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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Duke Case: Academentia - Saacks - Durham

Items of interest:

Stuart Taylor Jr. & KC Johnson / Washington Post:
Guilty in the Duke Case -- One night in jail: So concludes the Duke lacrosse rape case -- rape fraud, as it turned out. The legacy of this incident should include hard thinking about the deep pathologies underlying the media sensationalism and the perversion of academic ideals that this fraud inspired. [...]

The New York Times and other newspapers vied with trash-TV talk shows hosted by the likes of CNN's Nancy Grace, a biased wacko-feminist, and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, a right-wing blowhard, in a race to the journalistic bottom. The defendants -- who endured the ordeal with courage and class -- and their teammates were smeared nationwide as depraved racists and probable rapists.

To be sure, it was natural to assume at first that Nifong had a case. Why else would he confidently declare the players guilty? But many academics and journalists continued to presume guilt months after massive evidence of innocence poured into the public record. Indeed, some professors persisted in attacks even after the three defendants were declared innocent in April by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper -- an almost unheard-of event. [...]

KC Johnson: Washington Post Op-Ed
David SaacksAnne Blythe / News & Observer:
Easley chooses Nifong's successor -- David Saacks, the chief assistant district attorney, will be Durham County next district attorney.

Saacks, a Cary resident, has been an assistant prosecutor with the Durham office since 1992.

Although his Wake County residence excludes him from running for district attorney in Durham County, he can be appointed.

Gov. Mike Easley made the announcement today.

“As I reflect on my career as a prosecuting attorney, I have found that a prosecutor’s first responsibility is not to win at any cost, but to be the state’s defender of the truth and a just advocate,” Easley said. “It is my hope that this will guide him as he undertakes this very important task. Judge [Jim] Hardin and his colleagues have good confidence in Saacks’ abilities to handle the task at hand.”

Since 1992, Saacks has handled misdemeanor, felony drug and violent felony prosecutions. Prior to that he was an associate attorney with a private law firm in Dallas, Texas. [...]
Durham Gets New District Attorney From Within -- The governor said Wednesday his decision was based, in part, on Hardin's recommendation and that he had been waiting until after Nifong's hearing on a criminal contempt of court charge to make the announcement.

Saacks was a subpoenaed witness for Nifong's defense in that hearing last Friday.

“I want to send a signal, if I can, that there are good people in that office over there (in Durham) and that the inappropriate conduct of one person does not taint the rest of the office,” Easley had said Wednesday. “There's some good, hardworking people over there.”

Saacks was likely be sworn in Friday morning, a spokesman for the governor said. That is the same day Nifong is expected to begin serving a one-day jail sentence for being held in contempt for lying to a judge at a court hearing in the Duke lacrosse case last fall.

LS forum: Easley has appointed Assistant DA David Saacks
John in Carolina: The NC AG in Durham?
KC Johnson: N&O: Saacks as Interim DA

Mike McCusker / Crystal Mess blog:
The Circle Jerk Continues, Easley Fondling Saacks -- Mike Easley was the Attorney General of North Carolina in 1998 when his subordinates, David Hoke and Debra Graves, framed Alan Gell. Despite their egregious conduct, Hoke and Graves are still putting people in prison. Alan Gell is still a nobody. Mike Easley is now the Governor.

Ron Stephens was Durham County District Attorney in 1993-94 when his subordinates, Mike Nifong and Mary Winstead, sought to convict Timothy Malloy of bogus rape charges after Winstead "accidentally" altered and erased portions of not one, but two (2!), audio cassette tapes crucial to the defendant's case. Winstead now works with Hoke and Graves. Tim Malloy is still a nobody. Mike Nifong thought he could impose Durham Justice on Somebodies. Bad thought. He's going to jail tomorrow and is going to pay for the sins of his mentors for the rest of his miserable life. Ronnie Stephens? He's now a judge. [...]
Abigail Thernstrom book review / Wall Street Journal:
The Massacre of Innocence -- A stunning new book shows how elite culture made the Duke rape hoax possible. -- "Until Proven Innocent" is a stunning book. It recounts the Duke lacrosse case in fascinating detail and offers, along the way, a damning portrait of the institutions--legal, educational and journalistic--that do so much to shape contemporary American culture. Messrs. Taylor and Johnson make it clear that the Duke affair--the rabid prosecution, the skewed commentary, the distorted media storyline--was not some odd, outlier incident but the product of an elite culture's most treasured assumptions about American life, not least about America's supposed racial divide. [...]

The vitriolic rhetoric of the faculty and Durham's "progressive" community--including the local chapter of the NAACP--helped to intensify the scandal and stoke the media fires. The New York Times' coverage was particularly egregious, as Messrs. Taylor and Johnson vividly show. It ran dozens of prominent stories and "analysis" articles trying to plumb the pathologies of the lacrosse players and of a campus culture that allowed swaggering white males to prey on poor, defenseless young black women. As one shrewd Times alumnus later wrote: "You couldn't invent a story so precisely tuned to the outrage frequency of the modern, metropolitan, bien pensant journalist." Such Nifong allies--unlike the district attorney himself--paid no price for their shocking indifference to the truth.
KC Johnson: Wall Street Journal Review
John in Carolina: "At Duke, the Massacre of Innocence"

WSJ Editorial Page / Best of the Web:
Academentia Watch -- They say America has the world's finest system of higher education. If that is true, there are scores of other systems--perhaps as many as 200--that are worse than the one that produced Kathy Rudy. This is going to give us nightmares for a long time.

LieStoppers blog:
Until Proven Innocent -- It's out and it's a big hit with everyone who has been following this case and wants the inside scoop. KC Johnson & Stuart Taylor have done a great service in the pursuit of justice. This book will have far reaching effects not only in unravelling the Hoax, but in the public knowledge how innocent until proven guilty is no longer true. [...]

Amazon.com [$17.79 + shipping] :
Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
KC Johnson:
William Anderson:
Capture and Corruption: Nifong’s Cronies and Cabal -- The scene in a Durham County courtroom Friday was unusual, to say the least. There was the former Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong (from here known as DAMN) in the dock, being found guilty of criminal contempt and told to spend a day in jail. There were judges who regularly sentence people to long prison sentences begging the judge to be lenient to the man who, according to the prosecuting attorney in the case, had taken "a jackhammer" to the roots of justice.

Sitting in the audience, an assistant prosecutor wept as her former boss was given the "sentence" of spending a day in the county jail, while others went on about the need for "justice." Yet, one cannot understand what really happened unless one widens the screen and looks at the larger picture. While some see this as an "historic" moment, I think that the proper perspective here is that it is a "Rothbardian" moment, and something that Murray Rothbard, had he been living today, would have intimately understood. [...]
Michael Gaynor:
Until Proven Innocent: Unparalleled yet largely ignored -- Bad News: The Mainstream Media is NOT giving Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson, anywhere near the attention it is due, because it's not something that the extreme political correctness folks want them to do (and it does not give enough credit to the likes of Sean Hannity), and a parent of an unindicted player emailed me that her local bookstore did not even have the book.

Not surprising, of course. The book excoriates The New York Times for both bias and prolonging the ordeal and gives some credit to bloggers who exposed the lies. Not things that the biased media want to publicize.

Embarrassing The New York Times is not a good way to court media attention (nor is giving Sean Hannity a mere mention). [...]

Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Backed by LieStoppers' Baldo -- Some fair-minded liberals also came to the defense of the players, but the folks who were out to scapegoat, frame and destroy were Democrats, not Republicans, and on the Left, not the Right. [...]
LS forum:
Is the Duke LAX Fiasco a Democratic Party Scandal?, A Political Question
Anne Blythe & Joe Neff /News & Observer:
SBI called on in Duke case -- Durham's interim DA asks agency to decide if a crime happened in lacrosse prosecution -- Interim District Attorney Jim Hardin has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to determine whether anyone should be prosecuted as a result of the Duke lacrosse case.

The request came during the past several days, but no decision had been made late Wednesday about whether to proceed.

"We're reviewing the request at this point," said Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office.

Hardin, appointed by Gov. Mike Easley to fill in as Durham district attorney after Mike Nifong was forced from office, declined to comment on the matter. [...]

If the SBI opens an investigation, there could be more targets than Nifong, who is scheduled to report to jail Friday for his one-day sentence. The actions of Durham police investigators and of Linwood Wilson, an investigator in the District Attorney's Office under Nifong, could also be reviewed.

There are many avenues to investigate, including perjury and the simple one marked by Nifong's conviction last week, said Joe Kennedy, a law professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"A judge found Nifong guilty of intentionally misleading the court, and that could be obstruction of justice," Kennedy said. "Prosecutors have charged obstruction of justice on much less." [...]
FreeRepublic: SBI called on in Duke case

LieStoppers blog:
DA Hardin asks Attorney General to consider criminal probe

Mike McCusker / Crystal Mess blog:
Roll, Benny, Roll!
Citing Chafed Taint, Hardin Seeks Criminal Probe
Matt Dees / News & Observer:
Durham officials meet with opposition lawyers -- City officials and the lawyers who want to sue the city over the police department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case kept mum about their first meeting, which lasted more than two hours Wednesday in City Hall.

The arrival of lawyers Barry Scheck and Brendan Sullivan Jr. in Durham got the full attention of city officials.

City Attorney Henry Blinder, City Manager Patrick Baker, Mayor Bill Bell and a cadre of other staff members attended the closed-door meeting.

City Council members will get a closed-session briefing today and plot their next moves, including deciding whether to allow their own inquiry into the police department's handling of the case to continue. [...]

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