Patterico's Pontifications

12/23/2006

“Thank” You, Mr. Nifong . . . You Motherthanker

Filed under: Crime,Scum — Patterico @ 12:39 am



I haven’t followed the Duke rape case closely.

But I do want to take this opportunity to say: thank you, Mr. Nifong. Thanks for giving prosecutors a bad name.

Thank you for making people believe it’s standard procedure not to talk to a rape victim before filing charges. My wife has been filing rape cases for years, and she always interviews the victim first. This is standard procedure in our office — and it means a lot of cases don’t get filed, because they can’t be proved.

But thanks to you, Mr. Nifong, the public thinks prosecutors file these cases blindly. Thank you.

And thank you especially for spreading the image of prosecutors as people who withhold exculpatory evidence. We all know what it’s like to learn that bad fact — the one that takes a great case and turns it into a struggle. But we also know what we do when that happens: we make a beeline for the phone, to call the defense attorney. Because that’s what the Constitution requires. And it’s just what you do.

But thanks to you, Mr. Nifong, people think that prosecutors learn about DNA evidence that points to innocence, and then collude with the lab to hide the results from the defense.

What the thank were you thinking, you dumb thank?

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you so very much.

118 Responses to ““Thank” You, Mr. Nifong . . . You Motherthanker”

  1. relax. the smart people won’t judge other prosecutors in this highly anomalous light, and the dumb people have the attention span of my cat.

    assistant devil's advocate (f163a1)

  2. Every time I see an elected official violate the Constitution and therefore their oath, I wonder.
    I wonder who enforces that oath?
    I wonder what the penalty is?
    I wonder who enforces the enforcer for not enforcing the enforcement?
    Sometimes I just wonder;Why bother with a useless oath anyway?
    Do we really care?

    Paul Albers (af0607)

  3. Heh.

    Remember the thread a week or so ago when you said something about how it isn’t normal for prosecutors to abuse their power? I resisted pointing at this guy then. Or the guy down here that used his office to get Delay tossed out of congress.

    Its all good though Patt, there are bad apples everywhere. The cool thing about this country is we get to ridicule them.

    You guys have a Merry Christmas!

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  4. To Ass.Devil’s Atty: Sadly, there are a LOT of dumb people out there who do have longer attention spans. Witness every joke/media case from O.J. to Scott Peterson on down. Never underestimate the power and effect of the dumb.

    However, Nifong’s conduct is so outside the norm and the defense has done a great job of showing it that I don’t think there are too many people, dumb or not, who think he represents much of anything other than a politician seeking votes before a primary.

    No way this case would’ve been filed, let alone prosecuted this far, if this occurred where I practice in Cook County, Illinois. Standard procedure is for an ASA to talk to the victim before filing charges. My bet is that with the inconsistent statements at the outset they would’ve held off charges until the DNA tests were back or more likely declined to prosecute based on the lack of identification.

    Nifong is a joke. A bad sick joke. But watch him drop the rest of the case putting it on the non-victim (due to intense media pressure, threats against her, blah blah, she doesn’t want to go forward with this) and if he can, get a shameless advocacy group up on stage with him to whine about how she was going to be victimized all over again. Thankfully, I haven’t seen too many, if any, of those groups supporting Nifong. Even THEY know this is hurting their cause.

    ThreeSheets (71ae75)

  5. Maybe it’s not that easy to prosecute a case that’s in the national spotlight?

    I have a feeling if the events that took place in that house had been recorded and put up on YouTube…there would be a little less sympathy for the lacrosse boys.

    The evidence that isn’t in dispute paints them in a rather unsavory light…

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  6. Don’t forget to “thank” the NC Bar for allowing Nifong to get away with his antics – so far. In the end, what they do or don’t do to this S.O.B. will determine what impact he has, if any, on prosecutors’ reputations. If he is permanently disbarred, he’ll only give disbarred lawyers a bad name.

    Xrlq (54553b)

  7. Defense attorneys in Durham must be grinning from ear to ear in private. Their job has been made so much easier: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is a case brought by Mike Nifong. The defense rests”. (Well, something like that.) Heh, I wonder if Nifong’s Assistants will be bringing motions in limine not to have Mike Nifong’s name mentioned during the trial.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  8. #5,

    North Carolina does not have criminal penalties for “unsavory” conduct. So, do you have anything to say about prosecutorial misconduct?

    craig henry (5acf9b)

  9. Just goes to show that pampered white boys should steer clear of low-rent black strippers, doesn’t it folks?

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  10. Is she hot at least? ANy pictures?

    TCO (f9414f)

  11. Imagine if Grand Jurors could investigate county prosecutors and subpoena records on their own initiative. Would showing that the prosecutor’s career path could be injured by failing to win be enough? Is it common practice for a DA seeking indictment to present exculpatory evidence to the Grand Jury? My lawyer friends say it’s not.

    steve (74b760)

  12. Readers who want to learn more about the details of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case could do worse than checking K.C. Johnson’s extraordinary web site, Durham-in-Wonderland.

    When the details of the case are examined–and many primary-source documents are posted on the Web as pdfs–the extent of prosecutorial misconduct can be seen to be truly staggering.

    No serious discussion of the case would be complete without contributions by schadenfruede-dispensing prosecution supporters (“those pampered white boys deserved it”). Happily, that condition has already been met in this thread. But, comrades Neville and David, you might want to read some of Prof. Johnson’s commentaries to better understand the arguments you’re making, and their anti-civil-rights implications. Before you dig too deep.

    That said, indeed the behavior of some Duke students, some Duke lacrosse players, and at least one of the three indicted players was ungentlemanly. But that phrase is not a euphemism for illegal. There’s no credible evidence that the lacrosse team’s party resulted in any criminal conduct other than underage drinking. (I will post an earlier comment on this aspect of the case, if I can find it.)

    88 of Duke’s hard-left faculty paid to have a “Listening Statement” (pdf) published that implicitly declared their indifference to evidence in a high-spririted rush to condemn the lacrosse team, and urge the harshest of punishments be bestowed on them. In the ensuing nine months, these faculty members and the prosecution’s other enablers have been just as indifferent to the massive and continuing violations of Due Process by D.A. Nifong and the Durham Police Department that are at the heart of this hoax.

    AMac (985982)

  13. Neville

    There is obnoxious behavior and then there’s illegal behavior.

    If you wish to combine the two, let me suggest you move to Iran and secure a position on one of their roving bands of “Morality Police”.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  14. But, comrades Neville and David, you might want to read some of Prof. Johnson’s commentaries to better understand the arguments you’re making, and their anti-civil-rights implications. Before you dig too deep.

    Love the “comrades”! So quaint.

    I’m not making an argument of any kind. If there was a criminal case to be made out of this unfortunate affair the prosecutor has made a complete hash of it.

    Can he be sued over this I wonder?

    That said I really can’t work up much enthusiasm over the fates of white southern college boys and their foreshorted quest for black pootie

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  15. Here are some additional thoughts on the points on Duke student behavior that #5 and #9 raised, originally contributed as a comment (timestamp 11:16 am) to an 11/22/06 post about the conduct of Duke’s faculty at Durham-in-Wonderland —

    Having read about the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax for a couple of weeks now, what becomes an increasingly difficult task is keeping the exclamation point at the end of the thought, “D.A. Nifong’s enablers have no shame!”

    K.C. Johnson deserves a great deal of praise for allowing so many prominent individuals to speak to a wide audience in their own authentic voices. By the standards of professional integrity, decency, consistency, and honesty, many of the people who K.C. Johnson quotes and links damn themselves by their own words.

    Repeatedly and — often enough — with overweening pride.

    For the sake of the Duke undergrad who decides to fritter his/her time and family wealth on the lightweight Cultural Anthropology 180-04, I hope Professor Allison adds Tom Wolfe to that course’s syllabus. Here is Steve Sailer, writing about the connection between Wolfe and the Hoax in early April:

    Once again we see from the media’s frenzied hunt for the Great White Defendant (to use Wolfe’s term from 1987’s Bonfire of the Vanities)… that what white Americans really like is sticking it to other white Americans. As Wolfe pointed out in his description of the New York City district attorney’s office, white Americans find the transgressions of African Americans and Hispanics to be depressing and boring, in large part because whites see themselves (condescendingly) not as being in status competition with minorities, just with other whites. This is not because white people hate white people as a whole, just other white people they are competing with for status. The Duke lacrosse team, a bunch of rich preppie jerks, makes a wonderful target for other whites wishing to parade their moral superiority.

    “Rich preppie jerks” need not be an accurate description of the three indicted men for Sailer’s point to ring true. It is sufficient for that characterization to be superficially plausible.

    In another piece, Sailer links to a 2004 essay in the Durham Herald-Sun by now-retired Geology professor Stuart Rojstaczer. Rojstaczer comments acidly on Wolfe’s portrait of Duke:

    [The characters in “I am Charlotte Simmons”] are not the wide-spectrum of students at Duke… we don’t see the eager pre-meds, the granolas, the engineers, the students who want to go on to graduate school and become academics, the just plain serious students, and those who go to the Chapel every Sunday.

    Tom Wolfe focuses on the “pond scum” of Duke’s campus. Dumb racist jocks, misogynistic frat boys, submissive/catty sorority girls, and arrogant and insecure academic achievers inhabit Wolfe’s Duke. Wolfe’s characters are vain, obsessed with status, and while generally gorgeous on the outside, are very ugly on the inside…

    How real is Wolfe’s Duke? For that slice of the Duke undergraduate body that is represented by Wolfe, I’d say it’s very real… Wolfe’s Duke is a dead on accurate description of about one-third of Duke’s student population…

    But what about the other two-thirds? Included in that two-thirds are decent human beings. Included in that two-thirds are students who care about the classes they take.

    The schadenfreude-laced delight of the Holloways, Crowleys, and Allisons of the faculty:

    * That the lacrosse team sits squarely in Rojstaczer’s one-third;
    * That the three accused men personify this aspect of Duke student culture;
    * That, therefore, these three men deserve to be charged, tried, and convicted, irrespective of considerations of evidence, due process, or equal treatment.

    Between them, Sailer and Wolfe explain a great deal of the behavior that KC Johnson has documented.

    AMac (985982)

  16. That said I really can’t work up much enthusiasm over the fates of white southern college boys and their foreshorted quest for black pootie

    Naw, no bigotry there….

    Darleen (543cb7)

  17. #14 wrote —

    > That said I really can’t work up much enthusiasm over the fates of white southern college boys and their foreshorted quest for black pootie

    Such familiarity with the facts of the case! Such quaint phrasing! Keep digging, comrade David!

    AMac (985982)

  18. That said I really can’t work up much enthusiasm over the fates of white southern college boys and their foreshorted quest for black pootie

    OK, you bigoted, race-baiting prick, riddle me this. Since everything in your pathetic little world boils down to identity politics, can you find it in whatever passes for your heart/brain/whatever to work up a teensy-weensy bit of enthusiasm over the fates of three innocent, non-Southern boys (Finnerty hails from NY, Seligman from NJ, and Evans from MD), one of whose non-quest for pootie was so strong that he wasn’t even at the party at the time of the nonexistent assault? Or is your knee-jerk hatred of whites and Southerners alike that you figure any white boy who sets foot in the South deserves what he gets?

    Dumbthank.

    Xrlq (576284)

  19. What Darleen said in #15; David’s mask slipped for a moment and the ugly showed.

    Old Coot (581b7e)

  20. I’m hesitant to criticize other prosecutors; my experience with media coverage is that its ability to get simple things right (the charges, even) is very sketchy. I’m also unwilling to criticize people for doing things differently than I would; when to talk to the victim strikes me as something you could do different ways depending on what you’re getting from your officers.

    But the DNA stuff….. holy crap. I don’t see this thing ending well. It sure sounds like a pattern of not meeting Brady obligations.

    –JRM

    JRM (979968)

  21. “The evidence that isn’t in dispute paints them in a rather unsavory light…”

    It paints them as typical college boys in the 1950s when I was one of them. Today, that behavior violates all sorts of feminist rules that men must fear. Thank God I am not a male college student now. At least a straight one. No wonder male college enrollment is down.

    The ugly reality, as my friend David illustrates I’m sorry to say, is that this case is OJ in reverse.

    OJ was black and got away with double murder because a central LA jury let him do so. He was black and murdered white people.

    Durham has a reputation as a black city that resents the white college students in its midst. Nifong was up for re-election and this case became a cause celebre for the black majority of Durham. They wanted to see white boys punished for reasons that had nothing to do with the facts and everything to do with David’s ugly fantasies. Two hundred years of slavery revenged in one simple legal case ! Who cares if the boys did it ?

    A caller to the Larry Elder show had the answer. He called in and said that he worked as an “escort” for strippers who did private parties. The routine, if the customers looked gullible enough, was to do a five minute dance and then stop saying that was all they had paid for. If they wanted more, they had to come up with more money. That may be why one of the boys went to the ATM at 12:30 AM to get money. If the customers complained about the ripoff, they were threatened with a rape accusation. It usually worked, the caller said, because most of these groups don’t want the hassle of such an accusation, even if there is little real danger of prosecution. This case sounds like just that sort of rip-off. Except Nifong was running for re-election in a black city.

    Racism just doesn’t get any uglier than this and most racism in this country today is black racism against whites.

    Mike K (416363)

  22. Oh, yeah, Patterico. The ethics of your office (and the police agencies it advocates for) is SOOOOO above reproach.

    Just this week, in the black-against-white melee case being adjudicated in Long Beach, it turns out there was a tape-recording of an interview of a crucial eyewitness that was never revealed to the defense, and the explanation is that it was somehow taped over. And the prosecutor preps that same witness during a recess in his testimony by improperly presenting photo line-ups.

    P, I’ll admit that the ethics of a prosecutor has some tenuous ground. A defense attorney’s obligation is strictly to his or her client, within the bounds of honesty and being an officer of the court. But a prosecutor, along with representing the so-called People, is also to uphold justice. Unfortunately, in the real-world adversarial atmosphere of the courtroom and the politics of his or her bureaucracy run by a D.A. who needs to be re-elected, the goal too often switches to wanting to win.

    Funny how you were so willing to post about the Long Beach case when you could portray it as an anti-PC and hate-crime event, but ignore it when it degenerates into a police and prosecutorial fiasco.

    nosh (ee9fe2)

  23. But the DNA stuff….. holy crap. I don’t see this thing ending well.

    JRM

    If anything totally nailed this for me was the DNA. And rumbles about that came early (and now we know Nifong was holding a lot back).

    This is what separates an ethical prosecutor from a self-serving poltroon like Nifong.

    I recall a case where all the initial evidence was solid to support filing charges of sexual assault on a minor — the vic was articulate and clearly identified the def … the def was indeed alone (his own admission) with the vic at the time alleged incident occured…initial testing of vic’s clothing showed semen

    but then DNA showed it wasn’t the def’s DNA.

    All charges were immediately dropped.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  24. A defense attorney’s obligation is strictly to his or her client, within the bounds of honesty and being an officer of the court

    Let’s see … one of our baby DDA’s once handed over a store video to the Public Defenders office to copy…and the critical portion showing their client shoplifting was erased …

    Then there was the instance of PD who just happened to let the gangbanger client take a gander at the file, picking up a witness residence address and said witness is later murdered on his own doorstep …

    Yessireebob, defense attorneys are so much more bound by honesty and ethics than prosecuters…they never put winning above all else.

    Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  25. #22,

    Reade Seligmann, the indicted man with the ironclad alibi, arrived at the party and then called a cab. A few minutes later, he had the cab stop at an ATM and withdrew some cash–perhaps to pay the cabbie. Then he was dropped off at his dorm (cardkey swipe recorded) and went to bed.

    So the theory that he was one of the marks in some sort of sting doesn’t hold water.

    One of the unresolved minor questions of the Hoax is why the escort service failed to have any muscle accompany the two strippers. Apparently that’s the standard procedure in this business for all the obvious reasons, both good and bad.

    AMac (985982)

  26. If it would of been, say the Duke basketball team and a white stripper, would it of even made the news?

    Gerald (82543f)

  27. Darleen, you’ve got to be kidding, blaming these instances on the defense.

    A DDA HANDS OVER an ORIGINAL and sole video to the defense to copy? Unbelievable. We always have to provide a blank video or audio tape and ask the D.A. to copy, or get the police to copy, any tape. They then give us the copy. (And that is if our relationship is good — otherwise the DDA insists on a subpeona.)

    Regarding the second — please give details, because I don’t believe it. It is against policy to let a defendant read an unredacted copy of a police report. If we turn over a copy of a document to a client (or his or her family member) a copy must be made, any witness or other confidential information blacked out, a copy made of the blacked out copy, and the original blacked out copy placed in the file. And if the incident is true, which I doubt, it is due to the inexperience of the PD rather than malevalence.

    Darleen, I think you are blowing smoke, and telling apocryphal tales.

    And if you want to get into a shitting contest, how about the DDA’s most well-worn trial tactic. While every DDA knows cops sometimes lie, and has witnessed cops sometimes lie, they will ALWAYS argue to the jury, “What reason does the police officer, braving his or her life to serve and protect the public, have to lie?”

    nosh (ee9fe2)

  28. David E,

    You comment is stunning. In the environment you inhabit does that kind of bigotry pass as normal?

    That is not a rhetorical question; I am genuinely curious.

    moneyrunner (d5b4e1)

  29. Nosh

    In the first instance, it was a slip done by a brandspanking new DDA who naively believed that fellow officers of the court would never stoop so low as to destroy evidence (our standard procedure IS to let our BofI copy originals to a blank provided by the defense)

    Hey, if you don’t want to believe the 2nd case, go right ahead

    The hit on the witness was ORDERED from jail (and we had the gangbanger on tape doing it)

    the only way he could get the witness info was from his atty..and the hit came within hours of a visit by his attorney.

    In most cases we have to provide witness/vic information to defense attorneys when we provide discovery…and we always include a cover sheet specifically advising defense that they are under legal CA obligation NOT to allow their clients to see. (funny how we have to keep reminding these fellow officers of the court on that, eh?)

    We are allowed now to treat gang cases differently and redact all but name and DOB.

    CA law changed at the beginning of last year that all court copies of police reports must also be redacted of identifying info on witnesses and vics because we were suffering rashes of witness intimidation and identity theft from people accessing court docs.

    No, no legal action was possible against these PD’s (veterans, both) because they played it just up to the line so they could plausibly plead “unintended”.

    May I also point to Lynne Stewart?

    You may characterize it as “blowing smoke” but I cite stuff I’m familiar with (that happened in my own office) because I just wanted to counter your kneeslapper of “defense attorney’s are so much more ethical than ‘win at all costs’ prosecutors” schtick.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  30. This prosecution shows the promise of a mirror image from the days when Blacks were prosecuted for rape based on hate, not proof. Instead of OJ, I think of “To Kill a Mockingbird” when I read about this case. We can all watch that film & wonder “how was that ever possible?” But here it is, now with the races reversed. To me it proves Shelby Steele’s thesis in today’s LA Times piece.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-steele23dec23,0,1574047.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

    Susan R (347ae9)

  31. Darleen, excellent use of “poltroon”.

    I agree with you that defense lawyers can be just as (or more) slimy than prosecutors. My problem is two-fold. One, prosecutors have way more power than defense attorneys, so the potential for damage is far greater for prosecutors. Second, defense attorneys don’t have ANY immunity for their mistakes or willful, malicious conduct. Obviously, there are bad apples in every barrel, but when one barrel’s bad apples are shielded from accountability, that’s a problem.

    If the NC Bar doesn’t do something, who will (or can, statutorily speaking)?

    Jinnmabe (517b2c)

  32. Darleen, We could go on and on with war stories for days. The misdemeanor trial where D is charged with possession of a concealed weapon — e.g. knife. Defense is that police rode up on an outdoor bbq where said knife was in plain view being used to prepare food. At hearing early in trial knife has all sorts of blood, fat and grease all over it. During trial, when knife presented from manila envelope (possessed by investigating officer and Deputy City Attorney) knife emerges pristine.

    Can we agree on this assertion: Attorneys in the criminal system, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, are usually much more honest and usually have better reputations than those in the civil arena? Criminal practice is a reasonably tight community in most jurisdictions, and if an attorney earns a rep for slimy tactics, misrepresentations, or malfeasance, it spreads fast. Most DDAs and PDs are assigned to a particular courtroom or branch, and they, the judges, and other court personnel have enough contact to make assessments and judgments.

    I am not going to sully my own conscience by defending those who go over the line, for example the despicable tactics employed by Joseph Cavallo in defending that worm Greg Haidl in the Orange County pool table rape case. Clearly, destroying evidence on a videotape or facilitating the extermination of an adverse witness are not only unethical, but are crimes.

    But what don’t you address? Have you used the argument “Why would a cop lie?” while knowing that some of them do? How do you explain the nondisclosure and taping over of the interview of the crucial witness in the Long Beach case? (And don’t say the DDA didn’t know — she should have asked the witness and the police in even cursory trial prep.)

    And P — I know that juvie court is separated from adult court, but aren’t you assigned to Long Beach now? Well, knowing Cooley’s rep for embracing criticism and dissent, probably safer and better for you to sit behind your platitudes and not respond.

    nosh (ee9fe2)

  33. Prosecutors wield the power of the state to deny citizens their liberty. They’re held to higher standards for very damn good reasons. I’m not sure why someone would want to point at sleazy defense attorney behavior to justify anything.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  34. “The routine, if the customers looked gullible enough, was to do a five minute dance and then stop saying that was all they had paid for. If they wanted more, they had to come up with more money. That may be why one of the boys went to the ATM at 12:30 AM to get money. If the customers complained about the ripoff, they were threatened with a rape accusation. It usually worked, the caller said, because most of these groups don’t want the hassle of such an accusation, even if there is little real danger of prosecution.”

    A fairly plausible scenario. But if this was the case why didn’t the frat boys say the girl threatened them with a rape accusation?

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  35. […] Los Angeles prosecutor Patrick Frey “thanks” Durham prosecutor Michael Nifong: “And thank you especially for spreading the image of prosecutors as people who withhold exculpatory evidence.” […]

    “Thanks for giving prosecutors a bad name” at Conservative Times--Republican GOP news source. (79c8e2)

  36. Funny how you were so willing to post about the Long Beach case when you could portray it as an anti-PC and hate-crime event, but ignore it when it degenerates into a police and prosecutorial fiasco.

    Funny how I’m busy. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I have been in trial and busy with family, Christmas, etc. I probably won’t even get my year-in-review post done by the 31st like I always do. I’m *so* sorry I haven’t lived up to your expectations for the blog . . .

    Patterico (35a917)

  37. And P — I know that juvie court is separated from adult court, but aren’t you assigned to Long Beach now? Well, knowing Cooley’s rep for embracing criticism and dissent, probably safer and better for you to sit behind your platitudes and not respond.

    No, I’m in Compton.

    I’ll happily respond. You’re being a jerk.

    Patterico (35a917)

  38. Hey Patterico! A Happily Litigious Holiday to you and yours.

    Can the Frat boys sue the D.A. ?

    Late Middle Age Wants to Know.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  39. nosh,

    If you want to try asking a question in a nonconfrontational manner, I might answer. But frankly, any response I give may not be immediate. I’m with family that I rarely see, and answering your questions or tending to this blog is unlikely to be a high priority. If you don’t like that, I really don’t care.

    Patterico (35a917)

  40. […] Los Angeles prosecutor Patrick Frey “thanks” Durham prosecutor Michael Nifong: “And thank you especially for spreading the image of prosecutors as people who withhold exculpatory evidence.” […]

    Michael Nifong: the new Bull Connor at Conservative Times--Republican GOP news source. (79c8e2)

  41. Can the Frat boys sue the D.A. ?

    I don’t know enough about the facts of the case, but if a prosecutor deliberately withholds exculpatory evidence, as reports say Nifong did, then there’s all sorts of stuff that can and should happen to him, beginning with the loss of his law license, and moving on from there. If there are applicable criminal statutes, I wouldn’t have a problem with Nifong being prosecuted under them — again, assuming that the reports I have seen are true, that he deliberately withheld critical evidence favorable to the defense.

    This is *not* acceptable behavior.

    Patterico (35a917)

  42. About how strippers act: I used to know some of these girls, and believe me, there is nothing like a standard way of doing things. How could you have standards in an industry of independent workers, half of whom are incapable of holding down a regular job (often due to drug addictions) and many of whom start in business on their own with no training or advice from others in the business?

    Sure, there are some agencies with standards who only hire reliable girls and always send body guards and are always very trustworthy, but there are also agencies that are just an ad in the Yellow Pages with the number of some pimp’s cell phone, where the girls are whatever drug adicts she can find (often the pimp is a former prostitute) who are desperate enough for a fix that they will go alone to a party with forty drunk, horny young guys and take off their clothes, in the hope that they will be paid for any extra-curricular activity that takes place. (And yes, there are a few scams like described above, but those have to be exceptions rather than the rule, or the business would dry up.)

    In the Duke case, the agency sounds a lot more like the second than the first. The frat boys were angry because they had specifically asked for white girls (contra David Ehrenstein’s uninformed fantasies) and the agency sent them two non-white women, one of whom was too drunk to dance (a lot of these girls need to be drunk or stoned to work).

    I suspect that what happened is that she went there expecting extracurricular money, even got herself all plastered so she could stand to do it, but she wasn’t very hot (I’ve seen pictures) and no one wanted a black girl and she was even too drunk to put on a decent show, so they kicked her out early. Either that or they insulted her while she was trying to dance and she got all upset and stormed out (some of these girls have amazingly fragile egos for someone in that line of work). Either way, I’m betting they refused to pay her some or all of the money and that’s what made her angry so she accused them of rape for revenge.

    Doc Rampage (4a07eb)

  43. In the Karen Tipton murder case here in my town recently profiled on Front Line, the prosecution withheld an FBI profiling report from the defense which contained information that was not even directly exculpatory, but could have been used in some way by the defense to cast doubt on the defendant’s guilt. This was enough to win a new trial and a real scolding of the prosecutor from the judge. How could any conviction stand once evidence emerged that the DNA evidence was withheld? I think the defense team should depose Nifong immediately and let his swear under oath that he has not withheld any more evidence. Then if any more shenanigans are discovered, he will face perjury charges and disbarment. If I were ever charged criminally, God forbid, I would insist on making the prosecutor swear before the jury he or she had not withheld any evidence from my defense attorneys.

    Jeff Hull (ec53cb)

  44. I don’t think this case is over, and I’m far from convinced that a verdict of Not Guilty on the remaining charges is a sure thing. Consider TV’s talking heads when they discuss this case. The disparity in comments by black and white analysts is striking, even after the latest revelations of Nifong’s collusion with the DNA lab chief. It all depends on the jury pool but I question whether a significant percentage of the local jury pool view this case and DA Nifong’s actions with the same suspicion that national observers do.

    DRJ (51a774)

  45. The frat boys were angry because they had specifically asked for white girls (contra David Ehrenstein’s uninformed fantasies) and the agency sent them two non-white women,

    Aha, so then it’s racism of the “white lace curtain” variety.

    Charming.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  46. @nosh:
    i’d like to see your evidence for the proposition that prosecutors and criminal defenders are somehow more ethical than attorneys in the civil arena. i think you just pulled that out of your fundament.

    i love this case. for years i’ve been watching the encroachment of the radical left and its conspiracy of group rights and distributive democracy upon the academy, which should rightfully be a place of honest, open inquiry and learning untinged by ideology. i’ve noticed the more trepidatious voices cowed into silence by the threat of being labeled politically incorrect, akin to the mensheviks in soviet russia. i’ve looked out the window at the naked emperor parading down my street, smiling grimly at the certain knowledge that he can’t do that forever and one day we’ll get close enough to him to do some major damage. this is the day and the hour.

    duke university is a cesspool of second-class scholarship. all vestiges of its counterfeit cloak of quality stand stripped away (except for the basketball team, but i’ve been a ucla bruin fan since the first grade). providing only that the sheepskin doesn’t disintegrate during the process, the highest and best use of a duke diploma is for wiping your ass.

    assistant devil's advocate (c1c708)

  47. By the way, there is something of a history of prosecutorial misconduct in Durham, where I grew up. Revisiting Durham some years after graduating HS in the mid 60’s and moving away, I was told that the DA, a Mr. Vann, had gone to jail for selling dismissals of criminal cases for $10,000 a pop. I don’t know if Woody Vann (seen on Fox News) is related.

    Jeff Hull (ec53cb)

  48. Aha, so then it’s racism of the “white lace curtain” variety.

    Oh, do keep on talking, David. No one could make up this stuff.

    (and you’re mangling your derogatory adages…)

    Darleen (543cb7)

  49. tell me david, am i a lace curtain white boy or a shanty white boy?

    assistant devil's advocate (c1c708)

  50. In addition to prosecutors’ “thank you’s,” Duke University should also thank DA Nifong. After years of increasing applications, this year’s applications to Duke are down 20%. However, as AMac pointed out, we don’t need to feel sorry for Duke given the actions of President Brodhead and the Gang of 88.

    DRJ (51a774)

  51. Some clueless race-baiting fuckwit with a small penis wrote:

    Aha, so then it’s racism of the “white lace curtain” variety.

    Yup, any white guy who hires a black stripper must be racist, and any white guy who hires a non-black stripper must also be racist. And given the overwhelming majority of the population who choose to pair up with members of the opposite sex rather than giving equal consideration to members of their own, we must all be sexist, too. All of us, that is, except the gays among us. They’re really sexist.

    [For crying out loud, X. I just got through getting on Ehrenstein’s case for calling Malkin a “crazy bitch,” and now you write this. Let’s all get into the holiday spirit and can the profane insults, mmmkay? Even if you think the target deserves them.

    And you know that when you challenge D.E. on the size of his member, you’re begging for a response that none of us wants to see . . . (Note: any links to purported photographic refutations of X’s accusation will be deleted.) — P]

    Xrlq (576284)

  52. as if further evidence of the state of duke were needed…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_Affair
    my advice is to put down your beverage before reading this material.

    assistant devil's advocate (c1c708)

  53. Yup, any white guy who hires a black stripper must be racist, and any white guy who hires a non-black stripper must also be racist.

    BINGO!

    And given the overwhelming majority of the population who choose to pair up with members of the opposite sex rather than giving equal consideration to members of their own, we must all be sexist, too. All of us, that is, except the gays among us. They’re really sexist.

    Only Republican ones like Mark Foley and Fundies like Ted Haggard.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  54. Comrade Ehrenstein #44 etc.,

    In some places, it’s customary to gain some familiarity with the facts of a case before offering interpretations.

    AMac (e6e545)

  55. “Facts are stupid things” — Ronald Reagan

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  56. Patterico — Enjoy your family, the holiday weekend, and your upcoming vacation. But note how you fend off specific questions and allegations against your office by resorting to personal attacks.

    YOU posted a comment on the Duke case by decrying that it reflected on the ethics and competence of all prosecutors. Hence your sarcastic “thank you, Nifong.”

    A week or more ago, YOU posted a guest blog entry about the L.A. Times neglect of the Long Beach case, which asserted it was due to political correctness.

    Then, instead of even mentioning an instance in that very case involving ethical lapses by your own office and one of the police agencies it prosecutes for, YOU get personal calling me a jerk. Sorry for being “confrontational.” Since when is that incorrect or even impolite for a blog?

    And sorry for mistaking your transfer to Compton for Long Beach. That was careless and I apologize for my error.

    Query: Have you personally ever argued to a jury that a police officer or sheriff deputy would have “no reason to lie” while knowing that some of them often do?

    nosh (ee9fe2)

  57. “Trolls are stupid things”—Old Coot and others

    Old Coot (581b7e)

  58. But note how you fend off specific questions and allegations against your office by resorting to personal attacks.

    I don’t know anything about these allegations other than what you’ve said. I haven’t even followed the L.A. Times coverage of the case closely; I linked to criticism made by someone else.

    I said you were being a jerk because you were attacking my credibility because I *didn’t* talk about something you thought I should be talking about. Rather than simply asking me about it in a polite fashion, you proceeded on several incorrect assumptions: I had heard about the controversy; I had time to talk about it; but I didn’t for some nefarious reason.

    All untrue.

    I.e. you acted like a jerk. In my opinion.

    Query: Have you personally ever argued to a jury that a police officer or sheriff deputy would have “no reason to lie” while knowing that some of them often do?

    I argue to juries that police officers are human beings, and like all human beings, there are some bad apples in every profession. But that they need to make their decision about the police credibility in my case based on the facts of the case, not on some prejudice for or against police in general that they bring into the case beforehand.

    For me, the key is always looking at the evidence presented in court, and encouraging jurors not to be swayed by prejudices or emotions coming from outside the courtroom.

    That answer your question?

    Patterico (35a917)

  59. David E.,

    I wish you would respond to the substance of the comments rather than provide a witty retort. You are sometimes clever but, overall, it doesn’t do anything to advance the discussion or help me/us to understand your position. I’m frequently left with the impression that you embrace the standard left-wing dogma since most of your comments have an us-vs-them slant.

    I’m making this comment because it’s clear you are articulate and passionate about your beliefs. I think you could add something here if you would drop the trollish behavior.

    DRJ (51a774)

  60. Some clueless race-baiting fuckwit with a small penis…

    Well at least, unlike someone, he didn’t accuse him of also being a child rapist…

    Polybius (cd1346)

  61. In his own snappish-old-maid kind of way, David has a point: “Don’t associate with pigs and you won’t get dirty.” If you don’t want a “stripper” (read prostitute) accusing you of rape, don’t invite her into your home. If you don’t want to be stomped to death, don’t get fighting drunk in a biker bar (my office defended such a case). There’s a way trash live and there’s a way decent human beings live. Live like a decent human being, associate only with other decent human beings and you will be safe. If there’s proximate cause here, it’s these kids’ parents’ not teaching these kids to stay away from lowlifes.

    nk (41da82)

  62. nk, there is a lot to what you wrote (my wife said the same thing to me this morning, so it must be true!). Nonetheless, concerning the Duke case, it’s also worth considering that:

    (1) From what I’ve read, one of the three indicted men acted as I would have wanted my own son to have behaved (not true for at least one of the other two). Seligmann made an appearance at the party, recognized that the entertainment was a performance by two strippers, called a cab, and left. Yet with the “pick three, any three will do” photo lineup that the D.A. and the Durham PD put on, he was identified and thus indicted.

    (2) Even lowlifes deserve reasonable treatment by Authority. The sainted Rodney King was no saint, y’know, but he still deserved better than what he got that time. If that obtains for the likes of King, it certainly should hold for collegians exhibiting crass and ungentlemanly, but legal, behavior.

    AMac (e6e545)

  63. AMac,

    No question. Please do not construe my comment as an accusation against these kids or a defense of Nifong. I was giving a consecrated boy’s, with doting and sacrificing parents, point of view. And trying to find sense in what David Ehrenstein said, for my sins.

    nk (41da82)

  64. nk, I give no credit to David just for saying something that happens to be true. It is blatantly obvious that some of the lacrosse players did something irresponsible, morally questionable, and risky. He doesn’t get any credit for pointing out the obvious, especially when he does so in defense of something as indefensible as racism and/or prosecutorial misconduct.

    Patterico’s post was about Nifong’s behavior. David’s response was an attempt to change the subject to the players’s behavior.

    Doc Rampage (4a07eb)

  65. Patterico’s comment threads are always getting hijacked, Doc. His tolerance of it, and his tolerance for silly comments including some of mine, are some of the special characters of this site that keep me, and I believe a lot of others, coming back.

    nk (57e995)

  66. Let’s see, the spin now is that the “frat boys” (yeah, no loaded label there) brought this on themselves by hosting the party and inviting “a lowlife” into their midst…

    and interestingly, at the beginning of this, the accuser was portrayed as an honest but struggling single mom who had no other options in the racist/sexist/homophobic/forest destroying/kyoto treaty scofflaws American Culture of Hate then to become a stripper (and how dare anyone suggest she might be a prostitute sex worker … not that there’s anything wrong with that you Xtian fundie prudes!).

    nice game of heads Nifong wins, tails the “frat boys” lose …

    Darleen (543cb7)

  67. Good point, Darleen. Even now the theory hasn’t really shifted. The stripper is a “lowlife” for purposes of evaluating the boys’ moral character in hiring her, but a courageous mother with no choice but to work as an “exotic dancer” when it comes to her own credibility. Never mind that they found the DNA of half of Durham’s male population in her panties – that tells you nothing about her, only about those who would hire her.

    Xrlq (2656a4)

  68. nk gets it. Lie down with dogs, etc. Had the frat boys gone to a local strip club for a party I’m sure none of this would have happened.

    I’m frequently left with the impression that you embrace the standard left-wing dogma since most of your comments have an us-vs-them slant.

    Assumptions are always made about those who depart from the script. Since I oppose the Bush administration, this ugly war and the ideological imperatives of Willima Kristol(nacht) and his cohorts I’m supposed to worship Bill Clinton like a God, support everything Nancy Pelosi says and does, and host of other equally risible things. Politics isn’t so simple — though there are many in here who will continue to insist that it is.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  69. Had the frat boys gone to a local strip club for a party I’m sure none of this would have happened.

    Ah…when you don’t like the victim … blame him/her for bringing it on his/herself.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  70. Nifong isn’t the moral police. If the players did something illegal, then they deserve to be prosecuted, but other than that he is using his office to settle a personal matter.

    munsey (085be7)

  71. ideological imperatives of Willima Kristol(nacht)

    Let’s just say the snark of labeling the Jewish William Kristol as a Nazi adds yet another layer of pure “ick” to teh David.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  72. Ah…when you don’t like the victim … blame him/her for bringing it on his/herself.

    Who’s the victim, Darleen?

    Let’s just say the snark of labeling the Jewish William Kristol as a Nazi adds yet another layer of pure “ick” to teh David

    Your “ick” is my command, dear.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  73. David, #65,

    I get it, but do you get it? Stupid boys associate with a whore. The whore, being a whore, falsely accuses them. The prosecutor, being a political whore running for re-election, indicts them. Their lives destroyed because a whore looking for a fat civil judgment accused them and a whore looking for another four-year sinecure abused his authority. So what does the stupid boys’ stupidity have to do with the cupidity of the two whores other than their lacking the sense to guard themselves against such predators? When you make the circle, Nifong’s violation of every ethical standard is the point of this case.

    nk (50d578)

  74. There is a certain similarity between Kristol’s desire to punish any Muslims for the crimes of a few Muslims and Nifong’s attempt to punish any frat boys for the crimes of a few frat boys…

    Being at a cash machine when the crime actually occured shouldn’t excuse you from punishment in the eyes of neocons, should it?

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  75. David E.,

    It’s clear you are not interested in honest debate since you have sunk to slinging Nazi slurs. How ironic.

    DRJ (51a774)

  76. With apologies to Patterico, Enquiring minds want to know:

    Mr. Ehrenstein, were you born a gaping *ssh*le, or did you go to special schools?

    SDN (1ddd36)

  77. I was born in Manhattan in 1947 — the year that saw the release of Good News and Desert Fury. The House Un-American Activities Committe wrecked havoc on Hollywood that year. And Gore Vidal spent the summer in Bermuda with Harold Lang.

    As my father was a WWII veteran my first two years were spent in G.I. housing in the Bronx — Quonset Huts built for those destined for the new apartment project. But we moved to Queens before that new housing was constructed.

    As to “special schools” I attended the High School of Music and Art (aka. Communist Martyrs High) where my classmates included several “Red Diaper Babies,” film-director-to-be Tim Hunter and singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. I later attended Pace College (now University) as my writing career was just getting underway.

    Nothing to say about fecal matter, alas.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  78. “There is a certain similarity between Kristol’s desire to punish any Muslims for the crimes of a few Muslims and Nifong’s attempt to punish any frat boys for the crimes of a few frat boys…”

    For inane comment, this beats David and that is hard to do.

    “Being at a cash machine when the crime actually occured shouldn’t excuse you from punishment in the eyes of neocons, should it?

    Comment by Neville Chamberlain —”

    Posting stupid non sequiturs does not excuse you for consuming oxygen that could be put to better use.

    Mike K (416363)

  79. Sorry, Mike K.

    I didn’t realize that everyone who posts here, from the left and the right, are strongly opposed to the collective punishment we and our dependents have been dishing out in the Middle East.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  80. AMac,

    There is a saying that “bad facts make bad law.” The point of the saying is that when faced with horrible facts, attorneys, judges and juries will sometimes do questionable things to produce what they view as a good result. This DA’s article (on very different facts) is an example of that concept.

    I think there is an element of that concept in this case. You mentioned that one of the Duke players did what we expect our sons to do. I assume you are speaking of Reede Seligmann’s behavior, and I agree with you. However, I have a problem with the reports of the typical behavior of the Duke lacrosse team that I think is consistent with questionable campus attitudes toward drinking (especially underage drinking) and sex.

    We have a college son who attends a large public university. The students are known for alcohol-related behavior that sometimes ends in disaster, especially frat parties. As a result, we made it clear to our son that we would not pay for him to join a frat or similar organization. The fact that Reede Seligmann made a good choice that night does not change the fact that apparently the members of his organization made bad choices. They did not deserve to be victimized by false accusations but, in my view, the fact that something bad happened is and was foreseeable.

    From all appearances, Nifong has acted unethically and possibly criminally in this case. If so, he should answer for those actions. However, I’ve always thought there was more to his actions than a desire for re-election or self-promotion. There had been complaints of poor behavior in the Duke student neighborhood for months and perhaps longer. Law enforcement was apparently making efforts to crack down on that behavior. IMO, this event was a perfect storm where the various elements of the community brought concerns and agendas to this event. These students may not have been at fault but, in life, external circumstances can turn a bad event into a horrible one.

    College kids and their parents need to make better choices. I am not suggesting (as David E. appears to say) that the lacrosse team members deserved this but I don’t think they be surprised. As long as college kids continue to make bad choices, we will continue to see cases like this.

    DRJ (51a774)

  81. DRJ,

    I’ve never visited Durham or Duke, and have no connection to lacrosse. Thus, I have no first-hand insight into the behavior of the indicted men, the lacrosse team, athletes at Duke, Duke students in general, or students at other colleges in Durham.

    It is possible to gain a sense of these issues from reading what others have written, and, as regards this hoax, from reading newspapers, blog commentary, and case-related documents. You can see my own view presented earlier in this thread (#s 12, 15, 60) as regards the indicted men and that night’s party.

    As the father of a son at college, I agree with many of the views you express in #78. Integrity rather than non-illegality is the standard of conduct I hope he aspires to (and he does).

    If he should receive a summons for public urination, drunkenness, violating noise ordinances, or behaving obnoxiously towards neighbors–the accusations that have been leveled against lacrosse team members and Duke athletes generally–there would be a major reckoning to take place around the kitchen table.

    If he were to do all that, and then throw a stripper party, and face 30 years in jail for a felony rape that obviously did not happen and that he clearly could not have committed, would I say, “payback’s a bitch!”? No. I’d do what the families of these students have done, and remortgage, and empty my retirement account.

    (By the way: AFAIK, Reade Seligmann did not make a good choice that night, as you said. AFAIK, his entire high school and college track record is one of good choices.)

    The proper role of the criminal justice system is not to translate disdain for Seligmann’s choice of friends or teammates into some variation of collective punishment. This is what D.A. Nifong has done, with the connivance of the Durham Police Department, the Duke Faculty Group of 88, the Durham branch of the NAACP, and others. I don’t think the other two accused men have the choir-boy attributes of Seligmann, but the same principle applies.

    I think you are quite wrong to suppose that there is some decent motive behind Nifong’s actions. A timeline of the case does not support that idea. Nifong decided that he needed certain things, among them victories in hotly contested primary and general elections, and he handled this case in such a way as to get them. What Nifong Wants For Himself continues to drive the proceedings.

    The “perfect storm” was not about stripper parties. The baseball team had them (confirmed, newspaper account). The basketball team, too (personal communication to blogger Bill Anderson). Other campus organizations, including sororities, have been credibly suggested to have done the same.

    Instead, it was about the Elephant In The Room of America Today: race relations. 46 of 47 lacrosse players were white out-of-towners, and the false accuser was a local black woman. D.A. Nifong calculated he could build on pre-existing resentments in majority-black Durham (surely exacerbated by the off-campus behavior of some Duke athletes). He calculated that he could so inflame local opinion that he could ride its wave to victory. He was right.

    (FWIW, some have speculated that when Nifong heard the deranged stripper’s story, he gambled that sex was a likelihood at this party, and that DNA tests would turn the case into a “he said-she said” argument about whether relations had been consensual. Sounds like a plausible theory to me.)

    Shelby Steele’s outline of the country’s racial challenge provides the proper context to the rape hoax case, I think. From yesterday’s edition of Patterico’s favorite paper:

    … a belief in the ongoing power of [white] racism is, today, an article of faith for “good” whites and “truth-telling” blacks. It is heresy for any white or black to say openly that, today, underdevelopment and broken families are vastly greater problems for blacks than racism, even though this is obviously true…

    … [Belief in the continued potency of white supremacy is] a source of power because it portrays blacks as victims. And wherever there are victims, there is justification for seeking power in their name. Thus the specter of black difficulty has been an enormous source of power for the left since the 1960s. To say racism is not the first cause of black problems is to put yourself at odds with the post-’60s left’s most enduring fount of power.

    This of course means that racism in the United States has parallel lives. In one life, it is the actual instances of racism on the ground. But, in its parallel life, it is a time-honored currency of power that still trades well in the United States. Here, racism lives as faith rather than fact.

    My nomination for the most important “perfect storm” ingredient was Michael Nifong’s correct perception that he had the opportunity to promote a black accuser’s false charges against white customers. That was the element that energized the rogue prosecuter’s enablers among the radical faculty and students at Duke and NCCU, black and white (see #15 supra). That is why this stripper party rather than those of the baseball team or basketball team has been in the news for the past nine months.

    None of this, of course, argues against one of the closing points that you made: College kids and their parents need to make better choices.

    AMac (05488a)

  82. In #83, I wrote

    As the father of a son at college, I agree with many of the views [DRJ expresses] in #78.

    Typo: I meant, “… I agree with many of the views [DRJ expresses] in #82.”

    AMac (05488a)

  83. Nifong didn’t think past the cameras. He believed he was a rock star. “So this is what it feels like”, he thought.

    His thought process never went into any depth about the lives he was so carelessly playing with.

    He is a disgrace to the law profession.

    rightisright (16ece0)

  84. Doc Rampage wrote:

    About how strippers act: I used to know some of these girls, and believe me, there is nothing like a standard way of doing things. How could you have standards in an industry of independent workers, half of whom are incapable of holding down a regular job (often due to drug addictions) and many of whom start in business on their own with no training or advice from others in the business?

    First, the “victim” was an “exotic dancer,” and now she is a “stripper.” Let’s please get real here!

    The DNA tests indicated that she did not have any “genetic material” (the euphamism of the century) from any of the accused, or even any members of the Duke lacrosse team either in her body or her underwear. However, the tests revealed that she did have “genetic material” from several other males in these places.

    There is a professional designation for such a lady, but it is neither “exotic dancer” nor “stripper.”

    Dana (556f76)

  85. Ahhh, should have read further; I see that the knowledgeable NK has seen through the politically correct bovine feces and properly identified her profession.

    Of course, it is perfectly possible to rape a prostitute, but when the evidence of such is of the he said/ she said (or, in this case, the they said/ she said) variety, this non-lawyerly person does wonder just how a prosecutor expects to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The non-traditionally employed single mother already has an established record of changing her account of the events of that evening. Then, she apparently fingered one of the players who was at the party only very briefly. Now she can’t remember if she was penetrated by a penis or some other object.

    If she can’t remember that detail, how on God’s earth will Mr Nifong be able to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she has correctly remembered everything else that supposedly occurred, or even that she has correctly identified the alleged assailants.

    Dana (556f76)

  86. These students may not have been at fault but, in life, external circumstances can turn a bad event into a horrible one.

    College kids and their parents need to make better choices

    Sh*t happens. It doesn’t make the victim “quilty.”

    My daughter is a college sophomore and a resident advisor (she just got home last night after making sure her floor was secure). “Poor choices” is part and parcel of growing up, part of adolescence where the consequences of “poor choices” usually help one make better choices in the future. Her floor is all freshman, and “poor choices” seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, when it comes to 17 & 18 year olds being on their own for the first time in their lives.

    The college freshman girl who goes to an office campus party and staggers drunk back on campus has made a poor choice… hopefully her consequence of vomiting all over her bedspread and enduring a braincrushing hangover will spur her to better choices. She should not be held responsible if she is pulled into the bushes and raped while staggering across the campus to her dorm. The Duke lacrosse boys made a poor choice in drinking and hiring strippers, and their consequences should not include a life destroying episode of facing the real possibility of long prison sentences based on a hoax.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  87. typo “to an office campus party “ should be to an off-campus party

    Darleen (543cb7)

  88. David E. is a much simpler case than he tries to present.

    Visualize a caricature white male Mississippian from, say, 1958 — red-faced, loose-lipped, overall-wearing, absolutely secure in the conviction of his own personal rectitude and superiority.

    Then search-and-replace all the specific terms for the modern, “politically correct” ones, leaving the assumption of moral and ethical inviolability intact. He would fit right in on the front porch of any house in Meridian circa 1960, once he learned the technical terms.

    Regards,
    Ric

    Ric Locke (8409cf)

  89. Neville Chamberlain wrote: “There is a certain similarity between Kristol’s desire to punish any Muslims for the crimes of a few Muslims and Nifong’s attempt to punish any frat boys for the crimes of a few frat boys…
    Being at a cash machine when the crime actually occured shouldn’t excuse you from punishment in the eyes of neocons, should it?”
    ************************************

    Neville Chamberlain,

    We “get” that you hate Jews and the Bush Administration’s foreign policy.
    But Jews and foreign policy have nothing to do with the case.

    I’m sorry the jocks mistreated you during your high school days, but the punk rock angst you harbor toward authority & the Duke lacrosse players is as irrelevant to the facts in the case as the current price of avocadoes at the grocery store, or the substitution patterns by Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

    Desert Rat (ee9fe2)

  90. AMac,

    I understand your points and I generally agree with you. I think it is obvious that no one, especially a minor, deserves unsubstantiated criminal charges by an unethical DA. And I can’t help but see the role race has played and continues to play in this case. That’s part of the perfect storm I alluded to in my earlier comment. Race has become the overarching issue in this case since I doubt Mr. Nifong would have been as aggressive if not for the race component and pressures from the black community. As that support decreases and the backlash intensifies, it’s not surprising that DA Nifong appears to be laying the groundwork to dismiss the case.

    Nevertheless, my point was that there is more to this story than a DA who wanted to be re-elected and would do anything to get there. In part, I think this case is also a reaction to what has become typical college campus behavior, especially excessive drinking and highly sexualized behavior.

    Frankly, I feel sorry for college kids today. Long before they enter college, kids are given adult perks and held to adult standards. I’ve seen kids as young as 7, from all walks of life, with cellphones and credit cards. We had dinner last night at an upscale restaurant where the “couple” next to us paid with a credit card. The oldest young lady – the one with the credit card – was 12. Her friend was 11. I’m not sure how they got there but I doubt they walked, so apparently someone dropped them off there and left them alone. I will confidently predict that by the time these young ladies are 15-16, they won’t be satisfied with eating out for entertainment, and they will probably opt for drinking parties or more. I can only imagine what college will bring.

    AMac, the scene in our household would mirror yours if our son faced the legal problems you described. We would also support him in every way – financially, emotionally, etc. – if that happened. But our generation is making a big mistake if we think campus behavior is part of growing up and learning the hard way. It used to be that way but, in today’s world, kids are given greater license but also held to adult standards. The conflict is stark between yesterday’s and today’s standards and consequences. I think the Duke case is a sad example of that.

    DRJ (51a774)

  91. Darleen,

    I never suggested that the Duke students deserved questionable criminal indictments because they might have made bad choices. In fact, in my conclusion, I specifically said they didn’t deserve it.

    I appreciate the way you make your points with such verve and enthusiam. I’ve always found the anecdotes about your college daughter’s RA experiences to be interesting and illuminating, and I’m sure you are proud of the good choices your daughter has clearly made.

    However, my objection is to your suggestion that my earlier comment somehow supported a “she deserved to be raped” scenario. I think there is a clear difference between deserving unjust consequences and understanding they might occur.

    DRJ (51a774)

  92. Hehe, Desert Rat.

    “Hate the Jews?”

    That’s getting a little…shrill, don’t you think?

    And I do indeed see a certain similarity between the irrational hatred of Islam and the irrational hatred of the fraternity system.

    Neville Chamberlain (80a4fa)

  93. DRJ,

    Thanks for the thoughtful exchange. As you say, more points of agreement than not. Worse, my spouse agrees with your position more than mine.

    For the rest of the evening, I’ll be upending the blogger model by slipping out of my pajamas and going out to an XMas Eve Party. ‘Meatlife’ they call it, or some such.

    Merry Christmas!

    AMac (05488a)

  94. Merry Christmas, AMac, and it’s good to hear I’m in touch with my reasonable feminine side.

    DRJ (51a774)

  95. The “high-falutin” theoretical talk on this case can be annoying. Beyond all the race symbolism every “brain” likes to spout, the facts are that Nifong had the accuser tested at a DNA lab, not one of the several sources of DNA on her or in her matched a single Duke lacrosse player, and Nifong had the lab hide that fact. But, I guess some people on this board are like Chan Hall of primarily black NCCU who stated he hoped the Duke 3 would be prosecuted whether “it happened or not” as payback for things that have happened in the past. Then he was elected class president. Lovely Durham County, NC.

    Joey Ty (9f37aa)

  96. For many Americans, this Nifong garbage is just more of the same “Fake, But Accurate” crap. The horror, these “frat boys” are guilty of something why not RAPE! To convict people on things which technically aren’t true, is just a way to implement “justice”. Nifong, Nancy Grace, it’s all the same shill self serving dog crap. To these insects, ruining lives doesn’t matter if they can further their career.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  97. #96:

    The “high-falutin” theoretical talk on this case can be annoying. Beyond all the race symbolism every “brain” likes to spout, the facts are…
    But, I guess some people on this board are like Chan Hall of primarily black NCCU…

    Joey Ty,
    I cant’ tell exactly which commenters stand accused of brainiacal high-falutinness or channeling Chan. You’d have to be more specific to, possibly, prompt a response.

    AMac (e4438f)

  98. The progenitor of Peace in our Time wrote:

    And I do indeed see a certain similarity between the irrational hatred of Islam and the irrational hatred of the fraternity system.

    🙂 That is such a silly comparison I have no idea where to start.

    Dana (71415b)

  99. The LA Times comes out against D.A. Nifong’s performance in an editorial today (via Durham-in-Wonderland).

    AMac (e4438f)

  100. AMac has this nailed, IMHO. I think when all the lawsuits settle out, AMac’s words below will be the conclusion of the juries. The DNA annihilation of the “he said – she said” credibility must have come as a grave shock, and so Nifong stepped all the rest of the way across the line as damage control.

    +++++++++
    “I think you are quite wrong to suppose that there is some decent motive behind Nifong’s actions. A timeline of the case does not support that idea. Nifong decided that he needed certain things, among them victories in hotly contested primary and general elections, and he handled this case in such a way as to get them. What Nifong Wants For Himself continues to drive the proceedings.”

    and

    “46 of 47 lacrosse players were white out-of-towners, and the false accuser was a local black woman. D.A. Nifong calculated he could build on pre-existing resentments in majority-black Durham (surely exacerbated by the off-campus behavior of some Duke athletes). He calculated that he could so inflame local opinion that he could ride its wave to victory. He was right.

    (FWIW, some have speculated that when Nifong heard the deranged stripper’s story, he gambled that sex was a likelihood at this party, and that DNA tests would turn the case into a “he said-she said” argument about whether relations had been consensual. Sounds like a plausible theory to me.)”

    jim (a9ab88)

  101. The trip to the ATM suggests that sex had not yet taken place due to insufficient funds. Either there wasn’t enough money or more was asked for and thus the blow-up between the respective “victims” in the case.

    David Ehrenstein (f45bb3)

  102. My first major felony case was one in which my client, with no criminal record, from a good family and from all appearances just a decent young man, was convicted on the testimony of two “accomplices”. I never believed that the jury believed the “accomplices”. They were the kind of people that make people vote for concealed carry. The jury believed the prosecutor who directed them, re-directed them and argued their testimony in his closing argument. My lesson was that trash can send you to prison if they find non-trash to carry their water for them. As this prostitute did with Mike Nifong. Hopefully, Nifong’s credibility has been so damaged publicly that the jury will give him no more credence than it will give the prostitute.

    nk (d7a872)

  103. DRJ

    I think there is a clear difference between deserving unjust consequences and understanding they might occur.

    Thank you for your response, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    My Bureau of Investigation offered some self-defense classes … not just physical defense, but how to spot potential problems before they escalate into one becoming a victim.

    And a few stories came from our instructor on how even smart, intelligent adults can be momentarily clueless about their surroundings and become victims.

    Understanding is, indeed, fully separate from deserving. And lack of understanding doesn’t transfer responsibility from perp to victim.

    Hope your Christmas was a happy one full of warmth and merriment.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  104. 103…”The trip to the ATM suggests that sex had not yet taken place due to insufficient funds. Either there wasn’t enough money or more was asked for and thus the blow-up between the respective “victims” in the case.”

    Did he not then go straight to the dorm? Do you contend that the accuser was there waiting for her money?

    quasimodo (4e2cee)

  105. The trip to the ATM suggests that sex had not yet taken place due to insufficient funds. Either there wasn’t enough money or more was asked for and thus the blow-up between the respective “victims” in the case.

    The trip to the ATM was made by Seligman and another player, who were picked up by a Durham cabdriver Moezeldin Almostafa. The phone call from Seligman’s cell phone to the cab company is confirmed by phone company records. After being picked up at 12:14 a.m., they went to the ATM, where Seligman withdrew money. The visit is confirmed by time stamped photographs from the ATM surveillance camera . From there, the cab driver took them through a drive-through fast food restaurant, then back to their dormitory. Duke University security records show Seligman’s card being used to enter the dormitory at 12:46 a.m.

    According to the time stamped photographs taken at the party, the assault had to happen sometime between 12:08 a.m. (when she was photographed dancing) and 12:34 a.m. (when she was photographed sprawled on the back stairs.)

    Seligman’s attorney attempted, early on, to meet with the district attorney to discuss this alibi evidence. The district attorney refused. In stead, Durham police, acting at the DAs direction, served a three-year-old warrant on the cab driver. In 2003, a fare he picked up at a Durham department store had shoplifted. A security camera caught his license plate, and a bench warrant for his arrest was issued. In the meantime, police contacted him, and he cooperated, giving them information on where he took the fare. She was arrested, and convicted of shoplifting.

    Three years later, after he appeared as an alibi witness, the old bench warrant, which was never dismissed, was dug up and he was arrested. The DA refused to drop the charges, and he went to trial. A judge heard the charges, and dismissed the case in less than an hour.

    Brian (1e1316)

  106. To David:

    The trip to the ATM by Reade Seligman had nothing to do with insufficient funds for sex. Telephone company records indicate a call from Seligman’s cell phone to a cab company at 12:14 a.m. The cab driver has testified that he picked up Seligman and another player at 12:18 a.m. He drove them to the ATM, where Seligman was photographed (timestamped) withdrawing money. From there, the cab driver drove them to the drive through of a fast food restaurant, then dropped them off at a Duke dormitory. Duke University records show Seligman’s card was used to enter the dormitory at 12:46 a.m.

    Seligman’s attorney initially attempted to meet with the district attorney to discuss his whereabouts during the time of the alleged assault. Nifong refused to meet with them.

    Brian (1e1316)

  107. David # 109,

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    nk (ca8012)

  108. Thanks for the link, David E., and I wholeheartedly agree with NK’s response. I also agree with Patterico that Nifong’s actions in this case have damaged the credibility of American prosecutors and, I would add, lawyers in general. Has anyone ever heard of a prosecutor or any lawyer brought up on ethics charges while the case upon which the charges were based is still pending? I’m sure it’s happened somewhere but I haven’t seen it in my area.

    DRJ (51a774)

  109. DRJ,

    Thank you. Today I walked into court with an agreed but very substantive and consequential order. I had not motioned it up, not briefed it, had no witnesses or affidavits. All I had was my credibility as an attorney. The judge read it in chambers and signed it.

    “Has anyone ever heard of a prosecutor or any lawyer brought up on ethics charges while the case upon which the charges were based is still pending?”

    I have seen it twice. In the first instance, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission refused to entertain the complaint as long as the case was pending. In the second case, it entertained the complaint on the merits and dismissed it. Don’t forget that disciplinary proceedings are not intended to punish the lawyer but to prevent harm to the public. I suppose it depends on the disciplinary body’s view of the imminence of the harm.

    nk (8214ee)

  110. Must be a shortage of white prostitutes in Durham,NC.

    tz (a90377)

  111. NK,

    That’s interesting. In Texas, I believe that many grievance/ethics matters are handled privately in the initial stage, so some time passes before there is a public announcement or hearing. In addition, most Texas criminal matters are heard promptly due to Speedy Trial requirements, although that may be true in other jurisdictions as well. However, there doesn’t seem to be a speedy trial requirement that applies in the Duke case.

    I think in general it is difficult to fairly evaluate a lawyer’s ethics while the case is still pending. I hope it’s a rare case where the impropriety is as blatant as it seems in the Duke case. The California case I linked above – where the ethical charges were heard after the defendant was convicted and incarcerated – seems more common and/or likely.

    DRJ (51a774)

  112. Via Instapundit, here’s a former prosecutor’s opinion on Nifong that is (not surprisingly) similar to Patterico’s.

    DRJ (51a774)

  113. DRJ, #114:

    I was reminded that my knowledge of disciplinary proceedings is behind the times (which is to my credit in one sense). In Illinois, initiating disciplinary proceedings while the case is pending is now the rule for two reasons:

    We have In re Himel which imposed a mandatory duty on attorneys to report unethical conduct by other attorneys immediately and imposed a two-year suspension on Mr. Himel for not doing so IN A CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION. (I should have remembered that the first time.)

    A fairly recent Supreme Court decision took away the authority of lower court judges to discipline attorneys for ethical violations in cases before them and imposed the Himel rule on the judges to immediately report the misconduct to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission which is an arm of the Supreme Court.

    As to the actual progress of the complaint while a case is pending, I only know the two cases I mentioned earlier.

    nk (57e995)

  114. Nifong’s lies don’t surprise me, nor does
    N.C. Att. Gen. Roy Cooper’s silence on the case.
    I havee xposed NCAG Cooper’s fraud on the US Supreme Court at http://www.ncjusticefraud.comfor 14 months. He hasn’t denied the charges, or sued me for libel, because the charges are true.

    Chris langdon, qiology@aol.com

    Chris Langdon (71415b)

  115. […] Him for Tax Cuts: Oh, I’ll be happy to say “thank you,” Mr. President — as soon as we redefine the word as I have used it here […]

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