April 11, 2007

Next Up: Disbarring Nifong

ABC News reports that the North Carolina Attorney General will drop all charges against the Duke lacrosse players originally accused of raping an exotic dancer at a party over a year ago. After the DNA produced no matches for the students and the victim kept changing her story, prosecutors belatedly discovered that they had no case:

The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to the case.

The three players, Reade Seligmann, David Evans and Collin Finnerty, were facing charges of first degree kidnapping and first degree forcible sexual offense. The charges stem from an off-campus party on the night of March 13, 2006. ...

The reasons that will be cited for the dismissal are not yet known, though the case has been riddled with criticism and colored by controversy since its early months. Defense attorneys released documents showing the accuser changed key details of her story in the weeks and months after the alleged assault.

Legal analysts and forensic experts have criticized what they call a critically flawed photo identification lineup — a lineup that led to the identification and indictment of Evans, Finnerty, Seligmann. No DNA evidence was found matching any lacrosse players with samples from the rape kit, while DNA from unidentified men was found on the accuser's body and clothing.

This case has been a travesty since its start. The district attorney, Mike Nifong, made his case in public right from the start, acting very inappropriately and inflaming local passions against the accused. Later, it turned out that Nifong knew about the exculpatory DNA results but conspired with the lab to keep the results from the defendants -- an act that likely violated the law and the civil rights of the defendants, and certainly violated any sense of legal ethics.

The North Carolina Bar already has Nifong under investigation for his many questionable acts in this case. Nifong wanted to ride the Duke players all the way to re-election, and he managed to do that. The state Bar should make sure that Nifong does not profit from his unethical and potentially illegal misconduct. Disbarring him would force Nifong to resign his office, the least punishment he should receive for his actions in a year-long nightmare for three falsely-accused students.

La Shawn Barber has covered this case from the beginning, and has more thoughts on the matter, as well as links to Durham bloggers who have also covered the case.


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» All Charges Dropped in Duke Lacrosse Case from La Shawn Barber's Corner
Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans are no longer facing sexual offense and kidnapping charges. ABC News is reporting that North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce today that he’s dropping all charges in a case t... [Read More]

» Duke Lacrosse: Case To Be Dropped Today? from Pirate's Cove
Seems like everyone is reporting that the case will be dropped today RALEIGH, N.C. — The three men indicted in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case could learn this week whether state prosecutors plan to bring them to trial or drop the charges, ... [Read More]

» Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Dropped from The Sandbox
Looks like the wheels of justice turn pretty slow in Durham:The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charges against three Duke Lacrosse players, ABC News has learned from sources close to [Read More]

» Bill's Nibbles // Open Post -- 2007.04.11 from Old War Dogs
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 [Read More]

» Bill's Nibbles // Open Post -- 2007.04.11 from Bill's Bites
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 [Read More]

» Duke Rape Hoax Over from Sensible Mom
I wonder if the media will make as much of this race baiting episode that nearly led to the ruin of three young men as they have about Don Imus' comments. [Read More]

» Charges Dropped In Duke Case: UPDATED from A Blog For All
Nifong's tragic rush to accuse was met with an equally tragic rush to condemn by the Duke faculty who rushed to judge, adjudicate, and condemn the trio without all the facts being considered. [Read More]

» Duke Rape Case Dropped By NC Attorney General from Stuck On Stupid
 Nifong's Victims Cleared of all criminal charges. The three unfairly accused Duke Lacrosse players will finally be freed from all charges: The office of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will announce that he is dismissing all charg... [Read More]

» Where Are They Tonight? from JammieWearingFool
The charges against the three innocent Duke University lacrosse players were finally dropped today, but this is far from over. Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans handled themselves with class and grace today, but there are plenty of fol... [Read More]

Comments (20)

Posted by The Friendly Grizzly [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 6:45 AM

I wonder how loud The Usual Suspects will screech about a good-ol'-boy, white-skin-privilege deal? Those three young men will never, ever live all of this down.

I hope the esteemed Mr. Nifong Esq thought all this was worth his re-election.

Posted by MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 7:27 AM

Durham shoud immediately apologize, and pay the legal fees of those wrongly persecuted. I do not mean prosecuted.

They will not, and I expect them to lose a civil suit and pay anyway, hopefully there is some way that punitive damages can be assessed as well.

Nifong should be charged with conspiracy to violate the defendants civil right and go to prison.

Anything less is a travesty of justice.

Posted by hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 7:49 AM

Now we get to start looking for yet more unethical prosecutors and delivering justice to them as well.
I can think of one in Travis County, Texas, for starters.

Posted by BarCodeKing [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 7:52 AM

Nifong definitely should be investigated and if the evidence bears it out, disbarred.

But I want to know when the woman who falsely accused the players of rape is going to be charged for filing a false police report, etc.? Rape is a horrible crime, and so is falsely accusing someone of rape. That woman should have the book thrown at her.

Posted by Kent [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 8:30 AM

Here's the thought I find uncomfortable: If a DA can nearly railroad three relatively wealthy white kids with excellent legal counsel, what can a DA do to a poor black kid from the ghetto who doesn't feel he has that much to lose from copping a plea?

Legal and penal reform should be moving a couple notches up in the conservative agenda.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 8:44 AM

A few years ago, when the MSM monopolized the news, Nifong may have been able to get away with this. Look how far the Tawana Brawley case got.

But the alternative media kept the heat on, even while publications like the NY Times have the lacrosse players convicted.

Eventually, 60 Minutes did a brilliant piece on the case and the case really began falling apart. But I think 60 Minutes did that story because they could no longer ignore what was going on and the groundwork was laid by the alternative media.

Meanwhile, Democrat Presidential candidates are boycotting a debate on Fox, because they don't like to hear opposing views. Democrats want to silence conservative radio through the Orwellian named "Fairness Doctrine".

We cannot allow the Democrats to take us back to the days when a story like this could get buried and these kids convicted.

Posted by howardhughes [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 9:03 AM

It is my understanding that Mr. Nifong avoided the draft by declaring himself a conscientious objector in his earlier student years. His behaviour in seeking his reelection doesn't suggest that he is a moral or religious person. So even if the statute of limitations has expired for such an alledged offense, it would be fair to look into the specifics of his application to avoid conscription if he made such a request. Disbarment and resignation are not enough to pay for the manipulations he employed to win election that may have ruined three young lives.

Posted by Insufficiently Sensitive [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 9:37 AM

It wasn't just Durham bloggers who shone light on this sordid case while the NYT cheered the villains. And it wasn't just Mike Nifong violating the players' civil rights wholesale.

Because the case fit the holy grail of leftie bigotry - poor black single mom declares herself violated by rich white priveleged lacrosse (ugh, how elite) players while she was on a break from pole dancing in a local club - 88 of the professors from Duke's 'angry Studies' departments declared war and convicted the players, without evidence, of the crime of the century. Only later did the news leak out that Nifong's egregiously rigged photo-lineup and DNA trap for the players caught four or more males who had been quite friendly with the pole dancer, but none of whom played lacrosse for Duke.

And the illuminating of the sordid behavior of Nifong, the professorial group of 88, and the Duke Administration (which took about ten months to recall that even a lacrosse player is to be considered innocent until proven guilty) on a day-by-day basis was indeed provided by some Durham bloggers. It would only be proper to note the breathtaking performance of KC Johnson of Brooklyn College, whose Durham-in-Wonderland blog has provided the most sweeping view (and condemnation) of all the performers in the extreme sport of Politically Correct Morality Play Gets Whitey.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 10:25 AM

Hold your horses, everyone! The opera ain't over 'till the fat man sings. Has anyone heard Rev. Sharpton yet?

Posted by The Mechanical Eye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 10:37 AM

I hope this case sheds light on the fallibility of prosecutors in going too far on a case.

Misdeeds like this happen more often than we think, in far less high-profile cases, every day.

Remember that next time someone tells you how "tough on crime" they are.


Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 10:39 AM

RE: Insufficiently Sensitive (April 11, 2007 09:37 AM)
It would only be proper to note the breathtaking performance of KC Johnson of Brooklyn College, whose Durham-in-Wonderland blog has provided the most sweeping view (and condemnation) of all the performers...

Indeed. I don't know if there is any real award for Johnson's search for justice, but he certainly deserves one for driving this issue in a dedicated manner. Many have supported the defense of these persecuted men, and it is a real tribute to the internet that a few voices were amplified into a chorus.

Nifong should see some jail on top of disbarment; likewise, the rape accuser must suffer some penance for her false allegations. Lastly, the accused deserve damages from the civic coffers for that state's legal abuses. The integrity of our justice system demands the first two and deserves the third.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 12:20 PM

Problem is our jackpot "justice" system hasn't much integrity left to lose. It has become of system of who gets blackmailed less.

The poster who mentions Tawana Brawley is spot on. Those whom she falsely accused took years recover from both the defamatory and financial hits foisted upon them by the legal hustle. One can also readily see how hucksters like John Edwards built his mansion upon higher health care, insurance and liability protection costs for the rest of us. Janet Reno created a massacre of over eighty people in Waco yet went on afterwards with business as usual. Don't expect much to be done about Nifong.

Don't expect any serious penalties for Nifong from his buddies and colleagues entrusted with disciplining their sidekick. He's protected, remember, and has the public coffers to finance his defense.

A good analogy for how the justice system has decayed into a parody of itself would be Richard Scrushy of the HealthSouth's bribery and embezzlement scandal. This past week there was a question of whether his going yachting had violated his conditions of house arrest because he wasn't at Disney World where he was "supposed" to be. No doubt there are lots of thieves and carjackers wishing they could be under house arrest at Disney World or facing time at a country club prison instead of the Big House if only they had the right connections.

Posted by KarenT [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 1:18 PM

In ancient times in some cultures, someone who falsely accused another person of a crime was subject to the legal penalty for that crime when the false accusation was proven.

"Bearing false witness" against someone is not taken nearly as seriously as it once was. This may be one area where the ancients had a better handle on what was important than we do today.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 1:50 PM

I've always found the "loser pays" concept extremely attractive in civil court, but "liar pays" in criminal court is even better!

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 2:52 PM

I heard the ESPN Legal Analyst today state that the players had no grounds on which to sue Duke University.

Oh really? That might be true, except the Group of 88 (Duke Professors), signed a petition that basically convicted and sentenced the Duke Players, shortly after they were accused. The Group of 88 supported the potbangers who surrounded the lacrosse house and chanted slogans accusing the players of crimes and threatened them.

Not to mention, the President of Duke made statements in support of the Group of 88.

This lent a lot of support to Nifong, early in the case.

Does Duke have some sort of responsibility to maybe not support, but at least not blatantly impugn the characters of the students under their charge? If nothing else, Duke University should be sued for slander and libel (as the Group of 88 - Duke employees - made both written and spoken accusations against the players).

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 6:09 PM

From a statement made by the investigative team:

We have carefully reviewed the evidence collected by the Durham County prosecutor’s office and the Durham Police Department. We have also conducted our own interviews and evidence gathering. Our attorneys and SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) agents have interviewed numerous people who were at the party, DNA and other experts, the Durham County district attorney, Durham police officers, defense attorneys and the accusing witness on several occasions. We have reviewed statements given over the past year, photographs, records and other evidence.

The result of our review and investigation shows clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges. Today we are filing notices of dismissal for all charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans.

The result is that these cases are over, and no more criminal proceedings will occur.

We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations. Based on the significant inconsistencies between the evidence and the various accounts given by the accusing witness, we believe these three individuals are innocent of these charges.

The eyewitness identification procedures were faulty and unreliable. No DNA confirms the accuser’s story. No other witness confirms her story. Other evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself. Next week, we’ll be providing a written summary of the important factual findings and some of the specific contradictions that have led us to the conclusion that no attack occurred.

From a statement made by a Liberal Professor at Duke University:

Since we haven’t gone through a normal legal process, we don’t know what really happened,” said Duke biology professor Sheryl Broverman. “The fact the charges were dropped doesn’t mean nothing happened. It just means information wasn’t collected appropriately enough to go forward.”

Liberalism; it's a mental disorder...

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 6:42 PM

Trash like Mike Nifong is why our forebears had great traditions like tar 'n' feathering, horsewhipping, running out of town on a rail, and lynching.

Shocked by such lawless, vigilante tactics?

They are no worse that what that dirty son of a bitch did with the full weight of the law behind him. They are no worse than what the media did to those boys. They are no worse than what Dook did to them. They are no worse than what the Durham PD did to them.

"Oops. We're really sorry we took the word of a tramp with a history of making false allegations and tried to railroad you boys. But, heck, you understand how little things like this can happen, doncha? I mean, rich white boys like you should be fine now that this tiff has all blown over. Live and let live, right?"

I hope the players sue Mike Nifong not only for all the money he's got, but also for every drop of blood in his veins. While they're at it, they need to hit the Durham PD, the Dook administration, and every talking head in the MSM and the "black leadership" who smeared their names for the past year with baseless allegations.

Kent is right, and the boys brought it up themselves: how would this have turned out if they hadn't had the money to hire some of the best lawyers in the state to defend them?

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 11, 2007 8:52 PM

Hunter and nodonkey somehow, some way found a way to slander dems. They can take any story and like magic.......it leads to the evil dems. WOW. Everything pure.....republicans everything dark and evil.......dems. People like that who cry wolf about evil dems EVERY TIME A STORY COMES OUT, lose any credibility when they post here. Then its just PURE HATRED REARING ITS UGLY HEAD. But keep spiraling downward, its amusing to see how low you can go. Thats why the fringes on the right (and left) have no credibility left. Rabid dogs have no place in society. What miserable lives they must have. To be pitied rather than scorned.

Posted by bmadison [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 1:33 AM

can we stop calling Crystal Gail Mangum an "exotic dancer" and call her by a title she has truly earned.

the durham dirtbag is a "nappy-headed ho"

Posted by krm [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 12, 2007 9:11 AM

The conduct of the Duke University faculty and administration was abominable.

I fervently hope that the young men's lawyers figure out a way to make something stick against the university. I also hope that the jury sees fit to tap into a large chunk of Duke billion dollar (plus) endowment to compensate them. I would be happy seeing $100 million apiece going to these fellows from Duke. That might be what it takes to reign in the PC madenss gripping academia.