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Friday, August 17, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — August 17, 2007

Updated - items:

KC Johnson:
Week in Review -- As the Michael Vick case moves on, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Terence Moore had an interesting article that brought to mind events of the Duke case...

The reaction to Vick in some quarters of the African-American community brought to mind the blind—and short-sighted— support for Crystal Mangum among some Durham black residents...

As things appear now, those who blindly supported Vick appear to have been misguided—but surely no more than those who blindly, and in some cases gleefully, championed Mangum’s cause...

John in Carolina:
Rickards’ Letter: Duke’s Silent So Far -- In response to a Durham Herald Sun story on fundraising at UNC –Chapel Hill and Duke for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, Ed Rickards (Duke ’60, Duke Law ’63) wrote a letter the H-S published last Friday.

The H-S story reported:

Officials at Duke reported Thursday that giving to their school was up about 11 percent, pushing the overall total for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $380.1 million.

Campus fundraisers credit the figure to the popularity of Duke's efforts to endow scholarships. […]
Rickards' letter reminded readers Duke’s President, Richard Brodhead, and his administration have a pressing need “to proclaim good news in order to survive their handling of the lacrosse debacle.” ...
Case casts cloud on Sheriff's Office -- Michael Paul Owens is expected to be sentenced in November on charges of drug trafficking, crimes that could land him in federal prison for up to 20 years. Owens has already pleaded guilty to dealing cocaine out of La Zona, a nightclub on North Roxboro Road where he was part owner.

But Owens is not just another run-of-the-mill drug pusher. While he was trafficking in illegal substances at La Zona, Owens was also supposed to be enforcing the law in his job as a Durham deputy sheriff...
Paul Martin, Guest columnist, Herald-Sun:
Sheriff didn't hide a thing -- An Aug. 15 story in The Herald-Sun seems to imply that the Sheriff's Office is hiding illicit or unethical behavior from the public. Nothing can be further from the truth.

In the first place, all the information mentioned in the article was developed by Sheriff's Office SACNARC investigators. The investigators knew that when the case was adjudicated the information would become public...
Patrick Wilson, Winston-Salem Journal:
Report brings questions about assistant DA -- Review of Marker case unclear as to showing of an exculpatory videotape -- A lawyer working on behalf of the man convicted in the 1995 beating of Jill Marker raised the specter yesterday of disgraced Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in the way that Forsyth County prosecutors handled the case.

On Tuesday, the city of Winston-Salem released a report of an administrative review of the case by the police department. That review raises new questions about why an assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case filed a document in court that was not accurate.

Questions also remain about whether the assistant, Mary Jean Behan, showed the defense attorney an exculpatory piece of evidence - a videotape showing that Marker did not identify Kalvin Michael Smith, the man who was convicted, as her attacker during a photo lineup...
Kevin P. Hopper, Hopper law firm, MMDNewswire:
More Scandal in the Durham, North Carolina Legal System -- Durham, North Carolina -- Following on the heels of the recent scandal involving Durham Prosecutor Mike Nifong’s handling of the Duke Rape Case, a Durham family court judge acted today to imperil the life of an innocent eleven year old boy...
Inside Lacrosse:
Men's lacrosse: Caputo named assistant coach at Duke -- Ron Caputo has been named assistant men’s lacrosse coach at Duke, announced on Thursday by Blue Devil head coach John Danowski.

Caputo spent the last four seasons on the Hofstra University men’s lacrosse staff as an assistant coach. He joined the Pride in 2004 as a volunteer assistant coach under Danowski, who served as the head coach at Hofstra from 1986-2006. During Caputo's tenure at Hofstra, the Pride compiled an overall record of 35-28.

"Ron is going to be such a great addition to our staff," said Danowski...
Letter to Herald-Sun:
Praise for Whichard --
I'm writing this letter to praise the selection of Judge Willis Whichard to study the Durham police handling of the Duke lacrosse case. I've known Whichard since we were students at Durham High School. We spent time at Durham Jaycees and Hollow Rock Racquet Club. I know him to be one of the most honest, clear-headed thinkers that's ever come from Durham.

Durham should remember to use Whichard and others like him because they have great insight into Durham. I feel that people will realize what an outstanding place Durham is because of the work of people like Bill Whichard.

Baldo, LieStoppers:
Let the X Games Begin [cartoon]
KC Johnson:
The Lacrosse Case, Law & the Media -- To date, only one [law journal] article has been published that focuses entirely on the case. Penned by Susan Kosse, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, the article (31 S. Ill. U. L. J. 243) asks, “Do race and class impact media rape narratives?” ...

Kosse’s basic argument: Based on what she observed of the lacrosse case, “media rape coverage leaves much to be desired.”...

In other words, maybe this was a false claim, and maybe Nifong did indict without probable cause and then commit massive misconduct to sustain his case, and maybe the lacrosse players’ professors did advance their personal, professional, and pedagogical agendas on the backs of their own students, but . . . the media should have downplayed these issues and sacrificed the players on the altar of a “victims’ rights” agenda.

That sounds a bit like how the New York Times and the Herald-Sun approached the case.
LS forum:
William L. Anderson e-mail to Susan Kosse --
Prof. Kosse,

I was stunned in the reading of your piece on the Duke case, not because I agreed with it, but rather because of your blatant disregard for the facts of that case. It is amazing to me with all of the information available, that people who actually have time to research the case nonetheless decide that once they have the "narrative" (your term) on which to base the case, then the truth does not matter. In essence, the "narrative" creates the truth, no matter what really might have happened...
NY Post:
DUKE DA: DOG ATE MY LAW LICENSE -- The disbarred prosecutor in the Duke rape case has turned in his law license as ordered - but complained that the document wasn't fit for showing off anyway because his dog ate it.

Mike Nifong, the former Durham County district attorney, mailed the damaged license to the North Carolina Bar Association last week to comply with a ruling that stripped him of his right to practice law because of his unethical handling of the sensational case.

In his letter, he complained that his middle name was misspelled on the license, and added that there is damage to it "inflicted by a puppy in her chewing stage."

"Consequently, it has never been framed or displayed," Nifong wrote in the letter, obtained by the Web site The Smoking Gun...
Keith Olberman, MSNBC:
‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ for August 15 -- KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC HOST:… but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s latest list of nominees for Worst Person in the World...

The silver to the disgraced and ousted North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong of Duke lacrosse infamy. Ordered to hand in his law license, the document he returned to the state featured extensive damage, which he claimed had been done, quoting his letter, by a puppy in her chewing stage?

Your dog ate your law license? What a fitting end...
Alfaonso A. Castillo, Newsday:
Disbarred Duke DA takes final shots -- Former Durham, N.C., District Attorney Michael Nifong, disbarred and disgraced, went down swinging in his final act as a licensed attorney -- blasting state bar officials for their "unfairness" as he surrendered his law license last week.

Nifong was ordered to turn in his license after being found guilty of various ethics violations in a state bar disciplinary hearing in June. The hearing involved Nifong's actions in charging three Duke University lacrosse players, including Collin Finnerty of Garden City, with raping a stripper last year. The students were later cleared.

In a letter dated Aug. 7, Nifong said he was returning, unsigned, an "acceptance of service" for the state bar's order, which he said was modified without his knowledge since he last reviewed it. Nifong said that state bar disciplinary chairman F. Lane Williamson's characterization of the change as a "clerical correction" was "preposterous beyond belief, and is further evidence of the unfairness with which this entire procedure has been conducted."
Bad Nifong Reappears -- Mike Nifong is back in the news with an unhappy letter to the state bar decrying “the fundamental unfairness” of the procedures.Hmmm…fundamentally unfair procedure….now why does that sound familiar? Hmmm….

Oddly enough, when his hearing was over, Nifong said he was treated fairly...
John in Carolina:
DPD’s Hodge & “evidence collected” -- In that N&O story we find a subhead,
A police view,
followed by this:
Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge said Nifong's stepping aside won't change the substance of the evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred.

Hodge said he thinks that the case will still go forward and that the remaining charges will be prosecuted.

"I don't think it changes anything that we've done," Hodge said. "It just means that we'll have to deal with a different attorney."
My reactions? Wow!
Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times:
DNA evidence overturns Yakima man's rape conviction -- On a fall morning 12 years ago, a woman was nursing her infant in her Yakima home when a man wearing a nylon stocking over his head broke in. He covered her face with a mask, then raped her while her baby wailed in the background.

Ted L. Bradford was convicted of the rape and completed a nine-year prison sentence, but did not stop professing his innocence. DNA, he claimed, would prove him right.

Tuesday, a state appeals court agreed, making Bradford the first person in Washington whose conviction was overturned because of DNA evidence...

The ruling, however, does not end Bradford's case. Kevin Eilmes, a Yakima County deputy prosecutor, said his office would likely retry him based on a confession before his trial and other evidence.

The prosecutor also is considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, he said...