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Monday, September 17, 2007

Duke Case — Show Them the Money

Today's items — updated:

The Volokh Conspiracy
(prominent group law blog):

  • KC Johnson (guest blogging):
    "Conservatives" and the Lacrosse Case -- Both of the comment threads dealing with the case have featured comments suggesting that conservatives rushed to judgment as well — only on the opposite side because the accuser was a black woman and the accused were white males who were perceived as wealthy. [...]

  • Stuart Taylor (guest blogging):
    Nifong: The Banality of Evil [see comments] -- Nifong compared the alleged crime to a cross-burning, and to a quadruple homicide. He falsely claimed that the players had refused to cooperate with police. Before long he had whipped up African-Americans and others in Durham and at Duke into such a frenzy of rage at the lacrosse players that it would have consumed Nifong himself had he failed to produce rape indictments before the May 2 primary election.

    Meanwhile, evidence of innocence came pouring into the DA’s office. [...]

    Accordingly, Nifong focused on manufacturing evidence of guilt. [...]

  • KC Johnson:
    Nifong Before Lacrosse [see comments] -- The basic tale of Mike Nifong -- the disbarred, disgraced, jailed-for-a-day former Durham DA who may yet face a felony prosecution -- is widely known. But news reports have barely begun to plumb the depths of what may be the worst prosecutorial misconduct ever exposed while it was happening.

    Desperate to win an election against a strong white candidate in a county about evenly divided between whites and blacks, Nifong (also white) seized on a patently incredible, constantly changing rape allegation against Duke lacrosse players. [...]
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KC Johnson:
Duke Basketball Report:Duke Chronicle:
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News & Obscurer

John in Carolina;
The N&O's "only a few days" fiction -- A number of fictions are now entangled in the Duke Hoax narrative. The best known is "Nifong did all that," the current favortie of Durham's Police Department and city leaders.

Another fiction goes like this: "Well, yes, the N&O was a bit taken in at the start. But that lasted only a few days. After that, the N&O did a splendid job covering the Hoax."

Need I tell you the "only a few days" fiction is the N&O's favorite? [...]

The N&O would wait a year before reporting that critically important news the day after the wrongly indicted players had been declared innocent. [...]
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Melanie Still / News & Observer
Blogger's perspective stands out -- One of the Duke lacrosse case's best-known bloggers came to visit The N&O the other day, and you might be surprised at how cordially he was received.

That is, you'd be surprised if you had been reading KC Johnson's "Durham-in-Wonderland" blog in June 2006, when he zinged The N&O, or a new book, "Until Proven Innocent," in which Johnson and co-author Stuart Taylor Jr. criticize a small part of our coverage. (The book has some errors regarding N&O reporting, which Johnson and I address in our respective blogs.)

Newspapers and independent blogs are supposed to be mortal enemies. But the lacrosse case was a demonstration project for the Internet as a wide-open information environment, one where blogs crisscross with traditional reporting, so we wanted to hear from Johnson. [...]

The former players are pressing the city of Durham for a reported $30 million in compensation, so the lacrosse case isn't over. Johnson's "Durham-in-Wonderland," however, will shut down Oct. 1, and its author will return to academia as a Fulbright professor in Israel.
comment:
As usual Melanie Sill, editor at the fine fine News & Observer, has some of her facts wrong. KC Johnson did not start his Durham-in-Wonderland blog until August 11, 2006. Before that he was posting on the group blog at Cliopatria (hnn.us). He later re-posted his Cliopatria articles in Durham-in-Wonderland.

related:
KC Johnson's first original DIW post, Aug 11, 2006:
Boasting of Closed-Mindedness
--------
Ralph E. Luker / History News Network / Cliopatria blog:
Duke Lacrosse in Retrospect -- Eighteen months ago, my friend, Another Damned Medievalist, sent me an e-mail asking why no one at Cliopatria had posted about the breaking story of the Duke lacrosse case. "I'm surprised no one at Cliopatria has picked up the Duke Lacrosse team story yet," said she, "since it does seem to be all about class and race ...." As the only Duke graduate among us, I replied to her with "Duke Lacrosse," Cliopatria, 30 March 2006. I'm neither proud of nor embarrassed by that post. Of course, it doesn't foresee how the case would develop. At that point, no one could foresee it. Maybe someday, members of Duke's Group of 88 will gain the humility to admit the folly of rushing into a current crisis with a preframed narrative. The historians among them ought to have had greater appreciation of the wisdom of restraint. I am proud that one of my colleagues, KC Johnson, would write the book on the case. I'm waiting for my friend, ADM, to e-mail her congratulations. [...]
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Jonna Knappenberger / The DoG Street Journal (William & Mary):
Panel Discusses Duke Lacrosse Case - On Friday, three law professors from Duke University Law School gathered to discuss the now infamous Duke lacrosse case on a panel with Stuart Taylor, a journalist and author of a book published this month about the case. The discussion took place for a full audience at the Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg. [...]
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Michael Gaynor:John in Carolina:
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Editorial / Herald Sun [reg. req.]
Settlement OK, but within reason -- One of the loose ends is a question, which goes like this: How much were former defendants Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans damaged by the mistakes of the Durham Police Department? Please provide your answer in the form of dollars, followed by six zeros.

The former Duke students and their attorneys have provided the City of Durham with their suggested answer. Sources told The Herald-Sun they are seeking $10 million each, $30 million in all.

The final amount will have implications for every Durham resident. City Council members who can't talk about the lawsuit still shake their heads with frustration when the subject comes up. That's probably because the city has an insurance policy that has a maximum payment of $5 million with a $500,000 deductible. Any more than that would have to come from taxpayers.

There have been understandable howls of protest from residents, many of whom are Duke fans and supported the players' cause. They want to know what they did wrong.

We can sympathize. It seems clear that the police department made serious errors. On the other hand, $30 million is too much. Much too much.

It's no excuse, but the Police Department's biggest mistake was probably a lack of leadership. It appears DPD officials turned the case over to then District Attorney Mike Nifong, who, as we know, pursued it like Ahab chased the white whale. [...]
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Letters / News & Observer:
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Saunders the race baiter

Kathleen Ecklelt RN, FNE / Forensics Talk:
Durham, Racism and Michael's Story: A Very Special Adoption -- In response to, Liestopper's Joan Foster Blasts News & Observer Staff Writer Barry Saunder's Insulting Column, a Comment from Old Lady :

A few years back when Old Gentleman and I lived in Cary we found many things about the Triangle lovely and interesting. There were two things I could not stand though - the relentless humidity and the racism. As a dusky Caucasian, even without a tan, I met racial discrimination, not for the first time in the south, but as a constant facet of my employment and other situations of a social nature. It was interesting because the local blacks and the local whites gave equal measure.

I understand what Barry "Savage" is saying, what Durham has said, what Durham has done, and why. The Lax Frame is and always has been political. In the Triangle politics is always about race. Someone suggested the Frame is a Democrat scandal - I think it is a government scandal. [...]
discussion:
LS forum: Durham, Racism ...
--------
Ted Vaden / News & Observer:
Where should newspapers draw the line? -- The News & Observer was more offensive than usual last week. Reader reaction to two items in the paper, a news column and a cartoon, raised the question: Where do you draw the line?

First was Barry Saunders' column Tuesday, headlined "They seek payback, not pay." The column criticized the three exonerated Duke lacrosse players for seeking a reported $30 million from the city of Durham over their arrests, now determined to be flawed. "How about a compromise figure?" Saunders wrote. "Instead of $30 million, how about a fish sandwich, a Yoo-hoo and a one-way Greyhound bus ticket?" [...]

Reaction to both items was swift and mostly negative. Saunders said that he received some 500 e-mails and phone messages and that they ran 70-30 against the column. A sample: "Never have I seen what I read that appeared in your newspaper today. Congratulations, you have struck a new all-time low," wrote Joan Collins of Garden City, N.Y. [...]
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KC Johnson:
Herald-Sun:
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Tammy Bruce blog:
Post-Mortem: The Duke Rape Case -- The most essential information is that the case was absolutely untenable from the beginning, and that the entire incident illustrates how political correctness has metastasized into unabashed and systematic racism. [...]

I guess it's unreasonable to expect the elite educators to learn anything.
--------
Jeffrey Rosen / Book Review / NY Times:
Wrongly Accused -- 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. [...]
discussion:
Blogofascists:
Wrongly accused...by the Times

Monsters & Critics:
New book talks about the wrong accusings of the Duke Lacrosse rape case
--------
Forum topic(s) of note:
LS forum:
PUBLISHING MALPRACTICE, St. Martin's Press and "UPI" -- "Until Proven Innocent" by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson is the defintive work about the Duke lacrosse rape hoax. It has received rave reviews from many publications, most recently the New York Times (http://untilproveninnocent.com/reviews.html) . It is being excerpted in Readers Digest which has millions of readers. With such public interest about the case and with such critical acclaim, one would expect such a book to be a bestseller.

There is only one problem-- readers who want to buy this blockbuster book cannot find it either in most bookstores or on-line without long delays.

This is a clear case of publishing malpractice on the part of St. Martin's Press, which is reported to have ordered a first printing of just 13,000 books. With huge demand for the book based on favorable reviews and interest in the topic, St. Martin's Press has been unable to supply enough books. [...]
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