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Monday, August 6, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — August 6, 2007

Updated - today's items:

miram cooke, Group of 88 memberKC Johnson:
Group Profile: miriam cooke -- Group of 88 member miriam cooke (she capitalizes neither her first nor her last name) is a professor of Arabic in the African & Asian Languages & Literature Department, in which she has served two terms as chairperson. She received her Ph.D. from Oxford in 1980...

Apparently Justice Brandeis’ dictum—“sunlight is the best disinfectant”—has no place in miriam cooke’s academy.

In a comment thread a few days ago, several Group sympathizers implied that only specialists in the relevant field could even describe the academic work of Group members. cooke has taken this approach one step further, implying that only specialists in the relevant field who agree with the Group’s approach can review Group members’ work...

Responding to criticism by instead lashing out at the critics, suggesting an attempt to silence dissenting voices in the academy . . . Where have we recently seen that strategy by cooke and her colleagues in the Group of 88?...

It’s not hard to imagine someone with such a profile signing onto the Group of 88 statement. cooke, indeed, appears to affiliate with just about every politically correct initiative that comes along...

Forum topics of note:
LS forum:
Frightening evening for a Blog Hooligan -- [my husband] opened the door to find the porch filled with officers dressed in their bullet proof vests, guns etc. They began to enter our home claiming they had a search warrant. They did not look like our usual suburban officers. I immediately noticed their faces looked more like thugs. I thought they might be home invaders and demanded they step outside until I could verify who they were. One of the officers held up a paper claiming he had a search warrant. I had no way of knowing if it was legitimate....
comment: It is so easy for law enforcement to frame someone, especially on a drug charge. Several years ago on a late February visit to Canada I had a close encounter with the art of the frame, courtesy of the "Royal Canadian Border Patrol."

It was bitter cold overcast day when I pulled into a very out of the way Canadian border station at an off peak hour. In fact, I was the only car there and probably the only car that this particular border station and its small contingent might see all day.

I naively expected a perfunctory check and a quick pass. This was how all my previous crossings had gone. This time was different.

The questions from the border guard were going fine, I thought, until he asked me to get out of the car. I was mildly irritated, I hated giving up the warmth of the car.

The station team of four officers then descended on my car like a pack of coyotes on a wounded gerbil. They were of course looking for contraband - drugs, guns, or warm weather. Seats, carpets, wheels, nooks and crannies were all searched.

One officer came over and started chatting with me all the time while closely watching my eyes and face as I stood by the side of the car. I didn't flinch when they brought the drug dog out of the border office. He was good size German Shepherd. I had no drugs and no reason to worry.

The dog first checked the front bumper and wheels. The front hood was now open. The K-9 was lifted up and his handler helped balance him on the air filter and the fender so he could get a good whiff of the engine compartment. I kept my mouth shut about the dog's nails scratching the paint. There was no good reason to pick a fight with the un-Mounties.

Next the dog checked the car's interior, front and back. Wet dirty paw prints were now all over the car seats. Finally, the dog moved to the back of the car and was lifted into the trunk. That was when I lost sight of him, because I was towards the front of the car. I soon heard the handler excitedly saying something like: "get it, get it!" in Canadian.

Get what? Heh.

I scooted around to the back of the car and saw the dog frantically scratching at the carpet in the corner of the trunk. Whoa now, what's this? An officer pulled back some carpet to reveal a small bag of pot. My heart did a hop, skip and jump as I stood there dumbfounded.

The dog was getting a big attaboy and a treat from his handler as time stood still. I had tunnel vision as I stared at the small bag. Couldn't hear much either. One officer said something and I just stood their slack jawed and stupid. I finally heard him say I could go now. This had all been a training exercise. An officer had quickly planted the small drug bag to give the dog some work once it look like I was clean.

Thank you, sir. No problem sir, glad to be a useful training aid in the service of a drug-free Canada, that is glorious and free. By the way, can I use your restroom?

It's hard to imagine what the Duke lacrosse players dealt with for over a year.
LS forum:
Unbelievably Mean, Nancy Grace -- I turned on the TV when I came home this evening and NG was wailing about the mother in SC whose children almost certainly died in her over-heated car while she worked (or at the least she thought they were dead when she found them). Nancy cawed, smirked, snarled, demanded to know why this woman went to Burger King later in the evening for a nice little dinner for herself. Even for Nancy, I've never seen anything like it. What kind of mind generates this ugliness? ...
comment: Nancy Grace is a serial offender. She is guilty of media menacing. That is engaging in a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in reasonable fear of public humiliation and scorn, and/or the presumption of their guilt in some crime.

Standard Menacing can be either a felony or misdemeanor depending on whether the defendant has been convicted of menacing within the last ten years.

KC Johnson showed that Grace is a Nifong light based on her record as a Georgia prosecutor.
LS forum:
J in NC : Show us the bathroom, Why couldn't we see the crime scene? --

LS forum:
Brad Bannon Posts On DNA Discovery --
Jim Cooney: I normally oppose continuing debates of this nature on the maxim of non flagellum equus mortis. However, as I continue to read these posts, there appears to be an almost obsessive focus on a single tree now, as opposed to what the forest looked like in December.

From Reade Seligmann's perspective, in December this case was about an alibi which proved he could not have committed this (or any crime) against Precious. The elements to this were his timeline as established by photographs, ATM data, Elmostafa's cab ride with Rob Wellington, his dorm card reader and Jason Bissey's observations. While the timeline as a whole was as close to airtight as you can get (Alan Gell to one side who was actually in jail at the time of the crime), the individual elements each comprised a separate moving piece. In particular, the photographs of the party presented a very difficult chain of custody issue because the photographs needed to be introduced as substantive evidence in order to make the MetaData admissible - - the actual chain of custody left a lot to be desired and required a significant amount of work to establish not only the authenticity of the pictures but that the metadata had not been disturbed.

Against this backdrop, the DNA report from DNASI showed that there was no DNA from Reade, but that there was DNA from Precious' boyfriend. This showed (1) there was DNA to be found, (2) that it was not Reade and (3) how sensitive the test was since, if you believe Precious, she had not had sex for a week. Under these circumstances, as I am proving that Reade could not have committed the crime because of his alibi, DNA is only one piece of a number of other pieces. In the physical evidence, the lack of DNA simply matched up with the lack of fingerprints, hairs, fibers or any other trace evidence connecting Reade to the bathroom or to Precious. I had lined up two experts in crime scene analysis and trace evidence to testify that it would have been impossible for this rape to have occurred this way without leaving any trace evidence whatsoever...
KC Johnson:
Jim Cooney on the Dec. 15 Hearing -- A fascinating post from Jim Cooney at the Liestoppers forum, discussing the defense attorneys' mindset in the weeks running up to the Dec. 15 hearing...
Nifong's media and law-school enablers, cont'd -- An article in the new American Journalism Review (Rachel Smolkin, "Justice Delayed", Aug./Sept.) lays out at length the sins of the media in covering the allegations of prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke lacrosse case. Leading offenders such as the Durham Herald-Sun, New York Times and TV's Nancy Grace all come in for their share of reproach, but of note also is this on Wendy Murphy, feminist lawprof and frequent broadcast commentator on the case...

On a different note, the much-anticipated book on the controversy by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K.C. Johnson, "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case", is due out a month from now and is already selling well on Amazon.
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Obtuseness, real or feigned? -- False accuser Crystal Gail Mangum and former rogue prosecutor Michael B. Nifong are not North Carolina's only liars and Mr. Nifong and Dr. Brian Meehan were not the only persons who knew that the second set of DNA tests uncovered the presence of multiple male DNA not attributable to any of the 46 white players on the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team.

When the defense motion for additional DNA discovery was publicized last December, North Carolina journalist and television personality Cash Michaels posted this message at TalkLeft:
"The day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 24), I attended a birthday party in Raleigh for a close friend. Close to the end of the party, a gentleman from Durham I know well and trust implicitly, took me to the side, told me he knew one of the technicians at the Burlington lab that did the second set of DNA tests, and that more DNA had been determined, but the results hadn't been made public yet. He didn't know why.

"He speculated that the undisclosed DNA belonged to one or some of the players, though he had no way to prove it.

"Since I'm not one of the DA's favorite people, there was no confirming this with Nifong's office. The source would not ID the tech. But last week I did get wind of the defense motion made public today that filled in the blanks. All that 'wind' confirmed was that there were previously undisclosed DNA samples, but not the source or sources of those samples....
KC Johnson:
The Nifong Effect -- The effects of Mike Nifong’s activities have spread well beyond the North Carolina borders. In Maryland, the Baltimore Sun recently profiled Ocean City’s chief prosecutor, Joel Todd. Todd is set to prosecute the locally high-profile case of Christy L. Freeman, who allegedly murdered her four children...
Talbot County prosecutor Scott G. Patterson, the newly chosen president of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association, said high-profile cases such as Freeman’s can be a real test for prosecutors.

“You don’t want to be a Nifong, out trying a case in the media, but at the same time, the media have a right to ask questions...
To the extent that Nifong’s behavior has highlighted the importance of legal ethics around the country, the outcome is a good one.
KC Johnson:
Jesse Jackson, Then and Now --

Mid-April 2006:
“Something happened on the night of March 13th ...
Mid-July 2007:
Jackson was critical of Commissioner Bud Selig for distancing himself from [Barry] Bonds... The judge and jury will determine the outcome of the controversy...
John in Carolina:
To The Chronicle’s New Editor -- David Graham is the new editor of The Chronicle, In a recent article he introduced himself to the Duke community and outlined what he hopes The Chronicle will accomplish under his editorship. I you haven’t already done so, I hope you take a look at what Graham wrote. ...

Dear Editor Graham:

You say: ... Ready to move on?

Is there even one university which in the last 40 years has abandoned a student as Duke under Dick Brodhead abandoned Reade Seligmann on May 18, 2006?

If there is, how did that university "move on?" ...
John in Carolina:
Ruth Sheehan's Opportunity -- [...] For some reason the N&O has never shown pictures of the bathroom, published its dimensions or a photo with four good sized people all squeezed in there.

Why not?

People who've been in the bathroom say if the public could see how small it is, they'd know there was no why Mangum could've fought a 30 minute brutal battle with three big athletes in there and then emerge without a sprain or a cut requiring even one stitch...
John in Carolina:
Good Hoax Video -- I enjoyed this takedown of Nifong, Brodhead and some of the 88.
John in Carolina:
Barone on Hoax Believers -- Here's one of my favorite pundits, Michael Barone, offering his explanation for why people like Duke faculty's Group of 88 and so many in the media fell for an obviously false story...
News & Observer:
Nifong influenced criminal justice bills -- Mike Nifong may have never made his way to the legislature this year. But the former Durham County district attorney's presence was felt there nonetheless.

State lawmakers approved several bills that focus on criminal justice issues --many of which are meant to improve or safeguard criminal procedures. Lawmakers and court officials say a few of those bills were likely propelled by Nifong's actions in the Duke lacrosse case...

Clark Everett, the district attorney for Pitt County, pointed to a bill sponsored by Rand that will make it easier to remove district attorneys from office.

Rand mentioned Nifong while explaining the bill on the Senate floor. The bill, which also applies to judges, was quickly approved.

Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat, said a bill that he sponsored to establish new procedures that law enforcement officers must follow when conducting a lineup was pushed through quicker because of Nifong. The bill is meant to help reduce mistaken identification in police lineups.

Nifong became part of the debate over a state law that requires prosecutors to give defense lawyers their "complete files" from a criminal investigation. Prosecutors wanted to roll back parts of the 2004 law that helped defense attorneys show the innocence of the three Duke lacrosse players....
Wilmington Star:
Editorial: And nothing but the truth -- Clark Everett, the district attorney for Pitt County, pointed to a bill sponsored by Rand that will make it easier to remove district attorneys from office.

Rand mentioned Nifong while explaining the bill on the Senate floor. The bill, which also applies to judges, was quickly approved.

Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat, said a bill that he sponsored to establish new procedures that law enforcement officers must follow when conducting a lineup was pushed through quicker because of Nifong. The bill is meant to help reduce mistaken identification in police lineups.

Nifong became part of the debate over a state law that requires prosecutors to give defense lawyers their "complete files" from a criminal investigation. Prosecutors wanted to roll back parts of the 2004 law that helped defense attorneys show the innocence of the three Duke lacrosse players....

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