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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — June 6, 2007

Updated — today's items:

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III a/k/a the potted plantJoe Neff & Anne Blythe, News & Observer:
Judge eyes Nifong's conduct in Duke lacrosse case -- Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is now facing possible discipline on a new front — before the Superior Court judge who had been presiding in the Duke lacrosse case.

Nifong goes to Raleigh on Tuesday to find out whether the N.C. State Bar will punish him for his conduct in the case.

But he also has troubles at home in Durham: The judge who oversaw the lacrosse case signaled this week that he retains control over the case and has the power to discipline lawyers who appeared before him.

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III wrote that significant concerns about evidence arose during a Dec. 15 hearing, months before the state Attorney General's Office dismissed the charges. At the hearing, DNA expert Brian Meehan testified that he and Nifong agreed to withhold test results from the defense, including the fact that DNA from unidentified men was found in and on the accuser's body...

Trial judges such as Smith can take a wide range of actions in disciplining lawyers; Smith could scold Nifong, disbar him or even send him to jail for contempt of court.

"Significant concerns regarding discovery issues arose from the December 15, 2006 hearing," Smith wrote in an order filed Tuesday. Although criminal charges were dismissed, Smith clearly has questions about Nifong's conduct: "Certain other of those concerns remain as they pertain to actions of counsel." ...
comment: The potted plant lives! Oz will wait until he has cover from the NC State Bar hearing to act.

source:
LieStoppers blog: Judge Smith's Memorandum in the Cause
N&O: Memorandum In The Cause, June 5th, 2007, W. Osmond Smith III [10 pages, PDF]

discussion:
LS forum: Judge eyes Nifong's conduct in Duke lacrosse case, Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III

related:
WRAL: Lacrosse Judge Could Also Discipline Nifong -- [Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando] Hudson told WRAL on Tuesday, though, that he is prepared to conduct a summary hearing right after the State Bar trial, meaning that issues decided in the State Bar trial won't need to be redecided.

The residing Superior Court judge can remove a district attorney from office if there's evidence he brought the office in to disrepute, among other things.

discussion:
LS forum: Hudson to Hold Removal Hearing Right After Trial
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Steve RileySteve Riley, Editor's blog, News & Observer:
No problems at DPD? -- During last night's public interviews of finalists to be Durham's new police chief, deputy chief Ronald H. Hodge drew laughter when he said he couldn't think of any major mistakes made by the police department in the past five years.

It's likely that some in the audience had the Duke lacrosse case on their minds. Hodge addressed it, too, saying that public concerns seem "to be a perception portrayed by you guys in the media." He went on to refer to a city report that he said indicated "some mistakes may have been made," but not about issues "that were fatal to the outcome of the case."

Our previous reports can shed light on these issues. We've reported about problems with the police department's work, including the flawed photo identification procedure, the conflicting notes filed by the two police detectives who worked the case together, and why police allowed District Attorney Mike Nifong to take control of the case.

The N&O has written hundreds of stories on the case, including our series, Rush to Judgment. Let us know if you think the police department made any mistakes.
discussion:
LS forum: N & O wants to know, Any problems with Police in Case
KC Johnson: N&O Question for Hodge

comment: The N&O has provided the best coverage of the Nifong/Mangum hoax since mid-April of 2006. The problem is that the N&O's editorial board never used their reporting as a basis to condemn Nifong/DPD, until their blatant misconduct was made obvious to one and all. The N&O was the prime media hoax starter with their early fawning promotion of Crystal Mangum's lies. The N&O deserves no kudos and their critical examination of the Durham PD doesn't get them off the hook one bit.

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes. -- Confucius
-------
Forum topic(s) of note:
LS forum: A Duke Conversation - Philadelphia -- I just got back from the Philadelphia version of A Duke Conversation... -- I asked the following: "Last spring Visiting Assistant Professor Kim Curtis failed a lacrosse player due to her ideology and not his scholarship. Why is she still teaching at Duke." The question was met with applause. His answer was that the matter had been litigated and he could not comment. Another non-answer.
---------
from left, William D. Green, Ronald H. Hodge and Jose L. Lopez Sr.Ben Niolet, Jessica Rocha & Stanley B. Chambers Jr., N&O:
3 finalists face the music of Durham police chief job -- Crime runs high, the Duke lacrosse case still festers and someone is needed to run a police force -- The candidates -- deputy chiefs from Durham and Tennessee and an assistant chief from Connecticut -- faced questions and comments from more than 70 people who attended the forum...

News & Observer:
Ronald H. Hodge: 'Nothing broke' with it --

Q: What mistakes have your departments made in the last five years?

A: I don't recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the last five years. I think we've seen here recently the [city] manager's report as it pertains to the Duke lacrosse case where we indicated some mistakes may have been made, but we didn't think that it was the things that were fatal to the outcome of the case. However, there's still some investigations ongoing with that. ... The jury remains out on those things, but I think at the end of the day we'll be OK.

discussion:
KC Johnson:
The Nifong Enablers Strike Back -- No doubt Hodge--who attended meetings in which the flawed April 4 lineup was planned out--wants people to stop asking questions about the case.

related:
ABC11-TV/WTVD:
Durham Chief Finalists Answer Tough Questions -- Durham's city manager is evaluating the answers from the three police chief finalists after a public forum Tuesday night.

They faced dozens of questions Tuesday night and weighed in on the city's gang problem and the Duke Lacrosse case...

Ronald Hodge responded, "I am more of a problem solver and a strategic planner."

Along with questions about cold cases, the three were also asked about the departments handling of the Duke Lacrosse case and city's recent report. Don Green responded, "I really wouldn't want to speak on other than what I know there... justifications that were in the report seem reasonable to me."

Durham Police veteran, Ronald Hodge added, "If we had to go down that road again we would also say okay lessons learned." ...

Brianne Dopart, Herald-Sun:
Chief hopefuls face the public -- Laughter erupted when Hodge said he didn't "recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the past five years." ...

News14 Carolina: Durham residents hear from final police chief candidates
-------
AP/KTEN.com (OK):
OC businessman buys ads praising Duke lacrosse team -- Oklahoma City businessman Aubrey McClendon says he's the anonymous person who bought several full-page newspaper ads praising the Duke men's lacrosse team.

The Duke team was hit by scandal last year when a woman claimed she was raped at a team party.Three players were indicted but all charges were later dropped and the players cleared.

McClendon is a 1981 Duke graduate and is co-founder, chairman and chief executive of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy. He says he got the idea from another alumnus who bought a full-page ad in USA Today.

McClendon wrote his own version and paid $400,000 for ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Raleigh News and Observer and Durham Herald-Sun...
comment: It's too bad the Herald Sun got advertising money from Mr. McClendon. They deserve nothing.
-------
LieStoppers: da Jeopardy [cartoon]
-------
Ray Gronberg, Herald-Sun:
Potential lacrosse case panelist has ties to police -- An agency in line to help investigate how police and prosecutors conducted the Duke lacrosse case has received at least $167,563 in grants from the city in the past two years.

The Durham Crisis Response Center used part of that money to train hundreds of Durham Police Department officers in how to deal with alleged victims of sexual assault.

The impending investigation is almost certain to look at how patrol officers and detectives handled the 28-year-old accuser in the lacrosse case, including whether they questioned the inconsistencies in her story that eventually convinced state Attorney General Roy Cooper to dismiss charges against former lacrosse players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann while declaring their innocence.

But city officials nonetheless say they don't see a conflict involving the crisis response center's training work that would bar someone from the agency from serving on the 12-member panel that investigates the Police Department and District Attorney Mike Nifong.

City Councilwoman Diane Catotti, who has volunteered to appoint a crisis center representative to the panel, said the investigation needs someone familiar with the protocol for working with alleged victims and can say whether police and Nifong followed them....
discussion:
TalkLeft: Potential lacrosse case panelist has ties to police
-------
KC Johnson:
The Nartey Dilemma -- the Baydoun/Good book made the first public reference to an e-mail sent by Duke student Chauncey Nartey to Coach Mike Pressler last March. The subject line was a menacing: “WHAT IF JANET LYNN WERE NEXT???” (Nartey already had sent an all-caps e-mail to Presser demanding that the coach terminate all practices until the “alleged rapists” were found.) In the atmosphere at the time—where, despite Davidson’s subsequent claim, the lacrosse players, not their tormentors, were beleaguered—the Presslers took seriously the fact that someone had taken the time to ferret out the name of their older daughter, hardly an item that would have been common knowledge to the average Duke student. On March 31, Sue Pressler filed a complaint with the Duke Police over the e-mail...

the combination of his sending the Pressler e-mail and his presiding over a fraternity that was suspended by its national organization would have ensured that Nartey no longer was singled out by the Duke administration as a model student. Yet such behavior appears to have had no effect.
--------
Michael David Smith, AOL Sports:
Duke Lacrosse: Will John Feinstein Admit He Was Wrong? -- John Feinstein, one of America's most influential sports writers and one of Duke's most famous alumni, wrote a column last week in which he bashed Duke for, among other things, the fact that "No one from Duke has apologized to the lacrosse kids for throwing them under the bus." ...

it's frustrating to read a column in which he bashes others for being wrong about the lacrosse case but doesn't accept responsibility for his own wrongheaded views. Feinstein is far from the top of the list of people who acted badly in this case, but his refusal to acknowledge his mistakes damages his reputation...

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