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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Duke Lacrosse Case Update — Durham Punishment

Punishment in Bob Ashley's/H-S Durham Gas Chamber
Bob Ashley-led Editorial, Herald-Sun [registration required]:
City next target in lacrosse case -- The train wreck that is the Duke lacrosse case is about to come crashing into the City of Durham's living room. The total damage is yet to be determined, although it seems likely to be extensive.

Former District Attorney Mike Nifong has already been disgraced and disbarred for pursuing sexual assault charges against three former Duke students despite having no evidence. Now the students and their families have retained some of the highest profile lawyers in the nation to punish the city and its Police Department.

The players' attorneys for this round of blood-letting include Barry Sheck, (sic) who helped represent O.J. Simpson, Brendan Sullivan Jr., who defended Lt. Col Oliver North during the Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal, and David Rudolf, who represented former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth and Durham murder defendant Michael Peterson. You know it's going to be a bad day when these three want to see you.

The City of Durham is in a tough spot because, as they say, mistakes were made. We already know that a police lineup in which an exotic dancer identified the three lacrosse players violated police procedures. We can wish, in retrospect, that someone inside the department had stood up and screamed that the lineup was wrong and the case was a sham, but that didn't happen. We can take some solace that a new police chief, Jose Lopez, will come on board next month.

We may also wish that the players would refrain from demanding a huge settlement that will only hurt Durham taxpayers who played no part in putting them through what, admittedly, was a long nightmare. But the players appear to have a case, and they certainly have every right to pursue it.

The latest news is that the city's insurance company has demanded that a committee created to get to the bottom of what happened at the police department halt its work. The insurance company is understandably nervous that the committee will be performing unpaid services for Sheck, Sullivan and Rudolf.

We supported the committee's work in order to seek accountability in the case. But there's no choice now but to shut it down. Reality can be a difficult pill, and this is no time for the city to lose its insurance company. Even without the committee, we know enough to realize that a bad crash is probably unavoidable. Now we're just bracing ourselves.

comment: Didn't the fine Durham taxpayers vote Mike Nifong into office on November 7th, 2006, when it was clear to all, but the blind, that this was a trumped up case? The fine fine citizens of Durham therefore allowed the injustice to continue for another five months, until April 11, 2007. The taxpayers voted this guy in, now they can apologize with their wallets, thank you. Bob Ashley just continues to vent gas against the lacrosse families.

KC Johnson:
Editorial Page Extremists [see comments] -- Two truly astonishing editorials today. [...]

Durham taxpayers can wish, in retrospect, that the city’s only newspaper had stood up and screamed that the lineup was wrong, but that didn’t happen.

It’s not easy to make the Bob Ashley-led editorial board look moderate, but Group of 88 member Kathy Rudy was more than up to the task. Writing in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution [...]

Bill Anderson:
Email to Bob Ashley and his reply --- Now you have the gall, the utter gall to call for the former accused and their parents to modify their demands so poor, poor Durham won't have to pay through the nose. If you two were so damned interested in Durham not having to pay and pay and pay for what city employees did, then why were you not urging caution when it counted? [...]

Bob Ashley: Thank yor sharing your thoughts.
We clearly disagree on our performance, and in the end, our success here will be assessed more by our readers and this community than by observers from afar...
Editorial, Duke Chronicle:
Restoring faith in the Durham Police -- Although the lacrosse players have every right to demand retribution for their losses-including the heavy financial burden of attorney fees-their pursuit of justice may hinder the revelation of truth that only an external investigation of the case can procure.

It is difficult to blame the stalling of the external investigation on Durham city officials because they are caught in such a "lose-lose" situation.

If officials move forward with the external investigation, they risk losing taxpayer money as payment for potential lacrosse claims if AIG withdraws its liability coverage. And the company has hinted it may do just that.

To do so will likely lead to charges of city officials' fiscal irresponsibility.

If council members cave into AIG demands and end the external investigation of DPD, they will fail to bring the truth of DPD's missteps in the lacrosse case to light...

At the very least, the DPD's investigation procedures need to be examined independently. To lay this issue to rest without further examination of DPD is to willingly obliterate our already uneasy faith in our city's police department.
KC Johnson: Chronicle On Target, Again
The running KC Johnson is a "Horowitzian" and "right-wing trope" debate has moved over to this thread:
Scott Eric Kaufman / Acephalous blog:
More on KC Johnson's Durham in Wonderland; or, "Horowitzian," adj.
-- KC Johnson: "If I'm a "Horowitzian" or a "right-wing trope," what does that make the 80 or 85 percent of the American public that's to the right of me?"

Ralph E. Luker, Cliopatria:
KC's Moment -- At Acephalous, our colleague, Tim Burke, addresses the suggestion that KC's Durham-in-Wonderland fostered an anti-intellectual commentariat...

Chronicle of Higher Education:
The Book on the Duke Lacrosse Case -- it takes a slam at how academics, Duke administrators, the news media, and the prosecutor responded to accusations of rape leveled at several Duke lacrosse players last year...

Expect a lot more next week, after people receive their books.
Dr. Helen's blog [forensic psychologist]
Men, Rape and Injustice -- I have been reading the fascinating new book by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor on the Duke Lacrosse fiasco entitled, Until Proven Innocent ...

My favorite chapter in the book is entitled "Presumed Guilty: Feminist Overkill" as it describes the statistics for false rape allegations. The chapter opens with a look at Catharine MacKinnon's Yale commencement speech in 1990 in order to understand the eagerness of so many journalists and academics to find the Duke lacrosse players guilty. MacKinnon's words that day, capture the radical feminist line clearly that has permeated current PC circles. She stated, "Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you , and look behind you. Statistics tell us you have just laid eyes on someone guilty of sexual assault." The radical feminist line is that women never lie about rape. But statistics belie this belief....
On the road again
KC Johnson / Durham-in-Wonderland (KC's second home):
The Contemptible Nifong, II -- Here’s Nifong on September 22, 2006 [...]

The Contemptible Nifong, I -- Tomorrow in Durham, Mike Nifong faces a criminal contempt hearing before Judge Osmond Smith. (I am heading down to Durham later today and will be live-blogging the event.) At issue, did he lie to the court on September 22, 2006? ...
John Stevenson, Herald-Sun [registration required]:
Nifong up on lying charge Thursday -- After 30-odd years of wielding legal power, defrocked chief prosecutor Mike Nifong will be in a far more humble role Thursday when he goes eyeball to eyeball with a judge.

He may make history as the first former elected district attorney in North Carolina to be hauled into court for alleged dishonesty.

Numerous lawyers and judges say they remember no other incident of its kind.

Nifong will be in the defendant's chair Thursday, charged with lying about DNA evidence favorable to three defendants in the now-ended Duke lacrosse case.

If Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith rules against him, he could be jailed 30 days for contempt or fined up to $500, or both.

The contempt charge accuses Nifong of lying about DNA evidence indicating three lacrosse players did not sexually assault an exotic dancer during an off-campus party on North Buchanan Boulevard in mid-March 2006.

The same genetic results showed the woman did have intimate contact with several other men.

Nifong allegedly withheld the scientific information and told Smith and defense lawyers he didn't have it when indeed he did.

It is a far cry from the garden-variety contempt cases that routinely arise in Durham.

Most involve more predictable issues, like mouthing off to a judge or failing to show up for jury duty. For example, a man was fined $500 last weekend and jailed 30 days for being loud and boisterous in the Magistrate's Office, which is considered a court of law. [...]

John in Carolina continues to investigate the News & Observer's role in starting the rape hoax firestorm. The N&O editors and reporters started the "wall of silence" lie about the lacrosse team despite some people in the newsroom knowing the truth about the lacrosse co-captains cooperation:

N&O police blotter story on March 22, 2006
According to the report, the victim, who told police she was raped March 13 at a party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., was also robbed of a $300 cell phone and a large amount of cash.

It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify victims of reported sex crimes.

No suspects have been named in the case, but Sgt. Mark Gottlieb of the Durham Police Department said Tuesday that police are following several leads and that the residents of the rental house, which faces the university's East Campus, are being cooperative.

About 30 people were at the party, which started late March 13 and went into the early morning, and alcohol was involved, Gottlieb has said.
News & Observer's Crystal Mangum is a victim story, March 25, 2006:
Forty-six members of the men's lacrosse team submitted DNA samples Thursday in the unusual case. As of late Friday, there had been no arrests. Duke officials briefed university staff Friday on the allegations, and authorities vowed to crack the team's wall of solidarity.
Ruth Sheehan, N&O column, March 27th: Teams’ Silence Is Sickening

John in Carolina:
N&O, Duke & Player Cooperation (Post 2) -- If the N&O had reported on Gottlieb’s and Duke University’s statements about the players' cooperation, the “wall of silence” lie would have been challenged by intelligent and fair-minded people.

And in that case, the “wall of silence” lie would have been exposed for the lie it was.

The N&O helped trash the entire lacrosse team and frame David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

John in Carolina:
N&O, Duke & Player Cooperation (Post 1) -- Does anyone know why the N&O’s March 25 story doesn’t mention the Duke statement and the players’ cooperation?

Does anyone know why the N&O made no mention of the Duke statement in its Sunday, April 26, story reporting on a vigil Saturday night in support of “the victim" or in its April 27 story reporting the “potbanger” rally in which “the activists” gathered around a large “CASTRATE” banner?

Of course, we can all understand why Ruth Sheehan wouldn’t mention the Duke statement in her “Teams’ Silence Is Sickening” column. Mentioning the Duke statement would have destroyed the whole point of her column.

Final question: Does anyone know when the N&O finally reported the very important news that Duke had issued a statement on March 24 saying the players were cooperating?
Link list of recent stories:

There they (G88 sympathizers) go again
Charlotte Observer:
UNC News in Brief /Professor to discuss Duke lacrosse case -- Syracuse University professor Linda Alcoff will discuss the Duke lacrosse case in a lecture on Sept. 6 called "Racial Profiling as Epistemic Practice: When is Identity Relevant?"
LieStoppers: Say What? -- Since Crystal Gail Magnum did lie, no lacrosse player sexual assaulted her, and she did portray herself as a victim of a crime that never happened, we recommend a pass on the lecture and a reevaluation of the use of Narratives when dealing with matters of Guilt or Innocence.
Duke Chronicle, August 28th, 2007KC Johnson:
  • Item re Scott Kaufman
  • Gene Upshaw; On the Schedule -- National Football League Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw, on Until Proven Innocent: The Duke lacrosse hoax is fundamentally a tale of incredible courage and integrity on the part of the falsely indicted players, their families, their defense team, a few of their faculty (particularly Professor James Coleman), and the entire Duke lacrosse team, including their current and former coach. Theirs is a tale of incredible grace under searing pressure.
  • Butler on Brodhead
  • Credentials
News from Little Bighorn
New & Observer:
Review of lacrosse case halted
Insurance company wants city to halt independent probe into lacrosse case
Duke Basketball Report:
Durham About To Get Sued & More High Comedy

Big Trouble for Durham?
News & Observer:
Suits endanger lacrosse panel
Lawsuit Threat Could Suspend Duke LAX Panel
Lawsuit Threat Puts Panel Probing Durham PD in 'Holding Pattern'
related forum topics:
LS forum: More news on lawsuits coming, City's Insurance Policy and the lawsuits
FreeRepublic: (Civil) Suits endanger lacrosse panel (Duke Lacrosse)

William L. Anderson:
Socialists, Deceit, and Duke -- socialists in this country have decided that politics trumps all truth and are still declaring the three young men to be rapists, the evidence be damned. To obtain a better sense of what I am saying, I will show what is being said on a socialist web site and then point out why the lies that socialists are saying are perfectly consistent with that ideology...

Duke Chronicle, August 27, 2007
John in Carolina, August 26th
New suits in Durham

KC Johnson
Enough from Duff Anniversary

John in Carolina, August 24, 2007