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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Duke Case — Into the Devil's Den

Today's items — updated:

The News & Observer is a "questionable source" for seeing the big picture.

Matt DeesMatt Dees / Bull's Eye blog / News & Obsever:
Pressler up for award, penning new book -- Mike Pressler, the erstwhile Duke lacrosse coach now cashing in on the ignominy of being fired when three of his players were accused of rape, has another book in the works and is angling for a movie deal, his agent said.

Pressler also will receive an award Nov. 7 from the Frank McGuire Foundation (named for the former Tar Heel basketball coach) "based on his courage he exhibited throughout the year" that saw Pressler fired over rape charges that later were dropped, agent Lee Southren said. [...]

LS Forum:
N&O slams Pressler - again, Sheesh! When will they stop? -- Today's N&O (Sept. 12 issue) just couldn't resist giving a nasty swipe to Coach Pressler. You'd think that a man struggling to rebuild the ruins of his career by finishing up a new book about teaching young kids and giving lectures on same would deserve some respect, huh? According to the N&O? Hell, no!

Instead, the N&O sneers that Pressler is "cashing in on the ignominy of being fired when three of his players were accused of rape.." Note that the N&O utterly refuses to say the players were innocent - instead, it merely says charges "were dropped" (as in, wink, wink, their rich white daddies got them off, get it?).

N&O then sneers that Pressler is a "questionable source" to be writing a book about molding players. After all, "15 of Pressler's players had been arrested or cited by police in the previous three years, mostly for petty crimes like public urination and disorderly conduct."

Oh, crap! That just burns me up. N&O gets self-righteous about kids taking a tinkle off the back porch - all the while it's pissing on the truth itself!
Shut your damn pie-hole N&O!!

Editorial / News & Observer:
Cost of justice -- Duke students badly treated by a rape allegation may not have a civil case, but their ideas for improving justice have merit --

Being wrongly accused of rape is no picnic -- let's be honest, it's a nightmare -- but it isn't necessarily worth $10 million. That's what the three former Duke University lacrosse players are seeking from the City of Durham because of the actions of its police department, presumably minus fees to a cadre of lawyers hired to mount a potential civil rights lawsuit. The merits of the reported settlement demand are questionable at best, although reforms that the players' lawyers propose for police and the courts have great merit.

For good reasons, there is widespread sympathy for the former Duke students, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans. Their spring-break team party last year was reprehensible -- hired strippers and alcohol for anyone who showed up, including minors. But no one deserves to be falsely accused of rape, as the three were by one of the strippers, or to be hounded by a district attorney seemingly blind to any evidence that showed the students may have been telling the truth -- that no assault took place -- and obsessed with winning the next election.

Fortunately, the system worked: Although the students were indicted, the charges were dropped and the three were declared innocent by the state attorney general. The district attorney, Mike Nifong, was disgraced, disbarred, thrown out of office and sent to jail for a day. [...]
comment: The "system worked" only because the three men had a team of very exceptional lawyers. That's not the norm. The pyro-media, lead by the News & Observer, was a crucial hoax enabler.

As late as December 23rd, 2006, The News & Observer's editorial board was still kissing Nifong's ass. Their editorial entitled "Nifong's Move" was pathetic in light of the criminal conspiracy exposed in the Dec. 15th hearing. Quoting from the N&O's Dec. 23rd milk toast:
The accuser, if she can offer a coherent account and stand by it, deserves to have her allegations heard in court...

From here on out, Nifong needs to be fair and cold-eyed
in evaluating evidence as it continues to come to light and in assessing the strength of his case...
Five days later the N.C. State Bar filed its Ethics Complaint against Mike Nifong.

The N&O is reprehensible. They are the last ones who should be bloviating. As JinC says, "can't the N&O be sued?"

John in Carolina:
N&O: Students “may not have a civil case” -- The system worked? David Evans grandfather died while Evans was still under indictment bacause of an attempted frame-up the N&O helped launch and sustain for thirteen months.

Who set up such a system? And can't the N&O be sued? [...]

LS forum:
What the $30 million dollars is really about, It's not just about punishing Durham
William F. West / Herald-Sun:
Lacrosse case critic blasts Nifong -- The New York professor and Internet blogger known for his tracking of the Duke lacrosse case has co-authored a book that he calls "the story of the highest profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in American history that unfolded before our very eyes ... ."

KC Johnson added that "critical groups -- the media, the academy, civil rights groups -- not only did not stand up against this injustice, but basically cheered it along."

Johnson was at Duke University's Page Auditorium on Tuesday to speak and sign copies of the book, "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case."

He said the book has sold at least 13,000 copies since becoming available this month.

Johnson is a professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, and his blog -- or Internet bulletin board -- is titled "Durham-in-Wonderland." Johnson wrote the book with Stuart Taylor, a nationally known legal journalist.

Johnson, 39, said his interest in the case resulted from a faction of Duke professors -- known as the "Group of 88" -- taking out an ad in the university's student newspaper, The Chronicle, that many felt convicted the lacrosse players in the public eye.

The group maintains it didn't rush to judgment.

"It is unheard of," Johnson said of the ad. "I mean, I can never remember an instance really in the history of American higher education where you saw faculty behave in that fashion."
KC JohnsonShuchi Parikh / Duke Chronicle:
Johnson chastises, lauds lax case actors -- Reading excerpts from an advertisement signed by 88 Duke professors, Johnson said the ad clearly placed guilt on the lacrosse players and criticized those faculty members.

The ad was drafted March 26, 2006, and ran in The Chronicle April 6, 2006, a period during which two of the highest profile protests against the lacrosse team took place, he said. He noted that because of its timing, the ad served as a "thank you" or a form of endorsement for the protests.

"Those protestors might have deserved many things," he said. "A public thank you from the 88 professors was not one of them."

Furthermore, the ad was nearly unprecedented in academic institutions as faculty members rarely come together to make a political statement, Johnson said.

He added that the incident demonstrates a "groupthink" behavior in those academic departments at the University, which are thus not "pedagogically balanced." [...]
Anne Blythe / News & Observer:
Blogger calls for Duke inquiry -- On Tuesday, Johnson said that although the three accused players had been exonerated and Mike Nifong, the prosecutor who pushed forward with charges, had been disbarred and jailed, attention needed to be cast upon "enablers."

Johnson cited the nurse who examined the accuser as one enabler. He cited as enablers Ron Stephens, the Superior Court judge who signed the order allowing police to collect DNA from 46 lacrosse players; and Mark Gottlieb, a police sergeant whose typed notes of an interview with Crystal Gail Mangum have raised many questions among defense lawyers.

Johnson talked about the so-called "Group of 88" -- professors who endorsed an ad in the Duke student newspaper in April 2006 before any charges were filed and before any DNA results were in -- which has been characterized as a rush to judgment against the players.

But the critic, whose Durham-in-Wonderland blog became a popular source for people interested in the lacrosse case, also had praise for some at Duke.

Johnson said the student newspaper provided the best coverage he read. He said student government leaders should be commended for their wait-and-see approach. He singled out several professors for standing up for the players, and he praised one administrator for urging faculty not to rush to judgment.

"For all the bad we saw on the academic side," Johnson said, "we also saw an awful lot of good."
Doug Clark / News-Record (Greensboro):
Rape case bruises Durham and Duke -- Casual observers of the sensational saga may see it as the work of a "rogue prosecutor," Mike Nifong. So it was. But Nifong could not, and probably would not, have pressed his persecution of Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty on fraudulent rape charges without the cooperation of Durham police and the vociferous encouragement of the Durham political establishment, the media and agenda-driven Duke faculty members unchecked by university administrators.Authors Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson forcefully present those conclusions in a book published last week. [...]
KC Johnson
Only in Durham; Talk News -- In today’s only-in-Durham moment, N&O reporters uncovered that the appointment of interim DA David Daacks might violate a North Carolina law—passed just one month ago. [...]

Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand: “This just sets in place a mess” in Durham. [...]

The talk, I believe, went very well—as the N&O reported, several hundred people attended, the questions were all excellent ones. I divided the talk into three segments (Nifong’s allies within the Durham criminal justice arena, Nifong’s faculty enablers, and those on the Duke campus who rallied against Nifong’s abuses). [...]

KC Johnson:
Shut your damn pie-hole Barry Saunders!

Joan Foster / LieStoppers blog:
Joan Foster comes out swinging! --
Dear Barry [Saunders],

Take a deep breath, squeeze your eyebrows together, and try to think a big, big, DEEP thought for once.

Okay, try again and keep on trying until it comes to you. Once you've done it a few times, it's not hard.

Barry, it's not about the thirty million.

Duh.It's the Discovery, Stupid.

It's the discovery that will rip the dirty little lid.... off the dirty little Old Boys Network.... in the dirty little town of Durham. Watching the synchronization of cops, judges, and Durham officials, as they constructed the dirty little frame against Collin, Reade and Dave last year, has left many of us breathless with rage. But this isn't about rage or revenge or raking every last bit of revenue out of the city coffers.

No, Barry, this is about RECONSTRUCTION. The reconstruction of a judicial system, a police department, and a city government that currently reeks of cronyism and corruption. [...]

LS forum:
Little Bittle Barry

Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: Joan Foster, yes; her detractor, no

Michael Gaynor:
Duke case defiant: Daffy, dense, or diabolical? -- Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were really smart to continue their studies elsewhere.

This is a serious Mike Gaynor report, not one of those wonderful Mike "Crystal Mess" McCusker humorous pieces.

Durham's News & Observer [Barry Saunders] is publishing "humor" aimed at the Duke Three and Cash Michaels thinks he's writing the definitive Duke case history.

Really!!! [...]
Forum topic(s) of note:
LS forum: Great Review in Sept 16 NYT Book Review -- From the Scottsboro Boys to Clarence Gideon, some of the most memorable legal narratives have been tales of the wrongly accused. Now “Until Proven Innocent,” a new book about the false allegations of rape against three Duke lacrosse players, can join these galvanizing cautionary tales. [...]
Stuart Taylor & KC Johnson / Reader's Digest:
Presumed Guilty -- Accused

At about 9 p.m. on March 16, 2006, Dave Evans was napping in his room at his rental house on 610 North Buchanan in Durham, North Carolina, when “I woke up to thundering knocks on my door like it was going to be broken down.” The Duke University senior, one of four co-captains of the school’s highly ranked lacrosse team, had just finished a grueling practice. Dave and co-captain Matt Zash, who also lived in the house, yelled to each other about who would get the door.

Suddenly Dave heard, “Police! Freeze! Don’t move! Put your hands up!”

He ran into the living room. “There were all these cops with their flashlights in our eyes,” he recalled. “It was like in a movie or something. The next thing you know, they were patting us down, going through our pockets, yelling, ‘Why didn’t you answer the door?’ I said I was sleeping. They shouted, ‘Who was in the backyard?’ ”

The cops said that they had a search warrant. Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Officer Benjamin Himan had obtained it after interviewing a 27-year-old black woman named Crystal Mangum earlier in the day. An exotic dancer—a stripper—she claimed she was gang-raped at this house three nights earlier. As the officers read from the warrant, Evans and Zash interjected. These were lies, they said, and asked for a chance to tell what really happened.

Gottlieb ignored them. The police took $160 that was lying on a table—money they thought belonged to Crystal Mangum—and demanded to know where her wallet and cell phone were. On top of the refrigerator, the boys said. We found them in the backyard. “Yeah, sure you did,” sneered Gottlieb. [...]
Reader's Digest:
The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case -- The Signatories of the Chronicle Ad

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