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Monday, October 8, 2007

Duke Case — Bull City Bull

Today's items - updated:

Kevin Davis / Bull City Rising blog:
LAX suit: several (and joint) reasons to link Nifong, Durham -- First, the usual disclaimer -- this is not a blog about the Duke lacrosse case, or one that even touches on it as usual practice. But we'll tackle news about the case, particularly in the current Federal civil rights suit, in the vein of analyzing politics and governmental news here in the Bull City. With that:

There's been plenty said about the case on the Internet and the blogosphere (including some examples from Barry of some other examples of travesties of justice that didn't see wronged persons make out like Powerball winners.) One thing that's intrigued me, though, is how a couple of items in the news interplay and point towards the plaintiffs' strategy in taking on Nifong and the City -- for whom our embattled, embittered, embarrassed and politically disemboweled former D.A. never worked, since he's an employee of the State of North Carolina.

Clue #1: A key claim of the filing is the claim by attorneys in filing the suit that a conspiracy occurred between City officials, notably the Durham P.D., and Mike Nifong to bring baseless indictments against the three men charged in the case. It's a bold assertion, and one which flies in the face of Durham officials' insistence (at least ex post facto, and if I recall, one made during the case's progress as well) that Nifong was "running" the case and the police were letting the then-D.A. run the case.

Clue #2: The N&O has the following interesting exchange in Matt Dees and Joseph Ness's Saturday piece:

Lumping the co-defendants together puts the city in an awkward position. City leaders have tried to pin the rush-to-accuse tag on the "rogue prosecutor" Nifong, while also saying that Nifong wasn't given carte blanche in the investigation. [...]
Just how big a payday this turns out to be, though, will seem to rest on whether Durham officials were canny conspirators or bumbling bureaucrats in the eyes of the justice system. For someone who loves the Bull City, as hard as it is to say, here's hoping the latter is the case.
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comment: Durham keeps blowing smoke.
KC Johnson:
Reflections on the Civil Suit -- The civil suit motion—more than 160 pages—makes for gripping reading. Since much of it summarizes the misconduct committed by Mike Nifong and his enablers in the Durham Police Department and at DNA Security, Inc., many portions should be familiar to readers of DIW. But the motion also makes several new points that are worth highlighting. [...]

An astute observer of the case has described the response to events of Durham’s police and political leadership as “La, la, la, la—I can’t hear you.” [...]

What approach will Durham select? Perhaps the Beverly Thompson one—mounting a defense on a secret theory that can’t be revealed to the court.
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Forum topics of note:
LieStoppers:
Why is Durham so Confident? -- It's very strange to me though that the Mayor, the Police Chief, the City Manager, and the City Council aren't worried about these Cops and this force doing this again to different defendants and costing the City dearly.

Does this indicate the Cops were following orders from the City Leaders and thus there is no concern of Rogue Police that will strike again?

LieStoppers:
Did the local press assist the conspiracy? -- With the explosive charges that one of the conspiracies was to use the press to promote false statements to deny the presumption of innocence we need to examine the role of the local press. I am not making any charge of criminal misconduct on the part of the press.

Certainly the press was reporting the statements of Nifong, Baker, Bell, Hodge, Chalmers, and most importantly Cpl Addison. However in the first few weeks it seemed that the local press were the cheerleaders and inciting the rush for prejudgement.
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Richard Emery attorney for Reade SeligmannWRAL:
Interview with Richard D. Emery an attorney for Reade Seligmann
discussion:
Baldo /LieStoppers forum:
Three High Level Conspiracies -- Richard D. Emery is one of Reade Seligmann's attorneys in the civil rights lawsuit filed against the City of Durham, DNA Security, Inc, and 14 individuals.

In a phone interview on WRAL TV he commented about this case and described three high level conspiracies from the PD, DA's Office, and all the way up to the City Manager & Mayor that composed the civil rights abuses in this case.

1) Denying of the Presumption of Innocence entitled to the plaintiffs through the use of press statements to the pool of potential Durham jurors, and thus the Grand Jury.

2) Suppressing the discovery of DNA exculpatory evidence

3) Manufacturing a false identification process where the plaintiffs were chosen.

A vile use of Power as he called it.

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John in Carolina:
But if Addision …? -- [DPD Maj. Lee] Russ directed Addison to make changes three times and over the course of some hours.

That aside, Scott’s question is a smart one. By directing Addison to change the CS Wanted poster and by Addison’s prompt change each time, didn’t all that indicate that Addison was answerable to DPD for what he was doing with the CS Wanted poster? And wasn’t DPD Maj. Russ “supervising” Addison?
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John in Carolina:
Suit filing & DPD Cpl. Addison (Post 1) -- the filing does suggest Addison had a bigger role in the attempted frame-up and subsequent cover-up than I've suggested. [...]

I think he [Addison] may be facing a far more difficult situation with the attorneys who'll depose him in the civil suit than he might with federal investigators. Have any of you ever seen Brendan Sullivan in action?

The Addison Series leaves no doubt that as the civil suit progresses we're going to learn a lot more about not only what Nifong and DPD did but what Duke University did as well. [...]
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John in Carolina:
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Peter Berkowitz / Wall Street Journal:
Ethics 101 -- In the recently published and already critically acclaimed book "Until Proven Innocent," K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. show how the Duke University faculty and administration collaborated with a reckless press and a lawless prosecutor in the rush to convict in the court of public opinion -- and, but for the superb work of their attorneys, in the criminal courts of Durham, N.C. -- three white lacrosse players falsely accused of raping an African-American stripper.

On Sept. 28, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, "Indoctrinate U," Evan Coyne Maloney's riveting documentary about the war on free speech and individual rights waged by university faculty and administrations enjoyed its Washington premiere. Also, in September, for crystal clear political reasons, following a faculty petition circulated mostly by women from the University of California, Davis, the UC Board of Regents withdrew a speaking invitation to former Secretary of the Treasury and former Harvard President Lawrence Summers.

But don't expect the leading ethics centers -- Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, Princeton's Program on Ethics and Public Affairs, or Yale's Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics -- to sponsor lectures, fund graduate student and faculty fellowships, or publish writings that examine these and numerous other ethical questions that stem from contemporary university life. [...]
discussion:
Greg Lukianoff / The Fire's the Torch blog:
Professor, Examine Thyself -- Berkowitz points out that, while centers to study ethics exist at many campuses across the country, including some of the nation’s most prestigious universities, few spend much time examining ethical issues relating to higher education [...]
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Jeff Zeeman/ at Williams College / EphBlog:
Interesting Athletics Speakers -- First, on Thursday a panel is discussing the Duke lacrosse case. This should provide a nice counter to last year's nonsensical rant from Grant Farred. I am surprised KC Johnson isn't involved given his Williams connection. [...]
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Michael Gustafson / Duke professor / Blog of Convenience:
559 Lines about 14 People (and more) -- The lawsuit recently filed in the United States Court for the Middle District of North Carolina has a similar theme. There are 559 paragraphs about actions taken by 14 named person, one business, and one city. A PDF copy - available various locations (I got my copy at ABC) - may be found here: dukelaxlawsuit.pdf. This thing reads as a veritable "Who's Worse" of violations of rights ranging from the incompetent to the malignant. [...]

It is, to some degree, a "quick read." It's double-spaced, most of the "characters" are somewhat familiar to anyone who's followed the case, and initially there is quite a bit of legal text used to firmly establish the residencies, occupations, and responsibilities of the defendants. As it continues, the lawsuit also contains some adult imagery, language, and themes - as you might imagine when discussing rape allegations.

There are several different threads in the lawsuit that follow what different people have been bringing to light. For example, with respect to Elliott Wolf's series of columns in the Chronicle regarding Duke's judicial policies and the likelihood that they leave Duke students open to unjust treatment by outside agencies [...]
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Michael Gustafson / Duke professor / Blog of Convenience:
Finally, A Letter I Can Fully Support! -- ...and I didn't even write it!

Jon Jackson, the Associate Director of Athletics for Communication, had a letter in today's Chronicle that served as an important reminder of just how early the captains of the lacrosse team apologized for what they called their lapse in judgment with respect to the Spring Break party. [...]
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Randall Hoven / American Thinker:
Media Dishonesty Matters -- We are being fed false and misleading information, in matters big and small. It has come from trusted sources such as established newspapers, experienced journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Peace Prize winners. It has been going on for a long time, sometimes by carelessness and sometimes by deliberate lying. I have compiled a list of 101 such incidents. [...]

99. Duff Wilson and Jonathan D. Glater , New York Times Duke Lacrosse reporting (2006). Flawed reporting. The NYT stories generally painted the prosecution as strong and the defense weak. As it turned out, the charges were dropped, the defendants completely vindicated and apologized to, and prosecutor Nifong was himself put in jail. The NYT's own "public editor", Byron Calame, stated "the article last August had left me concerned that Times journalists were not sufficiently skeptical in relying so heavily on the [prosecution investigator] Gottlieb notes." Calame does assure us, however, that "most flaws flowed from journalistic lapses rather than ideological bias." [...]
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David Heleniak / civil litigation attorney / EnterStageRight blog:
Nifong and HRES 590 -- The Nifonging of the three lacrosse players from Duke University did not rise out of a vacuum. Rather, it was the product of two systemic problems in America, the tendency amongst many prosecutors and judges to replace the concern for justice with the concern for self-promotion and career advancement, and, in cases of certain politically charged crimes, anti-male bias. [...]
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Herald Sun:
Let's look to a history of injustice -- Can't blame this one on Mike Nifong.

Jim Hardin was the district attorney in 2001 when Erick Daniels was sent to the joint for robbing Ruth Brown.

In 2014, the year Daniels is scheduled for release, he'll be 28. He's 21 now, and was 15 when jurors found him guilty.

And what I'm getting at is Daniels wasn't but 14 when he was nailed for burglary and armed robbery -- hung without a shred of physical evidence, according to Daniels' attorney, Carlos Mahoney. Nobody produced any stolen money, nobody saw Daniels fleeing the scene, nothing, he said.

What jurors did have, however, was the biography of a bad kid -- and the thought back then was all of those Chewning Middle School kids were bad -- who smoked a little reefer and hung out in the razed, but still infamous, Few Gardens housing projects. [...]
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Pointing the wrong finger

Editorial / The Virginian-Pilot:
A hard lesson on snap judgment -- The case of three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape will forever typify the perils of a national rush to judgment.

As Duke President Richard Brodhead stressed in a long-awaited apology: "If there's one lesson the world should take from the Duke lacrosse case, it's the danger of prejudgment and our need to defend against it at every turn."

Luck to Brodhead on that one. In a world of 24-hour news cycles, shock radio and endlessly blathering blogs, caution and discernment are about as valued as a matched video set of Mr. Rogers' re-runs. Every high-profile criminal justice case spawns its own crop of instant experts and opinionated analysis, and that's not likely to change.

Even so, scores of Americans - and not just paid commentators - should regret the ease with which racial and societal biases trumped caution in the Duke case. With the three players exonerated, the district attorney disgraced, the alleged victim exposed and various lawsuits settled or pending, the thousands-millions? - who rushed to judgment need to do more than say, never mind. [...]
discussion:
The Virginian blog:
Virginian Pilot on "Duke Non-Rape" Case: It's All "Their" Fault! -- Since I have followed this story closely, and since there is a wealth of information on a web site devoted to this case created by professor K.C. Johnson Durham-in-Wonderland, at least three things about this editorial proved to me again that the Pilot is an infallible guide to wrongness.

First, the Pilot’s editors ascribe what they call the “rush to judgment” one of their favorite villains: “shock radio and endlessly blathering blogs.” This attempt to lie about the past may have fooled people twenty years ago when inconvenient facts could be swept down the “memory hole” but today there are alternative sources of information. Thanks to the magic of computers and the Internet, we can find out who said what and when about this case. And it wasn’t shock radio and blogs that were piling on the lacrosse players. It was a lynch mob led by

-Duke’s professors (the Duke 88)
-the NAACP
-and the high and mighty New York Times – the source of much of the Pilot’s news and opinion. [...]
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Letter to NY Post:
DUKE DEVILS

October 7, 2007 -- Recently, a public apology was offered by the president of Duke University, Richard Brodhead, for rushing to judgment against the three lacrosse players who had been falsely accused of rape (“Duke Prexy: ‘I apologize,' " Sept. 30).

I hope that the 88 Duke professors who publicly denied these three students due process and the presumption of innocence will see fit to do likewise.

Thomas E. Dennelly,
West Islip
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Amanda Barrett / Chicago Sun-Times:
Good guys, bad guys and justice for all -- NONFICTION | Details abound in true-crime account of Duke lacrosse rape case -- It would be difficult to find a nonfiction book where the divide between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys has been so starkly delineated as in Until Proven Innocent, the story of the shameful episode involving three white lacrosse players at Duke University and the black stripper who accused them of rape. In this case, it's the defense attorneys who are the Good Guys.
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND THE SHAMEFUL INJUSTICES OF THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE CASE
By Stuart Taylor Jr. and K.C. Johnson
The defense plugged along on the right side of the law, gathering evidence that would show that the college men could not have committed the crime (time stamps on an ATM that placed one member away from the alleged scene of the crime, improperly displayed mug shots -- the list goes on), even though the head Bad Guy, prosecutor Mike Nifong, refused to meet with them or their clients. [...]
discussion: KC Johnson: Sun-Times on UP
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Reade Seligmann and Mike Pressler, Sunday, Oct 7, 2007AP / News 14 Carolina:
Pressler, Seligmann reunite during lacrosse scrimmage -- Mike Pressler and Reade Seligmann went their separate ways from the Duke lacrosse program, but they held a pleasant reunion this weekend.

Seligmann is one of the three former Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape. He recently transferred to Brown.

Pressler, who built Duke into a top national program before being forced to resign as coach more than a year ago, is in his second season leading the Bryant team. [...]
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AP / FoxNews:
Seligmann Reunites With Former Duke Coach During Lacrosse Scrimmage -- They're on different teams now, but Mike Pressler and Reade Seligmann still greeted each other with a hug before the game and a friendly handshake afterward.

They found time for some friendly banter, too.

Seligmann, one of the three former Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, recently transferred to Brown. Pressler, who built Duke into a top national program before being forced to resign as coach more than a year ago, is in his second season leading the Bryant team.

They reunited Sunday as Brown and Bryant, a Division II program in nearby Smithfield, faced each other in a scrimmage. Seligmann is playing college lacrosse for the first time since the spring of 2006, when Duke's season was cut short by rape allegations that prosecutors later determined were false.

It was also his first time competing against Pressler, his former coach.

"Hearing his voice again," Seligmann said after the game, "it brought back a lot of good memories."

The scrimmage was part of a fall tournament hosted by Brown. After the Bears finished their first game of the day, against Fairfield, Seligmann walked off the field, smiling and holding out his arms to hug Pressler. They chatted briefly before rejoining their own teams, then spoke again as the Brown and Bryant players shook hands at the end of their game.

"I remain very close to all those boys, everything we went through for the last 19 months," Pressler said before the game. "And I don't think that'll ever change." [...]
related:
Eric Tucker / AP/ The Ledger:
Former Duke lacrosse player, coach, to meet again this weekend
-- Brown coach Lars Tiffany said Sunday's scrimmage was arranged because of the proximity of the two schools - Bryant, in Smithfield, is about 15 miles northwest of Providence. The scrimmage is part of a fall lacrosse tournament hosted by Brown.

Tiffany said Seligmann, a midfielder, has been embraced by Brown and is already one of the best players on the team.

"I think Reade's excited to see Mike Pressler again," he said. "But I also know that Reade's a competitor, so Reade's excited to bang heads against Mike Pressler's team." [...]

discussion: L/S forum
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More Kudos for KC

Syracuse University / Lawbeat blog:
Durham-in-Wonderland eulogy (with caveats) -- As Durham-in-Wonderland heads over the horizon, let's take the opportunity to ponder what its existence meant to legal reporting.

When Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson started blogging about the Duke case, he did what few bother to try: original reporting. Along the way, in more than 1,000 posts totaling an almost-absurd 870,000 words, he didn't just tell us what he thought. He told us what he found out. He broke stories, analyzed events from a position of strength -- by knowing more than practically anyone about every detail -- and constantly called B.S. on journalists and activists who had come by their opinions without doing the hard work that Johnson had. Because of his energy (relentlessness, really) and talent, Johnson proves that citizen journalism can in fact be journalism as we dinosaurs would define it. Johnson even proved that this needn't be a volunteer effort. His book
Until Proven Innocent won a major publishing contract, gushing reviews, and (according to WSJ Law Blog) an HBO movie contract. He cites traffic statistics for his blog that would make any advertising salesman drool. The blog, in short, was a huge success. [...]
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Begging the Question blog:
Nothin's Gonna Ever Keep You Down! -- I will instead use this slot to commend Durham-in-Wonderland. Prof. KC Johnson's blog played no small part in keeping three innocent young men out of prison by blogging incessantly about the Duke lacrosse case. Here's legal reporting blog the Lawbeat on D-i-W shutting things down. When the biggest criticism someone can come up with for your blog is that it contains so darn much information, you're doing okay. Kudos from a Duke alum to Prof. Johnson for all his hard work. And hey, if a full-time history professor can write 1100 posts totaling 870,000 words in 400 days, maybe some of those defunct blogs I used to read can make a comeback and post something every once in a while. And hey -- maybe I can too!

Congrats to all these bloggers, and the excellent blogs I didn't mention because everyone else beat me to it. In honor of these bloggers, I offer the most fitting tribute I can find: [...]
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Calculated Risk

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