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Ruminations on the Duke Non-Rape Case

Even during the low-traffic days of late December, the folks on Al Gore's Internet are abuzz about the latest details in the Duke lacrosse scandal. Unless you are compulsively following the Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump feud to the exclusion of all else, you undoubtedly know that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has officially dropped the rape charges against the three Duke lacrosse defendants. Whilst the other charges remain, this recent turn of events must be something of a relief to the three young men.

Naturally, many "webloggers" have delighted in the news. For months now, Mike Nifong's case has fallen apart bit by bit, making the vituperative criticisms of the lacrosse team that inaugurated the media orgy seem downright ridiculous. Among the most prominent scoundrels, of course, are the odious Nancy Grace--who now has legal troubles of her own--and the feculent race-baiter Houston Baker, an academic buffoon who has successfully Mau-Maued his way to ivory tower prominence.

Any time one side of a controversy boasts Nancy Grace, Mike Nifong, and Houston Baker as its backers, you can be darned sure we'll be supporting the other. Still, we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," would be remiss if we failed to mention a point about the Duke lacrosse brouhaha that is far from a cause for celebration.

The fiasco has resonated with the public at large in part because it demonstrates the fatuous knee-jerk leftism of American academe. It was delicious to witness diehard opponents of George Bush's purported trouncing of civil liberties angrily denying the presumption of innocence to the accused. Even so, we think it important to mention another point--one potentially less pleasant to conservatives.

From what we can determine, the Durham DA and the city's police department colluded in nefarious ways to set up the three defendants. Although we can't be sure of the extent of their misdeeds, we can be certain that they engaged in dubious and illegal conduct. This was discovered in part because of the media scrutiny on the case and the competence of the defendants' highly paid attorneys.

And here's the crux: These defendants are wealthy and can afford good representation, thereby protecting them from the sleazy tactics of Nifong and his accomplices. But what happens when a defendant without fancy lawyers gets similarly set up? We don't mean to sound like raging lefties, but doesn't the Duke lacrosse fiasco also send us worrying messages about the possibilities of pernicious prosecutorial practices against less fortunate defendants? One doesn't have to spout nonsense about "the criminal injustice system" in order to find the DA's and Durham police's conduct troubling.

Those who clamored for the guillotine at the start of this brouhaha don't deserve to make such points: Having been proven dead wrong in their earlier assessments, they should simply shut their mouths. But we think responsible folks should be concerned about the larger ramifications of the DA's misdeeds.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently preparing a plate of southern-fried crow for Nancy Grace.)


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Comments (14)

One of the things I've been... (Below threshold)

One of the things I've been wondering is, after having it come out- under oath- that the head of the DNA lab and the DA conspired to conceal information from the defense in this case, are there other cases where someone is going to file an appeal because "We want to know if they did the same thing to us"?

Same goes for the PD if it's shown that they also engaged in misconduct.

A year or so ago in Oklahoma City we had a big mess open up because it turned out the head of the PD lab was, let us say, 'massaging' evidence to give the conclusion desired. It opened up pretty much every case she'd worked on for years to review. It looks like the same thing could happen in NC because of this case.

What I can't believe is tha... (Below threshold)
Bill M:

What I can't believe is that the judge hasn't thrown this entire case out. It seems that other cases have been thrown out for far less (defendant had an untreated hang nail and wasn't offered an immediate trip to the hospital so out goes the case...). Ok, that's a little extreme. But the point stands.

Here we have the DA (of all people) and the head of the DNA lab conspiring to deny exculpatory evidence to the defendants. That should be enough right there to completely negate any case the DA may think he has. Certainly if this goes to trial and the defendants are found guilty of the remaining charges, the appeals process will partially "correct" this travesty. But it should never have to go that far!

The one thing that has magn... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The one thing that has magnified the possibility for abuse that is unlikely in other cases is due to the jurisdiction.

NC does not allow or require transcribing grand jury proceedings. This would help restrain wayward DA's like this one.

"These defendants are wealt... (Below threshold)

"These defendants are wealthy and can afford good representation, thereby protecting them from the sleazy tactics of Nifong and his accomplices. But what happens when a defendant without fancy lawyers gets similarly set up? We don't mean to sound like raging lefties, but..."

The hell of it is that lefties utterly fail to understand this point: when government officials are given the sort of discretionary powers Nifong has exercised, they use them to extort the well-to-do and utterly oppress the less well off. Indeed, their demonstrations of what they can do to the "little guy" is how they intimidate the "big guy" into kowtowing, paying bribes, contributing to re-election campaigns, and so on.

Not all the parents are wea... (Below threshold)

Not all the parents are wealthy. Some mortgaged their homes to send their kids there. It's my understanding that parents of lacrosse players who were present, but not charged at that point, immediately had to retain lawyers in the event and were saddled with expenses they couldn't afford.

I'm surprised that jesse ja... (Below threshold)
Paper Tigers:

I'm surprised that jesse jackson and the black panthers haven't weighed in on this one yet.
Maybe they're just organizing.
Isn't the normal course of action burning and looting?

Early in this process, Nifo... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Early in this process, Nifong had to be dancing around like Snoopy with a fresh ham bone. What self-respecting lowlife whore would have the remnants of five different sperm samples in her and smeared on her underwear. Had to be rape, Nifong was thinking, and I will use this to endear myself to the black community close to election time. Poor black woman raped by rich white guys, call in the press.
Everyone was denying there was a rape kit, hospital, police, Nifong. Wait till I get samples from those guys, I just got to have a match. Ta-da, no match(suppress that), the accuser proves to be flakier than a box of cereal. Nifong now has a "no media please" sign hung on his office door. There is no way this man wants to walk into a court room, present his case and put his so-called victim in the witness box.
He is hoping this thing just simply goes away(no chance) or the victims(the lacrosse players) will cop a plea to lesser charges to allow him to save face(no chance). The man has no professional or personal integrity at all.
This man should be investigated(other than local officials) for his actions in this case. The man should be held up to criminal charges and civil liabilities if he has done what many suspect. Don't want to be a grinch at Christmas time, but think of the hardship he has visited on the victims and thier families over the past year. Nifong and his family should have that opportunity. Maybe Nifong can become her pimp...oops, he's already fulfilled that role.
So many bad players here, and the lacrosse team is not included in that group.

I don't see any hrw posting... (Below threshold)
epador:

I don't see any hrw postings on this case, though they do thin Saddam got a raw deal. Sure seems this is a great example of illegal oppression by the government to me. Only problem is the victims are WASPs (or WASC's and etc.).

WADDAYA THINK, cat?

Not only would I like to se... (Below threshold)
BAM:

Not only would I like to see Nifong investigated but I'd like to see how many other cases this dirtbag has handled this way that have slipped under the media radar.

The defendants aren't off t... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The defendants aren't off the hook yet.

They still face sexual assault charges which for all intents an purposes will affect their lives as much as a rape charge. 'Sexual Assault' is also much more ambiguous than rape and its taken 9 months for NiFong to admit and/or figure out he didn't have a rape case.

All he has to do is dial back the charges in stages. Hoping that as the case becomes a thing of the past and the charges become less severe, public scrutiny will also become less.

In the meantime, not all of the lacrosse players are richer than dirt. And as the case drags on, bills mount and these kids lives are put on hold. If anyone is there on a lacrosse scholarship, the legal costs even if not one of the main 3, must be quite intimidating.

All Nifong needs is for one of the 40 to agree to something. He might even cut a deal to probation and expunge the record. But all he needs is one to vindicate himself. And right now time is on his side.

Regardless these kids reputations have been harmed. If you look at some of the leftie reporting, this is a still a valid case in their eyes. They are not getting off scott free.

What would media reaction b... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

What would media reaction be if the DA was somehow connected with Bush-Cheney, and all the guys were black and say, on the debate team??

Even so, we think it imp... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Even so, we think it important to mention another point--one potentially less pleasant to conservatives.

From what we can determine, the Durham DA and the city's police department colluded in nefarious ways to set up the three defendants. Although we can't be sure of the extent of their misdeeds, we can be certain that they engaged in dubious and illegal conduct. This was discovered in part because of the media scrutiny on the case and the competence of the defendants' highly paid attorneys.

I am disappointed in THMQ over that statement. I would have thought that you would understand Conservatism better than that. Conservatism does not enable, empower or in any way excuse what Nifong has done in this case. That is not what conservatism is about. Conservatism may believe in strong law enforcement, but not to the exclusion of the Constitutional Civil Rights or for the abuse of power by a DA.

This case really has nothing to do with black and white, left or right, rich or poor. It has to do with right and wrong. Nifong has betrayed his office and probably broken the law to win this case at all costs. That is wrong, I would be every bit as outraged by this case if the races were reversed. I don't know if the defendents are Democrats or Republicans, I don't care. I wouldn't care if Nifong were a Republican either. What he has done is simply wrong.

I have said for a while, that the people who are defending Nifong should be careful for what they wish for, they just may get it. A DA who will break the law in a high profile case will do it in a low profile case. And in the low profile case the defendent won't have a high priced attorney, but most likely a public defender. I have been surprised that people who traditionally say they support basic civil liberties are willing to see them tossed in this case.

Finally, I wouldn't say the media has done a valiant job here. The NY Times and the Herald-Sentinel still to this day seem to be towing the line for Nifong.

Eric :"This case rea... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Eric :
"This case really has nothing to do with black and white...It has to do with right and wrong."

I know exactly what you are saying, and I agree in a general philosophical sense; in that just about every case is about right and wrong.

But if you think the Duke non-rape case had nothing to do with race, you have some serious blinders on.

Les, I don't have blinders ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Les, I don't have blinders on. I know full well what role race has played in this case. However, my point is that racism in this case occurred after the fact and it didn't have to be a part of the problem. If all else were the same but the races of the alleged victim and defendents were reversed this case would still be a travesty of justice.




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