Rand, a lawyer and the Fayetteville Democrat who is the Senate majority leader. "It's exceedingly important that they believe the agency that regulates the practicing bar is serious about ethical and misconduct cases."
As Nifong fights to save his law license, he goes before a bar battling its own image problems.
The State Bar has disbarred about 170 lawyers since 1996. But never has a North Carolina prosecutor been deprived of the ability to practice law, even for a single day, because of prosecutorial misconduct...
Lacrosse panel has the right mix to find truth
Congratulations to Mayor Bill Bell and to wise city council members for their selection of distinguished jurist Willis Whichard to head up the investigation of the Police Department and its questionable relationship with the district attorney's office. Members of the committee chosen so far represent a good cross-section of law enforcement officials.
While the mayor and most council members are intent on seeking the truth about how Mike Nifong may have manipulated the Police Department in order to perpetrate a profound injustice, Councilwoman Diane Catotti is quoted as saying, "This case raises so many race and gender issues it's important to have parity." Which "case" does Catotti mean? Surely, not the Duke lacrosse hoax. That was an outright lie from day one so the issue raised is how could the accuser, race and gender unimportant, have gotten away with it for so long?
Perhaps Catotti is referring to the N.C. Bar Association's case against Nifong, which will be heard June 12. Race and gender do play into that case insofar as Nifong is accused of using a mentally ill African-American woman to win votes.
Catotti is correct that diversity is important but the truth is essential in the quest for justice. Interestingly enough, two African-American males and one female were instrumental in exposing the facts in the Duke lacrosse hoax and they helped exonerate the three white males. The late Ed Bradley's investigation on "60 Minutes" revealed the accuser's background, the second dancer's original lies led to the truth, and Dr. James Coleman, law professor at Duke, read Nifong's election strategy like a cheap novel. How's that for diversity?
Graham Hayes Marlette
June 10, 2007
The Durham Police Department has been subjected to yet another round of criticism from the city's leaders. This is like the first round of a fight with Mike Tyson. The decision has already been made.
We continue to stand in silence because our teaching shows us that retaliation does not profit anyone. As we stand bloodied from the slander and vicious attacks, we are just blocking punches. The air of voice is beaten out and the eyes of clarity have been closed. The only things we have left are the legs which are supported by over 500 sworn officers and nearly 200 civilians. We are still able to think but even the referee penalizes us for blows we have not thrown. How much more can we take? A lot, I suspect. However, we cannot and will not subscribe to the philosophy of abuse or continue to be victimized.
It is amazing, or is it just an election year? You decide.
June 10, 2007
The writer is president of the Triangle Chapter Police Benevolence Association.
Email from Bill Anderson to David Addision -- Mr. Addison,
In reading your letter to the Herald-Sun today, let me say that I am stunned at your audacity and sheer dishonesty. It was little more than a year ago when you were claiming things that were not true, and not on any medical report, and then lied about the "information" -- or, better yet, disinformation -- that you gave the community.
You played an active role in framing three innocent young men of one of the most horrific crimes in the lawbooks, and then you try to claim you are a victim? If anyone was a victim, it was those individuals who were falsely charged with crimes and their families, which had to bear huge expenses, all because you and your colleagues lied and lied and lied.
However, Mr. Addison, let me also assure you that the families have not forgotten your up-front role in this frame-up. Do you think they have forgotten that you and your Blue Wall of Silence fellow officers promised the attorneys and the players that no press would be there when they came to give DNA samples? Do you think that they have forgotten that you and your Blue Wall of Silence fellow officers locked the doors of the DPD building so the press outside could have at them? Do you think they have forgotten that after they cooperated fully with the police that you lied and said that they were putting up a "blue wall of silence"?
(Because police officers across the country are famous for the "Blue Wall of Silence," I suspect you had plenty of practice in using that term. If there is a "Blue Wall of Silence" in this case, it is the wall that you and your criminal colleagues are putting up as we speak.)
Thus, I also will give you the following advice: make sure you have a good lawyer, because you are going to need it. If it were up to me, you would be front-and-center in a criminal investigation, but given that the Blue Wall of Silence also applies to other law enforcement agencies, you most likely will receive an undeserved pass. That is too bad, because I believe that you and many others in the DPD are nothing but common -- make that dangerous -- criminals. That's right, criminals.
Obstructing justice, Mr. Addison, is a crime. Falsifying evidence, Mr. Addison, is a crime. Knowingly framing innocent people for rape, Mr. Addison, is a crime. Sending false and misleading information over telephone lines and through the mails, Mr. Addison, is a crime.
Again, most likely the only way you will meet any bar of justice is through civil courts, and I have the suspicion that you will be high on the list of people the families will sue. But if there were any justice in the United States -- and Durham justice is even worse -- you would be spending many, many years behind bars.
Please do not tell us you are victims. You and your colleagues are victimizers. And I can only hope you will dearly pay for the crimes you committed this past year.
KC Johnson: Addison: Police Are The Victims --
Addisonhas fallen quiet on the case, consistently refusing all comment—until now. In a letter in today’s Herald-Sun, he claims that he and his fellow officers of the Durham Police Department (the department that helped obtain the indictments of three people without probable cause) are the true victims of the case ...
Dear Cpl David Addison from Joan Foster -- Hey Dave,
Shall I send you a box of Kleenex to wipe away your widdle tears?
Or a teddy bear to comfort you and allay your widdle fears?
All this "scrutiny and criticism" has Davey-boy verklempt
He's writing to the newspaper that his "Team" should be exempt! . . .
John in Carolina:
DPD’s Sorry Addison
The Addison Opportunity
LS forum: One of the original Lynch Mob leaders speaks, Cpl. David Addison -- The DPD is just a fortess of honesty and integrity...
Nifong's career on the line -- Long before he became Durham's chief prosecutor, District Attorney Mike Nifong was trying murderers, rapists and other hard-core criminals, earning respect even among some lawyers who didn't personally like him.
One of his major victories was the 1988 conviction of a teen who brutally stabbed a nurse to death, raped her and assaulted her 7-year-old daughter.
But a bout with prostate cancer ended the courtroom drama for Nifong in 1999.
To reduce stress, he exiled himself to a behind-the-scenes role in traffic court, where he negotiated with lawyers about their clients' speeding tickets, indulged his passion for listening to music and largely was invisible to the public.
It proved to be the calm before a storm that now threatens to topple his career in disgrace.
In 2005, Nifong stepped back into the limelight when Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to replace District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr., who became a judge. Nifong appeared to cement himself into the job by winning a hard-fought November general election.
After nearly three decades of laboring as an assistant to Hardin and others, Nifong suddenly was at the top of the heap, the boss of an office that is the governmental equivalent of a medium-sized law firm ...
"There was laughter, as well there should be" -- On June 5 Durham Deputy Police Chief Ronald Hodge participated as one of the three candidates in a public forum for potential replacements for retiring Durham Police Chief Chalmers. In a Q & A segment with the candidates, Hodge commented about Durham Police actions during the Duke Lacrosse case:
"I don't recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the last five years." He said that though some errors may have been made, they were not "fatal to the outcome of the case." N & OHe was immediately the target of snickering in the audience. How could the Deputy Police Chief, who was the highest ranking police official during the investigation when Chief Chambers was absent, make such a statement? ...
Wrongfully Convicted -- In 1976, I was indicted, charged and tried in less than three months for a murder I did not commit.
As shocking and traumatizing as the accusation was, hearing the guilty verdict and death sentence was far more so. I had previously thought that only the guilty were convicted, except perhaps in relatively minor cases where the consequences were hardly death by electrocution — then the more “humane” method . . .
I have little doubt that the prosecutor would be addressed as Judge Mike Nifong today if the system had brought its awesome power to bear on those who did not have the means to fight back, which is happening very frequently.
The Duke Law School also has a “Wrongful Convictions” class, and there’s little doubt in my mind that that class was seeing the earmarks of a wrongful conviction very early on. Nifong made a thoughtless blunder, but he revealed a phenomenon that is commonplace in our country.
There have been 124 exonerations from death row. You would think it would be hard to end up on death row; imagine how hard it would be to get off death row. You practically have to prove you’re innocent, and incredibly, sometimes even that is not enough.
When a crime incites the public’s passion, it is easy for the public to assume that someone with little status in society is guilty. There is no doubt in my mind that the killing of a police officer sets up circumstances where the possibility of wrongful conviction increases. The public assumes guilt once someone has been charged. Sadly, I catch myself assuming it often enough. The media assume it in a big way and they play up on it. It sells. The police and prosecutors of course know, and too often judges and even defense attorneys assume guilt. It is an interwoven fact of our legal system.Recently, my next-door neighbor stunned me with a question she blurted out. After having known me for more than two years, and then just learning that I had once been on death row, she said, “But how could you have been on death row and not killed someone?!” . . .
Sunday Review -- This marks the 700th post for the blog. In the upcoming Yaeger/Pressler book, graduated lacrosse player Kyle Dowd provided an excellent, concise, summary of a main theme of the blog, regarding the Group of 88. Said Dowd:
[. . .]
If you look at it, their whole argument is, “We only put that ad out there to start a dialogue about these issues.” The only problem is, you are willing to start dialogue but now you refuse to speak to the media, you refuse to speak to us, you refuse to speak to other professors. So you’ve actually decreased dialogue about these topics, which is in complete contradiction to your original goal.
No matter which way you look at it, they’ve failed.
INNOCENT: A blogger "shines a light" -- Greensboro is the home of Bennett College, which describes itself as “one of only two historically Black colleges in the U. S. exclusively for women.” The college has struggled recently, but a “revitalization program” is underway.
Bennett has hired a new president: former USA Today columnist and talk show host Julianne Malveaux.
On May 5 Robinson’s N&R ran a story on Malveaux that read like a Bennett College press announcement...
MSM news organizations hand out lots of “press passes” when it serves their interests.
But bloggers like David Boyd are "shining lights" on many MSM “press passes,” thereby making it much harder for news organizations to say, in effect, to certain parties: "We'll give you a pass." ...
Sergeant Slaughter’s Long March -- Sergeant John Robert (Bob) Slaughter is an outstanding American who The Roanoke Times recently reported:
... survived the invasion of D-Day, and decades later founded a national memorial foundation to commemorate the famous assault.
Now Bob Slaughter, who served with the 29th Ranger Battalion during World War II, has written his autobiography.
The book, "Omaha Beach and Beyond: The Long March of Sgt. Bob Slaughter," offers, among other details, his account of his induction into federal service in early 1941; his role in the D-Day invasion; the wounds he suffered in Normandy, France; the end of the war; and also the creation of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation [in Bedford, VA]. ..