Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2007

Remaining Duke Lacrosse Charges to Be Dropped

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 4:46 pm



The remaining charges in the Duke Lacrosse case will reportedly be dropped soon. From what I know of the case, this is a very good thing.

I’ll bet the defendants all have a big “thank you” saved up for Mike Nifong. (You can’t understand what I mean by this unless you click the link.)

42 Responses to “Remaining Duke Lacrosse Charges to Be Dropped”

  1. After those kids are done suing the city, county, state and nifong personally, they don’t need to worry about what school they end up at…

    They’ll never have to work a day in their lives…

    Here’s to hoping Nifong gets disbarred…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  2. Speakingof Alberto – why has he not brought any charges against Nifong in 13 months?

    Rodney A Stanton (2a37c5)

  3. Because none of the LAX players are illegals.

    great unknown (686801)

  4. Normally I’d be sorry for the taxpayers having to foot this bill for a run-away prosecutor. But, they voted him into that office in the middle of this, based on this travesty. So let them eat cake.

    Lew Clark (50fa6a)

  5. As a general rule, if a case is voluntarily dismissed or dismissed without a finding of “not guilty”, there is no cause of action for false arrest or malicious prosecution. Even when there is a cause of action, only “special damages” are awarded — i.e. the wrongfully accused’s actual paid out of pocket costs.

    nk (ff24b9)

  6. Interesting, NK. Where’s your source?

    Do you concur, Patterico?

    Christoph (6d1077)

  7. I’ve defended them, won them and lost them. It’s the common law rule. North Carolina may have a different one by statute. There is public policy objective in not inhibiting victims of crimes, police or prosecutors from bringing their case to the court.

    nk (ff24b9)

  8. I would think that Nifong’s statements to the press, speaking as the lead prosecutor, and the damage done to these boy’s reputation would lead to a very, very large civil suit…

    And “voluntary dismissal” might not cover the state taking the case away from Nifong and deciding for him…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  9. Scott,

    I agree with nk and also suing the state for bringing young black women for the sole purpose of sexually exploiting them may not get the same big dollar figures that these tobacco suits have brought.

    Can you just imagine the opening arguments

    “My clients were wasted, they were rich, they were wantin dem girls to do stuff they will never let their wives or daughters do”

    Yeah they can sue for their reputations all they want

    They didn’t committ rape or assault except on public decency.

    NiFong is NOT BEING DEFENDED HERE, but these cases are never easy and he was obviously not the person to handle it.

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  10. NK,

    Even if what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, the Duke lacrosse defendants’ legal fees are at least $3 million.

    DRJ (6984d0)

  11. DRJ,

    But the person liable for it, the complaining witness, is judgment proof. I’m anticipating a very artfully worded dismissal order and very careful statements by the AG on the record. There will be no admission that this case was dismissed on the merits. There was an indictment after all. There is no reason for the State to admit that it had no probable cause to prosecute these defendants.

    The defendant has a right to object to the dismissal and demand trial. I would do it to start the speedy trial period running whenever the State nolle prossed or SOL’d one of my cases. But not just to preserve a cause of action for a civil suit.

    nk (ff24b9)

  12. bringing young black women for the sole purpose of sexually exploiting them

    Lets call a duck a duck here… This wasn’t a couple of gals on their way home from a church meeting. They weren’t tricked into coming and then surprised. These were strippers. Sexual exploitation is what they do – and do for a good deal of money, since every stripper I know (and I live in the town with a fairly famous strip club) makes a pretty decent amount of money (more than I do, and taxes are less for them since they have to willing declare their tips).

    And the were college kids at a college party. “Waves or daughters” is a false claim here. These were young college guys. Color of ANYONE here doesn’t matter. if the boys were black and the girls white I’d have the same response:

    The girls walked in knowing there would be lots of booze (it’s a college party for god’s sake) and that they would be removing their clothes in exchange for money.

    Had rape occured, then that would be different. However, rape did NOT occur, and Nifong might have realized that at some point had he TALKED TO THE ACCUSOR. I believe – and I could be mistaken – that gross prosecutorial misconduct doesn’t get a pass. The man tried to suppress a lab result. He’s screwed on more levels than I can count. If he doesn’t lose his liscence, I’ll be really amazed.

    I’m not condoning rape, and the excuse “she was asking for it” only counts if the woman said “have sex with me”. Rapists are almost as low as it gets, but these kids got railroaded, and for the humiliation and defamation of character alone they deserve monetary compensation.

    And honestly, I think the parties they can sue (except Nifong, because he strikes me as being kinda stupid frankly) will be so damn eager to make this go away that a couple million each in settlement in addition to legal fees could easily happen.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  13. NK – I’ve sat on a Grade Jury before. The TV shows aren’t kidding… You really can indict a ham sandwich…

    I actually think they might be an off the record offer to the kids included in the dismissal.

    “Here, take this pile of cash, and we both walk away and never, ever speak of this again…”

    Can you pre-emptively offer a settlement, or is that too close to a bribe for a lawyer’s liking?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  14. Scott,

    Who knows? Getting money to avoid litigation is how roughly 99% of plaintiffs’ cases are resolved.

    As for indicting a ham sandwich … I dealt with prosecutors for a very long time, in the most energetic and productive years of my career. I never met one whom I thought that unethical.

    nk (ff24b9)

  15. 9

    This case was actually pretty easy as it has been apparent for quite some time that the accusor almost certainly invented the whole story. False accusations of rape are fairly common but most are dismissed at an early stage as this case should have been.

    As for your suggestion that being present at a party for which strippers were hired is almost as damaging to a reputation as raping a stripper, this may be true in your eyes but most people feel differently which is why raping a stripper can get you 20 years while watching a stripper is no crime at all.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  16. 11

    I don’t understand about demanding a trial. If the charges are dismissed with prejudice (so they can never be refiled) can you still demand a trial? What would you gain?

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  17. 16

    I would think because it keeps them (the DA) from getting off the hook, and forcing the judge to dismiss on the merits, thus opening it up for lawsuit…

    Am I right?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  18. Like I said, I would do it to start the speedy trial period running. The defendant has a right to a speedy trial. The prosecution can avoid that by voluntarily dismissing the charge and re-indicting within the statute of limitations. The defendant counters by demanding trial. That starts the speedy trial period running (in Illinois 160 days for a non-incarcerated defendant.)

    I know of no voluntary dismissal in criminal cases which is with prejudice. I know only nolle prossecutore and “stricken on leave to reinstate” which are without prejudice and the case can be refiled within the statute of limitations.

    A judge in a criminal case cannot dismiss on the merits without hearing the prosecution’s case first. If my client were facing a few decades in prison, I would not demand trial just to preserve a civil cause of action.

    nk (ff24b9)

  19. If I were one of the defendants and my lawyer suggested we go to trial, I’d yell Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby and get me a new lawyer.

    Lew Clark (50fa6a)

  20. NK,

    Are you sure the Duke lacrosse defendants don’t have claims against the City of Durham for the actions of DA Nifong and the police department and against Duke, the Group of 88, and perhaps specific individuals?

    I don’t know of anything that would prevent these defendants from suing Duke, the Group of 88, and specific individuals for various claims. There are numerous examples like this one at Durham-in-Wonderland that might form a basis for civil claims (scroll down to the last question and answer).

    As for Durham, I imagine you will properly remind me of governmental immunity but I think there are exceptions and these defendants have every reason to test them.

    DRJ (6984d0)

  21. People wrongfully convicted often succeed at suing city/state governments. How these boys were treated might very well give them an “in”.

    They got screwed hard, and while I usually don’t think a lot of civil cases should happen, these boys need to nail them to the wall.

    You know Nifong’s busy hiding assests in preperation for when he gets sued…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  22. Scott

    Hey, those innocent boys instigated the incident, planned the party and struck a deal that obviousely went sour on them – these are not acceptable standards of conduct to encourage prostitution, strip scenes, sex acts and is most likely an illegal endeavor anyway

    they should have been kicked off campus in the first place for their conduct. Strippers, sex toys have no business in a Duke sponsored group event – it was a team party and the coach is responsible for their conduct

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  23. Good morning guys.

    First thing, it’s “nolle prosequi” (my comment #18). “Nolle prossecutore” means “one glassa Chianti too many” at 11:30 in the evening. 😉

    DRJ, #20:

    I’m talking in generalities. I won’t go so far as to say there is absolutely no cause of action in this case. (BTW: In a federal tort claim prosecutors have absolute immunity but I don’t know how far it extends to conduct by the prosecutor outside the courtroom. Municipalities are also exempted from a 1983 action.) This case is so bizarre that a North Carolina court may very well make new law.

    nk (2f88ef)

  24. It wasn’t rape: it was just some rich white kids sexually humiliating a stripper.

    In concurrence with EricPWJohnson, I say that the Duke Lacrosse players are a disgrace to college students everywhere.

    To be fair, one or two of them ARE going into Wall Street firms: maybe they needed practice screwing the poor on a micro-level scale before they did it on a macro-level one.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  25. Well of cource Levi sides against the boys who didn’t commit a crime but instead finds a way to blame them for what happened.

    It’s college. I would wager ALL of us have a number of things to look back upon from those days which elicite the phrase “Oh god what were we thinking??”. They had a beer party and hired strippers.

    Aside from underage drinking (Again, it’s college, when was YOUR first drink?) they didn’t actually commit a crime.

    But someone decided to file a false police report and claim rape. She changed her story every time she told it. Nifong ran with this because it was NEWS damnit, and he had an election coming up to win. He actively sought to suppress a lab report that was DAMNING to the prosecution.

    I should find it amazing that someone on the left is so unable to show compasion for a group of people WHO DID NOTHING WRONG. They were INNOCENT of the crimes for which they were accused…

    Perhaps you are bitter about your lot in life. Perhaps you dislike the fact that these kids are – despite the best attempts of the media to paint them as monsters – going to have semi-normal lives. Perhaps you are unhappy in the rememberance of never getting invited to college parties. I don’t know, I’m just speculating here…

    What it seems like, however, is that you and certain others have a pathological need to turn the victim into the criminal.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  26. 24

    Actually the Duke Lacrosse players sound pretty typical of college boys to me.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  27. It wasn’t rape: it was just some rich white kids sexually humiliating a stripper.

    Yup. Especially Reade Seligman, who forced her at gunpoint to falsely accuse him of rape, knowing full well that he wasn’t even there. Very humiliating indeed!

    Xrlq (1b3398)

  28. And how many thousands of dollars are the accused out in attorneys’ fees over charges that never should have been brought, just so Mike Nifong could win re-election?

    Now, picture yourself as a corporate human resources officer, and getting a résumé with the name Collin Finnerty or Dave Evans or Reade Seligmann on it. You might know that all of the charges were dropped, and of course you know that they were legally innocent, but will there be that ever-so-niggling thought in the back of your mind that maybe, just maybe, your company would be better off not considering these candidates? After all, there are plenty of other, equally qualified candidates who don’t have anything significantly Googlable in their pasts.

    Dana (556f76)

  29. The Third Book of Moses illustrates the problem perfectly:

    To be fair, one or two of them ARE going into Wall Street firms: maybe they needed practice screwing the poor on a micro-level scale before they did it on a macro-level one.

    He has assumed that the defendants screwed the prostitute stripper exotic dancer in question, even though upon post accusation examination there was no “genetic material” (the euphamism of the 21st century) from either the accused or any other member of the lacrosse team present, though there apparently was “genetic material” found from four (or was it five?) other males either in her body or on her underwear.

    None of that means anything to Levi; they are guilty, guilty, guilty, of being well-to-do and white privileged college students, while their “accuser” was a poor, black single mother.

    Get a rope.

    Well, if the Third Book, who is apparently being educated even as we speak, and, being a frequenter of our host’s fine site, knows that the gentlemen in question didn’t actually commit any crime, still thinks that they somehow deserve some sort of punishment for not having “practice(d) screwing the poor on a micro-level scale,” why would we think that human resource personnel would not discriminate against these young men as well?

    Dana (556f76)

  30. Mr Jacobs wrote:

    I should find it amazing that someone on the left is so unable to show compasion for a group of people WHO DID NOTHING WRONG. They were INNOCENT of the crimes for which they were accused…

    Sir, they are white, (supposedly) wealthy kids — and are therefore, our friends on the left assume, Republicans; that makes them guilty.

    Dana (556f76)

  31. I really think it’s silly to politicize this as a left vs. right thing. I’m pretty left of center and I think this case and the charges against those boys are absolutely ridiculous.

    In the end, Nifong has probably done real harm to both race relations and _legitimate_ rape victims by trying to prop up such a weak, bullshit case and then have it all spectacularly collapse on him in the national spotlight.

    Also, it’s fallacious to characterize hiring strippers as “humiliating” them, when they were performing voluntarily and accepting money for it. You know, to support themselves.

    Harry (a16c3f)

  32. Ok, you got me there Dana. I keep forgetting that being white makes me a demon in the eyes of the left.

    And I should stop assuming rational thought on the part of Levi… Again, my bad…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  33. Why would a stripper – someone who makes money by sexually degrading his/herself – see fit to level accusations against a group of ordinary, “typical college boy” clients unless something unusually degrading occurred?

    “Perhaps you are unhappy in the rememberance of never getting invited to college parties.”

    -Scott Jacobs

    Yeah, they sound like a great place to be: drink turpentine ’til you puke and get rubbed on by complete strangers. I’m there.

    Perhaps I’m 17 years old, still in college, and often turn down invitations to such parties because I’m smarter and more mature than you ever were in your college days. Perhaps I think that the sort of behavior displayed by this crew was disgusting even in the most benign circumstances. Perhaps, as a member of the collegiate male demographic, I have every right to say that clowns like these give their peers a bad name, and that they should be made an example of.

    Perhaps.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  34. Why would a stripper – someone who makes money by sexually degrading his/herself – see fit to level accusations against a group of ordinary, “typical college boy” clients unless something unusually degrading occurred?

    Maybe they told her to put her clothes on? That’s pretty humiliating for a stripper.

    Veeshir (dfa2bf)

  35. Levi,

    I have every right to say that clowns like these give their peers a bad name, and that they should be made an example of.

    Sure. You also have every right to say the moon is made of green cheese or that Jesse Jackson is a force for good in the world. Having the “right” to say something doesn’t make what you say either factual or true.

    You seem to believe that these Lacrosse guys should be made “an example of”. I don’t want to caricature your position, but I don’t think that’s a wrong interpretation, based on your comment.

    If you do believe that (and anyone of your moral persuasion on this thread is welcome to take a crack at this if you demur) would you care to lay out the reasons why? Besides your bigotry against rich, white frat boys, I mean.

    Perhaps I’m 17 years old, still in college and … smarter and more mature than you ever were in your college days.

    Perhaps not – if you’re still ending your sentences with prepositions.

    Abraxas (2f586f)

  36. Abraxas,

    What would’ve happened if the rich, white frat boys hadn’t been rich white frat boys, and the stripper hadn’t been black?

    What would’ve happened had the rich, white frat boys been poor, black, non-frat boys, without an army of high-priced lawyers and judges willing to expunge their assault convictions from their permanent record?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  37. What would’ve happened if the rich, white frat boys hadn’t been rich white frat boys, and the stripper hadn’t been black?

    Oh, you mean like this?Or this?

    What would’ve happened had the rich, white frat boys been poor, black, non-frat boys, without an army of high-priced lawyers and judges willing to expunge their assault convictions from their permanent record?

    Well then, all the usual suspects would’ve been on the other side.

    Since I’ve answered your questions, perhaps you’d care to answer mine? And to recap*: Why do you think it’s either legal or just for these guys to be “made an example of”?

    *© Rick Ellensburg

    Abraxas (2f586f)

  38. I was wondering where you were linking to… wait. I mean (since you’ve proven you care), “as to where you were linking”. That sounds much more erudite, don’t you think? *I* certainly feel better.

    Anyway… yes. The links are all funky. I was going to link to an article discussing Colin Finnerty’s phantom assault charge, but couldn’t figure out how, and consequently stopped caring.

    “Why do you think it’s either legal or just for these guys to be “made an example of”?”

    -Abraxas

    It’s not legal. Legally, they’re totally clean. Everything I’ve said on this thread in re: the Duke lacrosse players is irrational, gut-level venting. Legally, you’re totally right, and I’m totally wrong… I know that.

    I also know that OJ Simpson was cleared in Federal Court and convicted in civil court. What does that make the law, in your eyes?

    In mine, the word “fallable” springs to mind.

    I can see how you think the Duke boys incapable of rape, though. I mean, the first thing most people think of when they read an email discussing (in re: strippers) “killing the bitches,” then cutting off their skin while ejaculating “in Duke-issue spandex” is Good, Clean Fun.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  39. *I* certainly feel better.

    You’re a scholar and a gentleman/woman/persyn (hey, no assumptions here).

    I can see how you think the Duke boys incapable of rape, though. I mean, the first thing most people think of when they read an email discussing (in re: strippers) “killing the bitches,” then cutting off their skin while ejaculating “in Duke-issue spandex” is Good, Clean Fun.

    Levi, c’mon!

    And it’s not that I think them incapable of rape; I think them incapable of this rape based on the evidence. Apparently, the prosecutors now agree with me.

    And look, if dirty prose is proof of turpitude, may I presume you think Sen. Webb unfit for office? ( http://newsbusters.org/node/8641 )

    Yeah – it’s an email that, when read by a third party, does not reflect well on the author.

    To say the very least.

    However, there are those that use scatalogical and profane language when dealing with serious issues (such as false rape charges). The language of the email is not nearly as damning – as I hope you’ll agree – as the language the stripper used to start the juggernaut of public judgment and reprobation on innocent young men, not to mention legal proceedings that could still, and most likely will, impact the rest of their lives.

    There are those who will use this kind of accusation to further their individual agendas, facts be damned. I’m not saying you’re one of them, but they’re out there ( http://blackfeminism.org/index.php/2006/03/28/duke-u-lacrosse-team-rape-case/ ).

    And if it isn’t about the Law, then it certainly should be about Justice. No one has a right to use innocent men or women as their own personal grievance pinata.

    What does that make the law, in your eyes?

    Well, “an ass” springs to mind …

    Look, bottom line – while neither sterotype is very attractive, it seems it’s easier for some segments of society now to imagine a rich, white frat boy (*any* rich, white frat boy) with no prior history of sexual assault as a rapist than a poorer black woman with substantial prior history as a false accuser of rape as a perjurer.

    One of these things in this case was the reality, the other a very ugly fantasy.

    Abraxas (2f586f)

  40. An *impending* scholar and a gentleman.

    While I think that a comparison between a twisted personal email and a piece of clearly defined fiction is slightly disingenuous, I agree that the damage done to these boys’ careers is unfair. It is a shame that the names of possibly (nay, probably – though not undoubtedly) innocent young men will forever bear such a stigma as this.

    Oddly, conversely, the accuser has raped their collective reputation. I can feel sorry for them, on those grounds.

    I am ever-amazed at the sheer number of intelligent people I find on this site.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  41. […] What s with the links?!? anyway #1 lashawnbarber.com/archives/2007/02/12/another-duke-rape-case/. #2 eightiesclub.tripod.com/id315.htm. #3 http://www.concerneddukefaculty.org/ – More – […]

    Lacrosse » Blog Archives » Comment on Remaining Duke Lacrosse Charges to Be Dropped by Abraxas (da05be)


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