Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — July 25, 2007

Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.
Kin Hubbard (1868 - 1930)
Updated — today's items:

Loyola men's lacrosse coach Charlie ToomeyClare Lochary, Lax Magazine/CSTV:
The Loch-Down: No Dog Days For These Hounds -- Finnerty transfer further raises Loyola's profile; Division I lacrosse coming to Michigan -- Loyola men's lacrosse coach Charlie Toomey had a really good weekend this past March. On March 10, his Greyhounds upset top-ranked Duke, 8-7, at the First Four in San Diego, Calif. Then he got an e-mail from a promising recruit. Collin Finnerty wanted to play for Loyola.

Any coach would be thrilled to get a query from a 6-3 attacker who was once a leading scorer for Chaminade (N.Y.) High School, and Toomey wanted to boost the Loyola program from a spoiler to a superpower.

But by March 2007, Finnerty was more than just a lacrosse player. He was one of three former Duke student-athletes charged with raping a dancer at a team party. But as the case against Finnerty and former teammates Dave Evans and Reade Seligmann was rapidly unraveling and the 2007 lacrosse season was progressing, Finnerty was feeling homesick for the lacrosse field.

"You realize how much you miss it when you see it going on and you're not there," said Finnerty. "I really can't wait to get back in the locker room and be part of a team again."

As a high school senior, Finnerty had considered Loyola before ultimately settling on Duke. This time around, he first hit it off with Toomey and then grew increasingly comfortable with the Loyola campus, administration and coaching staff. On July 11, the school announced that Finnerty would be playing for the Greyhounds in the 2007-2008 season...
Nifong Expected Back in Court Thursday -- The former prosecutor who sought criminal charges against three Duke University lacrosse athletes could be headed back to court to face a judge for possible criminal contempt.

The office of one of former Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong's lawyers said Wednesday that the disbarred lawyer could appear at an administrative proceeding before Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III on Thursday. He, however, is not required to be there.

Watch the proceedings live on and the WRAL NewsChannel beginning at 9:30 a.m. [...]

If found in contempt, Nifong could have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and spend at least 30 days in jail. Defense attorneys also want him to reimburse the former defendants for money spent on uncovering the truth about the DNA evidence...

Nifong could also face civil lawsuits from the three former defendants. In recent months, Finnerty's New York attorney has talked about pursuing one. Others involved have also said they are considering the possibility.
Carey Robers,
Rarer than rabies: The legacy of Michael Nifong -- Soon after prosecutor Michael Nifong was disbarred by the North Carolina Bar Association, the National District Attorneys Association issued its take on the case. "Nifong's case is rarer than human rabies," claimed Joshua Marquis, vice president of the group. "The defense bar is piling on and trying to claim this is typical behavior," he bitterly complained.

So was Michael Nifong merely a "rogue" prosecutor, a feckless bad-apple amidst a scented orchard of ethical and civic-minded district attorneys?

Let's take rape, for example. Experience reveals that rape is a red-meat accusation that triggers an aggressive prosecution.

You may remember the 1989 rape of the Central Park jogger and the accusation that five "wilding" teenagers had perpetrated the attack. But when the DNA test results did not match, the prosecutor had to claim the semen came from a sixth "mystery" member of the gang. Despite that dubious explanation, the five were convicted.

But 13 years later DNA evidence proved another man had committed the crime and the five were set free. Sorry about that, fellas...
Kathleen Parker, Chicago Tribune:
Anonymous in Iraq? It's time to prove it -- It may be that The New Republic editors and others who believed Thomas' journal entries without skepticism are infected with "Nifong Syndrome" -- the mind virus that causes otherwise intelligent people to embrace likely falsehoods because they validate a preconceived belief.

Mike Nifong, the North Carolina prosecutor in the alleged Duke University lacrosse team rape case, was able to convince a credulous community of residents, academics and especially journalists that the three falsely accused white men had raped a black stripper despite compelling evidence to the contrary.

Why? Because the lies supported their own truths. In the case of Duke, that "truth" was that privileged white athletes are racist pigs who of course would rape a black woman given half a chance and a bottle o' beer.

In the case of Scott Thomas, the "truth" that American soldiers are woman-hating, dog-killing, grave-robbing monsters confirms what many among the anti-war left believe about the military, despite their protestations that they "support the troops."

We tend to believe what we want to believe, in other words...

Homage to the Feckless One
Chelsea Allison, Duke Chronicle:
Brodhead and Dzao: 2 leaders, 3 years at Duke -- After weathering lacrosse, president puts focus back on students and stresses development -- People don't often ask President Richard Brodhead what the job of a university president really entails.

"It is a job of such spectacular randomness you can scarcely imagine," he said. "At bottom, what you're really trying to understand is, what are all this intelligence and all these resources for? What could it be for? And how can we make sure that we're making the best uses now to train people to be creative and productive in their future lives?"

In his three years as president, Brodhead has made it a priority to strengthen students' experiences and opportunities on campus as well as provide resources to engage and benefit the community in Durham and abroad.

It's at three years when university presidents can expect their transitional period to end-no matter how volatile their first years-and real implementation of their goals to begin...

He said he hopes this flexibility will help the University and its observers move on from the lacrosse case and refocus attention on Duke's goals. "The whole episode was so regrettable and so painful," he said. "But even on the worst day of that story, Duke was still a very great university." ...
comment: Why was the name "Dzao" included in the article title? Duke's Victor J. Dzau is not mentioned at all?
Sean Moroney, Duke Chronicle:
Diversity enrollment trends point up -- The Class of 2011 can proudly boast it is the "most diverse class in Duke's history."

At least that is how Dean of Admissions Christoph Guttentag described the incoming freshman class to Provost Peter Lange in a memo concerning admissions numbers June 11.

"We believe that given the way the world is evolving, it is important for our students to learn how to interact with other students who come from many different backgrounds," Lange said. "That is an important part of the educational experience that a student at our university should have."

Although Duke evaluates diversity along many factors during the admissions process-backgrounds, interests, values and experiences-two of the more easily quantifiable factors are racial and ethnic classifications.

Over the past 20 years the University has made tremendous strides in this area, which Guttentag and Lange both said Duke once lag in comparison to its peers.

In 1987, only 14 percent of the incoming students were black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American. For the incoming freshman class, 44 percent are minority students, with a total breakdown of 9 percent black, 6 percent Hispanic, 28 percent Asian and 0.2 percent Native American ...
Don Yaeger (left) and Mike PresslerShreya Rao, Duke Chronicle:
Pressler speaks out at signing -- Standing in the low-ceilinged basement of the Regulator Bookstore, Mike Pressler is an imposing figure.

Dressed to the nines in a pristine black suit that looks more suited to New York's financial district than an independent bookstore in the heart of Durham, Pressler stands on stage, his first public appearance in the Bull City since rape allegations against members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team forced him out as head coach last year.

This time, however, he was not followed by a team, but by co-author Don Yaeger, a former Sports Illustrated associate editor and New York Times best-selling author.

Audience members rose to their feet, giving the pair a deafening standing ovation.

A copy of their recently released book, "It's Not about the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives it Shattered" could be seen in the hands of every audience member...
Nate Freeman, Duke Chronicle:
Making campus culture change a reality -- Dining looks to expand social opportunities -- In response to recommendations put forth in the Campus Culture Initiative report, Duke Dining Services will develop facilities that will foster conversation and community among students during meals.

Provost Peter Lange said he supports the dining-related suggestions in the report and will push for changes to be made as soon as students return to campus.

"We intend to take steps toward implementation of this idea as the Fall semester begins," he wrote in an e-mail. "[The CCI report] was so widespread and so compelling that we felt we could begin to implement it immediately."

Lange said the decision to open the Faculty Commons to students starting this Fall-with food by former Nasher Cafe caterers Sage and Swift-will give students an additional option that is, as the CCI report articulates, "conducive to fostering community."
Gabby McGlynn, Duke Chronicle:
In as undergrad dean, Nowicki will work to define his role, Duke -- "Steve's an evolutionary biologist, so he's interested in how things evolve."

So says George McLendon, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. Steve Nowicki's expertise in the realm of change may come in handy as he navigates Duke's unprecedented new position as dean of undergraduate education.

President Richard Brodhead announced that Nowicki will assume the deanship this fall, a position that comes to fruition at Duke after almost 20 years of discussion and proposals...

Provost Peter Lange said that he and Brodhead gave Nowicki the title of dean to help establish a certain authority for his role.

"He will be reporting to me, but he will have a great deal of autonomy," Lange added...
Wenjia Zhang, Duke Chronicle:
Ranking the Rankings -- Duke: 8, UNC: 27. -- These were the final placements of the institutions in U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings of America's best colleges in 2007.

Although the magazine's college ranking is very popular among prospective students, many institutions have recently expressed their dissatisfaction with the publication's assessment.

As of July, 61 college and university presidents have signed the "Beyond Ranking" letter, a commitment to not participate in U.S. News' peer assessment and a refusal to use the rankings as an indication of the quaality of the institution. And although Duke has not joined the group, the University's senior admissions official said he sees the rankings as very flawed...
John in Carolina:
Excusing Brodhead Hurts Duke -- Dick Brodhead, the University's President, doesn't really defend what he and the University did. He says nothing about his refusal last Spring to meet with the lacrosse parents. He's never explained why, following consultation with some trustees, senior administrators and senior faculty, he's been silent since racists who flaunt that they carry firearms shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann last May 18, outside and within the Durham County Courthouse.

When Brodhead does mention Duke's response to Mangum's lies and the Nifong led frame-up attempt and on-going cover-up, he mostly offers whines and excuses as when he famously told the late Ed Bradley last October "the facts kept changing."

Duke's trustees have sponsored a national "Dinner with Dick" tour aimed at convincing alums and others of two things. The facts "really, really" did change. And we all need to "look to the future."

This Duke alum wishes the trustees would stop trying to prop up Brodhead. They need to seek and find a new president who doesn't believe "facts [keep] changing"...
Editorial, Herald-Sun
Duke taking steps on alcohol abuse --The Duke lacrosse case is substantially over, with the three players exonerated and their accusers discredited.

But some issues remain on the table, one of which is the pervasive culture of alcohol and partying among Duke students.

In the aftermath of the March, 2006, blowout on Buchanan Boulevard that started the whole lacrosse debacle, several studies into the campus culture at Duke were commissioned by the administration.

It surprised no one that a report by the Campus Culture Initiative Steering Committee revealed that a lot of students like to drink and party. That makes Duke no different than nearly every other campus in the country.

But it was more of a surprise that, according to the report, students at Duke party more and study less than at other private universities, and that many students view the hard-partying lifestyle as the Duke norm.

Duke was blasted by critics for its handling of the lacrosse case, and, in that toxic atmosphere, the university may have just wanted to quietly drop the whole thing, including the campus culture report. We could understand the instinct, but it wouldn't have been right. The lacrosse case may be resolved, but the alcohol issue will remain.

So we were pleased to see that Duke intends to follow through with hiring an associate dean to focus on drug and alcohol abuse issues.

Larry Moneta, Duke vice president for student affairs, said the university would begin a national search for a candidate with experience in college health counseling, which would include alcohol abuse...
Letter to Herald-Sun:
Lopez on right path

Jose Lopez is right in defending the Police Department on the day Patrick Baker announced his hiring as Durham's next police chief. Lopez will need the complete support of the City Council and the citizens of Durham in the days ahead. He has the daunting responsibility of increasing officers' low morale, seriously pondering changes in the existing command staff, and leading the department through the Duke lacrosse investigation.

Because of the recent lack of leadership in the Durham police department, Lopez will have to work smarter, harder, longer, and much more efficiently than his predecessor. He will have to be vocal and outgoing throughout his tenure. Lopez will almost certainly face resistance from within the Police Department for a change in the upper ranks, but it sounds as if he is the right person to face those challenges.

His positive attitude is there. His demeanor is there. He will be a "working" police chief. Thank you, Patrick Baker, for choosing a person of character. You have put the city in a good position, and the new chief is in a good position to finally cleanse what should have been cleansed long ago -- the existing command staff of the Durham Police Department.

The writer is a former DPD sergeant.

John in Carolina:
Duke's Moneta: "Nothing To Add." Really? -- But all Himan and Moneta talked about worth noting on April 20 are in Himan's notes?

You don't believe it, do you?

I don't either.

Himan's notes of his meeting with Moneta are most useful as a reminder that we have a very long way to go before we understand the "who did what and why" of first, the attempted frame-up, and then, the still on-going cover-up.
KC Johnson:
Still Channeling Selena -- When last heard from regarding the case, Newsday columnist Steven Marcus channeled Selena Roberts, as he:
  • provided a one-sided summary of the Coleman Committee report;
  • criticized Chaminade High School for selecting the falsely accused Collin Finnerty as a volunteer lacrosse coach; and
  • allowed a senior Duke administrator to engage in anonymous character assassination against Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

He recently returned, with a negative review of the Yaeger/Pressler book. Marcus concluded his review by asserting, “Yaeger cites Pressler’s 100 percent graduation of Duke players as his crowning achievement. Someone [sic], I don’t think he’ll be remembered for that. It is highly irrelevant to the issue.” ...
Clay Waters,
NYT Editor Defends Bad Duke Coverage But Former Public Editor Suggests Apology in Order -- The Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax refuses to fade away, no doubt to the chagrin of New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.

The Times features prominently in a comprehensive article by Rachel Smolkin in an upcoming edition of the American Journalism Review. Smolkin delivers a week-to-week dissection of the credulous media coverage given to false rape charges by a stripper against three Duke lacrosse players. Smolkin talked to former Times public editor Daniel Okrent, who was critical of his paper's coverage at the time and remains so...

KC Johnson:
Analyzing the Defense 13 -- Friday’s defense presentation laid out thirteen issues upon which the Whichard Committee could focus.

The issues, in turn, divide into three categories: investigative failures; procedural failures; and possible abuses of power.

Investigative Failures

The defense attorneys identified five principal failures of basic investigation—caused, as Jim Cooney speculated, by the intent of both the DPD and Mike Nifong to prove the truth of Crystal Mangum’s story rather than to determine what actually happened...

Significant Procedural Errors ...

Possible Abuses of Power...

Other Issues ...
Forum topic(s) of note:
LS forum: Duke lax thanked in Lacrosse Magazine, Full-page ad

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