December 23, 2006
About that Duke Case

I have a confession to make. I think the rape case involving members of the Duke University lacrosse team is a fascinating story, and as compelling a criminal case in the public realm in years. I wish the local media would have given it greater coverage given that it's shaping up to be possibly one of the more publicly stunning cases of prosecutorial misconduct in recent memory, though I can understand why they didn't. That being said, I really can't let this commentary from the Stranger's Blog stand without a response.

Erica Barnett seems disturbed at "how many people have rushed to the players' defense by insisting that they're 'good, upstanding young boys.'" Interesting, I recall them getting filleted in the media for weeks until doubts were raised about the case. This timeline of the matter reminds us that the news of the alleged crime actually sparked well-publicized demonstrations against the players in Durham and on the Duke campus. My own first impression was they were guilty as can be based on the initial tough talk coming from District Attorney Mike Nifong in the press.

In addition, Barnett proclaims "these lacrosse players, and everyone who's defended them and their actions on the night the alleged rape took place, should be ashamed of themselves."


Based on the airing of evidence thus far, I count myself firmly in the corner of the Duke lacrosse players, and hope Nifong faces the most serious possible punishment for his abuse of prosecutorial power. All that being said, there is no defense for the players' boorish behavior that evening.

I'm no virgin of alcohol-fueled college parties, especially those hosted by sports teams. But the addition of in-house strippers coupled with well-publicized racist insults made a potentially bad situation much, much worse. The totality of that behavior cannot be defended, and I don't recall seeing anyone who has attempted to do so. What can be defended, however, is the presumption of innocence of the accused, and the expectation of ethical conduct from the District Attorney. Not a soul need be "ashamed" for defending those principles.

Recent news of the withdrawal of rape charges follows the stunning revelation of the selective release of relevant DNA evidence of exculpatory value to the defense. That stunt alone would raise questions about Nifong's professional conduct in the case, but it's far from the only problem.

There are so many holes in this case before the recent DNA-related news that both 60 Minutes (in Ed Bradley's journalistic swan song) and Newsweek did investigations into the case which were devastating to the prosecution. The Duke University President who shamefully threw the entire lacrosse program under the bus upon revelation of the initial charges is now raising questions about Nifong too. Indeed, there is a long list of people now lining up to take shots at Nifong for his misconduct. The U.S. Deptartment of Justice is even considering an investigation, and Nifong himself likely may face serious civil liability.

This is not a case as Barnett implies of an errant rush to support some "good guys" on the lacrosse team. This is a belated response to a District Attorney who by all accounts is shaping up to be a textbook case of prosecutorial misconduct. Even Susan Estrich agrees. And the Charlotte Observer also wants an investigation of Nifong.

I happen to know several victims of sexual assault. I agree with Barnett that such charges should be treated seriously and accusers be granted the respect our society has not always excelled at giving. At the same time the charges of the alleged victim are respected, the rights of the accused should likewise be acknowledged. That latter point is where the outrage over this case arises. The alleged criminal acts are a serious matter, with notable racial overtones in a town not known for its racial and socioeconomic harmony. Just as insulting a credible accuser of rape is heinous, so to is the smearing of the innocent with that same grave charge. That makes Nifong's apparent abuse of his office for political gain even more reprehensible (he was standing for reelection this year in African-American dominated Durham while trying the early stages of this case in public) .

Barnett is right to express concern over giving fair treatment to victims of rape willing to speak up. She is dead wrong, however, on why this case has inspired the reaction it has. If the players were guilty of the original charges, the most egregious of which have now been dropped, they should face the most severe punishment. As it stands they've had their lives taken through a vicious public wringer and left in shambles because a District Attorney seems to have cared more about his own reelection campaign than the justice he is supposed to seek. Justice now seems ready to take Nifong through the very wringer he subjected these seemingly imperfect but innocent men to.



UPDATE: The Raleigh News & Observer has a brief summation of Nifong's troubles in Sunday's paper.

Posted by Eric Earling at December 23, 2006 10:25 PM | Email This
1. This case has so many layers that the typical knee-jerk response from either end of the political spectrum will probably not be sufficient.
1. Many elite colleges are in small or smaller towns and there is a real cultural divide between "townies" and college studies. In Durham, in addition to the cultural divide, there is the question of race. Many low-income Blacks in the city and more affluent college students who have weary interactions with the "townies." Other colleges with similar situations are Yale and Dartmouth, although the racial component is not evident in the "townie" population around Dartmouth.

2. A prosecutor seeking election caters to a voting block and in this case, the voting block is Black. It was kind of a win at all costs strategy.

3. Now, the conservatives mantra, personal responsibility:

a. College jocks often do stupid things, by all accounts, whatever happens, this was one of them.
By all accounts, the lacrosse team was a group of randy young men and was collectively an accident waiting to happen.

b. The woman accuser, by all accounts is one truly messed up young woman. It is my understanding that Nifong never interviewed her. Before the heaping of coals starts, anyone remember Susan Smith, who said a Black man killed her kids. Messed up people can sometimes be victims of a crime. After a move to disbar Nifong, the facts may come out. Because of the racial component and the election, the accuser was probably not subject to the kind of scrutiny that would have prevented a case melt-down.

c. So called "Black Leaders" probably are partially responsible as well. Some truly heinous things were done to Blacks in the South. It is time to move on, however. Many leaders live in the past and when a racial component is added to any crime, the errors and ommissions of the past become paramount, not a reasonable assessment of the present.

My current conclusion, a prosecutor intent on being elected cut corners to appeal to a consituency that has been so ill used by their leaders and politicians that they cannot allow tough questions to be asked of one of their own.
This very messed up young women is no more representative of her race than Susan Smith was of hers.

Posted by: WVH on December 23, 2006 10:41 PM
2. Wow, fake statistics - I don't know where the "just 1.6 percent of rape allegations are false" came from, the real world data is more like 50% of all rape accusations turn out to be false.

Women lie about rape constantly - to get even with a man who didn't treat them like a princess, to get out of trouble when they cheat, when they get caught doing a gangbang by their college roommates, etc, etc, etc...

I've seen women make false rape accusations dozens of times, and it is not restricted by class or income. I've seen it so often that when a woman tells me she was raped the first thing that usually pops into my mind is "liar".

Posted by: H Moul on December 23, 2006 11:07 PM
3. Is Jesse Jackson still publically supporting this baby factory of a woman?

Cause, as a woman, she offends me.

I dont care what color she is, she belongs in jail along with Nifong. Maybe if the justice system would, FOR ONCE, make an example of these females, other stupid females would stop thinking if they have sex with 'rich athletes' they'll hit the motherlode.

Posted by: Lauri on December 23, 2006 11:13 PM
4. 1. Don't know what Jackson's current position is, don't care. I assume he is heading for a microphone trying to get the nukes out of Iran. Wherever a camera is, look there.

2. I say this kindly, Lauri, but given the current state of womanhood, you probably are very, very offended:

a. I'm not getting between Rosie and Trump, but Ms. USA entering rehab?
b. Wardrobe malfunctions, first Janet, now Britany with no underwear.
c. Girls gone wild and wilder
Young woman have really terrible role models. Many of the people making big bucks, well quite frankly, they are using the bods to get those big bucks. Ever stop by MTV or VH 1?

Posted by: WVH on December 23, 2006 11:21 PM
5. If Nifong's conduct turns out to be toward the bad end of the spectrum of allegations, I would hope that there is found a way to attach personal liability, and forfiet his pension too.

One thing that I have seen over the years of working with public employees is that the way to get their full attention, and their faithful obedience, is to put their pension in play.

Posted by: krm on December 24, 2006 06:16 AM
6. It's not just prosecutorial misconduct, it's the perfect avalanche of politically correct lynch-mob behavior against the lacrosse team that monopolized the story between March and December. The MSM was all too eager to believe Nifong and his illegally slanted 'guilty-until-proved-innocent' statements. The local papers were in cahoots with him to fan the flames, and made no attempt to question the illegal photo lineup (exclusively composed of Duke lacrosse players) he showed the victim for her selection of perps - after her first failure to identify any at all. The Duke Administration joined the mob and refused to offer any support of the accused despite the legal 'presumption of innocence' - in fact fired the coach and cancelled all the team's remaining games, so sure they were of shared guilt regardless of evidence other than the MSM-shaped public opinion.

Only after the defense attorneys found, just last week, that Nifong had conspired with a private lab to suppress the results that showed plenty of DNA from many men - but none from the three suspects - in the lab's report on the victim, has the Durham paper, and the NYT, begun to act like there's any doubt about Nifong's actions and line of public propaganda. Even the Duke President, just this week, has started to wake up and sound presidential. Late to the party, guys, but better late than never. There are still 88 members of the Duke faculty who hang like grim death onto their statements of praise for the accusers and vilification of the suspects.

Were it not for one KC Johnson, professor at Brooklyn College, following the case and clearly recording the events as they unfolded, very few would have ever realized what a travesty of justice has been staged by Nifong, his police investigators, the Duke administration and the MSM. His chronology is available at:

Posted by: Hank Bradley on December 24, 2006 10:21 AM
7. I feel sorry for the girl, who, from the start, appears to be very disturbed. I don't feel at all sorry for Nifong who appeared, from the very start, to make this the centerpiece for his campaign for re-election. The whole thing stinks of political corruption, including the opportunistic attempts by Jessie, Al, and the Black Panthers to fan the flames. Put a TV camera, and they will come.

Posted by: katomar on December 24, 2006 10:29 AM
8. This whole thing is way off the charts.

Nifong for his egregious prosecution of a non-case.
The Prez of the university penalizing the whole team before any adjudication.
The wimmin' engaging in free enterprise, without the willingness to face undesirable consequences.

Of course, no matter what happens, the rape allegations will follow these young men around for the rest of their lives, like stank on sheyt.

But, of course, they are just disposable men, who have no rights any more in this country.

And the false allegations of rape? 50% or more, in my research. Makes a mockery of the true victims of that crime, with all the false allegations.

The whole issue causes me to want to take a shower, and restate that "what I learned in high school civics class from Mr. McDonald at Mt. Tahoma was a crock 'o cranberries."

The Geez

Posted by: The Geezer on December 24, 2006 10:37 AM
9. This whole thing is way off the charts.

Nifong for his egregious prosecution of a non-case.
The Prez of the university penalizing the whole team before any adjudication.
The wimmin' engaging in free enterprise, without the willingness to face possible undesirable consequences of free enterprise.

Of course, no matter what happens, the rape allegations will follow these young men around for the rest of their lives, like stank on sheyt.

But, of course, they are just disposable men, who have no rights any more in this country.

And the false allegations of rape? 50% or more, in my research. Makes a mockery of the true victims of that crime, with all the false allegations.

The whole issue causes me to want to take a shower, and restate that "what I learned in high school civics class from Mr. McDonald at Mt. Tahoma was a crock 'o cranberries."

The Geez

Posted by: The Geezer on December 24, 2006 10:38 AM
10. Blaming the players for their "boorish behavior," like hiring a stripper, is like blaming a rape victim for wearing a miniskirt.

Posted by: Michael on December 24, 2006 12:07 PM
11. I don't equate the the hiring of a stripper by the players with wearing a miniskirt. It is my understanding that the culture of the team was probably going to lead to an incident of this type by someone on the team, not necessarily these three kids. Some individuals who wear miniskirts may do so out of fashion choice, but the the miniskirt may not be indicative of their lifestyle choice. But, if the culture of a group of individuals is indicative of their lifestyle choices, then that is another thing. One of the many items of info not reported by the MSM is the number of rapes in Europe by immigrant teens. Many of them use the "defense" the women dressed provacatively. That is rubbish. My best info is that the culture of the team led to circumstances that it was an accident waiting to happen.

Posted by: WVH on December 24, 2006 12:19 PM
12. I have to agree with Geez (being geez myself) that this thing has gone WAY off the charts. If Nifong had followed any shred of prosecutorial ethics, this whole thing would have never gotten off the ground.

Unfortunately, prosecutorial bullying malfeasance is the style of the day. Best typified by Eliot Spitzer, although I believe that Nifong has displaced Spitzer as numero uno in the prosecutorial hall of shame. These cases also typify the unstoppable trend of our all-smothering government and how corrupted it has become.

If this case turns out like it has headed these many months, if the boys' stories turn out to be completely true, Nifong's office should be moved to the nearest jail cell.

Posted by: G Jiggy on December 24, 2006 12:44 PM
13. Does "Freedom of the Press" extend to character assasination? Does it extend as far as tainting the jury pool and the denial of a fair, impartial trial?

This same question hs been answered in many countries recognizing English Common Law with a resounding NO.

America has more in common with Russia and France in this mater than it does with most of the English speaking world.

In England, Canada, Australia and many former colonies of the British Empire, the accused can be identified upon arrest, but that ends speculation until the trial, when the press can report on the trial itself.

I rare cases in the US a judge might issue a gag order, but that doesn't affect the press - only the trial principals, such as counsel for the prosecution and defence.

Our judicial system operates on precedent, and much of the precedent supports an unfettered press, even if it means that the rights to a fair trial of the accused and the rights of the victim to their privacy are trampled.

I keep seeing examples of this and have yet to see anyone in our legal system take this case up through the system to the US Supreme COurt where it should be litigated.

But who knows, maybe justice will eventually prevail. In the meantime though, how many more trials will be over before the accused arrives in front of a judge.

Posted by: deadwood on December 24, 2006 01:40 PM
14. WVH,

Hopefully, most young women dont look to the airhead 'celebutants' as role models. God help us all, if they do.

And Rosie and Donald Trump is .. well, Rosie always has to be shooting off her mouth, and its good for the ratings.. meh, I dont watch it.

As for MTV and VH1, nah, we dont watch it. Do they even play music videos anymore anywhere? :-P

Posted by: Lauri on December 24, 2006 03:45 PM
15. The power of main stream media, especially cable news, often panders to an interesting group that never seems to get enough "dirt." Dirt blowing like an Oklahoma dust storm and piled deep. When it comes to legal cases the media has become the modern day Madame LaFarge of A Tale of Cities fame. The media now pounds the senses in the same way LaFarge scorned and knitted as she predicted and demanded verdicts.

However given what is known and validated so far about the Duke "case" reasonable and accurate reporting has proven to be an effective and necessary tool in countering either incredible ignorance of the legal process or outright abuse of the process. Maybe some of both. District Attorney Mike Nifong, who has personally directed this "case," has committed serious and grievous errors which should be scrutinized. Nifong isn't a rookie who can claim inexperience. His entire legal career of more than twenty-five has been on the prosecutorial side. Nifong must be held accountable.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on December 24, 2006 03:45 PM
16. Nifong gives prosecuting attorneys a bad name ! He is just being an narcissistic a-hole besides being out of control. I hope he receives deserved retribution for trying to bring the three lacrosse players down without just cause !

Posted by: KS on December 24, 2006 05:18 PM
17. Next, I fault the mainstream media parasites for making a news story out of this pathetic attempt at miscarriage of justice, dressed up in the name of political correctness. There are number of other stories that I can also fault the media parasites for as well, but this one is more irritating than most of the rest.

Posted by: KS on December 24, 2006 05:21 PM
18. Tyler,

Look out, Madame Defarge now has you in her sights.
Merry Christmas

Posted by: Hank Bradley on December 24, 2006 06:09 PM
19. Well, to be fair to the media, if bloggers and writers such as Anderson on lewrockwell, we'd probably not have known how egregous the prosecutors case was.

If the defendents were poor, would they have been able to hire good council? Sometimes a lot of media attention can actually bring out the truth.

The 60 minutes report seemed to provide a national forum for the accused to tell their side, not to mention how Ed Bradley was able to get the second dancer to admit things to him that she might not have said to anyone else.

Posted by: ET on December 24, 2006 07:07 PM
20. Hi Laurie,
Just came back from Mass, it was packed. This evening, tomorrow, and Easter they could do fundraising by selling tickets to all the C & Es.

The Seattle School Board passed a resolution on junk food because they didn't have the inclination or guts to pass a resolution on a greater harm, what goes into kid's minds. A recent poll indicates that kids do in
fact "honor" celebutants like Hilton and Ritchie. This prompts me to ask the question if one can be both a Hilton and a "ho." When Hilton can in effect make a porn video which is shown all over the Internet and then sell perfume at Macys, the culture is a tad bit confused. I don't excuse the accusor. If she lied, then she should pay the price. But, more and more young girls are seeing the selling of one's body as a road to riches and fame. I guess Ms. Nevada USA just got bumped because of her antics.

People really should stop in at MTV just to see what the kids are up to. Junk food is fed not only through the stomach.

Posted by: WVH on December 24, 2006 07:54 PM
21. Lauri, apologize for the typo.

Posted by: WVH on December 24, 2006 08:39 PM
22. The best Christmas Gifts are prayers because they bring God's Presents! God Bless and please enjoy Christmas and the Holidays!

Posted by: sillyguy on December 24, 2006 10:33 PM
23. WHV,

We have a 21 year old and a 7 year old - both girls. One gets nominal tv time, the older one laughs at Hilton/Britney/all the rest, as do most of her social circle.

I think the press (including FOX) obsess a bit much over these young ladies - but I dont really think the average kid cares that much.

Its no different than thinking Mel Gibson speaks for all Roman Catholics (or affects them in any real way) or that Michael Richards speaks for all white people.

Luckily, or unluckily, Americans will soon be focused on other things soon enough - such as the next white woman killed by her husband. *sigh* ...

Posted by: Lauri on December 24, 2006 11:24 PM
24. Hi Lauri,

Hope that you and your family are having a very Merry Christmas, along with the rest of the SP blogger community. Sounds like you are blessed with two great kids. Particularly on this day, what I would wish for all children is that they are born into families who love and want them. That they will have peers and support systems that help them grow into great people.

The fact is many children don't have those blessings. Many admire the Hilton's of this world because of the material things that Hilton has, the clothes, jewels, and celebrity. Although, you may control your children's tv input, many parents don't. As for domestic violence, it knows no class or color, it can happen anywhere. I am a car free person, so I travel by bus. I see a lot of children that are not like yours and my observation is the culture is influencing them to a greater extent than your observation of your children and their friends.

In any event, on this very special day, I wish that best soil in which all children can grow.

Posted by: WVH on December 25, 2006 08:34 AM
25. WVH,

Merry Christmas to you and yours as well! :-)

You're probably right, the culture does seep in more than I tend to think. But think back to who our parents thought were 'bad influences' on our generation... Elvis Presley? The Beatles? Aerosmith?

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that every generation has its "bad" influences - and by and large we all do manage to grow up just fine.

One of these young celebrities is bound to either overdose or sadly, die. And it wont really change much of of the culture. There is always some other young girl/guy ready to give up their morals and sanity for stardom and money.

I think the best we can all do is to try and be good parents (I'm not always one!) and reach out to the kids we see who need some extra help.

Celebrity obsession has been around for a long time, but as we age.. we see how ridiculous it is. Don't underestimate our younger generation though, there are a lot of great kids out there. Even the ones in not so great families :-)


Posted by: Lauri on December 25, 2006 11:05 AM
26. The story fit the Mainstream Media action line / racist anti-white meme. So they went with it. Nevermind all that hubub about right to a fair trial, innocent until proven guilty, reasonable doubt, etc. in the left leaning politically correct court of public opinion, the mere fact that these guys are white and engaging in frat like behavior was enough to convict them, afterall, didn't Bush belong to a frat and play sports, etc.? And remember, the Mainstream Media Outlets have layer upon layer of fact checkers too. Oops.

I hope Nifong gets nailed to the wall as an example to any other Johnny-come-lately prosecutors that say all the right left leaning things and attack anything not deemed politically correct. Frankly, there are a lot more DAs out there that deserve investigation for witch hunts, a certain NY Governor elect comes to mind.

Posted by: Jeff B. on December 25, 2006 08:33 PM
27. The MSM doesn't have any fact checkers, cause everything they do is the truth, right? The one thing that the MSM could do, if it chose to is give the facts. The blogs like this one rely on the pajamahedeen to get to the bottom of stories by pooling collective knowledge. I stopped subscribing to local papers because all they were was opinion. I can get opinion here for free.

Posted by: WVH on December 25, 2006 08:39 PM
28. "Character...integrity...personal recognizance"

sadly, de-emphasized in today's "me-me" society--except for a few bastions--military, Scouts, most religions and a handful of other role models like good parents and volunteers.

We need to get back to basics. Ropes rarely snap--they unravel and wear. Same with a culture and a society. And I aim comments at all involved in this case. 2007 is near--little steps first?

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on December 26, 2006 08:31 AM
29. Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries gave the history of the term "PC" in his Christmas message the "War Against Christmas." According to Dr. Stanley, the term is from communist thought. People can change the culture and change the culture to a more, what I consider human friendly dynamic:
Victories in the battle to save Christmas
By Carol Platt Liebau
Monday, December 25, 2006
It's been several years since the term "war on Christmas" entered the American lexicon, denoting the politically correct effort to remove all potentially "offensive" religious elements from the public observation of the "winter holiday" that falls on December 25. Certainly emotions on both sides of the debate run high between those who welcome the reaffirmation of a common Judeo-Christian common culture (leavened by believers in other faiths or none at all), versus those who subscribe to the notion that celebrating "diversity" trumps all other considerations.
For a long time, it seemed apparent that the latter were winning the argument. "Happy holidays" largely replaced Merry Christmas, "holiday displays" in stores supplanted areas once designated as "Christmas shops." Even this year, there's been the usual, "politically correct" nonsense. The City of Chicago pressured organizers of the annual Christkindlmarket into eliminating New Line Cinemas - the studio that released The Nativity Story - as a sponsor. A city staff member in Riverside, CA, silenced Christmas carolers lest Jewish ice skater Sasha Cohen, who was present, take offense (the staffer obviously hadn't seen the invitation on Cohen's website to "Join Sasha On Her Christmas Tree Lighting Tour"). Worst of all, Target continues to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from seeking donations in front of their stores.
Even so, this year - for the first time - there's been a sense that the tide is starting to turn. Companies that once rejected "Merry Christmas" are now embracing more faith-friendly terminology. Major stores like Wal-Mart (which still welcomes the Salvation Army), Macy's, J.C. Penney, Walgreen's, Sear's and Kohls are unabashedly referring to Christmas in their customer interactions. Food Lion, which had previously relied on messages referencing the "holidays," likewise is using "Merry Christmas." In general, "holiday" political correctness run amok no longer goes completely unchallenged; the Dallas Morning News condemned the city for erecting a "downtown holiday tree," noting sarcastically that "synagogues everywhere are dusting off their holiday candelabras."
These changes, welcome as they are, didn't happen spontaneously. They came about because ordinary Americans, frustrated with the gradual "de-Christianizing" of Christmas, finally spoke up. Last year, nearly 300,000 people signed an online petition calling for a boycott of Target in part because of its refusal to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in store advertising and promotions. And this year, a Wal-Mart spokesman conceded that the company had "learned its lesson" in the wake of its unpopular 2005 policy of forbidding employees to say "Merry Christmas." Finally, it became clear that tailoring corporate policies to avoid offending the left-learning, politically correct crowd could, in fact, be costly.
With all these favorable developments in the war on Christmas, there's a heartening reminder for ordinary Americans: As citizens in a capitalist country with a market economy, we wield great potential clout through our spending power. Contrary to what the press and the class warriors would have us believe, our voices (and our choices) do matter. But that power is ours only to the degree that we choose to use it - and too often, it's easy to stand by and watch with dismay as the culture veers ever leftward.
Instead, wouldn't it be wonderful if we did something different in 2007? Imagine the impact if we approached a different issue - say, the marketing of sex to little girls through clothes, books, music, movies and television, and the internet - with the same fervor and conviction that's marked the defense of Christmas.
In time, parents could find clothes for their daughters that seem appropriate for teens, rather than for streetwalkers. The plots of adolescent girl-oriented books and movies could focus on something other than sex. And young women might not find themselves singing along to songs with lyrics that, once upon a time, would have made a sailor blush.
If there's a lesson from the victories in the war on Christmas, it's that they needn't be isolated successes. We have the ability (and the right) to improve the quality of our common culture in general - if only we decide to do so.
Merry Christmas. God bless us every one.
Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near Los Angeles. Her blog can be found at
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Copyright © 2006 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by: WVH on December 26, 2006 10:28 AM
30. Don't forget one of these young men had to spend time in jail because of this. He had been in trouble before and had probabtion. Because of this, he had to spend time in jail because of Nifong. He's a whore and should be disbard. What a jackass.

Posted by: Dengle on December 26, 2006 09:06 PM
31. It is my understanding that several bar complaints have been filed against Nifong and that the defense attorneys have asked the DOJ to investigate. These kids acted like so many young people and didn't necessarily make good choices. They didn't deserve to have their lives ruined. Nobody benefits when the prosecution appears to be based on a personal desire to win an election. All are sullied by this. The kids have their lives ruined. A messed up young woman becomes more messed up and it appears wrongfully accused these kids. She and her children will now suffer those consequences. A prosecutor who really investigated her story would have at least spared her the reprecussions that will result from what seems to be a lie. A community that was and is ill served by its so called leaders. Truly a lose, lose situation.

Posted by: WVH on December 26, 2006 10:31 PM
32. A balanced analysis from Parker at Townhall:
Parody at Duke
By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Given recent events in Durham, N.C., concerning the alleged Duke University lacrosse ``rape'' case, it is now possible to declare parody dead.
How does one parody a parody?
All is not lost, however. We can celebrate the addition of a new verb to our American lexicon -- ``to Nifong.'' When the moment calls for activities that need no elaboration, we already ``Bobbitt,'' ``Bork,'' and ``Lewinsky.''
Now we can ``Nifong'' someone when we want to trump up criminal charges based on flimsy evidence allegedly for political purposes. In short, when we want to screw up someone's life.
Nifong would be as in Durham County District Attorney Michael B. Nifong, who earlier this year brought charges against three lacrosse players -- Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans -- for the alleged rape of an African-American stripper who had been hired to perform at a team party.
Last week, Nifong dropped the rape charges when the alleged victim decided she wasn't sure she had been raped after all. That is, she wasn't sure she had been vaginally penetrated, a distinction required by state law for a charge of rape.
Last March, after the party, the stripper had a different recollection, telling police that she had been raped every which way. But, well, these things are difficult sometimes to keep straight. Rape being so nuanced and all.
Meanwhile, hundreds of lives have been turned inside out, none so much as the three accused players. All because, well, let's see, because the stripper said so. The absence of corroborating evidence seemed to pose no obstacle for Nifong, who ran a successful re-election campaign on the strength of his convictions.
And, of course, the story had good legs and plenty of sex appeal, if you like that sort of thing: race and class conflict, town and gown tensions, rich-white-boys vs. poor-black-working-mother, underage drinking and the aura of privilege.
The world hungered for such a fable, and Nifong fed the beast.
As it turns out, Nifong's case was something less than a slam dunk, and he must have known it. As was recently revealed, Nifong not only knew that lab tests showed no traces of DNA from any of the lacrosse team players, he knew that they did show DNA traces from several unknown other men.
Yet, Nifong and the head of the private DNA lab, Brian Meehan, agreed to exclude those test results from other results turned over to defense attorneys, according to Meehan's testimony during a recent court session.
In response to this revelation, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., has called for the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an inquiry into possible misconduct, while Duke University President Richard Brodhead has asked for Nifong to pass the case to a third party.
While official outrage is welcome, it seems belated. Where were the passionate protestations when these three young men were being convicted in the court of public opinion? The presumption of their guilt was nearly instantaneous among Duke administrators and many faculty, from whom others in the community took their cues.
As one student at Durham's historically black North Carolina Central University put it to Newsweek, he wanted the lacrosse players punished ``whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.''
Nifong also cut corners early in the case during the process of identifying suspects. When two lineups failed to produce an attacker, Nifong requested a third lineup, but this time using only members of the lacrosse team instead of a random sampling. This move not only was at variance with normal police procedure, it may ultimately lead to charges that Nifong abused the defendants' civil rights.
In yet another example of iffy evidence, one of the defendants -- Seligmann -- has taxi, restaurant and ATM receipts indicating that he was elsewhere at the time of the alleged rape. Nifong still saw fit to charge him.
No one's arguing that the lacrosse team deserves a citizenship award for having a drinking party and hiring strippers. But there's a universe of difference between jocks acting boorishly and brutes gang-raping a helpless woman.
Nifong still plans to prosecute Finnerty, Evans and Seligmann on charges of kidnapping and first-degree sexual offense, which can result in sentences comparable to rape. Without DNA evidence, Nifong's case will rest largely on the stripper's testimony.
To win, she will need more credibility than her lawyer has demonstrated, and disremembering rape seems not a good start.
Kathleen Parker is a popular syndicated columnist and director of the School of Written Expression at the Buckley School of Public Speaking and Persuasion in Camden, South Carolina.
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Posted by: WVH on December 27, 2006 09:49 AM
33. simple-lock him up and the accuser-these boys can ( not could) be you sons on any given day---total power to authority with re-election hopes means that the public will suffer- AGAIN_THESE BOYS COULD BE YOUR SONS!!!!

Posted by: cw on December 29, 2006 09:48 AM
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