----Items of interest - updated:
Tamara Gibbs / ABC11.com / WTVD:
Duke LAX lawsuit lengthy process -- It could be this time next year before the lawsuit stemming from the Duke Lacrosse case is resolved in federal court, according to some legal experts. Lawyers representing various plaintiffs named in the suit say if there's no out of court settlement, it will likely be a lengthy process.
The three former defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in early October. They are seeking reforms and millions in financial compensation from the City of Durham, former District Attorney Mike Nifong, members of Durham's Police Department, and the DNA lab that handled evidence in the case.
The lawsuit is an extensive document with more than 150 pages outlining the players' complaints against each of the 16 defendants. The length of the suit has forced all of the defendants to ask for more time to file their formal responses. That deadline was pushed back to December 10.
It's likely most -- if not all -- of the defendants will file motions requesting that the civil suit be dropped against them. But the rush of paperwork will continue with a response from the civil attorneys representing David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, followed by another round of responses from all of the defendants.
It's a process that could take several months before a judge can decide on whether the lawsuit should be dropped or moved forward. [...]
Judge Rules Durham Officers' Names Can Be Withheld -- A judge on Wednesday ruled that the Durham Police Department doesn't have to release the names of officers put on administrative leave last week as part of a department investigation.
Several Durham officers were placed on leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation. WRAL learned the probe centers on allegations of sexual misconduct involving officers and prostitutes.
Police Chief Jose Lopez said the allegations surfaced shortly after he took over the department in September. Fewer than 10 officers, ranging from rookies to veterans, were involved, he said, declining to identify the officers or reveal other details about the case.
Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL, sued the city of Durham, the police department and Lopez, maintaining that the names of the officers on leave should be provided to the media under the North Carolina Public Records Act."The public has a right to know who is being paid but not being allowed to work," said Bill Moss, an attorney representing Capitol. [...]
Judge Rules Durham Officers' Names Can Be Withheld
------John Stevenson / Herald-Sun:
Area lawyers join fight vs. lacrosse suit -- Some of the area's heaviest-hitting civil attorneys this week joined two high-profile national litigators to fight a federal lawsuit arising out of false sex-assault allegations against three young men in the Duke lacrosse case.
Area lawyers new to the defense team are James B. Maxwell, Reginald B. Gillespie Jr. and Joel Miller Craig of Durham and Patricia P. Kerner and Edwin M. Speas Jr. of Raleigh.
In addition, Chapel Hill lawyer David Rudolf -- who has high name recognition for his unsuccessful defense of novelist and homicide suspect Michael Peterson four years ago -- is entering the fray on behalf of one of the falsely accused athletes: Reade Seligmann.
Rudolf will collaborate on Seligmann's case with New York City attorney Barry Scheck, a DNA expert and a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team" in the 1990s.
"We certainly intend to pursue this case vigorously," Rudolf said Tuesday. "Reade's primary interest is changing the way business is conducted in the Durham Police Department."
Rudolf declined to say how much money Seligmann wants, insisting police reform is more important than cash.
"Our negotiations with the city will be focused equally on reform as on compensation," Rudolf added. "We're not interested in compensation without reform. [...]
Maxwell, Gillespie, Craig, Kerner and Speas didn't officially enter the litigation until Monday and Tuesday.
Maxwell, a past president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, is representing newly promoted Durham police Sgt. David Addison in the federal litigation.
Addison is accused of conspiring to wrongfully prosecute Seligmann, Finnerty and Evans. [...]
According to Maxwell, "immunity" to being sued will be claimed for certain government employees named in the lacrosse litigation.
He predicted some of them will file motions to be released from the suit in mid-January. [...]
comment: The story says that hoax enabler Durham police Sgt. David Addison is newly promoted. That is par for the course in Durham. The evil shall prosper.
Circle the Wagons: Addison gets Promoted -- In the face of a massive Civil Rights Lawsuit against the City of Durham and it's Police Department, the PD reacted by promoting one of the defendants from Corporal to Sergant as it was revealed in the Durham Herald-Sun. [...]
The City has apparently taken a circle the wagons approach to defending against the Civil Lawsuit. One wonders what does it take to make Deputy Chief in Durham?
LieStopper blog cartoon: Shhhh! No Snitching Allowed
John in Carolina:
Look! It's Sergeant Addison -- By awarding him a promotion, Durham and DPD are saying, “What Addison did was fine by us. As a matter of fact, we promoted him.”
An informed Durham citizen might ask: “Who made the decision to promote Addison? Was it Izzy, Curly or Moe?” [...]
------ABC11.com / WTVD:
New developments involving lab in Duke LAX case -- We could learn more about a case involving the DNA analyst in the Duke Lacrosse case.
The company in charge of DNA testing for the case wants the lawsuit against the lab tossed out.
Lawyers for Burlington-based DNA Security Incorporated plan to file a motion to dismiss the suit sometime soon. This is the say company that employed Brian Meehan, the DNA analyst who was a key witness during the lacrosse case and has left the company earlier this week. [...]
Tuesday a judge filed an order to preserve evidence taken from the player who did not face charges.
Sources tell Eyewitness News it may be significant if the civil suit goes to trial.
Meehan plans to talk today!, WTVD says to monitor their website today -- WTVD running a story this morning that reports:
1. DNS wants out of the civil action - more information expected to be released today
2. Associated with the above statement, it was then reported Meehan plans to talk today.
3. Judge has ordered DNA evidence collected from non-charged players be held pending civil action.
WTVD stated they will run the stories as they occur live and on website.
------Anne Blythe / News & Observer:
Durham to hold onto lacrosse DNA samples -- A judge has told authorities in Durham to preserve DNA samples taken last year from members of the Duke lacrosse team after a dancer claimed she had been raped at a team party.Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens previously had ordered the destruction of the samples.
But on Tuesday, Stephens put a stay on that order.
Stephens said he entered the stay in part because of a pending lawsuit filed by three players who were cleared of rape charges.
The players are suing former District Attorney Mike Nifong, police and others who had pursued the charges against them.Police took the DNA samples from all but one member of the lacrosse team in 2006, while the case was under investigation. In August, Stephens granted a request by a lawyer for one of the players, Bret Thompson, to have the samples destroyed. [...]
abb / LS forum: What I'm waiting on is when it is revealed that Stephens and Nifong had ex parte communication before the May hearing. I want to see the bastard fry for that.
The Duke Chronicle and the Gang of 88/89 are very happy to say the lacrosse scandal is no longer a big issue in Durham. Phew. It's all over. It's time to go home, the show is all over.Kevin Lincoln / Duke Chronicle:
Durham and Duke University just suffered a minor concussion, no problem, the body politic can live a normal life with amnesia. Corrupt Durham and ethically challenged Duke will be fine.
Suit, lax case fade from voter minds -- Incumbent victories show shift, profs say -- Although a lawsuit against the city of Durham continues to weigh on the minds of city officials, the case that brought Durham national infamy has begun to lose its hold over city politics, professors said.
"I do not think that [the lawsuit] will greatly impact Durham's reputation any more than it already has," Professor Thomas Metzloff of the School of Law wrote in an e-mail. "People's impressions of Durham around the country were negatively impacted by the entire case and its handling by [former Durham County district attorney Mike] Nifong, but most people do not directly associate his misconduct with the city, even if it turns out that the city was more culpable than most people now believe."
James Coleman, a professor of law and frequent commentator on the case, pointed to last week's county-wide election as proof of the case's decreasing influence on voters.
"I see nothing that indicates that [lacrosse] was a factor," he said. "I think the contest was about personalities and partisan politics."
The re-election of Mayor Bill Bell and City Council members Eugene Brown and Diane Catotti could be interpreted as a show of approval by Durham's citizens of city officials' handling of the case, political science professor Paula McClain [Gang of 88] wrote in an e-mail.
"Every incumbent who ran has been re-elected," McClain said. "Therefore, there appears to have been little or no political fallout from the situation. In fact, the citizens of Durham have given their leaders a vote of confidence."
Kerry Haynie [Gang of 89], associate professor of political science, added that lacrosse's time as an everyday issue in Durham has passed.
"It will be an issue that will get some news coverage, but the actual effect on the politics of Durham will be very little," he said. "I think it's an issue that will come and go." [...]
discussion / election analysis:
Michael Gustafson / Duke prof. / Gothic Wandering blog:
Politics (As Usual) -- Personally, I think part of why the incumbents won has to do with their opponents. [...]
This all gets back to the Chronicle article. I tend to agree that the lacrosse case didn't have much to do with the election. For one thing, no one really knows what the city did or how any of the people running for re-election were involved. The timing of the lawsuit and the snail-like pace of the Whitewash...erm...Whichard committee guaranteed that no one in Durham is going to have the benefit of transparency in government any time soon. For another, no one truly distinguished themselves during the lacrosse case. Eugene Brown was probably the most vocal about needing to investigate the legal concerns brought up by defense attorneys and others, and he was re-elected. Beyond that, t'would seem to be politics as usual.
Duke Faculty says it's over
Melcher awarded to Butler -- Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler, a senior and Cary resident, was named the 2007-2008 recipient of the Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism Tuesday.
Butler's winning column, "Soaking the Poor: With All Deliberate Speed" discussed the ethical concerns of hospital policies that charge uninsured patients more for service. [...]
KC Johnson: Butler Awarded
Michael Gustafson / Duke prof. / Gothic Wandering blog:
Congratulations Kristin Butler!
- Blythe: Meehan Is Out
- Still More NAACP Hypocrisy -- In a move that could define gall, the North Carolina NAACP has started a website devoted to exposing prosecutorial misconduct in the state. [...]
TJN: Duke Case — Sad Sacks
-------Forum topic of note / discussion continues:
Kempermanx / LieStoppers:
NC Bar Ethics Course, Crystal get a pass -- I have not been keeping up much, but this weekend I spent some time with "Bar Buddy". Last week, the NC Bar had a continuing education course in Charlotte, for lawyers, and Nigfugu was the subject of the ethics course.
I can not spell, but the lawyer who headed up the Bar investigation, and Cooley (sp) one of the boys lawyers spoke. It was sold out. Bottom line. Question, "why did they not prosecute Crystal",
The defense asked the state not to prosecute her.
The boys did not want to have to come back and testify and face the nuts in Durham who still think Nifungu is a saint.
Sad, but true, nuts CAN intimidate people.
------Carey Roberts / MensNewsDaily.com
Until Proven Innocent: Cultural Marxism at Duke -- How did a drug-addled stripper succeed in smearing the reputations of three Duke lacrosse players, dividing a community along racial lines, and making a mockery of the American legal system? That’s the question that Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson pose in their recent bell-ringer book, Until Proven Innocent.
Unless your news source is the New York Times, you know by now that Crystal Mangum accused three young lacrosse players of brutally raping and sodomizing her in the early morning of March 14, 2006. [...]
Call it the perfect scandal. The Duke lacrosse case emerged from the rarified nexus of a mentally-imbalanced lady of the night, a racially-divided community, a cabal of Duke University professors, a politically-ambitious prosecutor, and a media enterprise that cared more about hyping a morality tale than getting the facts right.
For the first time, Until Proven Innocent weaves the delicate strands of the story, rendering the outrageous at least comprehensible. [...]
------attorney / webofbooks blog:
And the book festival continues -- In late September, courtesy of my boss, I got to attend a conference at Duke Law School. The conference looked at what's been called, in shorthand, the "Duke lacrosse case" -- the arrest of three men's lacrosse players on rape charges that were eventually proven to be a lie. The conference looked at the case from all angles -- legal, media, university, community. The consensus was that many of those groups could have done far better. Representatives of some of those groups spoke at the conference about changes they were beginning to see and some they thought were badly needed.
One of the speakers at the conference, KC Johnson [...]
Perhaps scariest, as this book and the conference both made clear, is this fact: it is not a rarity for a rogue prosecutor to push forward with charges he knows or should know (Nifong ignored lots of evidence of innocence) are false. Often, the defendants are black rather than white, but the result is too often people sitting in jail for lengthy periods for crimes they did not commit. Johnson and Taylor focus particularly on rape cases, but mention in passing that drug and murder cases can lead to the same results [...]
-------attorney / Pro Cynic blog:
While I was in San Diego -- I read in its entirety Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case [...]
As you probably know, having been the victim of car theft and residential burglary, I am beyond ruthless on crime. This is where the "fascist" part of my political persuasion ("socially progressive fascist imperialist) comes from. [...]
The Duke lacrosse case has made me rethink some of my civil liberties positions. I have usually trusted prosecutors and police. After Mike Nifong and several other cases of prosecutorial abuse of which I have been made aware, that trust has been eroded somewhat. There was nothing to stop Mike Nifong. If these defendants had been anything other than wealthy, they would not have survived the onslaught of Nifong, the Duke faculty and the media. [...]
Until Proven Innocent is an excellent read. I highly recommend it.