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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Duke Lacrosse Case and the Blogs

The Johnsville News has a footnote in history.

The extensive coverage of the Duke Lacrosse Case in 2006-2007 by this blog and others, such as LieStoppers, John in Carolina, Kathleen Eckelt, Friends of Duke Univ., and Durham-in-Wonderland, is discussed by Prof. KC Johnson in a comprehensive article that he wrote for the Law and Contemporary Problems journal.

It is an excellent article, but that is not an impartial opinion.

Playing a small part in helping to expose the great injustice that was perpetrated in Durham by DA Michael Nifong, the Durham Police Dept., Duke University, the Gang of 88 and all their many enablers is the most significant accomplishment of this blog.

The book, Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson is the definitive book about this case. On his blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, Prof. Johnson continues to analyze and discuss the lawsuits and fallout from the case that are still impacting Duke University, the City of Durham, and the Duke lacrosse players. Justice has not been completely rendered.

KC Johnson / Durham-in-Wonderland:
Law and Contemporary Problems Article

On December 28, 2006, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong filed his initial response to the North Carolina State Bar grievance committee’s complaint that he had unethically withheld exculpatory DNA evidence in the Duke lacrosse case. Nifong concluded his missive with a swipe at the blogosphere...

[at] a Duke University School of Law conference, blogger Marcy Wheeler explained how blogs had a different approach to covering legal affairs. Because of its reliance on documents rather than personal sources, she argued, the blogosphere could treat the criminal justice process as a process, engaging in often painstaking analysis of source material to attempt to determine the truth.

In the Duke lacrosse case, blogs used this tactic well; perhaps the performance will serve as a model for future intersections between the blogosphere and criminal-justice matters...
Johnsville's mention in the article:
Mangum’s name was first reported by the blog Johnsville News, on April 21, 2006, three days after the indictments of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. Eventually, every major blog devoted to the case followed suit. In the interests of full disclosure, my blog, Durham–in–Wonderland, was the last case-related blog to identify Mangum; I followed the lead of the News & Observer and the Duke Chronicle, both of which ceased granting Mangum anonymity when Cooper declared the players innocent.

The blogosphere functions through links. Johnsville News was especially generous with the practice—the blog’s daily posts linked to everything that had appeared about the case in the previous twenty–four hours. As a result, those who found information about Mangum from Johnsville News had easy access to other publications with which they might otherwise not have come into contact...
another source:
KC Johnson / law.duke.edu / Law And Contemporary Problems:
[click thru KC Johnson's name to get to a PDF file of the article]