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Monday, December 3, 2007

Duke Case — Ju$tice

Items of interest - updated:

Details Magazine, January 2008: 50 most powerful men under 45Yousef AbuGharbieh / Duke Chronicle:
Details spotlights laxers, Giuliani -- Most Duke graduates can only dream of being famous and influential after years of slaving their way up the corporate ladder, but a few young Blue Devils are already at the forefront of the public's consciousness.

In Details magazine's January 2008 rankings of the 50 most powerful men under 45, Duke-affiliated men snagged two spots.

Presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani's son Andrew Giuliani, a junior at Duke, was ranked 19th most powerful along with Mitt Romney's five sons for his possible influence on the 2008 presidential election.

Former Duke lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans, Trinity '06, snagged the 36th spot.

Editors and reporters at Details­­­-a men's lifestyle magazine that targets young, style-conscious professionals-formulated the list to reflect the ability of certain young men, like the former Duke lacrosse players, to influence how the general public thinks. [...]

January 2008 issue / Details.com:
The Details Power 50 -- Meet the most influential men under 45. There are no white-haired moguls or bank chairmen in attendance.

Times Square Gossip blog:
Defending the Damned: Inside Chicago’s Cook County Public Defender’s Office, by Kevin DavisStrange Justice blog:
No Money, No Justice --

Do public defenders deserve scorn, or bigger budgets? A review of "Defending the Damned: Inside Chicago’s Cook County Public Defender’s Office," by Kevin Davis, New York: Atria Books, 308 pages, $25

Advanced DNA testing has compelled America to confront some uncomfortable truths about its criminal justice system. In 2000 Illinois Gov. Jim Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions in his state after DNA tests exonerated 13 death row inmates, several of whom had come perilously close to their execution dates. In March 2007, the noted defense attorney Barry Scheck’s Innocence Project, which uses DNA testing to identify the wrongfully convicted, marked its 200th exoneration.

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong’s recent pursuit of three Duke lacrosse players on rape charges has further raised awareness about the possibility of wrongful prosecution. Nifong’s case began unraveling when testing showed no DNA from the three accused rapists on the body of the alleged victim. The victim also repeatedly contradicted herself, and implicated a defendant who was demonstrably not present at the time of the alleged assault. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper eventually declared the players innocent of all charges, and Nifong was disbarred. The case was unusual in that it attracted national attention, and because the race and class of the defendants helped middle- and upper-class whites identify with them. Much of America saw for the first time, in close detail, how an aggressive prosecutor could ruin the lives of innocent people.

The Duke lacrosse players were able to afford top-flight legal representation. One of the accused players, Reade Seligmann, said after he was declared innocent, “I can’t imagine what they do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.” According to the U.S. Department of Justice, two in three people charged with felonies in federal court can’t afford an attorney. [...]
News & Observer:
NAACP rally protests charges against man accused in killing -- The state head of the NAACP on Sunday rallied a crowd of more than 100 supporters who called for felony charges to be dropped against a Wilson man, James Johnson, accused of rape and murder.

"Everything about this case smells," said the Rev. William J. Barber II, NAACP's state president. Barber joined a collection of black leaders at rally at First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street and announced that Johnson's case is featured on the organization's Web site, along with an online petition to Gov. Mike Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper in support of Johnson. Barber also has sent a letter to U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield calling for congressional hearings on prosecutor misconduct. [...]
comment: Who is Barber's doctor that got his nose working again after it was stuck in a bad place for 18 months? He squandered a gold mine when he enabled Nifong's railroading of the lacrosse players.
Alan GellNorth Carolina 'Banana Republic' Justice

Joseph Neff / News & Observer:
Gell's suit gets a boost -- Ex-DA: Evidence was hidden

Even prison won't keep former death row inmate Alan Gell out of court.

Gell, who was sentenced last week to five years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old girlfriend, is set to go to federal court next year to confront SBI Special Agent Dwight Ransome, the lead investigator in the case that landed him on death row for a 1995 murder he did not commit.

In a recent court filing, Gell's lawyers said they discovered, for the first time, that Ransome and the case's original prosecutor had hidden additional evidence favorable to Gell from the two prosecutors who tried Gell for murder in 1998. Shortly before the trial, the prosecution's key witnesses were about to change their story, only to be held in line by the threat of first-degree murder charges, the lawyers said.

Ransome's lawyers dismissed the charge as inflammatory and speculative.

Gell spent nine years behind bars, half of it on death row, for murder in the 1995 death of Allen Ray Jenkins, a retired truck driver in the small town of Aulander in Bertie County. A judge ordered a new trial for Gell in 2002 because the prosecutors had withheld evidence favorable to him. [...]
Forum topic of note:
LieStoppers: DPD chain of command, did it exist?

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