Patterico's Pontifications

4/11/2007

North Carolina Attorney General: Duke Lacrosse Players “Innocent”; Nifong Overreached

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 4:44 pm

The North Carolina Attorney General has not only dismissed the Duke lacrosse charges, but has issued a very strong public statement, saying the defendants are innocent, and that Nifong overreached. It is much more than he needed to say to justify dismissing charges, but it is an important step in being fair to the accused.

It is also important as an effort to restore confidence in prosecutors generally. If my commenters are any indication, a not insubstantial segment of people lost faith in thousands of prosecutors across the country largely because of the actions of a single out-of-control prosecutor in Durham. I think it’s a mistake to stereotype based on one bad apple, but people do it anyway, so I’m glad to see such a public reproval of Nifong.

Allah has video.

106 Responses to “North Carolina Attorney General: Duke Lacrosse Players “Innocent”; Nifong Overreached”

  1. Roy Cooper (the NC AG) probably has a very bright political future. He did more to restore trust in prosecutors in his press conference today than the ABA could do in 100 years. I challenge anyone to recall the last time a DA/AG said that someone wrongly accussed was “innocent” when they dropped the charges. Usually, they weasel a lot about insufficient evidence/not beyond a reasonable doubt/etc. It is nice to see someone with a backbone in politics. Some lawyers are going to make a lot of money from this. I hope Duke Univ. has a good cushion in their endowment fund to enable them to pay the settlements they’re going to be liable for.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  2. What happens to the 88 Duke faculty members who gang raped the reputations of the Lacrosse players?

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  3. Are these folks going to be able to recover the money they had to spend on lawyers? Who from?

    huey (756ff9)

  4. Apparently, the LAX players have already requested legal expenses (approaching $3-4 million, depending on source) from Duke University. The latter has taken the request under advisement.

    One cannot help but wonder if this a friendly warning before a spate of civil suits against the University.

    great unknown (fc7c50)

  5. Civil suits against the university, hell! Wait until Sharpton and Jackson bring in their Rent-A-Mobs and start armtwisting the accuser into filing civil suits. This isn’t over yet; the race industry will not be denied their pound of flesh.

    the friendly grizzly (82ada0)

  6. –I think it’s a mistake to stereotype based on one bad apple, but people do it anyway, so I’m glad to see such a public reproval of Nifong.–

    Ronnie Earle grand jury shopping, Pat Fitzgerald perjury trapping. It’s not just one bad apple.

    Topsecretk9 (66de61)

  7. Perfect Sense

    You invite prostitutes to your Duke Party for the expressed purposes of making a sordid sex film to distribute to your buds at the university

    Exactly what reputation did the Lacross players have?

    Despite the fact that they still and should be expelled?

    EricPWJohnson (92aae0)

  8. Speaking only on the issue of overzealousness, criminal defense attorneys in my experience are far worse than prosecutors. I certainly was. There are certainly much stricter rules for prosecutors but there is also a climate which forgives lawyers who are perceived to have overstepped because they were fighting for their client’s freedom or life. The prosecution of Lynne Stewart is a rare exception and even in that case she received what she herself considered to be a very lenient sentence.

    nk (a3cd81)

  9. I can hardly believe I taught at Duke for three years. What happened to this fine University in the past 25 years? When I was there, the University Chancellor would have been the first line of defense for the students, especially when it became evident very early on that there was something rotten at the DA’s office. I guess ‘old school’ administrators with guts are long gone. Sad.

    Bill M (c00fa3)

  10. Unfortunately, due respect aside, I think there are a lot more than a single bad prosecutor out there, P. I do think they’re muc. much, much more the exception than the media would have us thinking, though.

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  11. You invite prostitutes to your Duke Party…

    Comment by EricPWJohnson

    For shame Eric.

    They were strippers, and they are pretty darn common… Grab your local phone book, and check the yellow pages under “Adult entertainment” (or “Entertainment – Adult”, damn yellow pages!!).

    Depending on where you are, I predict at least 4 numbers to call.

    Now, that’s beside the point, but I thought I should just throw that out there.

    QandO.com noted an interesting fact… No where is it being noted what political party Nifong is a member of, but hey are labeling Cooper as a Democrat very freely… Kinda odd…

    And Cooper seems a decent sort. I don’t even have a lawyer joke about him. :)

    These kids got boned completely, and I hope Nifong enjoys his karma…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  12. David N. Scott/10:

    We all know there’s more than one bad prosecutor out there; I don’t think Pat’s saying otherwise. I’d guess there’s more than one bad prosecutor in any large office, and depending on our definition of “bad” we might be able to count a lot more.

    But I’ve known a lot of prosecutors. Of the hundreds I’ve known well enough to make a call, the over/under on the number of them who would have done what Nifong did is zero.

    There are problem prosecutors, and they are rare. But Nifong-level malfeasance is really striking. I’ve heard of similar cases – it does happen – but they are very rare. Nifong’s actions defy belief.

    The NC AG’s office had real guts to do this, because they know it opens up another office to potential civil damages. The argument for absolute immunity likely doesn’t apply to the public statements made by Nifong, where he’d get only qualified immunity (in my opinion, and based on general legal principles and not North Carolina law, which I’m ignorant of.) If he gets qualified immunity, he’s toast in the civil suit.

    EPWJohnson/Scott Jacobs/11:

    There are some not-nice things about what the lacrosse players did that day. They deserved a little excoriation for being jerks.

    But a lengthy rape case, with the prosecutor calling them privileged rapists? I’m with Scott all the way. Whatever they deserved, it wasn’t 1/100 of what they got. They were *innocent* of the charges brought and any other criminal charges. And they didn’t do anything in the investigation to obfuscate the truth; this isn’t Ray Lewis. They deserved a hell of a lot better from the system.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  13. Bill’s Nibbles // Open Post — 2007.04.12…

    Please feel free to use this post for comments and trackbacks not related to other posts on the site. If you leave a trackback your post must include a link to this one and, as always, comments claiming the sun…

    Old War Dogs (72c8fd)

  14. Bill’s Nibbles // Open Post — 2007.04.12…

    Please feel free to use this post for comments and trackbacks not related to other posts on the site. If you leave a trackback your post must include a link to this one and, as always, comments claiming the sun…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  15. JRM,

    There are some not-nice things about what the lacrosse players did that day. They deserved a little excoriation for being jerks.

    While that may be the case, there were 46 players. Any evidence whatsoever that Seligmann, Finnerty or Evans did anything untoward?

    Should they be tarred with something that one or more other people from that group of 46 might have done which is unkind or unsavory, yet not illegal? Possibly to Mangum who is, without question, a skank extraordinaire?

    These guys got hosed. They are the victims here. Mangum and Nifong are the perps.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  16. TSK9

    It’s not just one bad apple.

    Nope. Its not, but that’s P’s line and he’s sticking with it like Bill Clinton defining “it”. Pay no attention to the real world.

    To be fair I believe they’re a tiny fraction. But any fraction of a number as large as the total number of prosecutors in this country is a large number.

    High time for some clear, heavy penalties for this behavior. What Nifong did is equal to rape in my mind – a deliberate violent act against someone else. If these guys didn’t have a LOT of money they’d be rotting in prison being beaten and raped right now.

    I believe what happened to these guys goes on a LOT in our country and we don’t know about it because it happens to people with no money or power.

    To be clear, its a shame that good people that believe in justice and devote their lives to the criminal justice system, like P and his wife, get tarred by being associated however loosely with the likes of Nifong. The answer to that problem, though, is to vigorously root them out, not deny their existance.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  17. Dwilkers,

    I believe Pat’s point is that not only can you not judge all prosecutors by the actions of Nifong.

    I’m sure that Patterico would agree that there are bad ones, but they are by far outnumbered by normal, honest, ethical prosecutors. To doubt all because of a teeny tiny fraction is unfair…

    And that was his point, I believe. That Nifong specifically had poisoned the opinion of the masses against prosecutors, not that Nifong was the only one.

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  18. And Clinton was defining “is”. It really is important we keep those little distinctions… :)

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  19. I’m sure that Patterico would agree that there are bad ones, but they are by far outnumbered by normal, honest, ethical prosecutors. To doubt all because of a teeny tiny fraction is unfair…

    I think that when it comes to female complaints against males, the fraction is not so teeny tiny. When the word of one female person is all the evidence needed for a prosecutor to proceed, and when many DA’s have “no drop” policies, the result is an awful lot of guys being prosecuted for things that never happened.

    In Massachusetts, for instance, if you find me 10 guys going through nasty divorces, I’ll show you at least 6 guys with fraudulent abuse complaints against them.

    Occasionally, an alert judge will trow the thing out, but you’ll virtually never see a DA decline to prosecute, even if the claims are ridiculous and unsupported by evidence of any sort.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  20. …saying the defendants are innocent, and that Nifong overreached…

    Heh. Not trying to pile on P, I just have strong feelings about this.

    Lawyerspeak -> overreached?

    If they wre innocent, as he says they were, then prosecuting them could hardly be described as “overreach[ing]“. That’s like calling bank robbery an account overdraw.

    I know, he’s the one that used the word, not you.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  21. Uh Pablo? I respectfully disagree with you.

    The majority of prosecuters just don’t have the time to waste on cases they have no chance of winning.

    Drop by office in So Cal sometime…I’d be happy to show you the shelves and shelves of turndowns we do … “insufficient evidence”, “no corraborating evidence”, “this is a matter for civil court”, etc on reasons we decline to file.

    Darleen (187edc)

  22. Darleen, you’re not in Massachusetts. Not only do they find the time here, their own policies preclude them dropping the cases. Not only do they prosecute them, they often have no choice but to do so as long as they’ve got a “victim” willing to testify.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  23. I wonder what the players would have said after a little waterboarding…

    Andrew J. Lazarus (db0ec5)

  24. I didn’t say or mean that there is only one bad prosecutor in the country. That would be a silly thing to say, and I don’t think it’s a fair reading of my post.

    Patterico (2fe65a)

  25. Also Rico, in my case I have been concerned about this problem (prosecutors apparently uninterested in justice) since the mid-90′s at least, especially with the Roy Criner case. I’ll never forget watching the Frontline episode with the Montgomery county DA sitting there laughing with his yellow teeth as the reporter drilled him about his refusal to support a retrial, or the asinine statements from the appeals court judge as she (SHE) stated that the DNA didn’t, you know, prove that Criner hadn’t done it, so he didn’t deserve a new trial.

    Moreover, this particular case (Nifong) doesn’t involve “one bad apple”. Where were the rest of the legal professionals in that office? Did nobody else know what was going on?

    What about the police that were involved not only in the corrupt line-up but knew about the DNA, and were actively involved in witness tampering with this gal?

    What about the Grand Jury that indicted these guys? What does it say about our system that a grand jury will indict someone that the State AG later describes as “innocent”?

    This story is about an entire system – judges, police, grand jury, DA staff – that acted together with Nifong to wrongfully convict these guys. Nobody acted to stop this. It took multi-million dollar defense cousel to get these guys where they are today, something %99.9999 of us don’t have access to.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  26. I am unfamiliar with the Criner case, but I am acutely interested in the issue of wrongfully convicted defendants. I have read several books about people wrongfully sent to Death Row. The prosecutors in those cases were generally bad apples to some extent.

    My point is that there are other commenters (I can’t give you specifics right now) who have seemed to hold a bad opinion of all prosecutors in the country because of Nifong. That’s just silly. You can’t reasonably tarnish a whole profession based on the actions of one person.

    And while you can try to blame others, he was the D.A. If he hadn’t been the top guy in his office, maybe you’d have a point. But plenty of people in the country raised their voice against this prosecution, and he was obviously unaffected. *He* was the primary problem in this case.

    One thing I will say: like the N.C. A.G., I want people to understand that inconsistencies in a story don’t mean the crime didn’t happen. There are *always* inconsistencies. Always. The issue is: how significant are they, and what does it mean to the case?

    Also, “no DNA match” does not always equate to “innocent” regardless of the crime or the circumstances surrounding it.

    Every case is different. The case you cite may well be an example of injustice; I don’t know. Certainly there are cases of injustice out there — going both ways, I might add.

    Patterico (356885)

  27. “You invite prostitutes to your Duke Party for the expressed purposes of making a sordid sex film to distribute to your buds at the university

    Exactly what reputation did the Lacross players have?”

    -EricPW Johnson

    I concur, and that’s the thing that pisses me off most about this whole case.

    They were wrongfully accused, certainly, and it sucks (for them) that they will carry a rapist-stigma for the rest of their lives… but they obviously weren’t pillars of moral decency.

    In an ideal world, these guys would never have been accused of/prosecuted for rape: rather, they would’ve been expelled from Duke for being spoiled little perverts.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  28. Jesus Eric and Levi… You two must have been the kid that ratted out the class when the teacher left the classroom… Were you in AV club too?

    I mean, good lord, I’m pretty puritanical in some ways (I seem unable to NOT look a stripper in the eyes, to the amusement of my friends), but damn you two must have been the most boring people on creation in college…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  29. “These guys”? “They”?

    Do you mean all 46, or “the guys” who hired the stripper? The one guy who made the phone call? The guy who passed the hat? The guys who put money in?

    I think that “those guys” who level bullshit accusations on the internet ought to have to defend a defamation suit.

    Phil Smith (7d963d)

  30. I have been following this case almost from the beginning and today I have on this site discovered a new datum: that the accused invited “prostitutes..for the expressed purposes of making a sordid sex film…”

    a) what is the source for this claim?

    b) assuming that somebody at that party actually did this, is there any evidence connecting the three randomly selected victims to this action?

    great unknown (fc7c50)

  31. “You two must have been the kid that ratted out the class when the teacher left the classroom… Were you in AV club too?”

    -Scott Jacobs

    Are you a Christian, Scott?

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  32. Dwilkers:

    This story is about an entire system – judges, police, grand jury, DA staff – that acted together with Nifong to wrongfully convict these guys. Nobody acted to stop this.

    Patterico:

    And while you can try to blame others, he was the D.A. If he hadn’t been the top guy in his office, maybe you’d have a point. But plenty of people in the country raised their voice against this prosecution, and he was obviously unaffected. *He* was the primary problem in this case.

    I understand *He* was the top in his office, but was there no recourse that could have been faster, given the clear evidence of inappropriate behavior of the DA? Right-off-the-bat when the initial line-up was done contrary to accepted procedure couldn’t protests be made that accomplished something?

    Leviticus said:

    In an ideal world, these guys would never have been accused of/prosecuted for rape: rather, they would’ve been expelled from Duke for being spoiled little perverts.

    I completely agree that the overall behavior was unacceptable. How much each individual was aware of what was to happen I don’t know. I certainly went to gatherings in college where activities were taking place that I had not expected.
    As far as being expelled by the university… I do not know about Duke in particular, but it has been acceptable for some time now for men and women to have rooms on the same floor of the dorm, even using the same bathroom at times.* I’m sure there are behaviors for which someone can get expelled, but I think some administrators should get expelled also for flouting common sense.

    *(Been there did that in the 70′s while staying with a friend-male- at another school while interviewing for med school. Went into the bathroom to brush my teeth before bed, guys taking a shower, other guy at a urinal, and in walks a couple of young ladies in t-shirts and shorts to brush there teeth as well. Freaked me out.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  33. Ebfore I answer, Levi m’boy, mind if I ask what the hell that has to do with the price of tea in China?

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  34. MD in Philly,

    I completely agree that the overall behavior was unacceptable.

    How do you feel about stripping in strange mens’ homes for money? How do you feel about videotape at bachelor’s parties?

    Consenting adults and all…

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  35. If you can’t figure out where I’m going with this, well… actually, I won’t be too surprised.

    Okay:

    Are you a Christian, Scott?

    I am.

    Accordingly, I find it morally repulsive to hire strippers – and I find it distasteful to consort with wide-eyed, middle-aged wankers (i.e. your friends) who would pay money to watch a desperate woman (or man, Scott – since I know nothing about you) remove her (or his) clothes.

    I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t want me lusting after strippers, Scott. That aside, my distaste for strippers (and their customers)has less to do with my being “boring” than their being… what’s the word? “Pathetic”.

    Anyone with money can pay a stripper to do her thing, Scott. It doesn’t make you special: it makes you a lameass.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  36. Well pablo, I’m not going to advocate laws against it, but if:
    1) my daughter was involved, I would deal with my daughter and my heartache after making the men present very sorry for coming to the party.
    2) a son was involved, I’d let him know that I don’t approve of corrupting the wonder of intimacy between a man and a woman, and not with an apologetic tone of voice
    3) it was a future(?) son-in-law, I’d find out if it was consistent with his nature, or a “gag” by one or a few of his “wilder friends”. If it was consistent with his nature, I’d have to keep my cool until I was able to address the situation.

    A true story, although not anyone immediately related to me: On the occasion of her first date, after a nice discussion with the young man, the father took out his (legal) revolver and said, “I want you to know that I love my daughter, and if anything ever happend to her I would not mind spending the rest of my life in jail for 1st degree murder.” (“No brag, just fact” as Will Sonnett would say). You can believe the young man had her home by the expected time that night.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  37. people with iq’s of 90 and up will not judge other prosecutors by nifong’s actions, they realize it’s an exceptional situation. most of the people south of 90 are still fervently pro law ‘n order, and their local prosecutor represents law ‘n order, so who they gonna embrace now, the criminals?
    i’m not into strippers myself and would recoil at the prospect of a total stranger rubbing her potentially diseased twat on my lap, but there is a market for this, and a lot of it is college-aged males, and before you condemn them for immorality, remember that porn is what drove the development of high-resolution graphics on the internet; your enjoyment of this medium now was enhanced by early surfers who had one hand on their mouse and the other in their drawers.

    assistant devil's advocate (f0c06e)

  38. Also, “no DNA match” does not always equate to “innocent” regardless of the crime or the circumstances surrounding it.

    No but having the seman of 5 other unique individuals in and or on the accuser could possibly point to just another lying biotch that stated she had not had intercourse for over a week!?!?!?

    nifong was not alone, but for sure was the conductor and took on the role for personal gain via public money as well! The list of targets in Durham is now long and getting clearer by the moment, one can almost bet most of the boilerplate paperwork is already complete.

    DUke U, was offered a free pass for 4 mill$… They would be very WISE to figure out some way of taking care of the bills and moving on, if sued the judgment could be astronomical which is well deserved! The boys atty’s only need to add to the request that the group of 88 be flushed from the system and that mandatory glasses on the constitutional rights of citizens be taught each and every quarter and attendance is mandatory for both students and faculty as well!

    Cooper made sure the noose was NOT coming off of Nifong! The other two SP’s have their own buried skeletons even though Cheshire canonized them, in this case they done well.

    LAX Saints? Compared to the group of 88, Nifong, the DPD and oh so many others involved directly and indirectly in this Hoax?
    The boys are indeed saints!
    The boys offered themselves up quickly for justice!
    The boys know and demonstrated loyalty to self and team and even school, well until school turned them out! SHAME on Duke U.
    The boys story today is the exact same story told on March 13th 2007! Like the path of a train, hasn’t changed!

    *******************

    I think knows very well there are some stinkers within his profession, lets all hope that Nifong is hung high enough for even them to take notice and alter their ways, cuz there is one very large and very angry community wide awake today with time on their hands and one can bet they will be on the lookout for the other Nifongs in this nation. They will be only too happy to shine the light of day upon them as well!

    They might start with US Attorney Sutton! Scumbag enough for me start on.

    Lie Stoppers

    TC (b48fdd)

  39. I guessed where you were going. I just wanted to be sure…

    Yes, I am a Christian. A Luthern, if you wish you be percise, and Wisconson Synod if you want to be anal.

    We’re the original ‘Speaking Truth to Power’.

    What I find morally disagreeable isn’t the issue. Yes it is more than a little seedy to hire a stripper. Is it illegal? No, it’s not, if the people paying/watching are over the age of 18 (in most places, your mileage may vary).

    If you are such a morally superior Christian, what is your stance on abortion, hmm? Do you condem it, in all it’s forms? Ever have sex before you were married (in the eys of God, I don’t care what The State says)? Heck, have you ever taken the lord’s name in vain?

    I don’t have to approve of what the boys did to understand they are BOYS!!! Barely over 20, for God’s sake! If you have NEVER done ANYTHING of a questionable nature while young, then fine, throw that first stone…

    Somehow, I think you will find – if you look deep inside yourself with a critical and realistic eye – that you are far from perfect, and thus should back the hell off those boys.

    That’s why I wanted to make sure what you were asking, because I wanted to see if you would pretend to be morally superior, or if you were just going to poke the fun of my “hypocracy”. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I will condem it as evil and vile. I save that for stuff that comes close to mattering. Hiring some chick to get nekkid at a party doesn’t harm anyone.

    Forcing through prosecution that drags on for over a year and costs three boys their good name obviously does hurt someone. At the least, it hurts three someones…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  40. “what is your stance on abortion, hmm? Do you condem it, in all it’s forms?”

    -Scott Jacobs

    Yes.

    “Ever have sex before you were married (in the eys of God, I don’t care what The State says)?”

    -Scott Jacobs

    No.

    “Heck, have you ever taken the lord’s name in vain?”

    -Scott Jacobs

    Yes.

    “I don’t have to approve of what the boys did to understand they are BOYS!!!”

    -Scott Jacobs

    So you’re letting them slide on the grounds that they’re men? On the grounds that they have no control over themselves in sexual situations, no foresight and no morals? Gimme a break. That’s a cop-out: “They couldn’t help it…”

    What’s more, you do approve of what they did, by your actions if not by your words (“I seem unable to NOT look a stripper in the eyes, to the amusement of my friends”)

    That’s a statement that implies stripper-visitation if I ever saw one.

    “Hiring some chick to get nekkid at a party doesn’t harm anyone.”

    -Scott Jacobs

    The Bible disagrees: lust is one of the seven deadly sins. Besides, it’s certainly harmful to the stripper to have to morally degrade herself to put food on her child’s plate.

    Why don’t you drop the facade on this one, Scott? I’m not saying you’re not a Christian (I have no idea)… I am saying that this was un-Christian behavior, behavior that shouldn’t be condoned by individuals who call themselves Christians.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  41. And since when in THIS country has “un-christian behavior” been grounds to punish anyone???

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  42. MD in Philly seems to have a clear view of what happened at Duke. It wasn’t a one-bad-apple DA that’s the problem here. It was the confluence of bad behavior by just about everyone involved.

    Nifong’s at the top of the list. He sold his soul and sacrificed innocent peolpe to keep his job.

    The Duke LaCrosse players were culturally tone deaf. Rich white boy college jocks hiring a black stripper to perform at their party in the South is pretty stupid. It may be Duke, but it’s still the South.

    Where were the Assistant D.A.’s? Quiet as far as I can tell.

    How about the police officers who testified before the grand jury?

    What is in the future for the head of the forensics lab who, at Nifong’s request, withheld exculpatory DNA information from his report? (Using ‘exculpatory’ is a clear sign I’m reading too many lawyer blogs or watching too much Law and Order).

    The Duke administration and faculty took P.C.-run-amuck to a new level.

    Then there’s Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and the Black Panthers. Maybe an apology is due here.

    Finally, there’s the Main Stream Media (except for Greta Van Susterin) who did a journalistic linching of the Duke LaCrosse team.

    Did I leave anyone out? Well, there’s me, because I bought into the initial story, too. Live and learn.

    Curtiss (c03bd7)

  43. And yeah, I’ve seen stippers. I’ve been invited to bachlor parties, and even *gasp* gone to a strip club. I’m eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil!!!

    Mwuahahahaha!!!

    And as for “drop the facade”, I seem to recall that not judging others to be a fairly important tenate of the faith.

    So how about you back the hell of the boys, and heck while you’re at it you can take a powder with your passive-aggressive insults as to my faith…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  44. MD in Philly

    1) my daughter was involved, I would deal with my daughter and my heartache after making the men present very sorry for coming to the party.

    So, you’d blame the guys who hired her for your daughter performing as a paid skank? Just how would you make them sorry? A stern talking to? Assault?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  45. Curtiss,

    Did I leave anyone out?

    Yes, the primary culprit: Crystal Gail Mangum.

    The Duke LaCrosse players were culturally tone deaf. Rich white boy college jocks hiring a black stripper to perform at their party in the South is pretty stupid.

    IIRC, that was where some of the discord began. They were expecting white girls, the agency sent black girls, and one of them was shitfaced.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  46. I recommend a baseball bat applied liberally to the kneecaps…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  47. Patterico in Comment #26 pretty much nails it. There was nobody who could put the brakes on Nifong. What makes the case the exception, even an aberration, unlikely to occur often is how prosecutors work. They are teams of two or more partners. They have a supervisor. They are on a first-name basis with the defense attorneys many of whom were former prosecutors and who are also are on a first-name basis with their supervisors. If one were to lose his perspective, and it happens to everybody, there are people close by to set them straight.

    Darleen in Comment 21 is also correct. Four out of five filed cases will be disposed by dismissal or plea. And that does not take into account the cases that never make it past felony review. I would say that when a prosecutor has about an 85% conviction rate, whether by verdict or plea, he is doing a pretty good job of weeding out the cases that should not be pursued while still doing his duty to put the bad guys away.

    Curtiss #41: I believe that Nifong was in that office for about 30 years. It is natural that he had built up a lot of trust and loyalty with the whole community you mentioned.

    And, yikes, I am defending prosecutors.

    nk (a3cd81)

  48. “The case you cite may well be an example of injustice; I don’t know.”

    That’s why I provided a link to a (brief, accurate) summary.

    It was an injustice and everyone involved acknowledges that including the man who ultimately sprung him from jail – one George W. Bush, not a person famous for being a bleeding heart when it comes to convicted murderer/rapists. The day he was released the DA – and the appeals court – was still not supporting that. It took intervention by the governor.

    Whatever. At least these young men aren’t going to jail for a crime that not only did they not commit, but that in fact never occured at all. I’m going to try to be a glass half full kinda guy about that and not worry about the rest of the wretches in the system that may be going through something similar right now.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  49. “So how about you back the hell of the boys, and heck while you’re at it you can take a powder with your passive-aggressive insults as to my faith…”

    -Scott Jacobs

    I back accountability for immoral behavior. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong), these students haven’t apologized for anything they did.

    in re: my passive-aggressive insults to your faith,

    You brought them upon yourself by suggesting that I wasn’t “cool” enough to enjoy the company of strippers… like you apparently are. If you have a problem with passive-aggressive insults, I have a whole litany of extremely active ones.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  50. My “cool” comment wasn’t specifically stippers… It was more about your entire “Oh Em Gee! How dare these guys act like guys! Hey you, the teacher said no talking!!!”

    You were a hall monitor, weren’t you Levi…

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  51. Pablo:

    Yes, thank you for pointing out that I failed to include Crystal Gail Mangum. I did so, because she seems to have some issues. It’s not clear to me whether she’s just lying or that she really believes some of her accusations (although she did had several inconsistent accusations). The problem with Ms. Mangum is that she is the person with the least credibility who was afforded the most credibility. If she’s on the list of culprits in this fiasco, she’s at the bottom. But, that’s just my opinion.

    Curtiss (c03bd7)

  52. Dwilkers,

    I have a lot of respect for Rob Warden, whose article you linked.

    But he is a crusader. I believe that he has freed people who should have been executed. The families of the victims of his clients might see him as the defendants’ version of Mike Nifong. He was certainly not shy in using (or being used by) a corrupt politician to shut down Illinois’s death row.

    nk (a3cd81)

  53. And since they haven’t done anything actually wrong – you finding something morally impropper doesn’t actually make it wrong, I’m sorry to say – they have no need to appologize.

    Now, Nifong and his accusor have plenty to appologize for, as does Al Sharpton and everyone else who cried out for these boys’ heads…

    Try and wrap your head around my first point.

    Just because you disagree with something doesn’t actually make it wrong. Everyone who attended that party did so of their own free will. No one forced the strippers to show up.

    Ther isn’t to my knowledge, any rule at Duke saying that an off-campus party can’t do things that are legal. Hiring a stripper for your party is perfectly legal assuming everyone seeing the nekkidness is of legal age to do so.

    And I’ll stress this again: you aren’t perfect, and since you are such a stickler for the bible, not only should you “judge not”, but you should remember to “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  54. Re #41 Thank you Curtiss, but I’m simply restating a few things together others have said. I still would like to know who would/should act as a check on the top DA. Our system of government was built knowing that people can become corrupt so should not be free to operate without others to counterbalance if necessary.
    So, should someone in the state DOJ have looked into this long ago before Nifong recused himself of the case? Could an assistant DA acted as a “whistleblower” in good faith with the state DOJ? Could someone in the police department? Could someone have contacted the feds complaining that the defendants civil rights to due process were being violated? Could someone have been an “anonymous source” to a news agnecy and given the “inside scoop”? Reporters and news agencies win Pulitzer prizes when they act on leaks about the President and his policies, even if national security is compromised, was an overzealous DA not worth their while? Was he overzealous about something that “even if the three weren’t guilty of anything that night, they or their families sure had to have done something that deserved punishment”? (This is a variation of the Dan Rather, “Even if the documents are forged, we know they tell the truth delusion/fallacy”).
    Did someone try to be a whistleblower to a governmental agency or the press but got nowhere? I will say that this is one of the times that “60 Minutes” deserves some credit, as long ago I saw them interviewing someone who spoke of the irregularities in the investigation.
    It’s not enough to know that there aren’t many “Nifongs” out there. We also need to know that “the system” can deal with them without the individual needing help from big-time private firms. If we don’t have that assurance then anyone not rich will wonder if they are getting shafted, and those with resources will fight and plug things up even if charges are warranted.

    Re #43 Comment by Pablo —
    “So, you’d blame the guys who hired her for your daughter performing as a paid skank?

    I would not hold them responsible for my daughter’s actions, but I would hold them accountable for their, since I have a vested interest in the situation. I do believe that as individuals and as a society we owe a degree of concern to “protect the weak”. In my experience as a physician and member of “inner city” communities, the percentage of strippers and prostitutes who are “well adjusted, sober, intelligent, and never been previously victimized” is relatively small, most have had “help” getting their lives messed up. That, in addition to the obvious “weakness” of “performing” in such a way before a group of men, does make their behavior reprehensible (even if relatively popular in some circles).

    and “Just how would you make them sorry? A stern talking to? Assault?”
    Scott suggested, “I recommend a baseball bat applied liberally to the kneecaps…”
    I would do something along the spectrum of “Jesus’ cleansing the Temple” to Buford Pusser’s* first encounter with the inhabitants in the bar to Buford’s second encounter with the inhabitants of the bar, which would likely include the baseball bat.
    I would hope my level of anger and the men’s response would allow for no serious injuries.

    *Former sheriff in Kentucky (or was it Tennessee?) whose story was told in the movie “Walking Tall”. If never saw the movie, get the original circa ’75/’76.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  55. Curtiss,

    I did so, because she seems to have some issues.

    So, those who broke no law are more responsible than one who broke several?

    Nice. And how do you know whether she’s got issues, or what they are? Aside from that, as evidenced by the gang of DNA found in her, that she’s a whore?

    Jeff Dahmer had issues too.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  56. I would hope my level of anger and the men’s response would allow for no serious injuries.

    That might make the criminal prosecution and the civil suits against you go a little easier. But your time might be better spent explaining to your daughter that, $400.00 or not, it’s really not a good thing to go take your clothes off in a house full of strange men. Legal, sure, but pretty scummy.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  57. Boy, have these comments run off the rails. Most of the simple and telling points got left somewhere near the top of the thread.

    Some commenters want to see the law used to get at the “pervert” students, or failing that, see them expelled by the school.

    There’s an arcane bit of legal trivia known as “equal treatment.” For example, a municipality can’t decide to enforce its underaged drinking laws against young black men, while leaving similarly situated young white men alone.

    This stripper party came to authorities’ attention because a mentally ill sex worker and a race-baiting D.A. set a frame-up in motion. Presumably, that wasn’t the students’ crime. As far as naughty celebrations, this one was no better and no worse than similar campus events. “Equal treatment” demands that we must agitate for the expulsion of all similarly-situated partygoers.

    There were at least three in the spring of 2006 (baseball team, basketball team, unnamed sorority), and perhaps as many as twenty.

    Vengeful commenters, I’ll grant you consistency (if nothing else) when you stop wishing for the expulsion of the lacrosse players, and start demanding a witch-hunt to rid Duke of the 120 to 630 students (@ 30 students/party) who engaged in this particular venial sin.

    AMac (c822c9)

  58. NK, I dunno anything about him. That’s just the easiest summary I could google up real quick, he wasn’t involved in the Criner AFAIK. I could justr as easily have picked another article. Google “Roy Criner” yourself you’ll see.

    It is an accurate portrayal of the facts regardless of whether that writer is a crusader or not. Criner was innocent. Semen DNA recovered from the victim was not Criner’s. Later tests in the ciarette butt showed up as the same DNA as recovered from the victim. So unless the guy was standing there smoking a cigarette while Criner raped and murdered her while using a condom, then had sex with the corpse without a condom, Criner was innocent. And in any event, it doesn’t take a crusader to know he minimally deserved a new trial with the discovery of that DNA evidence. The criminal justice system refused to address that.

    The prosecutors and judges involved, even appeals court judges, were more concerned with rules, procedures and being “right” than they were with justice and an innocent man in prison for 99 years.

    Furthermore, my point wasn’t to argue the Criner case which has been well decided long ago in his favor. My point was it isn’t “one bad apple” and its not. Its a fundamentally flawed system that often maliciously imprisons innocent people. If one person has that much power its obviously a system that ir very poorly designed and that cannot be trusted.

    Notice that upthread when I pointed out that it wasn’t just Nifong, but him, the police, his staff, judges, etcetera, P came back with no no, it was just Nifong. Were that the case (its not, but if it were) it would argue even more strongly that prosecutors have too much power and should be reined in.

    You know what I wonder? Nifong told a judge there were no more DNA test results (I’ll dig through KC Johnson to get a cite if you guys make me). Where the hell was that judge on December 15th when Meehan admitted he and Nifong conspired to withold the exculpatory DNA? Where is he now? Why isn’t Nifong standing in front of him in an orange jumpsuit and shackles explaining why he lied to the court?

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  59. Levi

    Do you excuse rapists when the victim is less than morally correct?

    No? Then I don’t understand your attitude towards the Duke players.

    Few people have excused their wanton stupidity. However, most of us also understand that “stupidity” is almost a default position for young people in college and away from home for the first time.

    My youngest is a sophemore at SFSU and the Resident Advisor of her dorm…and she has stories that would curl your hair. Not that all these students are bad, evil, immoral.will.burn.in.the.firey.pits.of.hell people, just a great deal of immaturity and stupidity.

    GOOD parents balance discipline and understanding when guiding their offspring through the rocky shoals of growing up. One doesn’t reach for draconian measures at every failing… one doesn’t treat the same the kid that swiped a cookie from the kitches and the kid that murdered the housecat.

    There are gradations to sin.

    Does the word “proportionality” mean anything to you?

    Darleen (eb120d)

  60. AMac:

    Well said and all true. The bottom of the thread often has little to do with the top.

    Do you have a list of the venial sinner students?

    Curtiss (c03bd7)

  61. Curtiss,

    My list has the names of 205 Duke students!

    AMac (c822c9)

  62. Vengeful commenters, I’ll grant you consistency (if nothing else) when you stop wishing for the expulsion of the lacrosse players, and start demanding a witch-hunt to rid Duke of the 120 to 630 students (@ 30 students/party) who engaged in this particular venial sin.

    And then, wasn’t it Reade Seligmann who wasn’t even there when the ‘rape’ supposedly occurred, ie; in the brief time the strippers were there, and he was off going to the ATM and doing God knows what else?

    So we’d better add anyone who knew about such venial sins to the list. This sucker is gonna get long.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  63. AMac,

    A point well taken, and quite amusing. I can’t stop laughing at the link. Have you no decency?

    Curtiss (c03bd7)

  64. Apparently Nifong apologizes.

    That’s nice.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  65. Pablo,
    Hopefully an angry father looking them at them face to face and asking them if they would enjoy their little sister ending up in such a state, little would be said, and I would take my daughter and leave. To the degree that one of them decided to physically prevent me from stopping the show, or one of them was belligerant and I lost my composure, other consequences might result.I must say, ole’ Buford had a good time with his 4×4, but then again I don’t think I would be able to do what he did to demonstrate “exhibit A”. (Need to see the movie yourself.)

    I still hope we can get back to first part of #53:
    “I still would like to know who would/should act as a check on the top DA. Our system of government was built knowing that people can become corrupt so should not be free to operate without others to counterbalance if necessary.
    So, should someone in the state DOJ have looked into this long ago before Nifong recused himself of the case?…”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  66. MD in Philly, as I understand it they’re proposing legislation in NC to allow the state supreme court to remove a prosecutor from a case. To me this is insufficient. For one thing, how would someone that had this problem get the attention of the state supreme court? This strikes me as a ‘we’ll say we’re going to do this and hope everything dies down’ type solution.

    Prosecutors that engage in this behavior should be subject to criminal penalties, and the state AG should be responsible for prosecuting them IMO. Once indicted by a grand jury a prosecutor should be immediately removed from all cases until cleared – and if convicted he should face the same type criminal penalties every other felon faces for say, obstruction of justice – which in layman’s terms is what Nifong was attempting. I cannot come up with a good reason why someone that does what Nifong did shouldn’t face criminal penalty.

    ‘You can appeal to the supreme court’ is just not enough IMO. It needs to be a more regular procedure, something easier to accomplish than an appeal.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  67. MD in Philly,

    Hopefully an angry father looking them at them face to face and asking them if they would enjoy their little sister ending up in such a state, little would be said, and I would take my daughter and leave.

    Assuming that you’d then either ship her off to a nunnery, or lock her in a closet until she’s 102, we’re on the same page.

    So, should someone in the state DOJ have looked into this long ago before Nifong recused himself of the case?…

    Is there a state DOJ, per se? I’m assuming the upward trail from Nifong ends at the AG’s office. But do they have the power to intervene in an elected DA’s case without his acquiescence? Is he necessarily accountable to them?

    Which leads to another question I’m not sure I have the answer to: Once the defense had the DNA results, couldn’t they have gone to the judge with a motion to dismiss? Did they?

    There really needs to be a mechanism to check a prosecutor who’s gone out of his head.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  68. Hopefully Patterico will give us a viewpoint on these last comments. In my “non-lawyerness”, I guess I assume that whatever the AG is in charge of is like a DOJ, but I have no idea, and it may vary from state to state.

    Pablo, We agree on what hopefully would happen. I really can’t handle or dish out what Buford did (until that suspicious crash of his sheriff’s patrol car).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  69. One question I have here is: how is the university liable for anything here?

    The two who hadn’t yet been graduated were suspended — as any reputable university would do to a student who was indicted for rape. Unfair as it seems to an innocently accused man, the university had little choice.

    The “Gang of 88″ was reprehensible, but they were exercising their free speech rights.

    The falsely accused former students can sue Miss Mangum, but to what effect? They might gain a moral victory, but she’s a prostitute poor working mother who couldn’t pay six farthings in any settlement. They could try to sue Mr Nifong, but he was engaged in the performance of his official duties, and it’s real hard to sue a public official for acting in his official capacity.

    These guys aren’t guilty, but they’re out many, many thousands of dollars. And might as well face it, their future careers have possibly been wrecked: a smart human resources manager is going to see their résumés in the stack, and decide that their company doesn’t need the possibly bad publicity, or any of the potential headaches, not when there are other qualified candidates available.

    Is this just? Nope, sure isn’t. Will that change? Nope, sure won’t.

    Dana (556f76)

  70. Darleen wrote:

    Few people have excused their wanton stupidity. However, most of us also understand that “stupidity” is almost a default position for young people in college and away from home for the first time.

    My youngest is a sophemore at SFSU and the Resident Advisor of her dorm…and she has stories that would curl your hair. Not that all these students are bad, evil, immoral.will.burn.in.the.firey.pits.of.hell people, just a great deal of immaturity and stupidity.

    What the lacrosse players did wasn’t rape, although there might have been some crimes committed, in providing alcohol to minors. I don’t think that it’s illegal to hire a stripper.

    But sometimes the stupidity that “is almost a default position for young people in college” winds up having negative consequences, just like the fact that not everybody who gets into a car with a drunk driver gets killed, but some do. In this case, the wanton stupidity of the lacrosse team caught the bad side of the laws of probability, and something that they thought was no problem, was.

    Of course, you can be as pure as the wind-driven snow, and still have bad things happen to you; that’s part of life. These guys were more like the car-driven snow — the dirty brown slush along the side of the road. It would have been better if none of this had happened, and they all had their party and no one was hurt. But they took their chances, and bad things happened. Call it contributory negligence if you will.

    Dana (556f76)

  71. “And I’ll stress this again: you aren’t perfect, and since you are such a stickler for the bible, not only should you “judge not”, but you should remember to “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.”

    -Scott Jacobs

    I’m certainly not perfect, but there’s a difference between demanding accountability and taking the law into your own hands. By your logic, child molesters would be allowed to walk the streets because we were too chickenshit as a society to enforce general standards of moral decency. “Well, we’ve all done bad things… I guess we can’t judge these troubled souls… Boys will be boys, after all! Ha HA!”

    Bullshit. Why the double standard?

    These guys fucked up. If they apologized for their behavior, and reformed, I would have no problem forgiving them. They haven’t… here I am.

    Furthermore, I am sick as all Hell of the excuse that “they were just being normal boys!!!”
    Well… no. They fucking weren’t. There aren’t enough strippers in Albuquerque to support a pervert-market of UNM’s magnitude (if such a market existed). It’s a choice these boys made, and, in my opinion, it is a stupid/pathetic one, one that this society ought to label as deviant.

    “Vengeful commenters, I’ll grant you consistency (if nothing else) when you stop wishing for the expulsion of the lacrosse players, and start demanding a witch-hunt to rid Duke of the 120 to 630 students (@ 30 students/party) who engaged in this particular venial sin.”

    -AMac

    I’m sorry if I ever insinuated that expulsion for wanker-conduct be limited to the Duke lacrosse team. I believe in a zero-tolerance policy for this stuff across the board.

    “Few people have excused their wanton stupidity”

    -Darleen

    Really? What is this statement, if not an excuse: “stupidity is almost a default position for young people in college and away from home for the first time”.

    Sounds like an excuse to me.

    “[My daughter] has stories that would curl your hair”

    -Darleen

    … And you would hate to think that her peers have hair-curling tales about her, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t dismiss your own daughter’s hair-curling behavior as the foolishness of youth, would you? You would do something, wouldn’t you? So why not here?

    Again, why the double standard with these boys?

    “one doesn’t treat the same the kid that swiped a cookie from the kitches and the kid that murdered the housecat”

    -Darleen

    Where would you place lewd behavior and the degradation of women on that scale, Darleen? It leans toward the latter, in my opinion.

    Leviticus (ba3ff2)


  72. By your logic, child molesters would be allowed to walk the streets because we were too chickenshit as a society to enforce general standards of moral decency.

    And here’s where you prove why I dislike you.

    By my logic, you simpering dolt, Child molesters would go to JAIL because it’s a fucking CRIME.

    Hiring a stripper is NOT a CRIME. Are you even remotely able to grasp that?

    And before you cry double standard, Child molestation involves people too young to concent. Hiring a stripper involves nothing but concenting adults (otherwise, as I’ve mentioned, that would be a crime).

    Do you get that? God damnit…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  73. I was a little tired when I read this yesterday… guess I read into Patterico working for The Man and all. My bad.

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  74. It is an accurate portrayal of the facts regardless of whether that writer is a crusader or not.

    Who knows? It’s quite clearly biased.

    Before I point out the biases, let me agree that, if the facts in the article are as stated, it sounds like a strong case for a new trial. I don’t want to let my pointing out the biases to distract from that point.

    That said . . .

    “The defense presented seemingly credible alibi witnesses who placed Criner at work at the time of the crime.”

    Sez who? The defense lawyers? Yeah, they would say that, but then, defense lawyers often think that. Apparently the jurors didn’t find the alibi witnesses credible.

    “The only other major prosecution witness was a state forensic serologist, Maurita Howarth, who testified that tests eliminated Criner as the source of loose hairs recovered from the crime scene and that tests on semen samples recovered from the victim were inconclusive.”

    That’s all she testified to? Kinda makes you wonder why she was called by the prosecution.

    It’s very easy to write something slanted about a case. You could say, for example:

    Defendant X was convicted of murder despite the lack of any eyewitnesses to the crime, confession, or murder weapon.

    And that might be perfectly true. But the writer forgot to mention that a) Defendant X was in a locked jail cell with his lawyer and nobody else present; b) five witnesses saw the defendant walk into the jail cell with the lawyer; c) those five witnesses heard the defendant scream “I’ll kill you!”; d) the witnesses rushed into the room to find the lawyer strangled to death; and e) it was all captured on video.

    I like to hear from both sides, or at least from a more neutral party. The fact that a judge had doubts, if true, is much stronger evidence than some scribblings by an innocence advocate.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  75. I believe in a zero-tolerance policy for this stuff across the board.

    Well, Levi, I won’t try and talk reason with you.

    People who engage in “zero tolerance” policies are people who have abdicated their own reason and powers of judgement.

    Darleen (187edc)

  76. Somebody is Googling Mike Nifong residence. Which is kind of disturbing.

    nk (a3cd81)

  77. The fact that a judge had doubts, if true, is much stronger evidence than some scribblings by an innocence advocate.

    You know P, I gave you a link up there to the google on criner, and explained why I picked that one. Its short and accurate. This isn’t in the realm of “if its true”. It is fact. Fact long established, and there are volumns of data available. If you were interested you could read up on it using the link I provided.

    My bad for quickly picking a short sweet one that you could (irrelevantly) say is biased. YOUR bad for making so BALDLY OBVIOUS that you are UNWILLING to admit the plain, long established, legal facts in that case.

    You have proven my original point: you are determined to minimize the extent of this problem. Quote “…that’s P’s line and he’s sticking with it…”. Your responses to me here would do Greenwald proud.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  78. Judge Charles Baird, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, as interviewed on Frontline:

    What was the evidence in the Criner case?

    The evidence was the victim’s body, the location where she was sexually assaulted and murdered, and three “extra-judicial” statements by Mr. Criner– statements made outside of court, not formal statements, like confessions. There was also some scientific evidence comparing Mr. Criner’s blood type and the semen taken from the victim’s vagina and rectum. . . Analysis of that evidence indicated a strong possibility that Mr. Criner committed the crime. . . Years after we initially upheld the conviction on appeal, the case came to us [a second time] by a writ of habeas corpus that Mr. Criner filed. He claimed that he had evidence showing his innocence in this crime.

    What was the new evidence?

    DNA evidence. . . Mr. Criner’s lawyer sent a sample of the semen taken from the victim’s vagina and rectum to a nationally known and recognized DNA lab called Cell Mark. Cell Mark analyzed the semen along with blood drawn from Mr. Criner, and said that Mr. Criner did not place the semen in the victim’s vagina and rectum. Then the state insisted on doing an independent DNA analysis. Their analysis proved the same thing: that Mr. Criner was not the person who deposited that semen. That’s important, because it shows that Mr. Criner didn’t commit the offense–at least, [he] didn’t commit it under the theory the prosecution advanced at the trial. . .

    So Criner was released?

    That evidence was brought to the trial court, where the judge recommended that Mr. Criner receive a new trial. That recommendation went to the Court of Criminal Appeals, where I served. In spite of the trial judge’s recommendation, the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to give Mr. Criner a new trial.

    Is that usual?

    That is very unusual. Typically, an appellate court will follow the trial judge’s recommendation. But the judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals voted 5-4 not to follow that recommendation.

    Why?

    The majority opinion said that the DNA evidence did not necessarily mean that Mr. Criner had not committed this offense, that it simply meant that he did not deposit the semen. . .Judge Sharon Keller of the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote the majority opinion, saying that this new DNA evidence was not compelling enough, because perhaps Criner wore a condom, or did not ejaculate when he sexually assaulted the victim. That was their rationale.

    Does that rationale make sense?

    It does not make sense to me at all. When the state prosecuted Mr. Criner, they theorized that Mr. Criner did not wear a condom, that he did ejaculate, and that his semen was recovered from the victim. . . What they have done, and I think improperly so, is to create or invent reasons that explain away the DNA evidence. But those reasons were never presented to a jury, and that’s the basis of the entire judicial system– you put those facts before 12 individual citizens, and let them decide if that evidence is reliable and believable, or not.

    Judge Keller says any reasonable juror would still convict Criner.

    Judge Keller just totally discounted the DNA evidence. She said that all the other evidence at the trial was overwhelming. I disagree with her. That evidence is not overwhelming at all, especially when considered in light of this new DNA evidence. . . When appellate judges read a cold statement of facts typed by the court reporter, it’s very difficult to tell what a jury found believable or not. As an appellate court judge, you’re really just assuming or speculating, and we should not be doing that when we have the lives and liberty of individuals at stake. . .

    Is it strange for courts to ignore DNA results?

    Both the defense and the state agreed to have this type of evidence checked and sent off to different labs. Both labs agree that the DNA results show that Mr. Criner did not deposit this semen. So it is very extraordinary that an appellate court would ignore that finding.

    Why do you think they ignored it?

    Justice has not been done in the Criner case. Compelling evidence has been ignored, and it’s very unfortunate for Mr. Criner. . . The courts have promoted finality over the substance of the claims. I don’t know how any appellate judge can ignore compelling evidence such as DNA, which totally exonerates Mr. Criner, and totally refutes the state’s theory of prosecution. . . The first time the case was handed down, the majority gave no reason for denying Roy Criner relief, for not giving him a new trial. After the majority read my dissenting opinion, Judge Keller wrote her opinion. . . [She relies on] three statements, supposedly made by Mr. Criner, that he had done this crime. It’s totally illogical to think that a person would commit this type of offense, wear a condom so he wouldn’t be caught, but then later the same evening, make three statements to three different people that he had, in fact, committed the offense. . . Judge Keller labeled Mr. Criner’s statements to his three friends “a confession.” I think that’s inaccurate. You normally consider a confession to be a formal written document that you make at a police station. These were conversations Mr. Criner had with friends, indicating that he engaged in sexual relations with another woman. His statement did not describe the young lady, or the location, and did not necessarily even describe a sexual act that was consistent with the accusations against Mr. Criner. It was up to the jury to assign weight to these statements. But it was clear to me that these statements were not confessions. . .

    What about Keller’s belief that the victim was “promiscuous”?

    The victim was a 16-year-old who was sexually assaulted and died on her way to her grandmother’s house. On appeal, Judge Keller’s opinion said that perhaps the victim had been promiscuous. There was no evidence whatsoever of this. That came totally out of the blue, as far as I was concerned. It was never offered by the state, or argued at trial, or even put forward by Mr. Criner at trial. . . The state’s theory of prosecution against Mr. Criner was that she was simply going from her home to her grandmother’s home, she was abducted along the way, and raped and kidnapped. That’s all that needed to be known about this young lady in this tragic circumstance. But Judge Keller made a point of saying that perhaps this young lady was promiscuous, perhaps she had, in fact, had sex with somebody else on this same date. That was Judge Keller’s rationale for how the semen could be recovered in the victim’s body. But the state’s theory of prosecution at trial was just the opposite. The state said that this young lady had not had sex with anybody else whatsoever, and that it was Mr. Criner’s semen that was found in the victim. . .

    What does this case say about DNA evidence?

    DNA is very important and compelling. It’s been recognized in Texas for many years. The great thing about DNA evidence is that it is so reliable. It proves guilt, and it also establishes innocence. That’s what is so effective about DNA. The problem in this case is that the DNA evidence was used conclusively by both the defense theory and by the state’s experts to prove that Mr. Criner did not deposit the semen. But that finding was ignored by a majority of the judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals. . . To me, this case doesn’t comment on DNA evidence’s credibility or reliability. What this case says to me, more than anything else, is that perhaps the method of judicial review is not as credible or as reliable as we would like it to be. If both the state and the defense agree to have scientific evidence, you’d expect the state’s appellate judges to rely upon it. But in Mr. Criner’s case, they did not.

    Is this a dangerous ruling for the court to make?

    Appellate court judges should give a great deal of weight and deference to the jury’s decision. The whole system of justice is based upon the jury and its decision. Judges should not tamper with that decision, unless the evidence reflects that the jury’s decision was clearly wrong. Compelling DNA evidence tells that the wrong person has been convicted and confined, and therefore is losing his or her liberty. The other thing it tells you is that the real criminal is out on the streets, possibly harming more people, and that person needs to be found and punished. . .

    Why not give Criner another trial?

    Typically, the burden of proof is on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual charged with the crime is guilty. It’s different after the case has been tried, and the appeal is finished. When an individual brings a writ of habeas corpus and says, “I’m innocent,” then the burden is on him to prove his innocence, and it takes compelling evidence. Mr. Criner brought in compelling DNA showing that he did not deposit the semen found in the victim. He met that burden of showing that there was newly discovered evidence, which, if believed by a jury, would establish his innocence. . . If the state thinks they have another theory of prosecution that they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, then let them do that. Let Mr. Criner bring in this compelling DNA evidence. That’s certainly what the trial judge wanted, and that’s what I sought. But I didn’t succeed. . .

    Where does that leave Roy Criner?

    In Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last say. That means that whatever they said is the final word for Mr. Criner. . . I feel the system has broken down, and Mr. Criner is the victim of that breakdown. . . The most Mr. Criner can hope for is either a pardon by the governor, or a federal judge finding the DNA evidence compelling and awarding Mr. Criner a new trial. . .

    Does the criminal justice system owe anything more to him?

    Justice has not been done in the Criner case. Compelling evidence has been ignored, and it’s very unfortunate for Mr. Criner. . . The courts have promoted finality over the substance of the claims. It’s better that they be final, than that they be decided right. And of course I think that’s wrong, when an individual’s life or liberty hangs in the balance. . . Today, if you can’t get relief when you have DNA evidence that shows you’re innocent, then you’re just not going to get relief from the appellate courts. And that’s a shame.

    emphassis added

    That is available at the google link I gave you, along with many more similar. I trust we can dispense with patronizing ‘if x is true then y’ nonsense.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  79. Dwilkers,

    In the end, however, it was the Texas DA who wrote to the Texas Parole Board and asked that Mr. Criner be freed, after the Court of Criminal Appeals had denied the habeas petition. The DNA had been tested with the prosecution’s agreement as well. A better conclusion from the case is that the adversarial system is not a perfect truth-finding process.

    nk (a3cd81)

  80. Dwilkers,

    If the facts stated by the dissenting judge are as stated, it sounds like a strong case for a new trial. I find the statement by the dissenting judge more credible than those of the activist. That said, he’s the dissenting judge.

    I am not comfortable signing onto a theory that says we can’t call a confession a confession because it wans’t formally made to police. The difference between a confession and a mere admission (inculpatory statement) is whether a defendant has admitted the whole crime or simply facts that amount to circumstantial evidence of guilt.

    Also, defendants often take steps to cover up crimes and then blab about them. They ain’t always that bright.

    Also, people wear condoms for other reasons besides not getting caught.

    All that said, I am not at all comfortable with the described rationalizations of the majority judge, if they are as described by the dissenting judge who disagreed with her.

    Hey, if you and I disagreed about something, and you would be comfortable having a third party make up his mind based only on my explanation of the disagreement — without your being heard — then you and I just view life quite differently. Me, I’d like to hear from more than one side before making up my mind. I understand you may feel that you heard from the other side. But I haven’t.

    It apparently infuriates you that I won’t agree with you on the facts, as presented by people from only one side. Sorry, but that’s how I operate. I like to try to hear both sides. How utterly soulless and Greenwaldian of me!!

    Got a link to the Texas Court of Appeals opinion?

    Patterico (b6bf5e)

  81. A few (hopefully last) comments:

    A) Patterico:
    I still hope we can get back to first part of #53:
    “I still would like to know who would/should act as a check on the top DA. Our system of government was built knowing that people can become corrupt so should not be free to operate without others to counterbalance if necessary.”
    I understand your point back on #26, but is there no one who could/should have looked into this long ago before Nifong recused himself of the case? Is the only thing we can do to prevent this kind of behavior is to try to keep people “like Nifong” from getting a top DA position and hoping they “don’t change” once in office?

    B) Off Topic #1
    I saw a news article a few weeks ago where a person (in Wisconsin) in jail from a conviction of a brutal murder was released after DNA evidence reportedly “cleared him” of the crime. He has now been arrested for another brutal murder committed not many weeks/months after his release, with compelling evidence according to the article.
    In medicine we routinely discuss the “predictive value” of a test, how it is not a property of the test itself only, but is dependent on the characteristics of how the test is being used, what you are asking the test to do, etc. I don’t know the details for forensic DNA testing, but a few points come to mind:
    1. A “False positive” result would virtually be impossible. For the unknown sample DNA to match the person in question by some random fluke or problem with the test procedue should be nearly zero.
    2. A “False negative” result is certainly possible, and likely dependent on where the test was done, and perhaps even what technicians actually handle the test. A false negative would be where two DNA samples should match, but don’t. Reasons for this would include how the samples were stored, processed, etc. I don’t know the specific factors in the original acquiring, handling, and storage of a sample that are involved in getting an accurate result 10 years later. (Did the sample sit in the cold/in the heat too long when first collected? Was it treated with the appropriate preservative? Was it treated within the necessary time frame? Was it stored properly? Maybe it is in an appropriate frozen storage site now, but did it sit out for 2 days by mistake 8 years ago when the lod freezer went caput?) I do not know anything about the details of such forensic tests and procedures, I am just raising examples of the kind os issues involved.
    Bottom line, matching DNA is a more compelling argument for a conclusion than DNA that doesn’t match, but the level of doubt of a non-matching result is something I don’t know.

    C) Off Topic #2
    Leviticus, I don’t think anybody is saying that the lacrosse players were involved in good behavior. There are various views on just “how bad” it was, but the general opinion also is that there is no evidence that a crime was committed. (And evidence to suggest that even if a crime was committed, at least one of the accused wasn’t even involved. Maybe he had left early even because he didn’t want any part of it).
    Linked to the sense of “how bad” was the behavior is the sense of proportionality of consequences for the participants. Since the discussion has already included Christian views of morality, let me pursue this a little.
    One day a “woman caught in the act of adultery” was brought before Jesus and religious/civil authorities* questioned Him, “The Law of Moses tells us this woman should be stoned for her sin/crime. What do you say we should do?”
    This was not a serious “honest” question, but an attempt to make Jesus “look bad” no matter what he said. There were “questions about procedure”, shall we say. There was nothing in Scripture to say a woman who commits adultery should be punished but not a man. This was an obvious case of “entrapment”. Jesus did not question whether she had committed an act that that was punishable by death according to Mosaic Law. He did point out the injustice of those who desired to enforce the Law selectively, to apply it to whomever they wanted to punish, but “let off the hook” themselves and others when he stated, “Let whoever is without sin among you cast the first stone”.
    He did not justify her actions (Go and sin no more). But he also exhibited mercy instead of unjust application of the law.
    The consensus is that if they had done something that was universally accepted as a crime (rape, assault, indecent sexual assault if she was consenting but a minor) they should have been prosecuted. As it was, they committed no crime (unless underage drinking as was mentioned before) and should not have been put in legal jeopardy. To treat them differently than others are typically treated in our society for the same behavior is fundamentally unjust, no matter how morally reprehensible their actions.
    [As an aside, it appears that in Jesus' time the idea of an objective morality, "right and wrong", was not at issue. No one said, "wait a minute, how can you even use the word 'adultery', as if sex between consenting adults isn't ok?" Jesus made the issue that the accountability for morally wrong behavior is a bigger issue for all of them than they wanted to admit. In our society there is widespread questioning of moral authority, hence the legality of an action often becomes the societal standard.]

    *I say religious/civil authorities because at that time the internal government of the Jewish people was combined, the religious leaders were leaders of societal function (with Roman law imposed upon them).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  82. If you were interested you could read up on it using the link I provided.

    Look, Dwilkers:

    1. We agree that injustices happen. So if you prove your point on this one case, it won’t change my mind about the big picture.

    2. We agree that if the facts are as stated, the guy deserved a new trial.

    3. We don’t agree that I should make up my mind based only on quotes from people from one side of the story.

    4. I could, if I were terribly interested, follow the link you provided and try to find something that I think tells both sides. But I looked at the link you provided and it’s just a Google search of the guy’s name. Nothing jumps out at me. And I have a lot going on right now.

    Does that mean I am wholly uninterested? Not at all.

    Not. At. All. In case you missed it.

    I am still willing to read the original opinion, despite point #1 above, because I am generally interested in the issue of how the system breaks down and is insufficient to deal with meritorious claims of innocence. But I have a lot going on right now, and no unbiased source is immediately obvious, and it doesn’t seem particularly critical enough for me to do hours of independent research given point #1 above. So, if you can find me something that lays out both sides — ideally the opinion — I’ll read it. That’s my compromise.

    Given your behavior so far, which gives me basically no credit for being reasonable based on my years of blogging, I am guessing that this response of mine will prove to you that I am JUST ANOTHER PROSECUTOR WHO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH!!!!!

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  83. “I still would like to know who would/should act as a check on the top DA. Our system of government was built knowing that people can become corrupt so should not be free to operate without others to counterbalance if necessary.”

    I gotta get to work. Short answer: 1) initially the judge at a preliminary hearing, or a grand jury; 2) mainly the jury; 3) secondarily the trial judge; 4) appellate judges; and 5) (necessary in some instances) activists fighting a system that has failed an innocent defendant despite the existence of points 1-4.

    There’s also the electorate. Also not a perfect answer.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  84. Patterico,
    Thanks for the direct response. I’m sure you have work to do. It’s the professional’s punishment for the audacity of using vaction time.
    The short answer doesn’t appear very helpful in a situation like this, where evidence has been kept from the defense and grand jury and great harm has been done before it even got to trial.

    There is, of course, the deterence factor of Nifong losing his job, being disbarred, going to jail, and holding the county liable for millions of dollars of legal fees that will help prevent similar activity in the future. I guess it does go back to the concept that we can have a government of “checks and balances”, but unless there is an adequate number of people with integrity and courage, all of the checks and balances one can imagine will not be enough, unless one wants an iron-fisted tyranny where all of life is “fair” because everybody is oppressed equally.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  85. NK-

    “In the end, however, it was the Texas DA who wrote to the Texas Parole Board and asked that Mr. Criner be freed…”

    Sorry NK, that’s revisionist.

    The Montgomery county DA was dragged kicking and screaming to writing that letter by enormous public pressure, after being humiliated on national TV. This case was so compelling that the parole board was unanimous and GWB pardoned him.

    If you think that DA just up and one day had an attack of conscience and decided to free Criner because he was proven innocent that’s incorrect. You’d have had to see the Frontline episode to fully appreciate that I think, and seen that creep laughing about Criner in prison for 99 years, an episode filmed after the DNA results were known.

    Saying that DA gets any credit for correcting that injustice is like saying Nifong helped get the Duke 2 off because he apologized yesterday.

    Patterico-

    How utterly soulless and Greenwaldian of me!!

    What was Greenwaldian was dismissing the argument without even looking at the evidence (linked) provided. You decided what you wanted to believe and even though I was backing up what I was saying with links it looked to me like you were putting your fingers in your ears and going lalala, lalala.

    will prove to you that I am JUST ANOTHER PROSECUTOR WHO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH

    No P, what your responses here – and in the Fitzgerald threads btw – have clearly demonstrated to me is that you will reflexively defend those in your profession. I actually went out of my way in #16 to say that I didn’t think that about you. Quote: “To be clear, its a shame that good people that believe in justice and devote their lives to the criminal justice system, like P and his wife, get tarred by being associated however loosely with the likes of Nifong.”

    So no, Hitler didn’t kill 600 million Jews. :)

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  86. IF NIFONG IS NOT PUNISHED WE WILL START A FULL TIME BOYCOTT OF NORTH CAROLINA TOURISM,PRODUCTS,PRO AND COLLEGE SPORTS

    Freddy Tecce (077331)

  87. I thought this was a very good article on the case:

    ‘Duke case’ comments just don’t line up

    seePea (38fcb2)

  88. Yes, thank you for pointing out that I failed to include Crystal Gail Mangum. I did so, because she seems to have some issues. It’s not clear to me whether she’s just lying or that she really believes some of her accusations (although she did had several inconsistent accusations). The problem with Ms. Mangum is that she is the person with the least credibility who was afforded the most credibility. If she’s on the list of culprits in this fiasco, she’s at the bottom. But, that’s just my opinion.

    It’s amazingly short-sighted to not include Crystal Mangum in this rendition of ‘the ones who did wrong’. Since without her and her many egos (or lying if she is indeed not insane) then the rest of this case probably would never have been more than a b-3 story on a party at the lacrosse house.

    Lord Nazh (d282eb)

  89. “What was Greenwaldian was dismissing the argument without even looking at the evidence (linked) provided.”

    And here I thought that I: a) looked at the evidence; b) agreed with your conclusion, assuming the facts were as stated, but c) noted that your sources were biased and/or one-sided.

    “You decided what you wanted to believe and even though I was backing up what I was saying with links it looked to me like you were putting your fingers in your ears and going lalala, lalala.”

    Fascinating. Please tell me, when I “decided what [I] wanted to believe,” — what, specifically, did I decide to believe?

    I really want to know the answer to that.

    Patterico (a00d4d)

  90. Do you really want to do this P, on this thread?

    If so, I’ll take you down but I promise you aren’t going to like it. I’ve been here since 2003.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  91. Well, that kind of comes out of left field.

    I thought we were talking about the case you brought up.

    And I thought you said that I decided what I wanted to believe about it.

    And I want to know what that is, in your mind. So yes, please. Tell me.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  92. re we simulposting?

    Heh.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  93. Incidentally, I have been here since 2003 myself. Long enough to remember this post, for example, where I reflexively defended prosecutors:

    Although death penalty opponents often exaggerate the numbers, no informed person can dispute that innocent people have been sent to Death Row. Several books have been written about specific examples of such cases. One good example is Adams v. Texas, which was the basis of the documentary film “The Thin Blue Line.” Other good books covering innocents on Death Row include Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, And Justice In A Southern Town by Pete Earley, and Victims of Justice, by Thomas Frisbie and Randy Garrett — just to name a few.

    These books leave no doubt that innocent people have been sent to Death Row. If you think about it, this is a frightening fact.

    However, death penalty supporters argue (correctly) that there is no proven case of an innocent person having actually been executed. (Death penalty opponents who argue otherwise are jumping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence.) The absence of examples of executed innocents means that the system works, death penalty supporters say.

    This reasoning is wrong. The system doesn’t work. Innocents who have been released from Death Row have almost never gained their freedom through the orderly workings of the system. In many cases, the defendant’s innocence has been established due to the efforts of activists who have no official role in the criminal justice system. The fact that innocents have left Death Row is no tribute to the criminal justice system.

    To the contrary, even in cases where the defendant’s innocence has been clearly shown, prosecutors and police often fight to preserve the convictions of the innocent. Once twelve people return a guilty verdict, law enforcement personnel tend to wear blinders. Sometimes, it turns out that law enforcement was in possession of exculpatory evidence all along, but suppressed it — or at least turned a blind eye to it.

    The reason for this is also simple. The more heinous the crime, the greater the motivation on the part of everybody in the system to hold someone accountable. Cops are less likely than usual to provide possibly exculpatory material to the defense. Prosecutors may go forward on a weaker case, take more liberties with disclosure of evidence, and put pressure on witnesses to testify a certain way. Jurors will employ a lower standard of proof. Judges all the way up the chain, from the trial court to the Supreme Court of the United States, will strain to uphold the conviction.

    The more serious the crime, the more these factors play a role. And the greater the temptation to withhold exculpatory evidence. After all, prosecutors think, we know the guy is guilty! Why give him a chance to raise some bullshit argument based on this so-called “exculpatory” evidence? This is how critical evidence of innocence — including confessions by other people — gets suppressed.

    Simply put, the “system” is stacked against a defendant charged with a heinous murder. Almost nobody wants to let him walk — least of all the people in the “system.” As a result, people in the “system” cannot reliably be counted on to work for the release of an innocent person who has been wrongfully convicted of capital murder.

    I really don’t know why a simple request for clarification yields a response that sounds like a threat to drag all my published skeletons out of the closet of the publicly available internet, but if you feel the need to do so, feel free. But first, could you please answer my question about this case? The one you brought up?

    What did I decide that I wanted to believe about it, my friend?

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  94. re we simulposting

    Looks like it. I’m glad I’ve got you here because I want to know what you meant.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  95. Me too. Unlike you though, I’m going to actually read what you just linked.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  96. pssst.

    Dems vs Texas is a link to Amazon dot com. In fact, every single link you provided is to Amazon.com.

    Heh.

    Are you really competing here?

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  97. Dana #68 –

    The Gang of 88 may have been exercising their free speech rights, but there are also representatives of the University. In fact, not only did they sign as individuals, but the ad specifically stated that it was sponsored by numerous departments, as follows:

    We thank the following departments and programs for signing onto this ad with African & African American Studies: Romance Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences; Franklin Humanities Institute; Critical U.S. Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Classical Studies; Asian & African Languages and Literature; Women’s Studies; Latino/a Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; European Studies; Program in Education; and the Center for Documentary Studies. Because of space limitations, the names of individual faculty and staff who signed on in support may be read at the AAAS website: http://www.duke.edu/web/africanameric/

    As such, they were giving the implicit endorsement of academic departments at the University. Individual articles later penned by Listening Ad signatories such as Houston Baker, Jr., Peter Wood and Orin Starn made it worse. No action was apparently taken by the administration at Duke regarding this academic department endorsement of the advertisement.

    Other actions by the administration open up them to further liability. When the story first broke, the university hired an attorney to advise the lacrosse players on compliance with the NTO that required them to give DNA samples and interviews that had been scheduled with the police. At the meeting, the players were reported to have been advised not to inform their parents, and that they didn’t need lawyers individually. Present at this meeting was Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek. It was only when one of the players broke down and informed his father of what was going on, and All parents were then notified.

    Actions continue to this day. Steven Marcus of Newsday had a column on April 10, 2007 where he quoted an unnamed Duke administrator as saying that the innocent lacrosse players were “no choir boys”, and quoted John Burness, Duke’s Vice President of Public Relations and Governmental Affairs (and likely the source of the no choir boys quote) as saying Duke had nothing to apologize for, and that he expected “folks trying to get money out of us”. That contemptuous dismissal of the players pain will likely cost them more. ( Burness got slapped for talking to his old friend Marcus (he had been an administrator at Stony Brook, in Long Island, before going to Duke). The column was appended with the following quote from Burness “I apologize for the content and tone of my comments. They are not consistent with the viewpoint or sentiment of the leadership of Duke University”. At least the university attorneys are awake.

    The students will likely file lawsuits in federal court, as they are from Maryland, New York and New Jersey. That would place them in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Federal rules of discovery are very broad. The students would likely be granted access to e-mail accounts, telephone logs, internal memorandum and other documents that Duke would be required to provide. My guess is, that will reveal things that are much worse. At that point, Duke will be desperate to settle, rather than have them all come out.

    With regards to Mike Nifong. John Banzhaf at George Washington University has written extensively on his liability. Apparently, Mr. Nifong took over the direction of the police investigation on March 26. On that day, Gottlieb and the other investigators were told by their captain to report to and take direction from Nifong. It was Nifong who directed Gottlieb to hold the third lineup, instructed him to inform the accuser that only lacrosse players were in the lineup, violating local, state and federal guidelines for lineups. Then, traveling to DNA Security with the police investigators, he conspired with the laboratory director to hide the exculpatory evidence.

    All of these actions were taken as an investigator, rather than as a prosecutor. Prosecutors, in the performance of their duties, enjoy absolute immunity. Investigators, on the other hand, have only limited immunity. Nifong, in foolishly taking over the investigation of the case, exposed himself to lawsuits. Similarly, the city and County of Durham have major liability, because of the actions of their police department. Gottlieb and Himan ran the lineup, traveled with Nifong to DNA Security, and participated in the hiding of the exculpatory DNA evidence. Further, they arrested the cab driver who provided the alibi for Reade Seligman, and showed up at his trial, where he was acquitted by the judge in an hour. A pretty good case for witness intimidation.

    I’ll tell you this, I would rather be representing the lacrosse players in the coming litigation, rather than their targets.

    Brian (5d2d00)

  98. Pssst. These are books I have personally read.

    Now will you answer my question, please?

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  99. I asked you a very simple question, to clarify something you yourself said.

    You don’t seem to want to do it.

    I think I know why.

    But never mind that for now.

    What did I decide to think about the Criner case?

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  100. Then, and only then, we’ll talk about what you mean when you mock me for linking to numerous entire books I have read about innocents on Death Row.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  101. Chill dude. Something’s wrong with the way comments are comming up on your site.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  102. D,

    I searched the spam filter for comments by you and found one that I approved.

    I am working with the tech guy on improving the spam filter and comments, since there have been far too many false positives, resulting in legit comments getting sent to the filter.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  103. But I don’t see any more of yours there, if that helps.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  104. Since the DNA lab testimony, I’ve believed Nifong would probably be found guilty of ethical violations and disbarred. Today’s News & Observer interview with his campaign manager contains this damning quote that, in my opinion, exposes him to civil damages and bolsters a civil rights claim:

    When [Nifong's campaign manager] Brown drove back from the beach, she found satellite trucks crowding the courthouse parking lot. Reporters and camera crews roamed the sixth-floor hallway outside Nifong’s office, looking for an interview. Nifong obliged, declaring that the rape was racially motivated. He ripped into the lacrosse players in an interview with The N&O: “I would like to think that somebody who was not in the bathroom has the human decency to call up and say, ‘What am I doing covering up for a bunch of hooligans?’”

    Seeing the crowd, Brown retreated to a corner and called Nifong several times on his cell phone, she said. No answer. When Nifong left his office to go to the men’s room, Brown maneuvered him into a corner so her back was to the cameras. “What are you doing? Why don’t you answer my calls?” The television reporters had asked that he turn off the cell phone so it wouldn’t ring during interviews, Nifong said.

    “I said, ‘You don’t have any idea what the impact is going to be on your campaign.’ He said, ‘I’m getting a million dollars of free advertisements.’ “I left and didn’t say another word.”

    DRJ (50237c)

  105. It’s odd. He’s got nothing to say now that the committee tossed out his motion to dismiss the charges related to his withholding evidence…

    Right now I am starting to think that he better get comfy with public showering, and having his private “room” searched randomly… I think he’s going to be sacrificed by the system he perverted as an example, and to show that they really are “tough on their own”.

    Nifong is screwed, no two ways about it…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  106. Dwilkers,

    E-mail me your comment and I’ll post it.

    Patterico (5b0b7f)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.6558 secs.