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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Duke Case —The Durham Conspiracy

Today's items - updated:

KC Johnson (guest blogging) / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Explaining Brodhead [see comments] -- As a high-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct affected his own institution’s students, how is it possible to explain Duke president Richard Brodhead’s passive response?

A few explanations can be eliminated. Duke officials did not - - at least privately - - initially believe Crystal Mangum’s fantastic lies. Duke cops told their superiors the case would go away quickly, because Mangum wasn’t credible. The lacrosse captains met with four senior administrators, including Brodhead, and not only denied the allegations but laid out the scope of their cooperation with police. The president, the executive vice president, the AD, and the dean of student affairs all expressed confidence the captains were telling the truth. (Brodhead has subsequently denied saying this.) [...]

Does KC Johnson go too hard on Brodhead?
KC Johnson (guest blogging) / The Volokh Conspiracy:
The Administration's Response -- “Pandering” (New York Times). “Clearly terrified of the racial and gender activists on his own faculty” (Wall Street Journal). “Did little, if anything, to defend the lacrosse players or to criticise the faculty for its lynch-mob mentality” (Economist). “Weak-kneed” (Newsweek). “Seemingly terrified of the protestors and a radicalized faculty with the power to turn him into another Lawrence Summers” (Weekly Standard).

The reviews on Duke president Richard Brodhead’s performance in the lacrosse case are less than glowing. [...]
Stuart Taylor (guest blogging) / The Volokh Conspiracy:
Stuart Taylor responds -- The following is tiresome: "Not to worry, there are thousands of poor people of all races whose stories of police and prosecutorial misconduct will never make the headlines of any national newspaper, talking head TV show or outraged blogger." I would wager the commenter a hot fudge sundae that I have written more than ten times as many published articles over the years about injustices to poor people than the commenter ever has. I would also wager that the commenter cannot site many (if any) examples of prosecutorial misconduct directed against poor people in recent years that is as egregious as the misconduct of Nifong here. [...]
Dave Evan, Collin Finnerty, Reade SeligmannAnne Blythe & Matt Dees / News & Observer:
Durham's debate: Pay or fight -- Some find players' demand for $30 million excessive -- As three exonerated Duke lacrosse players threaten a lawsuit against Durham for their treatment by police, their reported demand for $30 million has prompted a gasp of "How much?" from some residents and taxpayers.

Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, some in Durham say, are beginning to come across as greedy, more concerned about hitting the jackpot at public expense than as the champions of the less affluent they billed themselves to be.

Supporters, however, caution that such contemptuous reactions could amount to another rush to judgment of players who at the start were portrayed as hooligans and later as heroes triumphing over injustice.

Mayor Bill Bell has been hearing from city residents about the settlement proposal. A common theme of the e-mail he has received is that the players are asking too much and the city should take its chances in court. [...]
News & Observer:
Duke will expand scrutiny of verdicts -- Two law school projects will grow -- There's another ripple effect of the Duke lacrosse case: a greater emphasis at Duke's law school on training lawyers to fight against wrongful convictions.

Duke University announced Wednesday that it would spend $1.25 million in the next five years to expand the law school's Wrongful Convictions Clinic and its Innocence Project, which investigate claims of innocence made by convicted felons in North Carolina and raise public awareness of problems in the criminal justice system.

James Coleman, a Duke law professor who was a major critic of Mike Nifong, the now-disbarred Durham district attorney, will lead the development of the center, along with Associate Dean Theresa Newman. Both Coleman and Newman teach in the Wrongful Convictions Clinic and serve on the N.C. Chief Justice's Criminal Justice Study Commission. [...]
Press Release / Duke.edu:
New Center at Duke Law School to Focus on Criminal Justice, Professional Responsibility -- Addressing problems in the North Carolina legal system highlighted by the Duke lacrosse case, the center will incorporate and expand the law school’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Innocence Project. [...]
KC Johnson:
Clay Waters / NewsBusters.org:
New Book Destroys Credibility of NYT's Duke -- On Sunday, law professor Jeffrey Rosen reviewed for the New York Times the new book "Until Proven Innocent -- Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," by Stuart Taylor & KC Johnson, which, among bringing other injustices surrounding the case to light, also excoriates the mainstream press's shoddy coverage, much of which presumed the guilt of the three white lacrosse players.

Rosen called the book "riveting," but devoted just two sentences to the frequent passages that rip apart the Times's shoddy coverage of the case, taking particular aim at reporter Duff Wilson and columnist Selena Roberts. [...]

The book reveals that Times sports reporter Joe Drape could have been an early hero for the truth, but when Drape began to divert from the favored storyline of Times editors, he was replaced by another reporter, Duff Wilson, who hewed more closely to the pro-prosecution slant preferred by the liberal editors at the Times, who viewed the affair solely through the politically correct prism of race/sex/class. [...]
Michael Gaynor:
Unindicted players: Hold Duke accountable -- People can sue, conduct discovery and go to trial instead of sue and settle confidentially so that Duke avoids discovery or settle before suit, so that Duke is not embarrassed by the filing of a complaint. Surely people should know that Duke can't buy silence if it's not for sale.

Duke's been fortunate.

The Dowd family brought a fantastic punitive grading case against Duke and perennial visiting Professor Kim Curtis, but then settled confidentially before discovery, much less a public trial.

The families of Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans settled confidentially with Duke without even filing a complaint or obtaining an apology.

So it's up to the families of the unindicted players to pursue truth, justice and what should be the American way and, in the process, put the the ugly truth about Duke's relationship to the bogus case on public display.

For example [...]

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia