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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Duke Case — Hoax Notes

Items of interest - updated:

Legal opinion: Duke lacrosse case was "either a hoax or a false allegation based on delusion."

Robert P. MostellerRobert P. Mosteller / Duke law prof. / Fordham Law Review:
THE DUKE LACROSSE CASE, INNOCENCE, AND FALSE IDENTIFICATIONS: A FUNDAMENTAL FAILURE TO “DO JUSTICE” [.pdf, 76 pages] --

The Duke lacrosse case was a disaster—a caricature. The case, which involved false rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players, began with gang rape allegations by an exotic dancer at a team party in March 2006 and ended with the declaration of their innocence in April 2007 and the disbarment of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong in June of that year. Often a full examination of the facts of a notorious case reveals that events were ambiguous and the reality is not as bad as early reports suggested. This case does not fit that pattern; it gets worse on inspection. At the end of a five-day disciplinary hearing, Lane Williamson, chair of the North Carolina State Bar’s hearing panel, called the case a “fiasco” and reiterated the term, giving assurance that it was “not too strong a word.” He was clearly right, and could well have added adjectives.

The fiasco centered around the conduct of Nifong. At the beginning of Williamson’s explanation of why the panel unanimously voted to disbar Nifong, the harshest punishment possible, he described the situation “in which . . . [Nifong’s] self-interest collided with a very volatile mix of race, sex and class, a situation that if it were applied in a John Grisham novel would be considered to be perhaps too contrived.” In April 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ended the criminal prosecution. In a news conference, he announced that all charges had been dropped and that his investigation had found that the three indicted players were innocent. Cooper described Nifong as a “rogue prosecutor” who “pushed forward unchecked” and called the case “the tragic result of a rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations.”

Nifong had important help from the accuser, Crystal Mangum. Mangum’s story of rape and kidnapping was a total fabrication—either a hoax or a false allegation based on delusion. Mangum’s separate conduct does not diminish Nifong’s responsibility as the public prosecutor controlling the case, and, indeed, it made his ethical duty to do justice even more important. Instead, Nifong either vitally aided a hoax or caused an unfortunate delusion to have serious societal and legal ramifications.

A rogue district attorney and an accuser either perpetrating a hoax or suffering from a delusion is indeed a confluence of unusual factors. [...]

comment:
Prof. Mosteller uses the word "hoax" fourteen times in his article. That could be a record for an article in a law review.

discussion:
KC Johnson: Mosteller on the Case -- the article is a fascinating read, and I recommend it highly.

LieStoppers forum:
"Mosteller on the case", DIW and Fordham law review article
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Christine Hall / Duke Chronicle:
Lax suit date pushed back -- The defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought against the city of Durham and 13 individuals by the three former Duke lacrosse players have been granted an extended deadline for their response to the suit.

Chief Judge James Beatty of the middle district of North Carolina of the U.S. District Court entered an order last Thursday that would give defense lawyers until Jan. 15 to respond to the law suit and the plaintiffs 90 days after to file their opposition.

The defense's response was originally scheduled for Dec. 10.

Assistant City Attorney Kim Grantham said the time extension will affect both sides of the case.

"There was a joint motion that established an answer and briefing schedule," she said. "It affects time limitations and briefing as well. The extension lends an advantage to all parties­-everyone receives an extended time to fully state their case."

Grantham said the parties jointly decided on the new schedule. [...]
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It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone ...
Robert Zimmerman / Duke music prof. / Re:harmonized blog:
The exchange with Dr. Johnson --I see KC Johnson has written about my lacrosse-case entries. I don’t quite have the next in the series ready–it will be dedicated to DIW. In the mean time, here are the emails we exchanged. I’ve paraphrased Johnson’s, though if he doesn’t object I’ll put up his messages in full. References to Claire Potter are explained, more or less, in this entry and the entries it links to. [...]
discussion:
TalkLeft: Three Part Essay on the Duke Lacrosse Case
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