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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — June 24, 2007

Updated — today's items:

Ken Little, (Wilmington,NC) Star-News:
Nifong case may have local impact -- Former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape are not the only ones feeling repercussions from the case.

The way prosecutors do their jobs might be under more intense scrutiny from citizens sitting in the court of public opinion. Attorneys could use the case to gain an edge with jurors by characterizing prosecutors as overzealous and having a personal agenda, particularly in cases that involve a rape or sexual assault.

Local criminal defense lawyers said any ripple effect from the Duke rape case may serve the interest of justice, while several prosecutors expressed confidence that the vast majority of their colleagues act ethically.

Nifong, a Wilmington native, was disbarred June 16 by the N.C. State Bar...

Adam Liptak, NY Times:
Prosecutor Becomes Prosecuted -- “If the same case had involved three poor men, instead of defendants with private counsel and families that supported them financially and publicly,” Mr. Gillers continued, “we would not likely see a disbarment, in North Carolina or anywhere. I’d be surprised if there were even serious discipline.” ...

“You have rogue prosecutors all over the country who have engaged in far, far more egregious misconduct, and in a pattern of cases,” he added. “And nothing happens.”

The Chicago Tribune, for instance, analyzed 381 murder cases in which the defendant received a new trial because of prosecutorial misconduct. None of the prosecutors were convicted of a crime or disbarred.

There have been about 120 death-row exonerations since the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976, said Samuel R. Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan. (Prosecutors say the number is much smaller.)

“I don’t know of a single case of discipline against a prosecutor who engaged in misconduct that produced the wrongful conviction and death sentence, and many of the cases involve serious misconduct,” Mr. Gross said...
Syl Jones - Slime MongerSyl "Slime Monger" Jones, Star Tribune (MN):
Syl Jones: Nifong was wrong, but not about everything-- The rogue prosecutor of lacrosse players deserves punishment, all right. Yet these Duke students weren't exactly cherubic. -- One of these days we're likely to see something rare: a former county district attorney shuffling off to jail in an orange jumpsuit. Michael Nifong could be found guilty of criminal charges for his role in the Duke University lacrosse debacle. That he's been disbarred and disgraced isn't enough. Prosecutors who spread false accusations in sensational media blitzes and then obstruct justice are criminals, pure and simple...

The little innocents from Duke will also have plenty of great stories with which to scorch the ears of their grandchildren -- stories about the good old days in intercollegiate athletics where boys could skirt the legal limits of the law while getting a full ride, if you know what I mean...

Nifong was a rogue prosecutor who deserves to be punished. He was right about one thing: Something did happen at that frat boy party at Duke University. Something the boys knew would be tolerated if not actually condoned. Too bad Nifong didn't do his job and home in on exactly what that something was.

Had he done so, we'd be having a much different conversation than we're having now...
Duke Basketball Report:
Latest Lax News -- Syl Jones insists that “something” happened at the lacrosse party, but never defines what “it” was, and also overlooks one of the main contradictions in the case: Kim Roberts said she was with Crystal Mangum for all but five minutes of their time at the house. Like a lot of people, Jones seems to glom onto a couple of ideas and tries to force everything to fit them. That doesn’t work very well.

FreeRepublic: Nifong was wrong, but not about everything
Mark GottliebLieStoppers:
Deposition of Mark D. Gottlieb - Part 1
LieStoppers forum:
Gottlieb Deposition 204 pages HERE IT IS, PDF FILE
TalkLeft: Bar deposition of Gottlieb

LieStoppers blog: The Only Way To Keep Notes

KC Johnson:
The Gottlieb Deposition -- Mark Gottlieb’s April 19, 2007 deposition is now out, posted in its entirety at Liestoppers; a summary is below.

The highlights:

  • Gottlieb admitted that his “supplemental case notes” were, in fact, written months after the events they allegedly described;
  • The April 4 lineup was, he suggested, procedurally proper, because none of the lacrosse players were “suspects” at the time;
  • The investigation, as of March 22, was not about to end; and before the April 4 lineup had reached a stalemate...
... All told, this was a chilling deposition, given by a figure who continues to believe that he did nothing wrong in obtaining indictments against three demonstrably innocent people for a crime that never took place.

Jon Ham, Right Angles blog:
Gottlieb's deposition -- The LieStoppers consensus seems to be that Gottlieb is throwing Investigator Ben Himan under the bus, and they advise Himan to go get his own lawyer (they’re sharing one right now) and contact the FBI.
Editorial, Lance-Star/Fredricksburg.com:
Prosecuting injustice -- NO ONE ACTUALLY wanted to believe that those Duke University lacrosse players had raped an exotic dancer--no one except District Attorney Michael Nifong. Sadly for the three players charged, their families, the Duke University community, and the reputation of the criminal-justice system, Mr. Nifong's opinion was the only one that mattered.

Unethical behavior is seldom more heinous than when it is perpetrated by someone in whom the public has placed its trust. Mr. Nifong took high ideals and put them through a shredder. There is no good to come of this episode save the rogue prosecutor's disbarment and removal from office, and the deterrent effect of those penalties on others. A tarring-and-feathering by those from whom Mr. Nifong stole due process is, alas, not among the punitive options.

Mr. Nifong failed repeatedly to carry out his most basic duties. In the earliest days of the investigation, the North Carolina D.A. drew praise for responding forthrightly to allegations by a black woman that she had been assaulted by privileged white athletes. But the prosecutor, by his own admission, failed even to speak to the "victim" directly until six months after the alleged incident. Meanwhile, he doggedly pursued indictments of the players, convicted them in the media, and withheld evidence from defense lawyers that would have cleared them.

While such actions obviously subvert the judicial system, this case contains more insidious aspects. Mr. Nifong ostensibly championed the cause of a minority sexual-assault victim, someone who might expect to be marginalized by the star status of white male jocks representing a revered Southern institution. But no. Through his malpractice, he actually personified the fear, deeply felt by many people of color, that truth and justice are dispensable values in the criminal-justice process.

By all appearances, Mr. Nifong was absent from law school the day that "innocent until proven guilty" was discussed. How could he accept the victim's allegations at face value? Was he so self-deceived that, setting aside every prosecutorial insight and instinct, he simply ignored the players' possible innocence? ...
Editorial, Herald-Sun:
Let's hope Nifong case starts a trend -- In trying the misconduct case against Mike Nifong, the N.C. State Bar had a choice -- it could serve justice, or it could be consistent.

Given its past performances, doing both wasn't possible.

In Nifong's case, the board's disciplinary arm took a strong stand against prosecutorial misconduct and for the rights of three former lacrosse players. It was a tough call, and the right one. But by disbarring Nifong, the State Bar also set a precedent. It was the first time it had ever seen fit to take a prosecutor's law license for misconduct. Had it been consistent, the State Bar would have given him a reprimand.

That's because in previous cases where it reviewed prosecutorial misconduct, the State Bar allowed prosecutors off lightly, even those whose actions led to years of active jail time for defendants.

Alan Gell, for example, spent nine years in prison, half of it on death row, for a 1995 murder. The prosecutors in the Bertie County case were David Hoke and Debra Graves, who worked for the Attorney General's Office. During Gell's trial, they withheld exculpatory evidence, including statements of people who saw the murder victim alive after Gell was in jail. They also failed to tell the defense about a tape of their star witness saying she had to "make up a story" for police.

With that evidence available, Gell won a new trial and, in 2002, was acquitted after the jury deliberated for two and a half hours...
KC Johnson: The Herald-Sun: Wrong Again
Letter to Herald-Sun:
Why is Nifong hated so? --
While Durham continuously beats the dead horse of Mike Nifong's tenure as district attorney, black males continue to be arrested at more than double the rate of whites who commit the same drug crimes.

Propaganda will never give black men a world stage to say "I didn't do it" while discrediting their accuser and prosecutor. As recently as June 7, a local news anchorwoman claimed "the allegations of rape turned out to be false." You would think a woman in such a powerful position would be more sensitive to the fact that a woman's allegations of rape are not "false" just because she lacks sufficient proof.

And in a city where many leaders are descendants of slaves, Durham is acting as if the world's greatest judicial injustice has been committed by Nifong, who sought to charge rich white men with raping a black female. Without charges of rape, there remain probable acts of underage drinking, racial epithets and stripper patronage. Such behavior should in fact cause staff dismissals and student expulsions

Despite his innocence, Darryl Hunt spent 18 years in prison. Yet he receives no such undisclosed settlements, firing of DAs, changing of laws, as that being received by elitists who avoided court and never spent a day in jail. If the woman said they raped her, Nifong was right to charge them!

KC Johnson: More State NAACP Hypocrisy
KC Johnson: Men of the Cloth
Michael Gaynor: Duke case: A reverend revving up rioters?
Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun:
Photographer sues city, policemen -- A freelance photographer has sued the city, Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers and a police captain, alleging they've violated his civil rights and systematically interfered with his attempts to report on the department's work.

Lawyers for the photographer, Julian Harrison, filed the case Friday in federal district court. The lawyers -- Hugh Stevens, Amanda Martin and Michael Tadych -- contend police over the years violated Harrison's civil rights by subjecting him to assaults and detention without probable cause, failing to properly train officers, and failing to protect Harrison's property. . .

The lawsuit cites 10 incidents, the most recent a Nov. 3 confrontation between Harrison and one of the defendants, Capt. Darrell Dowdy, outside the Target store on Renaissance Parkway...

Harrison was handcuffed, and two officers, Alton McCallop and Clyde McCoy, took him to the magistrate's office at the Durham County Jail.

There, Magistrate Eric Van Vleet ruled that Harrison had done nothing wrong and ordered him released.

McCallop and McCoy conceded that Harrison had been standing outside the cordon, but asked the magistrate to talk to Dowdy by phone, the lawsuit said...
LS forum: Durham PD & City getting sued, Civil rights violations
More Bar hearing videos featuring Dr. Meehan
KC Johnson:
"Mr. Obfuscation" in Action
"Mr. Obfuscation"
John in Carolina:
INNOCENT: H-S Not Wrong In This Case (Post 2) -- On the matter of whether a community newspaper should publish statements that are extreme and false...

To Wayne Fontes and Liestoppers forum humorists -- I love the parody...

INNOCENT: McClancy for Duke Prez? -- Duke University’s President, Richard H. Brodhead, has said last March and April were a “very confusing” time. N&O reader John McClancy doesn't sound very confused, does he?
John Armor, FreeRepublic.com:
Duke Is Not Off the Hook -- I also learned was that it would cost almost a thousand dollars to reprint Dr. Sowell’s column full-page in the Duke newspaper. The last issue of the paper is not only circulated on campus, it is also mailed to the homes of all students. There, the students’ parents, who are paying upwards of $30,000 a year to put their children in the care of this faculty and administration, have a right to see what is happening to their children and their money.

So, I got in touch with my friends. As this is written, it looks like we’ll make the target, and Dr. Sowell’s column will appear in front of, and be read by, almost every member of the Duke community. If that happens, it may be that some people who deserve to be fired, will be fired. It may be that some who stay might learn what it means to seek the truth, rather than biased political advantage, and change their ways.

As Dr. Sowell notes, the correction of the bias in the Duke community is far more important than the millions which the students and their families have received from the coffers of a university that has lost its way. I write as well as I can, but I do not hold a candle to my colleague, Dr. Thomas Sowell. So here are his closing words. I’ll see to it these are read by the people at Duke.

“...be aware of how wide and how deep the moral dry rot goes...
Thomas Sowell, TownHall.com:Unfinished Business
David Person, Huntsville-Times/al.com:
Nifong isn't the first bad prosecutor -- And yet, with all the damage Nifong did to those young men and to race and gender relations in Durham County, his sins are not nearly as bad as those committed a few counties to the west in Winston-Salem by Don Tisdale, former prosecutor of Forsyth County. In 1984, Tisdale prosecuted Darryl Hunt for the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, even though he conceded in writing that he had doubts about the case.

"Four months before he tried Darryl for his life in 1985, he wrote a letter to the chief of police," said Mark Rabil, Darryl Hunt's attorney. "'Contrary to what has been stated publicly, we do not have a solid prosecution of any kind'," Rabil said Tisdale wrote...

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