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The Duke lacrosse rape case
December 22, 2006 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The Duke lacrosse rape case hurtled toward perhaps sinister motives last week with testimony from the head of the private DNA lab prosecutor Nifong hired to test the rape kit samples taken from the accuser. Brian Meehan revealed that not only had his lab found DNA samples from five unknown men, none of whom were Duke lacrosse players, Meehan had also agreed with Nifong not to put that info in the DNA Security's final report. Were it not for the fact that the three defendants have counsel capable of pouring over thousands of pages of technical documents, this vital, exculpatory evidence would have gone unnoticed. Previous opinions in MeFi.
posted by semmi (276 comments total)

 
While the rape charges have been dropped, kidnapping and sex charges remain. District Attorney Mike Nifong has stated that he would rely on the accuser's account of what happened that evening. Now that she has changed her story yet again -- this time saying she can not recall if she was raped, it's time for this charade to end. Furthermore, the Nifong states that it was only in the past few days that his office had interviewed the complaintant. Odd that it took 9-months for the D.A. to interview her. An ethics investigation of Nifong is due regarding potential prosecutorial misconduct.
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on December 22, 2006


"The Duke lacrosse rape case hurtled toward perhaps sinister motives last week with testimony from the head of the private DNA lab prosecutor Nifong hired to test the rape kit samples taken from the accuser."

OK. The wording here made my head explode.

Hurtling toward perhaps sinister motives?

At least I won't need my brain until after Christmas.
posted by wires at 2:48 PM on December 22, 2006


This will probably degenerate into a clusterfuck, but anyone that really looked at what was available to the prosecutors in this case (and perhaps saw the 60 minutes take on it), should have been disgusted by the fact that this ever went beyond Un iversity sanctions for a frat acting like assholes. Hopefully Nifong gets his ass handed to him in the next election. Unfortunately, this became a venue for the sublimation of pent-up anger over race relations and antipathy toward rich white boys acting like dickheads.
posted by docpops at 2:50 PM on December 22, 2006


And Nifong's case is now based on the testimony of a drug-addled head case who had the DNA of multiple men in her panties, none of whom matriculated at Duke. He's a fucking moron.
posted by docpops at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2006


and perhaps saw the 60 minutes take on it

60 Minutes' Ed Bradley Talks To The Accused Lacrosse Players [one of his last segments for CBS News].
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on December 22, 2006


lacrosse players are whack.
posted by Stynxno at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2006


Let's recall that Nifong called the boys "rapists" and "hooligans" during television interviews.
posted by ericb at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2006


Lab chief: Nifong said don't report all DNA data.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on December 22, 2006


This will probably degenerate into a clusterfuck

Isn't that how it started?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:56 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ahhh, the old, she sleeps around so she couldn't have been raped defense? Its still as disgusting and wrong as it always has been.

Rape has nothing to do with what someone did ten minutes or ten hours or ten weeks or ten years before the rape. If she was forced to have sex then that is rape, regardless of her vocation, regardless of her previous sexual encounters.

I'm not saying she was raped but discarding her allegations out of hand is wrong.
posted by fenriq at 3:00 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


"...notes from Durham investigators show that the woman changed her story repeatedly during interviews with detectives. And detectives violated the department's own photo line-up policy when they had the woman identify the three players. What is the basis for Nifong's sustained belief that sexual crimes were committed by the three?

Nifong has enjoyed the benefit of the doubt from many members of the public over this case. But the more information that comes to light, the more questionable his conduct and judgment appear." *
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on December 22, 2006


Ahhh, the old, she sleeps around so she couldn't have been raped defense? Its still as disgusting and wrong as it always has been.


No ones saying that, you twat. In this specific case, three men were accused of rape when there was an abundance of exculpatory evidence and time-stamped data that made the case a farce, but no one could stop the train wreck because the accused were such perfect targets. People's personal beliefs about race history, sexual politics, et. al. are not a reason to make examples of these kids, no matter what kinds of assholes you may think they are.
posted by docpops at 3:03 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure it's "poring", not "pouring". Please try to focus on the important things.
posted by uosuaq at 3:05 PM on December 22, 2006


Her credibility is in shambles. I watched the press conference today and it was astonishing what she has said and written as per her claims of rape -- vaginally, anally and orally. One of the attorneys read from transcripts and from her written statements. It was all very graphic, and very detailed as to what she claims was done to her. Furthermore, all of the various statements were contradictory. Now she claims that she isn't sure she was raped. Remember that she has in the past brought similar accusations of rape by multiple men up and other false accusations.
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on December 22, 2006


Poring

Pronunciation: 'por
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): pored; por·ing
Etymology: Middle English pouren
1 : to gaze intently
2 : to read or study attentively -- usually used with over
3 : to reflect or meditate steadily
posted by surplus at 3:06 PM on December 22, 2006


After all the grief I caught in that last thread let me be the first to say I told you so.
posted by sourbrew at 3:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Here's video of today's press conference (14:11).
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on December 22, 2006


I'm not saying she was raped but discarding her allegations out of hand is wrong.

As is prosecuting the defendants in the headline news on every TV station, Blog, and media outlet in the country.

S'ok. The "progressive" blogosphere felt compelled. Because. Y' know. The defendants were them nasy white elitist southern FRAT BOYS!!!! OMFG. They MUST be racist rapist monsters after all.

Which is odd. Since much of the blogosphere declaring these guys guilty over the last year were white supposed "elites" too.

*sigh* I so called bullshit on this thing months ago. God, it's depressing to be right.
posted by tkchrist at 3:16 PM on December 22, 2006


ericb: "Remember that she has in the past brought similar accusations of rape by multiple men up and other false accusations."

But isn't this inadmissible, per Rape Shield laws? Which seems counterintuitive - by this logic, if a defendant has a record of rape convictions, why isn't that inadmissible as well?
posted by kid ichorous at 3:20 PM on December 22, 2006


Immunity May Not Protect Duke Prosecutor:
"Last week, it was discovered that Nifong withheld 'key DNA evidence' from defense attorneys for six months despite a legal requirement for immediate disclosure. The DNA results exclude the defendants but include 'multiple' other men as sex partners of the accuser around the time of her alleged rape.

On Dec. 15, Brian Meehan, head of a private DNA lab, testified under oath that he and Nifong agreed not to report exculpatory DNA results to the defense. They conspired to hide evidence that weakened the prosecution’s case.

Meanwhile, as of Oct. 27 (and presumably to this day), Nifong hadn’t even interviewed the accuser about her alleged rape.

...there is a growing cry for federal intervention on the grounds that the defendants have been willfully deprived of their Constitutional rights: specifically, the 5th and 14th Amendment protections of Due Process."*
posted by ericb at 3:22 PM on December 22, 2006


“ People's personal beliefs about race history, sexual politics, et. al. are not a reason to make examples of these kids”

Ahhh, so it’s the old, the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence in violation of basic consitutional law and paid off a hooker to lie on the stand to railroad some less empathetic but otherwise innocent kids for political gain so she couldn't have been raped defense?

Phhht. That might have worked when I was in student council, but I don’t buy it anymore. Just because someone is on drugs, changing their story and was probably paid off doesn’t mean she can’t decide after the fact that it was rape. It is rape if you don’t pay the hooker, right?

Really, this just tripped my cynicism circuits - I have no idea wtf really happened here. Looks like something I wouldn’t get into without a set of chains, a serious 4x4 and a team of sherpas.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on December 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


docpops, why not try to keep personal insults out of it? I would have been happy to discuss the case with you but, since you decided to call me names, I've got no interest in any sort of interaction with you.

tkchrist, I agree. The case was seized on by the media and blew up like mad and people like Nancy Grace and others were more than happy to try and find the players guilty regardless of reality.

My point is that her previous history has nothing to do with what happened in the house that night. Even her previous activities that night have nothing to do with what happened or did not happen.

I'm not saying they did or didn't do it. If they didn't then I'm sure they're getting wooed by lawsuit lawyers to make a massive chunk of change off the wanton destruction of their names.

The DNA lab should be tops on that list.
posted by fenriq at 3:25 PM on December 22, 2006


Duke Accuser Alleged Rape 13 Years Ago -- Charges were never pressed; her father says she wasn't raped then.

Whether or not the '93 charges would be inadmissible in court, it's of interest to some of us to know more about her past behavior.
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on December 22, 2006


But isn't this inadmissible, per Rape Shield laws? Which seems counterintuitive - by this logic, if a defendant has a record of rape convictions, why isn't that inadmissible as well?

It would only be counterintuitive if she made fradulent claims. There is no civil action for rape, it's a criminal offense. The prosecutor brings the charges, not the victim. If she made fradulent or perjurous statements, that can be used to impeach her testimony during this trial. Just because someone made a claim to a prosecutor that didn't result in a verdict doesn't mean that that claim was wrong or that it affects any future ones. Lying under oath is another story.

She's not on trial here. The defendants are being charged by the prosecutor. If you don't like how he behaved, go after him, not her.

I think this case is so significantly atypical that it's a shame that it will be used as fodder for those who don't like the idea of holding men accountable for their sexual actions.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2006


I think this case is so significantly atypical that it's a shame that it will be used as fodder for those who don't like the idea of holding men accountable for their sexual actions.

That point was made by a number of attroneys this afternoon on MSNBC. They stated that there is the potential for future rape accusers/victims to have their claims be subjected to "Duke Rape Skepticism and Doubt."
posted by ericb at 3:34 PM on December 22, 2006


So they didn’t go to work on her with the broomhandles then?
What the hell are “sex charges”?
Y’know, I’m willing to entertain the idea that the Duke student’s parents are some heavyweights too.
Really, I have no friggin clue, because I can’t empathize with any of them. How could you lie and put someone in danger of spending 30 years in the joint? Or allow someone to be raped? Or whatever actually happened?
Rape is too serious a subject to toy with. Particularly with the social ramifications as allen.spaulding pointed out. How do these people sleep?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:35 PM on December 22, 2006


This has been hogwash since the day the story broke. Was it 3 guys, or 20? It's hard to be that "off" only a few hours after the incident.

The defense DNA tested THE ENTIRE FUCKING TEAM and it came up negative. The charges should have been dropped that day.

But, Nifong the Notorious decided he was going to personally hang his hat on this case, and it's coming back to bite him in the ass.

There is no doubt this has become a personal cause/vendetta for Nifong, to the point he is willing to SUPRESS EVIDENCE.

Time for him to pay the piper. If I were a judge in North Carolina I would remove him from his post this evening.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:40 PM on December 22, 2006


My point is that her previous history has nothing to do with what happened in the house that night.

This is an "ABC After-School Special" sentiment.

It is unfortunate that a persons character and past history IS something of a predictor of their credibility. We can debate which elements of ones personal history to include. We can debate our societies puritanical duplicitous attitudes about sex affecting how we judge a person. We MUST certainly debate how much of ANY of this bullshit should be tolerated in the public arena before a persons day in court has concluded. But it is naive in the extreme to discount a persons personal history totally.

Rape victims were treated like shit for so long. Then the system feels guilty, so - through the media finger wagging - we place the burden of proof BACK on the defendant in rape cases. The pendulum in this country swings so wildly back and forth that reason gets left behind.
posted by tkchrist at 3:44 PM on December 22, 2006


Is it just me or is fenriq responding to things that haven't been said, the docpops insult aside. Reading fenriq's arguments here feels a little bit like trying to read only every odd page of a book.
posted by shmegegge at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2006


Five different guys?

It seems like this guy was more interested in "scoring convictions" then any sort of justice. Kind of disgusting, but that's America for you.

On the other hand, it is possible to rape someone with a condom on. (Although you could get some skin under her fingernails, or something)
posted by delmoi at 3:59 PM on December 22, 2006


She's not on trial here. The defendants are being charged by the prosecutor. If you don't like how he behaved, go after him, not her.

If she made provably false accusations, let's go after them both. Either she's a lier, in which case she's a horrible person who tried to ruin several people's lives for financial gain or revenge, or she's dangerously mentally unstable and needs to be put away as a safety measure for society.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:00 PM on December 22, 2006


shmegegge, I'm responding to alot of the sentiments I've seen expressed on both sides. The case was and is a clusterfuck of guilt before innocence. The Duke players may not have raped her, they may have raped her. I don't know and I really don't care all that much one way or the other. But what I dislike are people making pronouncements without all of the evidence.

The DA Nifong is going to, or should, lose his job. He went after the defendants and stomped all over the line in the process.

tkchrist, I think you're missing my point. Even if the accuser slept with every member of the fraternity an hour before what she is saying happened, happened, it doesn't mean that she wasn't still raped. If that's an after school sentiment then so be it. In this instance, it appears that she has no credibility and her testimony is highly suspect. My point is that she (generic she, not necessarily the woman in this case) can fuck anyone she wants but when it becomes a matter of force, that's when it becomes rape.

I do think the media played a huge part in driving this case and should be held accountable. I also think that leaping to conclusions in matters of law is a pretty stupid thing to do.

If its proven that Nifong did, in fact, try to make the players guilty when they were not then he should be held accountable and punished. If it turned out that the Duke players raped her then they should be punished.
posted by fenriq at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2006


Statement from Duke President Brodhead Regarding Dropping of Rape Charges
“I am greatly relieved for the students and their families that the most serious of the charges has been dropped. Given the certainty with which the district attorney made his many public statements regarding the rape allegation, his decision today to drop that charge must call into question the validity of the remaining charges.

“The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.”
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2006


If Nifong requested that the lab not include parts of the data, he is obstructing justice. This goes beyond being coy with the evidence in front of defense counsel. Now, I might be wrong on this, but this might well be an indictable offense.

Time to prosecute the prosecutor, it seems.
posted by clevershark at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2006


S'ok. The "progressive" blogosphere felt compelled. Because. Y' know. The defendants were them nasy white elitist southern FRAT BOYS!!!! OMFG. They MUST be racist rapist monsters after all.

You're so full of shit. Let's see one reference from a major liberal blog.
posted by delmoi at 4:05 PM on December 22, 2006


On the other hand, it is possible to rape someone with a condom on.

She claimed that she was vaginally, anally and orally raped and that those she accused were not wearing condoms. She actually claimed in one of her statements that someone ejaculated in her mouth and she spit it out on the floor. Watch the video (NSFW) of today's press conference where her statements (recorded and written) are reviewed.
posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Allen, can you explain this in more detail? Isn't it common for the defense to question the history, character, and credibility of a key witness in a criminal trial? If it were not common, would there be any call for a Shield law explicitly placing rape victims out of bounds?

I think this case is so significantly atypical that it's a shame that it will be used as fodder for those who don't like the idea of holding men accountable for their sexual actions.

I think it's also a great illustration of our shifting stance on the burden of proof, something we readily suspend or shift to the accused when sensational topics are involved.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2006


fenriq, what i don't understand is where anyone in this thread or the linked article said "she sleeps around so she couldn't have been raped." further, what i don't understand is why you're latching onto a defense of the girl that completely ignores the fact that the dna evidence seems to suggest she was lying and that she has completely changed her story more than once. Shouldn't this discussion be about the new evidence and the light it sheds on the possible innocence of the duke lacrosse players? I'm hard pressed to see you doing anything other than lighting fire to a strawman, here.

In short: You're derailing the thread, sir. Please stop.

This isn't a condemnation of her sexual activity, it's a condemnation of apparent dishonesty.
posted by shmegegge at 4:13 PM on December 22, 2006


"If [the defense attorneys] can convince a judge that the 1996 charges were false, then they might be allowed to bring up the 1996 charges. (Much of the following information comes from George Washington University law professor and relentless self-publicizer John Banzhaf).

In State v Baron (1982), the Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled:
Defense counsel sought only to introduce evidence of the prior allegedly false statements for impeachment purposes and advised the court of their intent. We believe that the Legislature intended to exclude the actual sexual history of the complainant, not prior accusations of the complainant.

So even though it’s not an exception specifically outlined in North Carolina’s rape shield law, evidence of past false allegations are admissable."*
posted by ericb at 4:20 PM on December 22, 2006


I don't really feel like going over rape shield in this forum. I made the point above about introducing false claims and that should be enough for now.

I feel that the people who feel vindicated today are akin to those who like to point out that OMG MUSLIMS are doing all the killing in Darfur and get stuck on that point because it confirms something they feel the need to throw in the face of the idiotic liberal fools who can't see the truth. This was a horribly managed case from the start and we probably should never have heard of it. The media swooped in, Nifong did everything wrong he possibly could have and I suspect that the alleged victim was so far out of line that it may be criminal.

Having said that, there is a certain type of person who hates rape shield, date rape laws, etc. These people believe that rape is a tool that women use against men in the form of false of accusations. This is a laughable position. Rape is a form of social control that has been used by men to control women and other men since the dawn of nearly every civilization and continues to be so. The number of false accusations is not only in line with all other types of crime (~2%) but it is dwarfed by the number of rapes which are never prosecuted, or which are never recognized as such, or which are resolved in a manner that does little to serve justice.

This case is a tragedy of justice and an abberation. People with the confused agenda I just described are popping champagne bottles because a high-profile case turned out in their favor.

There has been an accusation that others were excited when the first charges were levied as they hate the white elite. All I remember thinking was that we should wait until a trial to understand what happened that night but there should probably be no place at a top university for a student who sent out an email describing skinning her alive. I still feel this way.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:25 PM on December 22, 2006 [8 favorites]


ericb - thanks for your illuminating comments
posted by docpops at 4:27 PM on December 22, 2006


Thanks ericb, that's an excellent link.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:27 PM on December 22, 2006


S'ok. The "progressive" blogosphere felt compelled.

What horseshit. Talkleft's been critical of Nifong almost from the very start. tkchrist, if you know of a more representative "progressive" legal blog than Talkleft, please let us know.
posted by mediareport at 4:38 PM on December 22, 2006


If Nifong requested that the lab not include parts of the data, he is obstructing justice. This goes beyond being coy with the evidence in front of defense counsel. Now, I might be wrong on this, but this might well be an indictable offense.

After a particularly egregious case of prosecutorial misconduct, North Carolina passed an "Open Discovery" law, which requires that prosecutors turn over all relevant evidence to defense counsel. What came out last week was that Nifong and Meehan deliberately decided to withhold critical exculpatory information. Which means at the very least that Nifong now has a conflict of interest. Depending on how the rest of the process proceeds, especially any testimony under oath, it may result in him personally becoming subject to indictment.

I've found that this (consciously biased) blog has been the best source of information about this whole business.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:57 PM on December 22, 2006


This editorial explains Nifong's conflict of interest.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:05 PM on December 22, 2006


"Today's court filing throws the case into further confusion, introducing another version of the night's events given by the accuser...

In the hours after the party, the woman told a Durham police sergeant that she had been groped but not assaulted. She told another officer that she had been vaginally raped by five men. She complained to a doctor at Duke University Hospital that three men vaginally raped her. She told another nurse she had been raped vaginally, anally and orally. A doctor and nurse examined her and found no evidence of assault beyond swelling of the vaginal walls.

And in a handwritten statement on April 6, the woman said that two of the men had raped her vaginally. Wilson's interview on Thursday [December 21, 200] apparently is the first time investigators have spoken with the woman about the alleged attack since April 6."*
posted by ericb at 5:10 PM on December 22, 2006


"Prosecutors are ethically obliged to seek justice, not merely to convict."

[from SCDB's link to the News Observer editorial]

posted by ericb at 5:13 PM on December 22, 2006


*December 21, 2006*
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on December 22, 2006


schmegegge, thanks for being civil. You're right, no one said that in this thread or in the linked article, however, this story has been all over the news and all over the internet for many, many months. And what I alluded to and much, much worse has been said about both sides.

Is the question in this thread her dishonesty or DA Nifong's dishonesty? I'd say its more about his dishonesty. Either way, she was lying and he lied because he wanted to make a case of it, for whatever reason. As has already been noted, she should face charges for falsely accusing the players and Nifong should lose his job and face charges for obstruction of justice.

Beyond that, being unhappy with how rape accusations are dealt with in the media is wholly applicable, this case was a trainwreck from the start and it was fueled by the media and by trial by public opinion.

But, seeing as I've said all I can to attempt to make my point and its still being missed, I'm done. There's more fun things to do on the internets than debate about false rape claims and Duke lacrosse.
posted by fenriq at 5:17 PM on December 22, 2006


looks like them Duke boys outwitted the law again.

seriously, though this kind of stuff:

That point was made by a number of attroneys this afternoon on MSNBC. They stated that there is the potential for future rape accusers/victims to have their claims be subjected to "Duke Rape Skepticism and Doubt."

is just nonsense. "Skepticism and Doubt" is otherwise known as due process under the law and is, most people would agree, a good thing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:17 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Either way, she was lying and he lied because he wanted to make a case of it, for whatever reason.

Remember that at the time Nifong was up for re-election in May 2006.
posted by ericb at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2006


"Skepticism and Doubt" is otherwise known as due process under the law and is, most people would agree, a good thing.

Agreed. I wonder why D.A. Nifong bought the accuser's story (-ies) "hook, line and sinker" and didn't approach the case objectively -- an until all of the evidence had been collected and processed. IMHO, he railroaded the lacrosse players with a "rush to judgment."
posted by ericb at 5:31 PM on December 22, 2006


But, seeing as I've said all I can to attempt to make my point and its still being missed, I'm done.
posted by fenriq at 5:17 PM PST on December 22

My point is that she (generic she, not necessarily the woman in this case) can fuck anyone she wants but when it becomes a matter of force, that's when it becomes rape.
posted by fenriq at 4:02 PM PST on December 22


?

Who is missing this point?
posted by Land Stander at 5:32 PM on December 22, 2006


see, until tonight I didn't have the slightest idea about what this case was all about -- an avid watcher of Fox "News", an highly entertaining comedy channel that I get on satellite (sometimes the parody level there is just too unbelievable though, like Borat), I nevertheless switched to another channel (generally Al Jazeera) because

a) I found the case not only creepy but, even more important, horribly boring

b) I am ashamed to admit that I don't have the slightest idea about what the hell is lacrosse, I seem to remember once seeing a weird stick with a plastic hockey mask attached to one end in the Lacrosse section of a sports goods store, the use of the stick (bat?) remains to me unfathomable

anyway tonight I actually endured a long segment about this thing, and I noticed the badly-concealed glee of the Fox "News" fake anchors and fake commentators. glee that I find really to be out of proportion -- as Smedleyman wisely points out above, nobody here -- or on Fox, or on Den Beste's favorite blog -- knows what the hell really happened. Nobody.

whet we're left is a strange, yes, clusterfuck of prosecutorial misconduct, savage press coverage (an alleged rape victim's sex life has to be irrelevant unless we want to go back to the happy "bitch asked for it" era, but this is probably to difficult a concept to grasp for some, here and elsewhere).

having said that, this strikes me as an even weaker story than that other media horror, the Laci Peterson (sp?) TV gangbang we had to endure a few years ago

God fucking forbid the liberal media (lol) starts using a hundredth of the resources and air time it gives to these non-stories to minor stories such as, say, Darfur or, I know I'm dreaming, the environment. I mean, who would like to hear information about _that_?



but no one could stop the train wreck because the accused were such perfect targets.

let's all cry a little tear for the rich, white, politically connected man, that unhappy victim of injustice in a nation obviously ruled by African American Marxist lesbians in wheelchairs
posted by matteo at 5:39 PM on December 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


ABC News has a transcript of today's press conference.
“When this case began, the accuser in this case, to numerous medical personnel, stated that she had been penetrated by the penis of these young men in her anus, vagina and her mouth.

In March — on March 16th — she told the investigator, Mr. Hyman, in his notes he relates that Brett and Matt — and you will remember, she referred to the three people that assaulted her as Brett, Matt, and Adam — that Brett and Matt put their penis in her anus and her vagina. And that Adam put his penis in her mouth.

‘In her handwritten statement, her statement, handwritten on April 6th, she said that ‘Matt had sex with me in my vagina and then placed his penis in my anus for about three minutes. Brett had sex with me in my vagina for about five minutes and then put his penis in my anus for about two minutes. And Adam ejaculated in my mouth and I spit it on the floor.’

At the time she made her identifications, of the young men, she said, on tape, which you can get referenced on the motion to suppress, about one of these young men, quote, he put his penis in my anus and in my vagina. About one of the other young men, she said he was the one standing in front of me and made me commit oral sex.

Almost the only consistent thing that the accuser has said, throughout the many varied different statements that she has made, was that a penis was used in the assault that she describes and that it was used in her vagina.

Last week, it was clearly demonstrated that significant exculpatory evidence had been purposefully withheld from the defense in this particular case. It should not be lost on you all, who have covered this case, that significant exculpatory evidence proved that there was no sexual contact between these young men and this woman.

Apparently, for the first time, yesterday, the first time, representatives of the district attorney's office talked to the accuser. This certainly begs the question, ladies and gentlemen, which I hope you all will ask, why, after all of these months, and all of what these young men have been through, did the district attorney's office first talk to this accuser, which leads to the dismissal of one of these charges, why are they investigating the case now, after they've brought it for months?

And when they did, ladies and gentlemen, it should be noted clearly by you that her story has now, yet again, changed — changed. And she now cannot remember the use of a penis in the vaginal rape that she described and which was used to indict these young men.

And let me say to you that the transparent coincidence between the proving of the failure of the state to give exculpatory evidence which shows that there was no sexual assault and this conversation leading to this young woman saying that she cannot now remember a penis being used is palpable.”
posted by ericb at 5:39 PM on December 22, 2006


You're so full of shit. Let's see one reference from a major liberal blog.

Oh Jeeeezus. Y' know delmoi I'm going to do this to YOU ever time you post a statement from now on. And here's how it would go:

You will waste hours sifting through the THOUSANDS of blog entries on a topic. And you will cite a few. And then I will scoff. And I will say: "HA. I said MAJOR blogs! Your so full of shit..." And then we will degrade into the symantics of what Major means and...

...For god's sake you know exactly what I'm talking bout. Look up blogs like Rachel's Tavern, Cool Beans, Feministing etc. They were ALL on the attack from the get go. Am I gonna list cites? Fuck no. Go look yourself.

Tone down the "Full Of Shit" business Mr.
posted by tkchrist at 5:52 PM on December 22, 2006


Oh and http://justice4twosisters.blogspot.com/ which is on HIATUS. I wonder why.
posted by tkchrist at 5:58 PM on December 22, 2006


Matteo: let's all cry a little tear for the rich, white, politically connected man, that unhappy victim of injustice in a nation obviously ruled by African American Marxist lesbians in wheelchairs

What point are you making? That we're only hearing about this case because the accused can afford legal representation? If so, aren't you the least bit concerned about the levels of prosecutorial misconduct that go on in the cases you don't hear about?
posted by kid ichorous at 6:24 PM on December 22, 2006


Oh and http://justice4twosisters.blogspot.com/

I'm sorry, who?
posted by mediareport at 6:24 PM on December 22, 2006


Crazy biatch.
posted by ELF Radio at 6:28 PM on December 22, 2006


let's all cry a little tear for the rich, white, politically connected man, that unhappy victim of injustice in a nation obviously ruled by African American Marxist lesbians in wheelchairs

it would probably be better to cry for an increasingly politicized justice system

if this goes on, we'll get heat ... we'll get anger ... we'll get arguments ... we'll get bitterness

we won't be getting justice

this case has become an utterly wretched travesty
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 PM on December 22, 2006


allen.spaulding writes "She's not on trial here. The defendants are being charged by the prosecutor. If you don't like how he behaved, go after him, not her. "

Ummm... yes, the prosecutor should clearly be up on charges. But she lied, it seems. So... exactly how is none of this her fault, pray tell?

shmegegge writes "This isn't a condemnation of her sexual activity, it's a condemnation of apparent dishonesty."

Exactly. If she wants to go and pull a train with the entire undergrad population of Duke, more power to her. That's her choice, and should never be allowed into the courtroom--it's irrelevant*. Her apparent past history of false rape accusations, however, is absolutely relevant.

*There are, I think, some times when sexual history of the victim does become relevant in a rape case--either for or against the accused. One can easily come up with a hypothetical scenario of someone who enjoys being submissive and having very rough sex, and their partner making a mistake and taking it too far--or very honestly thinking that 'no' did, with that specific person, mean 'yes'. I want to point out, though, that I would be willing to bet that such cases are very few and far between. Many rapists will use the 'I thought no meant yes' defence/justification/rationalization, and most of them are deluded and/or self-serving. In summary: I understand why there is a blanket prohibition against the victim's sexual history coming into play in a rape case, and at least 999 times out of a thousand it's clearly the right thing to do. But in the rest of the cases--the very few!--I'd say the judge needs to hear the evidence behind closed doors. Which just argues for the fact that we need a whole lot more wisdom (and, dare I say it, compassion) on benches everywhere, and not electability.

allen.spaulding writes "Having said that, there is a certain type of person who hates rape shield, date rape laws, etc. These people believe that rape is a tool that women use against men in the form of false of accusations. "

Some do. It's happened many times. And my personal feeling about people who make false sexual assault allegations is that they should then serve whatever the maximum sentence that could have been handed down in their jurisdiction is. Sorry, but you try to fuck with somebody's life to that extent--bearing in mind, of course, that even if someone is completely and totally exonerated, the word 'rapist' tends to stick pretty hard--and you suffer.

allen.spaulding writes "Rape is a form of social control that has been used by men to control women and other men since the dawn of nearly every civilization and continues to be so."

Interesting perspective. I would say that in some cases, rape is a form of social control. In some cases, it's a form of personal control (which is different). In some cases, it's merely about power (which can be different than control, at least in the way I think you're using 'control). In some cases it's about mental deficiency--some people have (naturally) sexual urges without the mental toolkit to understand 'no' (I think, for example, that most truly sociopathic rapists would fit in this category--which does not absolve them in any way). And in some cases it's about "I wanna get my rocks off and s/he's there and it's gonna happen no matter what s/he says" (which, yes, is in some ways about power/control, but is more about instant gratification, lack of self-control, etc).


ericb writes "A doctor and nurse examined her and found no evidence of assault beyond swelling of the vaginal walls."

Which--I'm no doctor here--could probably be accounted for by having sex with five different men in a short enough time period that their semen was still present on examination?

Also, does it bother anybody else that all that semen was found in the first place? Has this girl not heard of STD's?


Y'know, I've had an idea bubbling in the back of my head for some time about how the Western legal system needs to be reformed. Essentially, it boils down to the idea that we shouldn't have 'prosecutors' and 'defence lawyers'; instead we should simply have legal professionals who are called on (randomly, by lottery perhaps?) to either defend or prosecute a given case. Before you all jump on me, I have absolutely no idea how this could work in a logistical sense. Melanie Rawn posited a similar system in one of her books (which may well be where I got the germ of this idea), implying that the 'defence' position is assigned by lottery and viewed as a civic duty, much like jury duty or voting.

I think it could be workable, though. The police already have evidence-gathering down pat. An independent body--say, made up of a combination of the judiciary and randomly selected lawyers?--would decide where and when to prosecute, the same way as DA's (in the States) and Crown (UK/Canada) currently do. At that point two lawyers would be randomly assigned, one to the defence and one to the prosecution. Each is provided with exactly the same evidence, and then the adversarial system does its magic.

How to pay them, of course, is a very sticky problem. Americans, lawyers, and some Canadians would never go for having the State pay for both prosecution and defence in all cases. It would definitely even out the playing field, however--money would no longer buy you ana cquittal or a hung jury.

Anyway, just a thought. /dearail.

pyramid termite writes "it would probably be better to cry for an increasingly politicized justice system"

Hear, hear! Politics should only ever enter into the justice system on the legislative end of things. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to see how one can completely excise politics from the legal system.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Sorry... I also want to point out that no matter what you think rape is (control, whatever), that doesn't ever absolve anyone from guilt in the matter (cases of severe mental problems and severe--and provable--intoxication are different, and horribly sticky. I don't know where I fall in cases like that, and will withhold opinion).

No means no. Unless the two (three/four/seventeen/whatever) of you have previously and carefully outlined under exactly what circumstances 'no' does not mean 'no'.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:46 PM on December 22, 2006


That Nifong? What a good lookin' guy. I'd totally trust him around my kids. Hell, I'd let him massage my grandmother. I think one of the big reasons he beat Cheek is 'cause he looks like a coach and 'cause Cheek likes to wear roadkill on his bald pate. I gotta say tho, I respect his choices in literature.
Prosecutors though are either the noble wrath of God or complete disasters, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. (I'm being hyperbolic, but it's such a heavy job that it appears either your not nailing the bad guys or you're a great white shark)
Cook County in Illinois there was a scale at 26th and Cal (the courts building) for a contest among prosecutors to convict two tons worth of defendants. They called it 'niggers by the pound' and would lick their chops at fat black guys. Whether they actually did anything or not really didn't enter into it. Of course times have changed, but this stuff, when it gets bad, can be really bad. If you've got a machine behind you - who's going to prosecute the prosecutors?

The facts here aside, I think one of the only reasons this is so high profile is because the defendants have the juice behind them to fight back.
If Nifong was smart he'd've nailed some 450 lb. Bubba white guy who's living paycheck to paycheck.
Doesn't make it anymore right of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I wonder why D.A. Nifong bought the accuser's story (-ies) "hook, line and sinker" and didn't approach the case objectively -- an until all of the evidence had been collected and processed. IMHO, he railroaded the lacrosse players with a "rush to judgment."

Like too many high-profile rape cases, this one long since has ceased to be about crime and punishment and has become political theater.

There's a strong antipathy in Durham between the "town" and the "gowns". The populace there is mostly black, mostly lower-middle class. The students are mostly white, mostly rich, and mostly from out of state.

So the initial reporting of the case emphasized the narrative of rich white boys raping a single black mother working hard at an unpleasant job to pay her way through college (a different college) etc. It's got all the signals you'd ever want in order for it to be distorted beyond all recognition, and of course the local black community immediately rallied behind the woman.

Nifong was, as mentioned above, facing a tough reelection campaign, and in order to play to local black voters he talked tough about this case. The Democratic primary was in May, and the general election was in November, and if he had dropped the case before then, no matter why, then his political career in North Carolina was over.

That seems to be what got him into this mess: he has been pushing the case for reasons having nothing at all to do with the merits of the case, and now he's stuck with it. It's gone too far; if he were to announce tomorrow that all remaining charges were being dropped (which, IMHO, is what really should happen) he'd probably be disbarred, almost certainly be sued, and possibly face charges himself. He's got the tiger by the tail now and can't let go.

The situation wasn't helped by the fact that the prior judge who had the case was also local, and was elected by the same populace. Recently the defense succeeded in getting a new judge assigned to the case, one from elsewhere in the state. The next big event to watch for in this farce is for that judge to order Nifong to be replaced with some other prosecutor. It's very rare for that to happen, but it's possible and it's certainly called for in this case.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:07 PM on December 22, 2006


DNBB - you could come up with a litany of reasons why people lynched, some personal, some spur-of-the-moment, etc. The bottom line is that lynching as an institution served as a means to control African-Americans. The same goes for rape. I feel comfortable travelling alone or catching a cab late at night. This is not true of many of my female friends.

And as far as false charges go, please remember there is a difference between a fradulent charge and a charge which does not end in a successful prosecution. Many people may go to the police with claims which they believe to be legitimate only to have them not pan out for a myriad of reasons. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard for conviction (thankfully). Furthermore, the legal system is so brutal to rape survivors and people have such little faith that justice can be served in these situations, the chilling effect would be devestating. Reporting levels for rape are extremely low, as are successful prosecutions. It's also worth noting that accussed rapists get lawyers to defend their interests, whereas alleged victims do not, which would make such a liability extremely dangerous.

The solution seems to be to hold prosecutors responsible for their indictments and the evidence they put forward, which is what the law supposedly does now. As far as sanctions for leaks to the media go, that's a whole new ballgame, but it needs to be addressed. Look, I'm not happy with the alleged victim, but it's Nifong's job, not hers, that justice be served.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste also touches on a very important point. Elected judges and other judicial officials is just a huge fiasco on so many levels that it boggles the mind that some states, like SD, are trying to further deepen the politicization of the courts. Independent judiciary people, it means something.

Nifong is the bad guy here, but we get bad guys like him because people vote for them and people vote for them because other elected officials voted to have people vote for them. So don't vote for the guys who vote for the bills that let you vote for the DAs that indict without sufficient evidence in the midst of an election cycle. Or something.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:11 PM on December 22, 2006


allen.spaulding writes "And as far as false charges go, please remember there is a difference between a fradulent charge and a charge which does not end in a successful prosecution."

Never said otherwise, which is why I said false accusations, and not 'accusations not resulting in conviction'.

allen.spaulding writes "Look, I'm not happy with the alleged victim, but it's Nifong's job, not hers, that justice be served."

The alleged victim has demonstrably lied to the police and the prosecutor. This only serves to fuck with future rape cases, wastes the court's time (and God only knows how many taxpayer dollars), and devalues the system. She deserves to be prosecuted, period, as does the prosecutor.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:13 PM on December 22, 2006


Nifong is stuck in other ways. His problem right now is that essentially the only evidence he has for his case is the testimony of the alleged victim, and for a number of reasons her credibility is heading downhill fast.

She's been changing her story, but there was one version of it which was, for quite a while, being treated as the canonical one. The problem with it was that one of the three accused men has an alibi. At a time when her story claims he was upstairs helping to rape her, there are bank records showing that he was at an ATM machine a mile away withdrawing money. The camera in the ATM machine recorded his picture. The cab driver is ready to testify.

But if Nifong drops charges for him, then his sole witness takes yet another torpedo below the water line and his case against all the students is totally dead in the water. So despite this Nifong continues to pursue the case against the one with an alibi as well as against the other two, because he personally is in peril once the case collapses.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:17 PM on December 22, 2006


I thought this whole travesty was masterminded by somebody at Fark.com as part of their "Duke Sucks" campaign.
posted by wendell at 7:20 PM on December 22, 2006


By the way, the alleged victim is in legal peril here, too. She signed a statement, and almost certainly if that can be shown to be a lie then it means she's committed perjury.

Also, filing a false police report is a crime.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:28 PM on December 22, 2006


he was at an ATM machine a mile away withdrawing money....unless he's hung like 2600 horses put together!
posted by fenriq at 7:31 PM on December 22, 2006


I'm sure glad we have a justice system like that to make sure that our rights are protected! Go TEAM!

/sigh
posted by IronWolve at 7:43 PM on December 22, 2006


the newly revealed dna evidence suggests she took on an entire lacrosse team. it just wasn't the duke lacrosse team.
dirtynumbbagelboy's suggestion for professional advocates assigned by lottery already exists. the judge-advocate general corps in the military works somewhat like that.
i'm just grinning at all the folks bemoaning the dismissal of charges for its potential effect on the credibility of future rape accusers. an allegation of rape is not a self-authenticating, unquestionable fact. i believe that a false accusation of rape should draw a prison term equal to that of a rape.
posted by bruce at 8:04 PM on December 22, 2006


DNBB, I am trying to seperate out the belief that the alleged victim committed a crime if she provided false information with the idea that this miscarriage of justice is her fault.

Let's not be so quick to assume that she committed fraud, she deserves a day in court just as much as anyone else. I don't know what she's signed and like I said, she did all of this without counsel (at least at the beginning of the proceedings). If we just assume that everything the defense counsel says is true and condemn this woman to guilt without a trial because we have a gut feeling about her, well, that's sort of what got us here, no?
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:05 PM on December 22, 2006


Ready for some speculation? I think Nifong knows that if the defense motion for a change of venue is granted (virtually a certainty) that he is going to get slaughtered during the trial. To save Nifong's own ass, at this point he needs a miracle.

I think there's one, and only one, even faintly plausible scenario that saves him: if he can somehow manage to get at least one of the accused to accept a plea bargain. If that happens, I think Nifong's ass is out of the fire. It's something he can point to that shows that the case wasn't frivolous.

But I seriously doubt that's going to happen. The defense attorneys know that there's no case here. So Nifong is holding on, as long as he can, in hopes of delaying the reckoning and hoping that one of the defendants will crack.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:06 PM on December 22, 2006


bruce writes "dirtynumbbagelboy's suggestion for professional advocates assigned by lottery already exists. the judge-advocate general corps in the military works somewhat like that."

I knew it couldn't be original. And while clearly the JAG has resources that are more easily employed for such an endeavour, I think it could be a great reform for the legal system.

bruce writes "an allegation of rape is not a self-authenticating, unquestionable fact."

On paper? No. In reality? There will always be whispers: "Isn't that the guy who was accused of raping that girl..?"

bruce writes "i believe that a false accusation of rape should draw a prison term equal to that of a rape."

Hear, hear. And again, I want to make a clear distinction between 'false accusation' (this case, for example, and a case back in I think the 80's--a girl who accused police of gangraping her, only to admit later it was all fabricated. There are some very interesting writings about false rape allegations--one of the original FBI behavioural profilers touched on it repeatedly) and those which simply do not, for whatever reason, result in a conviction.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:08 PM on December 22, 2006


...she deserves a day in court just as much as anyone else.

No. Not correct. That idea is not supported by precedent or by Constitutional law. A defendant is entitled to a day in court. An alleged victim of a crime is not.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2006


allen.spaulding writes "DNBB, I am trying to seperate out the belief that the alleged victim committed a crime if she provided false information with the idea that this miscarriage of justice is her fault."

Well... perjury is a crime. And she started the ball rolling. Yes, the prosecutor ran with it, and is very definitely culpable, but she started the whole shebang. None of this would have happened without her patently false allegations.

allen.spaulding writes "Let's not be so quick to assume that she committed fraud, she deserves a day in court just as much as anyone else."

Um, no, she really didn't. Unless I deserve a day in court to prove that Bill Gates is actually my father and I deserve a few hundred million in backdated child support. She lied, she knew she was lying (unless she is completely delusional, in which case please get her the mental help that she needs), and the only day in court that those who lie to the court deserve is their arraignment and subsequent trial.

allen.spaulding writes "If we just assume that everything the defense counsel says is true and condemn this woman to guilt without a trial because we have a gut feeling about her, well, that's sort of what got us here, no?"

...but we're not doing that. The evidence flatly contradicts pretty much everything she has said. This is not a gut feeling.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:12 PM on December 22, 2006


i believe that a false accusation of rape should draw a prison term equal to that of a rape.

That's the second time this has come up. I don't think it comes from anywhere good.

False accusations of rape are extremely rare. What is not rare are false accusations of child abuse or drug use during custody battles. The overwhleming number of these false claims are made by men against women in an attempt to gain custody (21% of men's claims are false, compared to 1.3% of women's claims). These false claims are used to separate mothers from their children, which is often more about control than an actual desire to be with the children and many of the men who make these claims were abusive to begin with.

If you think that women control the legal system or have learned how to game the process through false accusations, you're nuts. We have good procedures to deal with fradulent criminal accusations and the problem lies with the publicity this case got. We need to work on fighting real abuses of the system, like the one I just mentioned.

As it is, there are real barriers for women to get justice in situations of rape, domestic violence, and so on. When prosecutors do go after women, it looks like this and it's not pretty.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:15 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The idea that the accuser is "entitled to a day in court" is directly contradicted by the 5th Amendment requirement that all indictments be made by a Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury thinks there's no case, then there's no trial.

Alleged victims of crime have no right whatever to a "day in court".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:16 PM on December 22, 2006


SDB: No. Not correct. That idea is not supported by precedent or by Constitutional law. A defendant is entitled to a day in court. An alleged victim of a crime is not.

Buddy, I was saying that if she's accused of a crime, which fraud and perjury are, she deserves a chance to defend herself before we all go off the handle and assume she's guilty. It looks like everyone else is willing to let the court of public opinion convict her, continuing the cycle.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:16 PM on December 22, 2006


SDB: Alleged victims of crime have no right whatever to a "day in court".

Again, your reading comprehension is a little off. I never said she had a right to a prosecution, but a right to defend herself against fraud charges. DNBB thinks we can skip that step and just start calling her a criminal. Seems that didn't work out so well when people started calling the lacrosse players rapists.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:19 PM on December 22, 2006


a case back in I think the 80's--a girl who accused police of gangraping her, only to admit later it was all fabricated.

That would be the Tawana Brawley case in November 1987.
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on December 22, 2006


allen.spaulding writes "What is not rare are false accusations of child abuse or drug use during custody battles. "

And, therefore, I think the same policy should apply: make a false accusation, draw the maximum sentence that a true accusation (and conviction) would draw.

allen.spaulding writes "If you think that women control the legal system or have learned how to game the process through false accusations, you're nuts. "

Jesus, I'm like a broken record these days: kindly do not put words in my mouth. Nor, indeed, throw out these ridiculous strawmen, please.

allen.spaulding writes "As it is, there are real barriers for women to get justice in situations of rape, domestic violence, and so on. "

Sorry... I seem to have missed the part where anyone disputed that.

allen.spaulding writes "Buddy, I was saying that if she's accused of a crime, which fraud and perjury are, she deserves a chance to defend herself before we all go off the handle and assume she's guilty. It looks like everyone else is willing to let the court of public opinion convict her, continuing the cycle."

Well, that's an interesting point, and philosophically I agree with you. Except that the published evidence flatly and completely contradicts her story.

allen.spaulding writes "DNBB thinks we can skip that step and just start calling her a criminal."

Er, sorry, I said that when? And more to the point.. they're not. She, demonstrably and unequivocally, is. There is a massive difference between calling someone a rapist just because someone else says so, and callign someone a perjurer (?) when documented and unequivocal evidence shows her to be so.

ericb writes "a case back in I think the 80's--a girl who accused police of gangraping her, only to admit later it was all fabricated.

"That would be the Tawana Brawley case in November 1987."


Thank you, the name had escaped me.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:24 PM on December 22, 2006


Oh, umm, allen.spaulding? DNAB, or dirtynumbangelboy, if you please. This is not an attack or an ad hominem. Just pointing out.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:25 PM on December 22, 2006


The bottom line is that lynching as an institution served as a means to control African-Americans. The same goes for rape. I feel comfortable travelling alone or catching a cab late at night. This is not true of many of my female friends.

Nevertheless, males are more likely to fall victim to violent crime. Anecdote and personal feelings aside, you are statistically less safe than your female friends.

As far as rape being an instrument of political control, I could see an argument that prison rape, when endorsed or deliberately ignored by the justice system, could make that leap - a sentence or punishment in and of itself, and a "disincentive" against breaking the law. This goes especially for the rape or torture of prisoners by the guards themselves - indeed, the horrors of Abu Ghraib should be no great surprise to us. We've done it before. However, if you view the difference between how rape and torture are viewed inside and outside of prisons in this country, I can't conclude that a "Rape Culture" extends so far beyond the prison wall. Rape of prisoners is by and large viewed as a joke, at worst, or with apathy at best. In contrast, the rape of women is highly politicized and arguably prosecuted with special advantages in some states, not to mention punished with a red-letter status that goes beyond what we dish out to murderers.

As a freshman in college, I was asked (with all other incoming males) to sign a *pledge* vowing that I'd never commit a date rape (!) There was a full day during orientation devoted to rape education, where it was made crystal clear to us which side of any he-said-she-said situation would be believed. This goes no way towards validating the claims of a widespread "Rape Culture" that I've heard from a MacKinnon or a Dworkin.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:28 PM on December 22, 2006


Strange; I parsed that as "dirty num bangel boy".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:30 PM on December 22, 2006


DNAB, for the record, I don't think we disagree on much and some of those comments weren't directed at you but at those who see this situation as emblematic of a sizeable number of women who vindictively ruin men's lives through false accusations. I think many of the calls for punishing false accusations come from people who see the world like that but I take it yours isn't. I still dissent on two points.

DNAB: make a false accusation, draw the maximum sentence that a true accusation (and conviction) would draw.

I still think this is a bad idea for many reasons, but chief among them that it would be used to silence many legitimate legal claims. Victims don't get representation and until they do, a wealthy aggressor would far too often be able to intimidate victims by threatening to use massive legal resources to find some technicality by which they contradicted themselves and thus throw them away. There are already massive disincentives for people to come forward and I don't think that this would filter out the extremely rare cases when a fradulent claim was made, but rather filter even more legitimate claims.

DNAB: There is a massive difference between calling someone a rapist just because someone else says so, and callign someone a perjurer (?) when documented and unequivocal evidence shows her to be so.

See, here's my problem. No evidence has been introduced into a court yet, so we don't know anything other than what reporters and lawyers have been telling us. That's why we have courts, to decide these issues. All this "documented and unequivocal evidece," such as the ATM thing could have been nothing more than PR to cast doubt in potential jurors' heads, or it could be legit, I don't know. What I do know is that it's always a mistake to publically state that someone is guilty of a crime before a trial has begun, especially when you don't know anything other than what you've read in the press.

This speculation is what got us into trouble in the first place, no? What seems clear to you may not be so clear once it ends up in a courtroom. What seemed so clear to Nifong when he ran to the cameras turned out not to have been so clear.

PS: Oops, I also parsed it like StevenC . DenB este
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:37 PM on December 22, 2006


Remember that the accuser intially said five men raped her. She was shown a photo line-up of the 43 white lacrosse players (the sole black player was exluded, since she was accusing only white males). This procedure has been routinely criticized by many, since the line-up didn't include "other" potential choices for her to make. She also claimed that one (Evans) of her "rapists" had a mustache. No one on the Duke lacrosse team had a mustache, since facial hair is against team regulations.
"...an intriguing video just surfaced in the case that shows the accuser identifying her alleged attackers, Duke lacrosse players David Evans, Colin Finerty, and Reade Seligman.

In the video, she says she's 100% certain Finerty and Seligmann are the men involved, but is 90% sure that Evans is involved. She said he had a mustache at the time of the alleged rape, but Evans's lawyers insist he's never had a mustache."*
posted by ericb at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2006


There's a strong antipathy in Durham between the "town" and the "gowns". The populace there is mostly black, mostly lower-middle class. The students are mostly white, mostly rich, and mostly from out of state.

Have you ever been to Durham, Steven? You don't have a clue about the city. The only "strong antipathy" we'd seen between town and gown in the years before this case was tension between "mostly rich white students" and *mostly rich white neighbors* who didn't like the students peeing in their yard and throwing loud parties.

Please, oh fucking please, stop acting like such a goddamn know-it-all because you read about something online.
posted by mediareport at 8:41 PM on December 22, 2006


allen spaulding, i see from your profile you're a law student. i'm a retired california lawyer with 15 years in the trenches of real estate, divorce, general biz and civil lit in my background before i bailed out of the justice industry in 1995, and to me your precise percentages of false accusations by gender smack of a divine omniscience which i believe you do not possess. i think they're flat-out horseshit.
steven c. den beste, the requirement of a grand jury indictment only applies to federal prosecutions, not state prosecutions which can be initiated by the filing of an "information". originally, all the bill of rights proscriptions applied only to the federal government, until the 14th amendment and its privileges and immunities clause came along, which extended **almost** all of those proscriptions to the state.
allen spaulding, when you take the bar exam, you better know which of those proscriptions were **not** extended to the states, because this is a favorite topic of bar examiners.
posted by bruce at 8:45 PM on December 22, 2006


"In addition to the accuser's shifting story, her fellow dancer first told police that the allegation of rape was a 'crock'....The accuser was shown photos of only Duke lacrosse players three weeks after the party. Mixing in photos of non-suspects is considered more reliable and is recommended by the U.S. Justice Department and Durham police....Defense attorneys say Nifong has rejected their requests to show him evidence that could clear the players, including time-stamped photos from the party that challenge the accuser's account of a 30-minute rape. He also declined players' offers to take polygraph tests." *
posted by ericb at 8:48 PM on December 22, 2006


Hey, I didn't claim that NC had grand juries (and I don't feel like checking, I'm supposedly studying for an exam). I know the 5th Amendment grand jury clause and the 7th Amendment right to civil jury trial clauses haven't been incorporated. If there's more, I guess I look forward to learning them.

The numbers come from the ABA itself (pdf).
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:54 PM on December 22, 2006


60 Minutes Interview with Kim Roberts (aka "Nikki/Nicky") the other dancer/stripper at the Duke Lacrosse Team party:
"‘Precious’ [the accuser] says in her written statement to police that Roberts, who as you may recall went by the stage name ‘Nikki,’ was actually present when ‘Precious’ says she was attacked by three men who called themselves Brett, Adam and Matt. When [Ed] Bradley asked Roberts about this in the interview, she seemed surprised and confused that ‘Precious’ would make such an assertion.

‘In the police statement she describes the rape in this way. 'Three guys – three guys grabbed Nicky,' that's you. 'Brett, Adam, and Matt grabbed me. They separated us at the master bedroom door while we tried to hold on to each other. Brett, Adam, and Matt took me into the bathroom.' Were you holding on to each other? Were you pulled apart? Is that true?’ Bradley asks Roberts.

‘Nope,’ she replies.

‘Yeah. Her statement continues. 'I heard Nicky on the other side of the door. And when Adam opened the door she rushed in and helped Adam to get me dressed.' so she's saying that you helped one of the rapists,’ Bradley says.

‘She was never undressed as far as I remember. As far as I remember, she was never undressed,’ Roberts says.

And, Roberts insists, she never assisted anyone in a rape, nor did she ever offer to engage in sexual acts with ‘Precious’ and one of the alleged rapists, which ‘Precious’ alleges in a statement she made that night.

‘And in her written statement 'Brett asked Nikki for a threesome with me' and she says you replied, quote, 'We need to stay and make more money,'‘ Bradley says.

‘I just don’t remember that conversation happening ever,’ Roberts says.

Asked if it could have happened, Roberts says, ‘No, I did not say those words.’

‘She goes on to say that when both of you went back in the house, she says, 'They were excited and angry. They were screaming, 'We’re going to f*** you black bitches,'‘ Bradley says.

‘I just don’t remember it that way at all,’ Roberts says.

Those are not the only questionable statements ‘Precious’ has made in this case. She has given different accounts about the number of men who raped her, saying at one point that night it was ‘five guys,’ ‘three men,’ and at one point, she said ‘no one had forced her to have sex.’"
posted by ericb at 8:57 PM on December 22, 2006


False accusations of rape are extremely rare. What is not rare are false accusations of child abuse or drug use during custody battles. The overwhleming number of these false claims are made by men against women in an attempt to gain custody (21% of men's claims are false, compared to 1.3% of women's claims). These false claims are used to separate mothers from their children, which is often more about control than an actual desire to be with the children and many of the men who make these claims were abusive to begin with.

I find it interesting that you yanked out stats about a subject not at hand, but not about what's actually topical and supposed "extremely rare." This Salon article is pretty balanced:

http://www.salon.com/news/1999/03/cov_10news.html

To wit: False accusations are aparently not uncommon, but then again, I intuitively doubt that they are any more common that other false accusations for offenses that leave a similar amount of evidence. The assumption that all women treat accusations of rape with the care of people wanting to preserve a (correct and justified, in my opinion -- please don't forget that) feminist thesis about the role of male power is actually pretty classist, when you think about it. It assumes that every woman magically has a backgrounder in feminist theory and isn't willing to use rape like any other lever for selfishness.

I'd guess that false accusations are becoming less common as evidence beyond the pure claim gets easier to collect and its absence is cause for concern. That's a good thing.

Here's what I think: I have a feeling that the woman in question has probably had some terrible things happen to her. There are three kinds of people that have had consensual multiple hetero sexual partners in a short period of time. Porn actors, prostitutes and swingers. I don't think we're talking about a porna ctress here and for all the sophomoric swagger, Duke LaCrosse players don't strike me as the swinging type. Now, assuming you believe this woman wasn't raped at all (which is a big if) ask yourself what a maybe-sex worker/maybe-gang rape victim of Some Other Guys was doing at some university party/function/around students and how you can construct a scenario that does not paint anybody close to said function as a pack of scumbags. Those precious flowers of half-educated white maleness, that tkchrist and others proudly unfurl their banners for, are not out of the shit yet and do not deserve to be.
posted by mobunited at 8:58 PM on December 22, 2006


i don't think the american bar association has any more divine omniscience than you do. i never joined it (it's just a trade association, membership is optional). as an inactive member of the california bar, i can tell you it's the most rabid left-wing entity in california government.
north carolina probably does have grand juries. state prosecutors will convene a grand jury for two reasons 1) develop the evidence in a setting where there's no right to cross-examination, defense counsel isn't even allowed in the room, but he or she can hang out outside and the witness is free to take breaks for consultation, and 2) if the case is a political hot potato, the prosecutor can say the grand jury charged them, i didn't.
good luck on your exam. doesn't law school suck? you'll be through it in no time.
posted by bruce at 9:02 PM on December 22, 2006


mobunited: I didn't cite a statistic because that's one of the most hotly contested issues of empirical research out there and is largely unknown. The article you posted is fine, but if you want a better overview of the literature, I recommend this compendium at CrimProf Blog.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Indictments in this case were issued by a Grand Jury on April 17.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:10 PM on December 22, 2006


bruce: i don't think the american bar association has any more divine omniscience than you do

I agree on this point. I am omniscient, but not divine. No wait, I have that backwards. Anyway, I didn't make up the numbers. Nor did they, they cited peer-reviewed research. Take it up with John Schuman and Nicholas Bala.

And as for me, interpleader isn't going to learn itself, so I think I should get back to, well, the law. Sigh.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:11 PM on December 22, 2006


Duke Rape Case Could Create Major Civil Liability Not Only For DA Nifong, But Also For Durham County.
posted by ericb at 9:16 PM on December 22, 2006


"Congressman Walter Jones [R-NC] has called for a federal investigation to determine if Nifong's actions constituted prosecutorial misconduct and denied the students their civil rights. In his letter to the Department of Justice, he spells out allegations which could make Nifong personally liable:

'First, Mr. Nifong directed the Durham Police Department to knowingly violate suspect identification procedures for police personnel in North Carolina,' Jones continued. 'These procedures require that during any suspect identification process, a suspect's photo must be shown with those of non-suspects. Mr. Nifong not only directed that this not be done, he also directed the police to tell the accuser that she would only view photos of Duke lacrosse athletes who were at the party. By doing so, Mr. Nifong ensured that the accuser could not make a mistake no matter who she identified because she would inevitably identify Duke athletes.'"*
posted by ericb at 9:20 PM on December 22, 2006


Duke lacrosse case timeline
posted by ericb at 9:26 PM on December 22, 2006


Oops -- Duke lacrosse case timeline.
posted by ericb at 9:27 PM on December 22, 2006


Ericb: strike 2.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:30 PM on December 22, 2006


It's lacrosse, not baseball! ;)
posted by ericb at 9:31 PM on December 22, 2006


New York Times:
"For Mr. Nifong, Friday’s announcement capped a week in which he seemed to be losing support and gaining critics from many quarters.

On Tuesday, the normally supportive editorial page of Durham’s main newspaper, The Herald-Sun, described some of Mr. Nifong’s actions as ‘flawed’ and ‘inexplicable.’ On Thursday, Irving Joyner, a law professor monitoring the case for the state N.A.A.C.P., said for the first time that Mr. Nifong should consider recusing himself. The N.A.A.C.P. has been watching the case because the accuser is black and the defendants are white.

Woody Vann, a Durham defense lawyer who said he respects Mr. Nifong as a prosecutor, said in an interview that he did not know of a single lawyer in town who thought Mr. Nifong had a winnable case.

Robert C. Trenkle, another Durham defense lawyer, said that while Friday’s retreat ‘makes perfect tactical sense,’ criticism was growing nonetheless. ‘I can’t exactly figure out what Mike Nifong’s doing other than committing career suicide and possibly inviting ethics charges,’ Mr. Trenkle said.

Led by defense lawyers, a team that includes some of the most prominent and experienced lawyers in the state, a growing chorus of critics is calling for Mr. Nifong to be removed from the case, and even investigated for prosecutorial misconduct.

[Joseph B.] Cheshire, [a] defense lawyer [for one of the players], asserted that Friday’s action fit a broader pattern: ‘Mr. Nifong and his accuser are continually changing their stories to fit new evidence.’ The woman, for example, first said the players did not wear condoms, but after initial laboratory tests did not show the presence of semen, Mr. Nifong said it was possible that her assailants did wear condoms.

‘I think he’s got a conflict of interest between defending himself and prosecuting the case,’ Mr. Cheshire said.

….Almost lost in the uproar of the past week, a 42-page defense motion filed on Dec. 14 raised new questions about the woman’s reliability in identifying the men who stand accused of kidnapping and sexual offenses.

The police showed her three sets of photographs during the first three weeks of the case, one with 24 lacrosse players, one with 12, and, after she failed to identify any suspects, one with all 46 white players.

She identified only one person with 100 percent certainty in two photo arrays as having been present at the team party. But that person, Dan Ross, was not there. He was 24 miles away in a dorm room in Raleigh.

The woman also identified the wrong player as having held up a broomstick while making a sexually crude remark to the two dancers.

As previously reported, she did not identify two of the defendants — Mr. Seligmann and David F. Evans — as attackers when she saw their pictures in the first photo arrays. She said it was harder than she thought because ‘the people in the photos looked alike,’ police investigators wrote. Yet she later identified Mr. Seligmann with 100 percent certainty and Mr. Evans with 90 percent certainty, saying he ‘looks just like him without the mustache.’ Mr. Evans has never had a mustache.

The final identification procedure contained photographs the police had taken of all 46 white lacrosse players. By not including any filler photographs of people who could not possibly be involved, the procedure appeared to violate Durham police, state and national standards for photo lineups and was called by the defense ‘a multiple-choice test in which there were no wrong answers.’

Mr. Nifong said this technique was not a photo lineup as that term is applied to police guidelines. ‘What is a lineup?’ he asked. ‘What if I have no idea who did the assault?’

Defense lawyers, though, said the identification procedures were so flawed and suggestive that the accuser should be barred from making an in-court identification at trial. Their motion attacking the lineups will be heard starting Feb. 5.

Mr. Cheshire, the lawyer for Mr. Evans, said he relished the opportunity to cross-examine the woman he calls ‘the false accuser.’ Mr. Nifong said it would be the most important pretrial hearing in the case — in part because of the ruling, in part because it will be the first time ‘my victim’ is back in a room with members of the Duke lacrosse team.

‘I have told the defense attorneys that if at any time the victim in this case tells me that she thinks that one of these people who have been identified was not her assailant, as soon as she tells me that, then that case will go away,’ he said. ‘I’ve said I’m not interested in prosecuting somebody that’s innocent. But until she tells me that, until she tells me these are not the right guys, we’re prosecuting this case.’"
posted by ericb at 9:44 PM on December 22, 2006


Ericb: you botched your second attempt at a "timeline" link.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:46 PM on December 22, 2006


Ericb: you botched your second attempt at a "timeline" link.

Damn ... and I'm not even drinking tonight.

Third time's a charm ...

Duke lacrosse case timeline [Durham/Herald Sun]
posted by ericb at 9:50 PM on December 22, 2006


As a freshman in college, I was asked (with all other incoming males) to sign a *pledge* vowing that I'd never commit a date rape (!) There was a full day during orientation devoted to rape education, where it was made crystal clear to us which side of any he-said-she-said situation would be believed.

Holy shit, kid ichorous. This is wrong on so many levels.

False accusations of rape are extremely rare. What is not rare are false accusations of child abuse or drug use during custody battles. The overwhleming number of these false claims are made by men against women in an attempt to gain custody (21% of men's claims are false, compared to 1.3% of women's claims).

You should fit right in to the feminist-friendly law system.

Firstly, nobody can give accurate statistics as to the levels of false accusations - many false accusations are dropped before they get past a report to the police.

As for your statistics, you know there are three kinds of lies.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 11:00 PM on December 22, 2006


Into which category do peer-reviewed studies belong?
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:06 PM on December 22, 2006


People tend to react more subjectively than objectively to shit like this. Given that, you have to understand that a lot of people around here, for a variety of reasons (some better than others), love to hate Duke.

I cherish a smoldering hatred of Duke. It reignites every time I see the “Cameron Crazies” doing their nasty frat boy big fling and prelude to bondage for the rest of their unnatural Republican lives to a mahogany desk.

Dookies have more than enough money to do whatever they want but, last I heard, being a naive- over-privileged, insensitive asshole is not a criminal offense. Just ask William Zantzinger somewhere between the lines.
posted by Huplescat at 11:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Didn't Zantzinger go to Maryland? Just asking.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:21 PM on December 22, 2006


i'm looking at mobunited's "precious flowers of half-educated white maleness" and huplescat's "naive over-priveleged insensitive asshole" and wondering something, if i called the accuser, who apparently actually goes by the name "precious" a "sleazy black stripper cum-dumpster whore" would i be any worse than they are?
i see mr. spaulding is neglecting his study of interpleader (quite all right, i could explain it in a single paragraph) but the fact is, peer-reviewed studies are only as good as the peers, and i don't trust those peers.
posted by bruce at 11:27 PM on December 22, 2006


Alen Spaulding wrote "False accusations of rape are extremely rare"....

Bullshit, as a guy who went through divorce, my ex tried to pull the abuse and rape cards. I wish I knew rule 1. when going through a divorce, never let her back into your bed, even if you want to work it out. Rape is a *VERY* common lie, and hard to prove against.

Feminist lies are taken as truth, just as WMD's from bush. Repeat a lie enough, and people believe it.
posted by IronWolve at 11:36 PM on December 22, 2006


mobunited: Now, assuming you believe this woman wasn't raped at all (which is a big if) ask yourself what a maybe-sex worker/maybe-gang rape victim of Some Other Guys was doing at some university party/function/around students and how you can construct a scenario that does not paint anybody close to said function as a pack of scumbags.

Easy enough. They hired a stripper from an agency they hadn't used before, intending to get an actual stripper, and when a skanky prostitute "stripper" showed up, they kicked her out. Are they a pack of scumbags? No more or less so than any other group that's ever hired a stripper (which is a little bit sleazy, but it takes a lot more than that to become a 'scumbag' in my book.)

On the other hand, if the accuser is intentionally lying, that does make her pretty damn evil. If she is falsely accusing them, what she is doing is immensely worse than anything they might have done; we're talking 'littering vs. setting someone on fire' difference here. There's no comparison.

So, you can see how I'd disagree with your characterization of everyone associated with the party as a 'bunch of scumbags'. If the students raped her, they're the scumbags, and they should be in prison for a long time, possibly the rest of their lives. If she's lying about it, she's the scumbag, and she should be in prison for an equally long time. But in no situation is everyone equally wrong or anywhere near it. Both situations have one party engaged in a horrible crime while the other is acting a little seedy (being a stripper/hiring strippers.)

The only third possibility is that the woman is simply batshit insane. thinking they did rape her when they didn't, in which case she should get stuck in an asylum for everyone's safety.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:56 PM on December 22, 2006


The way rape is used as control is by fear. Ingrained fear of violation limits our freedom.

Sure, men might be statistically more likely to be victims of violence (not sure if that is true), but women are far more fearful for their personal safety regardless.
posted by loiseau at 1:10 AM on December 23, 2006


It seems like this guy was more interested in "scoring convictions" then any sort of justice.

If there's one thing that is universal among public prosecutors its that they'll sink to almost any depth to try and get the guy they think is right even if the real evidence suggests otherwise.
posted by Talez at 1:41 AM on December 23, 2006


A grand jury, not Nifong, determined there was enough evidence of crime for there to be a trial.
posted by crispynubbins at 5:36 AM on December 23, 2006


Grand juries only see what the prosecutor wants them to see. So, actually, Nifong did in essence determine the strength of the evidence.

By lying.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:27 AM on December 23, 2006


> A grand jury, not Nifong, determined there was enough evidence of crime for there to be a trial.

A grand jury is supremely easy to manipulate. It hears no evidence except what the prosecutor chooses to present. There's no cross-examination, the accused cannot present any contrary evidence, in fact neither the accused nor his lawyer is even present. It's strictly and absolutely the prosecutor's song and dance that the grand jury receives.


> There are three kinds of people that have had consensual multiple hetero sexual partners
> in a short period of time. Porn actors, prostitutes and swingers.

Porn actors, prostitutes and sluts. Female sluts are less common than male sluts (who are as common as housecats) but they are not at all rare. "Swinger" is a subset of slut; we think of swingers as people with, at a minimum, the desire not to suffer the full consequences of living a slut's life, and some knowledge of how to avoid this ("Practice safe sex," yadda yadda.) The full set adds those who are helplessly out of control, sexually and usually in other ways also--who may not even have the concepts of self-control and self-direction.


> As a freshman in college, I was asked (with all other incoming males) to sign a *pledge*
> vowing that I'd never commit a date rape (!) There was a full day during orientation devoted
> to rape education, where it was made crystal clear to us which side of any he-said-she-said
> situation would be believed.

This quote goes wonderfully well with loiseau's...

> The way rape is used as control is by fear. Ingrained fear of violation limits our freedom.

Rape is hideous. Having no defense in a a he-said-she-said situation is not a molecule less hideous. The accused (that is to say, the convicted-by-accusation) is headed for PMITA prison and being raped repeatedly. Excellent way to keep males fearful and under control, for any purpose whatever.


The most important point in all of this for public policy is the brain-damaged but too prevalent and unquestioned assumption that there is nothing in between snowdrift-pure mutually consensual sex and full-on forcible rape. That attitude in not merely blind, it's evil. God help us if it becomes coded in law that prosecutors and juries may not consider exculpatory circumstances, as they may in the case of murder. If there are degrees of murder (nobody disagrees with this) then there are also degrees of rape, some of these much less serious than others. No may mean no, but no doesn't necessarily in all circumstances mean "Rape One."
posted by jfuller at 7:11 AM on December 23, 2006


I believe the plaintiff's history and Nifong's royal fuck-up are pieces of evidence independent of each other, leading me to ask this question:

Considering her history was a pursued line of questioning even before the lab work was confirmed or Nifong's bungling came to light, did anyone really believe these guys would get convicted?

That's what gets me about this clamoring to defend the Duke boys in the eyes of the media. There is no justice being served by anyone other then their lawyers defending them, no precedence being set for further cases of false accusation by docpops and ericb being so concerned for their cause. Those privileged snots were born innocent. If these guys did not have a wealth of parentally provided legal defense at their disposal, then fellas, I'd be wit'cha.

For those of you so afraid of seeing these innocent students being sent up the river, I can assure you, it wasn't going to happen.

I know, I know, a pretty bitter way to choose my battles, but there ya go.
posted by dgbellak at 8:51 AM on December 23, 2006


Articles from local Research Traingle, NC newspapers:

The Herald-Sun: Some sure, others question whether justice can be served.

The News & Obsever: Development heartens accused's backers.
posted by ericb at 10:10 AM on December 23, 2006


For those of you so afraid of seeing these innocent students being sent up the river, I can assure you, it wasn't going to happen.

Wow. You have achieved total consciousness. Can you tell me if it will rain on my birthday next year also?
posted by docpops at 11:09 AM on December 23, 2006


For those of you so afraid of seeing these innocent students being sent up the river, I can assure you, it wasn't going to happen.


You know, I don't think anyone actually cared about the students. People's outrage was not focused on these individuals but on what they saw as an unjust system where malicious women destroy men's lives.

At least when people came out of the woodwork for Kobe Bryant, they liked to watch him play. Let's not forget the let's-skin-the-strippers email. Maybe it's not so bad that even their heroic internet defenders aren't actually worried about them.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:34 AM on December 23, 2006


Associated Press:
‘‘‘I don't understand why all the charges aren't being dropped at this time,’ said Norm Early, a former Denver prosecutor who works with the National District Attorneys Association and had previously approved of Nifong's handling of the case. ‘It's such an incredible credibility problem that you wonder how the prosecution could rehabilitate her on the other charges.’

….’He got a rape indictment, so presumably he must have felt there was unequivocal evidence there was penetration,’ said Duke law professor James Coleman, a frequent critic of Nifong's handling of the case. ‘And for him now to say the only person who could have established that now isn't sure, that's pretty extraordinary.’

Without DNA evidence linking the three players to the accuser, the woman's testimony figures to be the key element of the prosecution's case. Both Early and John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said Friday that means the defense is sure to make the dismissal of the rape charge — and what it implies about her credibility — an issue at trial.

Banzhaf said no jury is likely to believe a witness who for months contended she had been raped, but now isn't sure.

‘This is the beginning of the end,’ Banzhaf said. ‘If they couldn't make the rape case, I don't see how they could make the others.’

….Nifong's commitment to case and the accuser, Coleman said, shouldn't come as a surprise.

‘To all of a sudden drop it and admit he doesn't have evidence to proceed to trial would be a fairly damning admission. I don't expect that to happen,’ Coleman said. ‘On the other hand, I don't think the case has credibility. How can anyone believe there's evidence to support the remaining charges?’’’
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on December 23, 2006


News & Observer:
"The accuser's new uncertainty also continues to point up problems with how Nifong has pursued this case. His first statements, made to television reporters with national audiences, included iron-clad assurances that a rape had occurred and that the defendants were guilty. Those statements about the men seemed to cross the line of prosecutorial propriety.

Then it turned out, as The News & Observer reported, that the D.A. had never interviewed the dancer about the events of that March evening, a puzzling fact given the certainty with which Nifong seemed to vouch for her truthfulness. The photo lineup in which the woman identified her alleged attackers included photographs only of lacrosse team members, a violation of Durham's photo ID policy and clearly skewed against the players.

Results of two separate DNA tests showed genetic material from several males found on the accuser's undergarments and body but none from the former players. It didn't help the district attorney's public case when the director of a company, hired by Nifong to do the second DNA tests, this week testified that with Nifong's knowledge, he hadn't included results showing that none of the players' DNA was detected.

Only later were those results released to the men's lawyers, which does little for Nifong's credibility as a justice-seeker -- not just a prosecutor trying to win -- regardless of the circumstances surrounding a criminal case.

The accuser, if she can offer a coherent account and stand by it, deserves to have her allegations heard in court, but she too may have been ill-served by a D.A. who seems to have built his case on a shaky foundation. For example, problems with the lineup procedure could mean that key evidence, or what the prosecution regards as evidence, could not be introduced.

From here on out, Nifong needs to be fair and cold-eyed in evaluating evidence as it continues to come to light and in assessing the strength of his case. He properly is being watched, and his conduct will need to be examined by the N.C. State Bar if the case continues to break apart."
posted by ericb at 12:40 PM on December 23, 2006


> f these guys did not have a wealth of parentally provided legal defense at their disposal, then fellas, I'd be wit'cha.

If they hadn't, you would never have heard of the case. If they'd been poor it would have been open, shut, guilty, burn 'em, case closed and forgotten. For your own safety's sake, thank your stars it happened the way it did.
posted by jfuller at 12:41 PM on December 23, 2006


If they'd been poor it would have been open, shut, guilty, burn 'em, case closed and forgotten.

believe it or not, there's cases that get prominent local coverage that involve poor defendants ... believe it or not, there are even cases in which these poor defendants are found innocent

it DOES happen
posted by pyramid termite at 1:17 PM on December 23, 2006


loiseau: The way rape is used as control is by fear. Ingrained fear of violation limits our freedom. Sure, men might be statistically more likely to be victims of violence (not sure if that is true), but women are far more fearful for their personal safety regardless.

For compared male and female statistics, see here (DOJ).

Please consider that those who control by fear often do so by ostensibly *protecting* you. How many institutions of control have been built from a vague "War on Drugs?" How many excesses of executive power and violations of civil liberties need be justified by the bogeyman of terrorism? Do you feel safe yet?

To whose benefit is a crushing fear for personal safety? I see no advantages for your average woman or man. If a woman is made pathologically afraid of rape, in excess of reason, this makes my own life better in no way, and worse in several ways. No, if fear is an instrument of control, I'd suggest that it's being wielded - like fear of drugs, or of terrorism - by political demagogues, and by the state itself. Each new tracking system for offenders, each paramilitary police raid, and every slick politico coasting into office on the promise of more convictions - these are trophies won from a shaken populace.

It's interesting to me that Allen Spaulding's definition of rape is a more suitable epithet for the institutions of law and government themselves:

"Rape is a form of social control that has been used by men to control women and other men since the dawn of nearly every civilization and continues to be so."

And as for the unfortunate strawmen that follow ("there is a certain type of person who hates rape shield, etc"), I'd say that there is also that type of person who doesn't relinquish his right to critical thinking when frightening topics are raised.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:52 PM on December 23, 2006


allen spaulding said that "people came out of the woodwork" to support kobe bryant.
let's look at the facts here a little more dispassionately. katelyn faber deliberately snuck past kobe's entourage for her tryst with the star. one of her own friends said something to the effect that she had previously tried to hook up with eminem. she was carrying around the sperm of three different guys (which seemed to me to be a lot, until this case came along) and ultimately she folded her hand just before her opportunity to go into a court of law and give her account under oath. anybody who continues to support her is a flat-out manhater, and you don't have to be a woman to be a manhater. there's a kind of thinking among liberal men where they have to burnish their sensitivity credentials by wholesale, abject, submissive subscription to the entire body of feminist cant in every single situation, no matter how preposterous.

and yes, i'm a laker fan. i've been a laker fan since the franchise moved to los angeles from minneapolis, conceivably even before allen spaulding's parents were born.

fiat justitia!
posted by bruce at 3:34 PM on December 23, 2006


If they'd been poor it would have been open, shut, guilty, burn 'em, case closed and forgotten. For your own safety's sake, thank your stars it happened the way it did.

Those two sentences don't go together. Being (relatively) poor myself, I don't see why I should thank my stars for anything - you just said yourself what would've happened to me (worst case scenario, anyway).

You know, I don't think anyone actually cared about the students. People's outrage was not focused on these individuals but on what they saw as an unjust system where malicious women destroy men's lives.

I believe these lives were in no danger of being destroyed by this malicious woman, therefore I feel this outrage was poorly focused. I'd make a shitty lawyer.
posted by dgbellak at 3:51 PM on December 23, 2006


It's interesting to me that Allen Spaulding's definition of rape is a more suitable epithet for the institutions of law and government themselves:

That was a description, not a definition. Rape is nonconsensual sex. That's a definition.

And as for the unfortunate strawmen that follow ("there is a certain type of person who hates rape shield, etc"), I'd say that there is also that type of person who doesn't relinquish his right to critical thinking when frightening topics are raised.

Right, the rest of us have clearly relinquished something if we can have divergent positions, or gasp, align ourselves with elements of an embattled minority position. Being critical of heterodoxy doesn't make your thoughts interesting or particularly daring for that matter. I bet you have amazing critical thoughts on multiculturalism as well. Like, level 6 critical or something.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2006


So, "manhater" feminist cant is the big problem? - Thinks liberally, then rolls on the floor laughing in a completely insensitive manner.
posted by crispynubbins at 5:30 PM on December 23, 2006


fenriq: Ahhh, the old, she sleeps around so she couldn't have been raped defense? Its still as disgusting and wrong as it always has been.

No one said this and you know it. Her story is doubted because she has changed it several times and because there has been no evidence whatsoever to support her claims. Not a single person posting before you came anywhere close to it, but you still choose to characterize their posts in that awful way. An apology is due.
posted by spaltavian at 5:38 PM on December 23, 2006


No one said this and you know it.

Hmm...

And Nifong's case is now based on the testimony of a drug-addled head case who had the DNA of multiple men in her panties, none of whom matriculated at Duke.

The "none...at Duke" part appears to be the only part pertaining to the case. The semen-and-underwear imagery seems like something else entirely. If only her story is in question and not her sexual habits in general, as you are vehemently claiming, then why are we discussing her panties? Methinks an opinion has been made of her which you are sweetly denying. When this is how the legalities of this case are discussed, forgive some of use for thinking too much of all the whore-talk.

As has been said, she is not on trial, and she wouldn't have gone this far without Nifong's help.
posted by dgbellak at 7:06 PM on December 23, 2006


Allen, I'm going to parade some of your strawmen now, just to illustrate the difference in how you and I countenance the opinions of others:

"I think this case is so significantly atypical that it's a shame that it will be used as fodder for those who don't like the idea of holding men accountable for their sexual actions."

"...the people who feel vindicated today are akin to those who like to point out that OMG MUSLIMS are doing all the killing in Darfur..."

"There is a certain type of person who hates rape shield, date rape laws, etc. These people believe that rape is a tool that women use against men in the form of false of accusations."

"People with the confused agenda I just described are popping champagne bottles because a high-profile case turned out in their favor."

"...those who see this situation as emblematic of a sizeable number of women who vindictively ruin men's lives through false accusations. I think many of the calls for punishing false accusations come from people who see the world like that but I take it yours isn't."

"You know, I don't think anyone actually cared about the students. People's outrage was not focused on these individuals but on what they saw as an unjust system where malicious women destroy men's lives."

Do these sorts of strawmen have any function but to squeeze a spectrum of opinion into a tidy paradigm of misogyny and meanness? They're entirely conjecture, pure theatrics - just like your pointless speculation about my stance on multiculturalism.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:08 PM on December 23, 2006


dgbellak: The "none...at Duke" part appears to be the only part pertaining to the case. The semen-and-underwear imagery seems like something else entirely. If only her story is in question and not her sexual habits in general, as you are vehemently claiming, then why are we discussing her panties?

Uhh... because it's exculpatory? The only physical evidence- semen on clothing- doesn't match her story. So yeah, the semen on her have to be panties discussed.

Many rape victims have the problem that evidence has been washed/faded away. (For very understandable reasons, rape victims often want to shower after the attack. This clearly wasn't the case with this woman; that physical signs of sex were able to stay intact leads one to believe that any physical signs of rape should be intact. She gave a statement saying the alleged rapists didn't use condoms.

Finally, if she indeed is lying, that she offered those panties as "evidence" indicates she was knowingly used falsified evidence in order to incriminate someone.

Methinks an opinion has been made of her which you are sweetly denying.

Methinks you're trying to shoehorn this argument into a place it isn't needed. There are plenty of people who have the attitude you find offensive, but it wasn't in this thread.

As has been said, she is not on trial,

Hopefully, if it turns out she did make a false rape allegation, she will be.
posted by spaltavian at 7:48 PM on December 23, 2006


New York Times:
‘‘Brian W. Meehan, director of a private laboratory that performed extensive DNA testing on rape kit swabs and underwear collected from a stripper only hours after she said that she had been gang-raped by three Duke lacrosse players after performing at a team party in March. Mr. Meehan’s tests on the swabs and underwear had detected traces of sperm and other DNA material from several men.

But his tests had found something else, too: none of that DNA material was from the three players, or any of their teammates.

Mr. Meehan had promptly shared this information with Michael B. Nifong, the Durham district attorney. Yet his summary report — the one that would be turned over to the defense — mentioned none of this.

It was an awkward omission that Mr. Meehan struggled to explain under withering cross-examination from defense lawyers. At one point, he was forced to admit that the incomplete report violated his laboratory’s own protocols.

Finally, a defense lawyer asked Mr. Meehan if the decision not to report complete test results was ‘an intentional limitation’ arrived at between him and Mr. Nifong.

‘Yes,’ Mr. Meehan replied.

….Perhaps more than anything else, that testimony added substantially to the long list of questions about the accuser’s credibility and Mr. Nifong’s judgment. The woman had told investigators that before the party, she had not had sex for about a week. How, then, to explain the DNA?

And given her description of a brutal gang rape, how could the most sensitive DNA test available fail to find even a single incriminating cell? Finally, why had Mr. Nifong failed to disclose this information for so many months, and repeatedly told the judge that there were no such results?

….Mr. Nifong conceded he erred in not providing all of Mr. Meehan’s test results to defense lawyers months earlier than he did. ‘Obviously, anything that is not DNA from the people who are charged is potentially exculpatory information,’ he said. ’’
posted by ericb at 7:55 PM on December 23, 2006


I don't mean to sound prudish in making this distinction. I'm only trying point out the intended imagery in saying "panties" rather than "clothing." It crosses that fine line between calling her a "liar" (supposedly the only thing going on in this thread) to calling her a "whore."

There are plenty of people who have the attitude you find offensive,

Not according to Mr. ichorous.

...but it wasn't in this thread.

Can I presume you're speaking for everyone? You seem quick to defend any number of total strangers. Since you just proclaimed your acceptance that such an attitude exists plentifully, I can only assume your anger arises from the sole notion that such an attitude may or may not exist in this thread. Why is that, exactly? Is there some sort of purity to MeFi I wasn't previously aware of? What exactly are you defending here?

Hopefully, if it turns out she did make a false rape allegation, she will be.

Will you honestly feel that much safer knowing another lying whore is behind bars? Will you rest assured that these young men will now most certainly get those Wall St. jobs they were promised?

I, for one, am more concerned with prosecuting Mr. Nifong, as he can cause the most damage with such actions. She's just some flunkie with a poorly thought-out case. You seem far more concerned with her punishment, though. Hence the perceived misogyny.
posted by dgbellak at 8:36 PM on December 23, 2006


Do these sorts of strawmen have any function but to squeeze a spectrum of opinion into a tidy paradigm of misogyny and meanness? They're entirely conjecture, pure theatrics - just like your pointless speculation about my stance on multiculturalism.

I don't think you know what a strawman is. I'm stating that I believe that a certain type of person is attracted to cases like this because of a certain set of beliefs. I'm not setting up arguments and then attacking them. What I am doing is called characterizing a position and in one of the posts you quoted, I differentiated someone's statement from it.

If you think the generalization is inaccurate, or does not describe a large enough group of people to be useful, then say so. I mean, maybe Neo-Nazis are rooting for the lacrosse players because they hate black women and think she got what was coming. I'd argue that claiming that a significant number of people feel that way is wrong.

So, do you think I'm wrong? When someone posts about pedophilia, do many posters immediately chime in about a friend of theirs who was falsely accused of the crime? How people ruin lives with these accusations?* Have there not been people in this thread who appear to be vindicated? Are there not people who disagree with rape shield here? You may disagree with my characterization, but at least address it.

*Interestingly, when we do talk about these issues in such forums, it's often in criticising things such as Meghan's Law. I myself am very upset with the way that sexual offenders are treated and what's happening in Georgia is horrific. Yet, when it comes to violence against women, there is no such consensus and in fact there is often a certain anger at those who claim victim status. There was more outrage over the Duke case then there ever would be over Castle Rock v Gonzales.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:43 PM on December 23, 2006


I'm only trying point out the intended imagery in saying "panties" rather than "clothing." It crosses that fine line between calling her a "liar" (supposedly the only thing going on in this thread) to calling her a "whore."

Interesting. See, when I hear panties and semen, I think sex. When I hear clothing and semen, I think, hmm, how'd that get all over the place? So yes, you are a prude, and your interpretation of the comment was wholly off the mark.
posted by docpops at 9:41 PM on December 23, 2006


docpops:

...a clusterfuck...

...you twat...

Sorry, I must have had derogatory, misogynistic language on my brain.

If you wish to keep people from calling out any overt woman-hating on your part in such a gender-sensitive subject as this one, I'd advise you to think a little more before you type. In fact, looking back at your previous comments I now believe I interpreted that one quite well, thank you.
posted by dgbellak at 11:03 PM on December 23, 2006


dgbellak, give it a rest.

To you 'misogyny' means just about anything. I think you're trying to shame some posters here, regardless of the true application of the word.

She's just some flunkie with a poorly thought-out case.You seem far more concerned with her punishment, though. Hence the perceived misogyny.

Why is seeking justice 'misogyny'? Her testimony could potentially (still) ruin three people's lives. If it's misogyny to see that such destructive people receive justice, sign me up as a misogynist.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:09 AM on December 24, 2006


Allen: by characterizing those as "strawmen," I mean that they impute to certain viewpoints - say, criticism of shield laws - a set of weak arguments that cannot be inferred from the viewpoint alone. If I went ahead and espoused such a view, I'd be doing so with the whiff of these presumptions already on me, already attributed to my side. If this is only "characterizing a position," you're conflating these positions with other sentiments that are weak or noxious. This strikes me as having the quality of a strawman argument - that of putting the wrong words into the other side's mouth.

If you think the generalization is inaccurate, or does not describe a large enough group of people to be useful, then say so. I mean, maybe Neo-Nazis are rooting for the lacrosse players because they hate black women and think she got what was coming. I'd argue that claiming that a significant number of people feel that way is wrong.

I won't begrudge you certain cases, but I don't assume that these statements hold generally. What I do know for certain about them, and what I'm responding to, is their rhetorical impact.

So, do you think I'm wrong? When someone posts about pedophilia, do many posters immediately chime in about a friend of theirs who was falsely accused of the crime?

In general? No. But in a thread about a trial comparable to this one, wouldn't it seem more reasonable?

Are there not people who disagree with rape shield here?

There are those who will disagree on specifics, but I wouldn't suggest that they'd all cast rape broadly as a "tool women use against men." You may occasionally find the reactionary male equivalent of a Dworkin who will argue such truisms. I've found his antithesis far more common, if equally unhinged...

While some parts of shield law do make sense to me, others do not, and I haven't the legal expertise to sort it all out to satisfaction.

I do know that I often take the side of the accused in any legal discussions, sometimes for lack of other supporters, and have found myself in this uncomfortable spot too much over the last six years. Meanwhile, the television fills up with programs lionizing police, federal agents, prosecutors. This is hardly an explanation, but I *do* feel a sort of triumph or vindication when I see anyone defend their innocence in court.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:26 AM on December 24, 2006


Supposedly, her testimony doesn't hold water. So, if these three people's lives are ruined, it will no longer be a direct result of her flimsy, evidence-free testimony. It will be the result of the unethical behavior of the DA, behavior I would rather deem criminal than merely unethical, for if it is not stopped he could go on to ruin lives in his future cases. "Seeking justice" would be to go after the legal powers responsible for damaging the men, not the stripper whose word meant little without said powers. Apparently, you would rather seek justice by making an example of the stripper. I fail to see how justice would be served and instead see the misdirected focus as misogyny, a "Bitch set me up!" situation, if you will. If it isn't, then you're simply not seeing the larger threat.

In that regard, I thought I was giving your view credit.

Did you read the article? I didn't see much piling on her in that.

Geesh, some defeneders act like the combination of "fraternity" and "rape" is such an alien concept. Whole books have been written on the subject. Wasn't "date rape" pretty much invented on college campuses?
posted by dgbellak at 12:51 AM on December 24, 2006


dgbellak, why are you trying to diminish or outright remove all responsibility from the accuser? You're treating her like a small child, or an adult mentally incapable of making responsible statements / decisions.

According to your logic, you can falsely accuse with impunity - thus leaving the door open to many future false accusations made by others who feel there's no risk in trying to hurt someone / seek financial gain through lies because all the blame can fall on the prosecuting lawyer.

....fail to see how justice would be served and instead see the misdirected focus as misogyny, a "Bitch set me up!" situation, if you will.

Do you realise how ridiculous your argument sounds?

Well, she's black too. I guess wanting to have her be responsible for her actions makes one a racist too, right?

Here's a thought: your gender or skin colour doesn't make you any less responsible - and it cannot be used as a shaming tool to prevent others from simply asking that everybody be equally responsible for their actions.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 3:55 AM on December 24, 2006


Geesh, some defeneders act like the combination of "fraternity" and "rape" is such an alien concept. Whole books have been written on the subject. Wasn't "date rape" pretty much invented on college campuses?

I presume you mean people who are observing the facts as they unfold? Nobody is 'defending' the accused blindly here. Sometimes, just sometimes, frat boys are not guilty of rape. As alien a concept as that sounds, this is the very situation that has unfolded in this case.

The bolded comment is no better than saying '"black man" and "robber" is hardly an alien concept.' - thank goodness assumptions aren't part of the judicial process.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 4:48 AM on December 24, 2006


I'm only trying point out the intended imagery in saying "panties" rather than "clothing."

if the article of clothing in question is a pair of panties, then it is not imagery, but a statement of fact
posted by pyramid termite at 5:26 AM on December 24, 2006


Coming, in late here, but what a weird thread. It seems these guys are innocent, and that sending them to jail would have been a miscarraige of justice. Regardless of my feelings about fratboys, race or class. The fact that the prosecutor lied is even more disturbing.
posted by jonmc at 7:49 AM on December 24, 2006


Sometimes you need to consider the source that supports an argument or point of view. One source cited by Steven C. Den Beste and in the 30 plus comments by ericb is a newspaper, founded by white supremacist Josephus Daniels, and credited with precipitating a race riot. More recently this source has carried water for racial segregationist Jesse Helms, a Pinochet friend and former employee of the paper, whose wife ran the society page. Credible source of information on a topic laden with race and class? Maybe not so much.
posted by crispynubbins at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2006


My final comment, fwiw - when this story broke, given my memories of the lacrosse program and a few select faraternities at Duke when I was there in the late 80's, I figured this was a done deal. Frankly, I had not an ounce of interest in the possible demise of the worlds of the accused and their various environs. I did feel some frustration over the simplistic and lazy portrayal of Duke v. Durham as a racially tense/ambivalent dichotomy, more for the thousands of superlative youth who now had that potential stain to carry around. So all this discussion about racial bias, sexual bias, whether the come was in 'underwear' or 'panties', is so much bullshit. I assumed a young woman was raped, and moreso by some shithead jocks. There's the bias. As soon as a few [purported] facts came to light, I really started to seriously wonder about the motives of the prosecutor. I was still too naive to think that even with the Durham community, many of whom are black, many of whom are white people tired of living in the midst of periodically drunk students, clamoring for the hides of the lacrosse players, and in an election season, that there would still have to be evidence to charge and convict. Not decades of racial frustration, or liberal guilt, or anything else but a solid case built on evidence. I don't know what the young woman's motives are. I really don't think anything will be gained by prosecuting her. I expct her life is pretty much ruined, she is likely mentally ill given what else is known about her. Nifong will likely suffer for his actions, either professionally or in a civil suit. I have been on the receiving end of a false accusation that had potentially disastrous financial and legal consequences where my life and my family's hinged on the common sense of the legal system. The accuser was clearly nuts. But a zealous DA could have made a grand spectacle over the situation that could have gained him publicity and would have ruined the reputations of at least a dozen physicians and destroyed their families in the offing. Yet I never really felt much other than frustration and pity for the other party. Yoiu are too busy worrying about the fact that your entire life hangs in the balance and depends on another person exercising some common sense and altruism.
So from my vantage point Nifong failed that most serious test. I hope and expect he will suffer the consequences of his unethical gamble.
posted by docpops at 7:59 AM on December 24, 2006


A summary of where the case stands.
posted by ericb at 8:16 AM on December 24, 2006


Opinions from today's newspapers:

False rape allegation an affront to women. [Greg Couch | Chicago Sun Times]

Injustice has spoken in the Duke lacrosse case. [Stephen A. Smith | Philadelphia Inquirer]
posted by ericb at 8:27 AM on December 24, 2006


Sometimes you need to consider the source that supports an argument or point of view. One source cited by Steven C. Den Beste and in the 30 plus comments by ericb is a newspaper, founded by white supremacist Josephus Daniels...

Okay...I had no clue who the heck Josephus Daniels was and find from Google that he was the founder of the 'News & Observer.' Big deal. How does that fact have any impact on anything that their reporters are writing on the Duke rape case? When I read the citation above* I find they are reporting facts and making some very insightful points. What's your reaction/opinion on what they are reporting? Are today's News & Observer reporters tainted by the racial bias of the newspaper's 19th. century founder?
* - "The accuser's new uncertainty also continues to point up problems with how Nifong has pursued this case. His first statements, made to television reporters with national audiences, included iron-clad assurances that a rape had occurred and that the defendants were guilty. Those statements about the men seemed to cross the line of prosecutorial propriety.

Then it turned out, as The News & Observer reported, that the D.A. had never interviewed the dancer about the events of that March evening, a puzzling fact given the certainty with which Nifong seemed to vouch for her truthfulness. The photo lineup in which the woman identified her alleged attackers included photographs only of lacrosse team members, a violation of Durham's photo ID policy and clearly skewed against the players.

Results of two separate DNA tests showed genetic material from several males found on the accuser's undergarments and body but none from the former players. It didn't help the district attorney's public case when the director of a company, hired by Nifong to do the second DNA tests, this week testified that with Nifong's knowledge, he hadn't included results showing that none of the players' DNA was detected.

Only later were those results released to the men's lawyers, which does little for Nifong's credibility as a justice-seeker -- not just a prosecutor trying to win -- regardless of the circumstances surrounding a criminal case.

The accuser, if she can offer a coherent account and stand by it, deserves to have her allegations heard in court, but she too may have been ill-served by a D.A. who seems to have built his case on a shaky foundation. For example, problems with the lineup procedure could mean that key evidence, or what the prosecution regards as evidence, could not be introduced.

From here on out, Nifong needs to be fair and cold-eyed in evaluating evidence as it continues to come to light and in assessing the strength of his case. He properly is being watched, and his conduct will need to be examined by the N.C. State Bar if the case continues to break apart."
posted by ericb at 8:57 AM on December 24, 2006


Are today's News & Observer reporters tainted by the racial bias of the newspaper's 19th. century founder?

why of course, they are, ericb, didn't you get the metafilter center memo? ... if an institution, religion or class of people was once racist, sexist, or anti-gay it shall always be so and all members of it are so, because they are monolithic and unchangable

needless to say this does not apply to oppressed minorities, who must be held to FAIR and INDIVIDUAL standards, unlike the privileged, who are all collectively guilty by association ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 AM on December 24, 2006


The bolded comment is no better than saying '"black man" and "robber" is hardly an alien concept.' - thank goodness assumptions aren't part of the judicial process.

So, assuming the worst when this story broke - as even insult-hurler docpops just admits he did - makes me no better than a racist. Those poor, marginalized frat boys. Christ almighty, people. However will they get their high-paying careers now that my "paradigm of misogyny" oppresses them so? Since I am not "the judicial process," I didn't think an assumption, an opinion on what happened, would hurt. And don't you dare try and tell me I was alone in forming an opinion - every damn one of us forms an opinion on a story no matter how little is known.

It just seemed odd to me that the accused, coming from a segment of society who in all likelihood will live the rest of their lives without my help or any of yours, suddenly need all this support. Though Nifong definitely needs his ass handed to him, any further cries of injustice in support of the accused just seem like a waste. The subtle cries of "Burn the witch" that make up part of this story (and, as I hope I wasn't the only one to see, a small part of this thread) certainly don't help. Let's ignore the fact that Nifong is almost solely responsible for taking the case this far: What would be served by holding the accuser responsible, justice or revenge?

crispynubbins partially revealed what several here are angrily denying, that maybe, just maybe, there's more going on here than merely defending the innocent. When that much can be found by digging a little, then, yes, even something as small as the language used means a lot.
posted by dgbellak at 9:35 AM on December 24, 2006


What would be served by holding the accuser responsible, justice or revenge?

Wow. You don't get it at all.
posted by docpops at 9:52 AM on December 24, 2006


Wow. You don't get it at all.

I suppose not. Thank you for explaining it so clearly and succinctly to me.

Go back up several comments to ericb's headline:

False rape allegation an affront to women.

It most certainly is. This woman has made it that much more difficult for genuine victims of rape to seek justice. Prosecutors may now be less apt to attempt a similar case, at least one with this kind of profile. But wouldn't making an example of the accuser make it profoundly more difficult? Consider this case from last year:

"Rape is the most underreported crime in the nation and women are already very reluctant to complain," Coughlin said. "If it became standard for men to file these lawsuits that could certainly put a chilling effect on the victims."

Wyatt said she wants eyewitnesses held accountable, adding that not all women are "shrinking violets" and should be able to stand firm in their identifications.

"It is important. People, more often than not men, get falsely accused because of a misidentification," Wyatt said. "I call on women who are strong and intelligent creatures to not get talked into a misidentification."


Very interesting parallels. Both lawyers had good points, but Deborah Wyatt's comment about getting "talked into a misidentification" made me question who is really responsible, who should be held accountable. The woman who was nonetheless raped by somebody? Yeah, let's punish her. That'll show them rape accusers who's boss. We men aren't to be trifled with.

A similar case is discussed here.

Believing that holding her responsible - assuming that means prosecuting her for defamation - would do more harm than good, I wonder if the desire to see such prosecution stems from something other than a quest for justice. That's where the question of bias comes in. It is certainly not bullshit.

I really don't think anything will be gained by prosecuting her.

Clearly. And you didn't really say you were in favor of such a thing in the beginning, but you were insulting those who suggested that the inherent bias in such a sentiment might exist in this post. So forgive me for thinking you might be privy to such bias.

So, since you agree with me that nothing will be gained, what is it I don't get?
posted by dgbellak at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2006


There's a big difference between prosecuting someone and holding them accountable for egregious conduct. And suggesting that she was somehow entrapped or guided toward false identification infantilizes her autonomy. I'm against prosecution because it's a waste of resources and would only further give fodder for the Sharptons of the world. I would be in favor of probation, or community service, or any number of things that demonstrate that dishonest behavior has consequences.
posted by docpops at 10:57 AM on December 24, 2006


ericb asked: Are today's News & Observer reporters tainted by the racial bias of the newspaper's 19th. century founder?

You chose to omit part of my comment above. N&O pandering for Jesse Helms started in the last half of the 20th century and has continued through at least late last year. Some of the sources you have selected to support of your position have questionable credibility when it comes to issues of race and class.
posted by crispynubbins at 1:36 PM on December 24, 2006


Please enlighten me. What words and quotes to which I have linked demonstrate "questionable credibility." Please cite specific examples. I am not snarking here, but look forward to learning something.
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on December 24, 2006


Some of the sources you have selected to support of your position have questionable credibility

BTW -- I'd be interested to hear from you what you think my position on the Duke race case is?
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on December 24, 2006


Once nearly silent, Duke now weighs in on lacrosse assault case.
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on December 24, 2006


*Duke rape case*
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on December 24, 2006


Christian Science Monitor:
"Fueled by stereotypes of race and class, as well as a zealous prosecutor, the criminal case against three Duke lacrosse players emerged as a test of the ability of the justice system to sift evidence through a prism of prejudices. Now, after the key charges of rape were dropped Friday, the case is also being seen as a cautionary tale for prosecutors and pundits alike, emblematic of how cultural stereotypes and perceptions don't always add up to hard facts on the ground.

The fuse was lit last March in Durham, N.C., at an off-campus party for lacrosse players - many of whom were Northerners enjoying an exclusive Southern university. Add to the scene two black exotic dancers, who grew up in the predominantly black city walled off from the school. Soon after, three of the white players were charged with kidnapping, assaulting, and raping one of the exotic dancers, allegedly amid a litany of racial slurs.

Yet since then, it's hardly been an open-and-shut case."
[more…]
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on December 24, 2006


dgbellak: Will you honestly feel that much safer knowing another lying whore is behind bars?

What the fuck is wrong with you? You have no reason to characterize my posts like that; I didn't call her a whore or attack her sex life.

It doesn't matter if I feel "safer" or not. What was that even supposed to mean? This isn't about me or "men" or gender relations. She signed a sworn statement, if she's lying, that's perjury. She's not a child. She is just as responsible for her actions as you or I. Why, if she is in fact lying, does she get a free pass in your book?

Yeah, I think people who knowingly falsely accuse others of a horrible crime under oath should be prosecuted. You don't?
posted by spaltavian at 2:57 PM on December 24, 2006


question for those who believe false rape accusers should not be prosecuted:
if a man falsely accuses a woman of a crime against him, lying to the police that she did something (assaulting him, stealing from him, whatever) in order to get her in trouble, in order to send her to prison for something she didn't do, should this man have the same immunity from prosecution? if not, why not?
posted by bruce at 3:50 PM on December 24, 2006


if a man falsely accuses a woman of a crime against him, lying to the police that she did something (assaulting him, stealing from him, whatever) in order to get her in trouble, in order to send her to prison for something she didn't do, should this man have the same immunity from prosecution? if not, why not?

now Bruce, I know you didn't practice criminal law, but you should know better than to pose a question such as this. The most common type of false accusation is a false identification. I'm sure Hastings made you take Criminal Law at some point in the past and that you are fully aware of all of the problems of eyewitness identification and the demands of the police to get a conviction.

So if you got mugged and misidentifed the perpetrator in a lineup, should you go to jail? If a woman ran over a man and he got a small detail about her car wrong, should he go to jail for a false accusation if charges were initially filed and then later dropped? I mean, he did falsely accuse someone and wanted her to go to jail, he just didn't know at the time it was a false accusation.

I'm sure you remember mens rea. It would be particularly hard for a prosecutor to show that someone had actual or constructive knowledge that the person they were accusing was not actually the person who committed the crime if such a crime did in fact occur. Unless it can be shown that the crime never occurred or that you are framing someone, any defendant would just be able to plead that they were confused and in the confusion of the events, they got some details wrong.

You'd really only ever be able to try these cases when it could be shown that a reported crime did not in fact occur and in those situations, there's probably been prosecutorial misconduct for the case to get that far and it'll look like the prosecutor is just covering his/her ass.

If you want to argue that someone who has knowledge that the person they are accusing did not commit the crime and acted with the purpose of inflicting damage to their target, almost every jurisdiction will have at least one private right of action for that....and you know it. And there is already a crime for making false statements, which would cover every conceivable situation. What do you gain by creating a new criminal offense in this situation?

Nobody is arguing that she should be immune from prosecution in this situation if she did in fact make false statements. The fake runaway bride in Georgia got nailed on this charge earlier. What I have repeatedly said is that if she did make false statements or perjure herself, then the way we establish this is through a formal trial and that it is a mistake to jump to conclusions here.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:07 PM on December 24, 2006


the duke case is a little more egregious than just a standard misidentification, this woman has changed her story several times and now can't say for certain if she was even raped (which really means, she knows she wasn't raped), meanwhile, the college and post-college careers of three young men are basically ruined. their notoriety will accompany them to the hiring managers of any respectable company in america, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. there are eskimos in igloos above the arctic circle who know those names now. i believe that if a woman is gonna roll the dice to put people away for 20-30 years like that, she should pay the same penalty if the dice come up snake eyes. i'm sure you're aware that a private right of action against a judgment-proof stripper/"sex worker" is a non-starter, what're they gonna do after they win the case, put the levying officer right there in her trickpad?
since i don't remember mentioning hastings, i'm guessing you found the california bar website. buhhhhhh. retired lawyers' info should only be available via court order, but they don't let inactives vote on bar governors, and since i'm not even in the same state anymore i don't have california legislators who will give me the time of day. what it will take for this reform is for a disgruntled ex-client/opponent to locate and whack one of the inactives, and i'm determined it isn't going to be me.
i see from your profile you're interested in go. i'm pretty good at it (chess, bridge too), yahoo games has go and if you have the time and inclination to get beaten between exams, i can be reached at brewmoo at hotmail, put your name in subject line so you don't get deleted.
posted by bruce at 8:06 PM on December 24, 2006


which really means, she knows she wasn't raped

Do we really know this? Maybe she's being intimidated by someone, or perhas she was being intimidated, or maybe her clarity of memory is shaky on what really happened. Maybe she isn't really clear on whether they screwed her vaginally or anally, just that she was being held in a bathroom and screwed?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:44 PM on December 24, 2006


spaltavian: What the fuck is wrong with you?

Boy, do I get tired of hearing that question. But seriously, if there are truly no presumptions held about her, which would be a first in general sociopolitical conversation, I apologize. But comments have been pretty damn vitriolic over this, and that anger has to be coming from somewhere. I'm a cynic, you see. I long ago stopped believing that most people are honestly out for truth and justice, so when I see such emotion over a media circus story, I figure it's gotta stem from something more deep-seated. At least I got a partial explanation for docpops' views - you're not all Duke alumni, are you? Oh, well. Wouldn't be the first the first time I inadvertently took up a lost cause.

Yeah, I think people who knowingly falsely accuse others of a horrible crime under oath should be prosecuted. You don't?

"Knowingly" is the key word here. She could be seeking her 15 minutes, or she could simply be crazy. Not even this thread could reach a consensus concerning that. Prosecuting her would be necessary to decide this, as I believe Mr. Spaulding has been saying. Some people here seem to have her all figured out, though, and it's even been suggested she should be sentenced for this without trial. Trials are such a waste, don't you know. This is why I question the concept of holding her accountable. The more I see it argued for then the more it seems like a waste of time, like it's focusing on the wrong target, and it just doesn't seem to be in the interest of "justice."

"Free pass" is an interesting take on my view. I just question the very specific idea of legal action taken against her. Let's revisit all of these characters in 10 years or so and see who got the "free pass."

Believe it or not, the law doesn't go after every lawbreaker. The occasional traffic violator is let go, cops have informants, some cases are missing concrete evidence or have no leads despite what officers know in their gut, some perpetrators are seen as mere "small potatoes," sometimes the very pointlessness of a case will prevent those capable of pressing charges from doing so. Justice is blind, you know.
posted by dgbellak at 9:28 PM on December 24, 2006


maybe her clarity of memory is shaky on what really happened. Maybe she isn't really clear on whether they screwed her vaginally or anally, just that she was being held in a bathroom and screwed?

To repeat (from above)...

ABC News transcript [Friday, December 22, 2006]:
“When this case began, the accuser in this case, to numerous medical personnel, stated [on March 14th -- the date of the alleged rape] that she had been penetrated by the penis of these young men in her anus, vagina and her mouth.

In March — on March 16th — she told the investigator, Mr. Hyman, in his notes he relates that Brett and Matt — and you will remember, she referred to the three people that assaulted her as Brett, Matt, and Adam — that Brett and Matt put their penis in her anus and her vagina. And that Adam put his penis in her mouth.

‘In her handwritten statement, her statement, handwritten on April 6th, she said that ‘Matt had sex with me in my vagina and then placed his penis in my anus for about three minutes. Brett had sex with me in my vagina for about five minutes and then put his penis in my anus for about two minutes. And Adam ejaculated in my mouth and I spit it on the floor.’

At the time she made her identifications, of the young men, she said, on tape, which you can get referenced on the motion to suppress, about one of these young men, quote, he put his penis in my anus and in my vagina. About one of the other young men, she said he was the one standing in front of me and made me commit oral sex.

Almost the only consistent thing that the accuser has said, throughout the many varied different statements that she has made, was that a penis was used in the assault that she describes and that it was used in her vagina.

Last week, it was clearly demonstrated that significant exculpatory evidence had been purposefully withheld from the defense in this particular case. It should not be lost on you all, who have covered this case, that significant exculpatory evidence proved that there was no sexual contact between these young men and this woman.

Apparently, for the first time, yesterday [Thursday, December 21, 2006], the first time, representatives of the district attorney's office talked to the accuser. This certainly begs the question, ladies and gentlemen, which I hope you all will ask, why, after all of these months, and all of what these young men have been through, did the district attorney's office first talk to this accuser, which leads to the dismissal of one of these charges, why are they investigating the case now, after they've brought it for months?

And when they did, ladies and gentlemen, it should be noted clearly by you that her story has now, yet again, changed — changed. And she now cannot remember the use of a penis in the vaginal rape that she described and which was used to indict these young men.

And let me say to you that the transparent coincidence between the proving of the failure of the state to give exculpatory evidence which shows that there was no sexual assault and this conversation leading to this young woman saying that she cannot now remember a penis being used is palpable.”
Also, recall that she had originally told investigators that she had not had sex with anyone for a week before the alleged rape, but we now know that the newly released DNA test results (which Nifong and the lab had kept from the defense attorneys) found DNA from 5 men (on her body and "clothing = undergarments = underwear = panties"). None of the DNA samples matches any lacrosse team member(s) -- all of whom (besides the sole black player) provided DNA samples a week after the alleged event.
posted by ericb at 9:30 PM on December 24, 2006


Forgive me for not having any knowledge of this case to "recall" (because I do not live in the US and have not been subject to the media assault no doubt swirling around this case there) except from the articles that have been provided here.

The ABC article is contradictory. It says that in each prior statement she reported vaginal, anal and oral contact and then says, "Almost the only consistent thing that the accuser has said, throughout the many varied different statements that she has made, was that a penis was used in the assault that she describes and that it was used in her vagina." Now she reports that she is unsure of the vaginal contact. She does not, in any of the reports, dispute the anal or oral contact. According to the first comment in the thread, the difference is not whether or not she was sexually assaulted, but rather whether or not the charge is "rape" as defined by North Carolina law.

Frankly, I could care less what details her story is now or was then or that she had a gang-bang the afternoon before. What matters really is what happened. We can sit all day and argue over what we know from media reports, but frankly, it doesn't make any difference. None of us are sitting on a jury or working as a lawyer for any of the sides in this case. Everything else is just navel gazing and speculation.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:48 PM on December 24, 2006


The "ABC article" is a transcript of the defense attorneys' press conference (video here -- I suggest you watch it) held this past Friday afternoon. They reference the evidence submitted so far in the case. Such is drawn from the notes of investigators' interviews with the accuser, as well as her official written statement/account.

Back in March and April the accuser made very specific and detailed claims -- that she was sexually assaulted by three (and in some of her statements she says by five, and in others by 20) men at the Duke lacrosse party where she and fellow stripper/dancer Kim Roberts (aka "Nicky/Nikki") performed. Ms. Roberts disputes the accuser's accounts of the evening in her '60 Minutes' interview with Ed Bradley.

The accuser has made numerous claims which vary in detail (e.g., number of alleged asasailants, sexual acts, etc.) But, what the defense attorneys found and state in their press conference of Friday is that the only consistent thing in all of the accuser's statements to date is that she says she was sexually penetrated by a "penis." Such penetration is necessary to bring a claim of rape in North Carolina.

ABC is not being contradictory. The defense attorneys are not being contradictory. The accuser is being (and has been) contradictory. The transcript is referencing the accuser's own statements made to medical personnel and police during the early morning hours just after the alleged rape, as well as those she made during the following week(s). Her verbal and written statements at that time must be taken into account with her qualified claim of this past week. Many are questioning her credibility, as they review her many inconsistent statements.

As of this past Thursday, the first day that the D.A. claims she was interviewed by his office (9-months after the alleged event) -- and likely presented with the results of the DNA test (i.e. samples of 5 men were discovered on her body and undergarment(s) -- and none of them from any of the 43 white Duke lacrosse players), the accuser appears to have "backpedaled" -- saying in effect (I suppose): "I can't say for sure that I was raped, as I had originally claimed back in March and April."
posted by ericb at 10:35 PM on December 24, 2006


Pollomocho,

In the eyes of some here, she's already been tried, convicted and sentenced. And she's not even on trial. And they wonder why some earlier in the thread were claiming bias.


saying in effect (I suppose)

Well, as long as you're sure. And it's not "undergarment(s)." It's "panties."
posted by dgbellak at 10:51 PM on December 24, 2006


These statements come from the defense attorney, did you expect them to hold up the witness as a model of consistency? But look at his own statement, as underlined:

March 16th - Brett and Matt put their penis in her anus and her vagina. And that Adam put his penis in her mouth.

April 6th - Matt had sex with me in my vagina and then placed his penis in my anus for about three minutes. Brett had sex with me in my vagina for about five minutes and then put his penis in my anus for about two minutes. And Adam ejaculated in my mouth and I spit it on the floor.

At the time she made identifications - one of these young men, quote, he put his penis in my anus and in my vagina. About one of the other young men, she said he was the one standing in front of me and made me commit oral sex

So, it looks like, judging by the defense attorney's own statement, contrary to that very same statement, that she's been pretty consistent at saying anal, vaginal and oral contact, until now. Now, according to your first link, the yahoo article, she's dropping the vaginal part, which, is what makes it "rape" as opposed to "sexual offense" which covers all other sexual assault except vaginal penetration.

As for the guys involved, well I hope if they are not guilty that they get off. If they are guilty I hope they get what they deserve. If they get off and can't find jobs in the outside world, perhaps it will give them an opportunity to reflect on hanging around with people and in places where gang-banging strippers is considered a mature and cool activity.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:59 PM on December 24, 2006


dgbellak: "Knowingly" is the key word here. She could be seeking her 15 minutes, or she could simply be crazy. Not even this thread could reach a consensus concerning that.

Yeah, I know. That's why I used the word "if" half a dozen times. Christ.
posted by spaltavian at 11:34 PM on December 24, 2006


dgbellak: Will you honestly feel that much safer knowing another lying whore is behind bars?

...and...

The subtle cries of "Burn the witch" that make up part of this story (and, as I hope I wasn't the only one to see, a small part of this thread) certainly don't help.

As others have pointed out here, your obsession with gender is puzzling.

Try me out for size: I would like to see a person who has been proven to give false testimony under oath be prosecuted for perjury.

Did you see what I did there?

Do you now understand everyone is equally responsible, no matter what gender or race they are?

I hope you share my view.

By the way, you never really answered bruce's question. What if a man deliberately lies to put a woman behind bars for 15 years.

Should he have no consequence for his actions?

Be careful - the wrong answer makes you a misogynist ;)
posted by FieldingGoodney at 11:43 PM on December 24, 2006


These statements come from the defense attorney, did you expect them to hold up the witness as a model of consistency? But look at his own statement, as underlined:

Au contraire, mon frère -- the defense attorneys make reference to the statements that the accuser has made "on the record" to date. Those are her claims ... her words -- verbal and written. They are central to the case. If they should be determined to be fabricated by any party, they should be discounted. However, I, being a betting man, am confident that the defense attorneys (and others in the media who have been tracking this story) are not distorting her words of March and April 2006 ... nor, her statements of this past week. If it can be proven otherwise, I bow to you and others who stand in the accuser's defense.
posted by ericb at 12:58 AM on December 25, 2006


Concerning a rape trial, my obsession with gender is puzzling? Perhaps I misunderstand the concept of rape. I thought gender could be an awfully big part of it. When a guy (allegedly) rapes a girl, do you think the fact he's a guy and the fact she's a girl has something to do with it? Now that we agree that gender may have something to do with rape, isn't it possible - in fact, fucking likely - that any perceived bias (such as on behalf of those who have very strong opinions concerning an undecided case) might have something to do with that established concept of gender? I firmly believe - now more so than ever - that denial of possible gender bias is more telling than my alleged "obsession" with it.

Did you see what I did there?

I sure did. You removed the idea of "rape." Now it's simply perjury, a broader term. Different animal, I'm afraid. Bruce did pretty much the same thing:

question for those who believe false rape accusers should not be prosecuted:
if a man falsely accuses a woman of a crime against him, lying to the police that she did something (assaulting him, stealing from him, whatever) in order to get her in trouble, in order to send her to prison for something she didn't do, should this man have the same immunity from prosecution? if not, why not?


"Falsely accuses" and "lying" are not the same thing. This is what makes rape so messy, legally speaking. Rape is 50% act, 50% perception, making perjury a little more difficult to prove.

"Immunity," you say, like I'm telling all women to just start accusing men willy-nilly. Is perjury against the law? Yes, but so is rape. You seem awfully fearful of letting people get away with things - wouldn't you like to catch more rapists? If you honestly have a fear of being wrongfully accused of rape, one good way to avoid it would apparently be to not screw escorts in frat houses. Last time I checked, that was illegal as well, so I'm not infringing on any liberties by making that suggestion.

Be careful - the wrong answer makes you a misogynist ;)

Concerning rape? It sure does.
posted by dgbellak at 1:13 AM on December 25, 2006


Duke Lacrosse Party Case Unworthy of Being Cause
"When prosecutors dropped rape charges on Friday against three Duke lacrosse players -- all white -- accused of attacking a stripper -- who is black -- there was no hype to speak of.

No news conferences rife with ministers lamenting the moral schism that hinders progress in this supposed mosaic called America.

Predictably, there was no sign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, either.

Perhaps there should have been, though.

For once, maybe the tide should be turned. Maybe mea culpas should be placed on the front pages, apologizing to the three who were accused: Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Not so much for presuming their guilt before all the evidence came in. Mainly for using it to promote a black cause.

We have serious problems all across America, but nothing compared to the kind that exists in the black community, and the perverse pleasure it evokes from those who watch from afar.

On more than a few occasions, when something insidious occurs involving an African American and a white person, race is automatically attached, dividing black and white America even further.

We still don't know what happened to this 28-year-old from N.C. Central. All we know at this moment is that she was hired to perform at a party on March 13, that she accused three men of raping her in a bathroom.

We know that all the players immediately maintained, unequivocally, they were innocent -- and that, as of Friday, the district attorney, Mike Nifong, has some serious explaining to do.

Now we've learned that the rape charge was dropped after this stripper told investigators she was no longer certain whether she was penetrated vaginally. Yet Nifong has not dropped kidnapping and other sex charges.

You want to fight?

Rodney King was worth it because we saw the beat-down the Los Angeles police put on him on videotape years ago.

Sean Bell, an unarmed 23-year-old murdered hours before his wedding when New York police sprayed his vehicle with 50 bullets weeks ago, is worth it.

A stripper claiming she was raped by Duke students, suspect in ways crystallized by DNA findings, is worth an investigation by the proper authorities and even some media coverage.

But an issue like this is not worth another referendum on race relations.

Enough already. It's time to wake up!

Long before we learned about race, we were taught morals and decency. We were taught not only to judge folks by the content of their character but to have character if we were to ever sit in judgment of anyone.

We will fall as a people if we don't start reminding ourselves of this. We'll languish in self-inflicted purgatory. Unlike our ancestors, we won't be a position to garner sympathy because we won't have any excuses.

Black America will have no one to blame but itself and those we allowed to lead us, operating with impunity on the strength of our ignorance and indifference to what they do, purportedly, on our behalf. It's time for a morality check. By every one of us.

Don't look at the white man. This is a black man talking.
posted by ericb at 1:14 AM on December 25, 2006


dgbellak, your gender obsession is with an imaginery misogynistic reaction that nobody is actually displaying here. Nobody has said (at least in this thread) "let's see the bitch get 10 years" or described her in such gender-specific derogatory terms.

Sure, a good many of us here have a low opinion of such a person. This should be understandable. Your gender obsession tries to turn this judgement suddenly into a low opinion of women in general. Sorry, that's way out of line and it's a very clumsy way of trying to shame us here.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 4:11 AM on December 25, 2006


dgbellak: "Immunity," you say, like I'm telling all women to just start accusing men willy-nilly. Is perjury against the law? Yes, but so is rape. You seem awfully fearful of letting people get away with things - wouldn't you like to catch more rapists?

Once again, what the fuck is wrong with you? Thinking that people who lie and accuse others of crimes they did not commit should be responsible does not mean they are any less for catching rapists. This is not an either/or situation.

By the way, when you accuse others of misogyny and being soft on rape because they see an issue differently than you, it makes you look like scum.
posted by spaltavian at 9:21 AM on December 25, 2006


dgbellak, you either have no idea what you're talking about or you're intentionally lying. 50% act and 50% perception?! No it's not. I'm inclined to say that you don't know what you're talking about, and that everything you've said in this thread is born of nothing more or less than a petty hatred of those born more privileged than you were. You don't care if the woman is lying, you don't care if she was raped. You care that three boys you don't like based on their social and financial standing will not be going to jail for a crime it seems increasingly likely they didn't commit.

If you want to go around accusing people of gender or other social biases, knock yourself out. But don't expect them to take anything you say as reasonable or well thought out when it's so blatantly clear that you speak entirely from a position of bias and total ignorance.
posted by shmegegge at 9:52 AM on December 25, 2006


shmegegge: 50% act and 50% perception?! No it's not.

Determining consent is not a simple, inarguable, cut-and-dry process. Determining whether or not the sexual act took place is only part of it. Do you think disagreement over consent is rarely an aspect of rape cases? The law in your are may clearly define consent, but don't try and tell me that every man is in perpetual agreement with and awareness of that definition. The definition isn't even consistent from state to state.

You don't care if the woman is lying, you don't care if she was raped. You care that three boys you don't like based on their social and financial standing will not be going to jail for a crime it seems increasingly likely they didn't commit.

At what point have I disagreed with the likely outcome of this case and suggested that these guys should go to jail anyway? At what point have I argued with the evidence? I was just trying to decipher the strong emotions concerning an undecided case, especially among those who already seem to have another trial planned out. They seem to be as sure of the accuser's malicious intent as they are of the defendants' likely innocence. You, on the other hand, are flat-out accusing me of things I never said, which is laughably ironic considering your first comment here.

It just seemed odd to me to see so much rallying to their defense when (1) they more than likely have the legal resources to get them through the case without our support, and (2) it's looking very likely that they're not going to get convicted anyway (at least for rape). There may very likely be nothing but unbiased purity in the hearts of those who wish to see further punishment dealt, and I'm apparently way off base for thinking otherwise. So pardon the fuck out of me.

Geesh, I think every op-ed or commentary on this thing has been linked in this thread, but I'm somehow the obsessed one.
posted by dgbellak at 11:44 AM on December 25, 2006


So pardon the fuck out of me.

No. You casted aspersions on a lot of people in this thread, and you purposefully mischaracterized other's arguments. You'll get plenty of pardons once you stop being a dick.
posted by spaltavian at 3:11 PM on December 25, 2006


no, determining consent isn't that hard for the victim.

but here's the thing. it doesn't matter what you think. you're just an asshole who decided to come along and berate people for finding it fucked up to accuse people of something they didn't do. You berate these people because you don't like rich white frat boy athletes. Everything else you think doesn't count for much because it all comes down to that primary filter in your head.

To be simpler about it: who gives a fuck what you think?
posted by shmegegge at 3:42 PM on December 25, 2006


MetaFilter: who gives a fuck what you think?
posted by dgbellak at 5:05 PM on December 25, 2006


Add another DA to the sorry list.
posted by ericb at 5:51 PM on December 25, 2006


I was just trying to decipher the strong emotions concerning an undecided case, especially among those who already seem to have another trial planned out.

The 'case' is not so much undecided, as falling apart. It has no credibility whatsoever. Read over the facts of the case one more time if you need to.

Before the truth came out, many many people were acting as if the accused were indeed already guilty of any charge coming their way.

If some people think this is wrong and emote about it - I think this is a perfectly understandable reaction.

What's a little eerie is your sanguine attitude as if making false accusations is fine, and people are free to do so with impunity - as you have explicitly said several times that the accuser should not be responsible for anything. Let's hope you are not the victim of a false accusation one day - you will find yourself in a difficult situation AND have to eat your own words.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:11 PM on December 25, 2006


Before the truth came out

Has the "truth come out?" When was that? I read that the charges of "rape" were dropped but not the charges of "sexual offense." So these guys are no longer charged with vaginally raping the woman, just ass raping her. I think the truth may still be floating around out there someplace.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:18 PM on December 25, 2006


"DR. MEEHAN. Unless I’m reading [the defense motion] incorrectly, it says that DNA from multiple male sources was discovered on the rectal swabs, panties in the rape kit. And if that’s read to mean that each one of those specimens had DNA from multiple males, it would be incorrect. (p. 20)

MR. BANNON. And those male characteristics—if I’m not correct, please tell me if I’m not—indicate that there’s more than one male’s DNA there; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. And all of those DNA characteristics were compared to all of the reference suspects’ swabs in this case; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That is also correct.

MR. BANNON. And there was not a match to anyone; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. Yes, that is correct.

MR. BANNON. Including the defendants?

DR. MEEHAN. Right, that’s correct. Didn’t match anyone. (p. 35)

....MR. BANNON. Do you know what exculpatory evidence is?

DR. MEEHAN. Yes.

MR. BANNON. What is exculpatory evidence?

DR. MEEHAN. It’s evidence that would provide information that would release a person as a suspect, so to speak in lay terms. Evidence to indicate that you were not party to that.

MR. BANNON. So it’s evidence that tends to negate the guilt of a person charged with a crime; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. You understood this case to be a rape case, correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. You understood it to be a case where the allegation was that a person had been raped by multiple males?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. And that those males had not been wearing condoms?

DR. MEEHAN. I don’t remember if I knew that or not.

MR. BANNON. Of course, why—the point being you were testing for the presence of DNA from males, correct?

DR. MEEHAN. Right, right. But it could have been one person wearing a condom and one person not.

MR. BANNON. Okay. But you knew, you were testing for the presence of male DNA because a rape allegation had been made?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. Correct?

DR. MEEHAN. Correct.

MR. BANNON. And you found male DNA from multiple different sources on those rape kit items, correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. Wouldn’t that tend to negate the guilt of the person who is charged with raping someone?

DR. MEEHAN. You know what? We—no. (pp. 62-63)

...MR. BANNON. You didn’t include the results for each DNA test in your report dated May 12; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. So you violated this protocol of your own lab?

DR. MEEHAN. That’s correct.

MR. BANNON. And you violated this protocol of your own lab because the district attorney told you to; is that correct?

DR. MEEHAN. No. It’s not just because the district attorney told me to. [emphasis added] (p. 66)

DR. MEEHAN. We agreed with Mr. Nifong that we would report just the stuff that matched so that it would, so the report was limited in its scope. However, it’s not a – and by the letter of the law, by the letter of the wording of the standard, you’re [Brad Bannon] absolutely correct. It diverges from the letter of that standard, okay. (p. 66)

MR. COONEY. And as of the date you wrote your report, were representatives of the State of North Carolina aware that none of the DNA you had found matched Reade Seligmann?

DR. MEEHAN. I believe so. (pp. 83-84)

MR. COONEY. [Was Nifong] aware that all the testing that you had done excluded Reade Seligmann with a hundred percent scientific certainty as of the date you wrote your report?

DR. MEEHAN. I believe so. (p. 84)

....MR. COONEY. If you had been requested by representatives of the State of North Carolina at any time after May 12 to prepare a report reporting on the results of all of your tests and examinations, would you have done so?

DR. MEEHAN. Certainly. (p. 86)

MR. COONEY. Did your report set forth the results of all of the tests and examinations that you conducted in this case?

DR. MEEHAN. No. It was limited to only some results.

MR. COONEY. Okay. And that was an intentional limitation arrived at between you and representatives of the State of North Carolina not to report on the results of all examinations and tests that you did in this case?

DR. MEEHAN. Yes. (p. 85)"*
posted by ericb at 9:22 PM on December 25, 2006


Duke Case No Model for American Justice
"The so-called ‘Duke rape’ case is no longer a rape case. Those charges have been dropped by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong after it was revealed that his office withheld exculpatory DNA evidence that showed the accuser had recently had sex with some men but not any of the Duke lacrosse players she accused of raping her.

However, kidnapping and assault charges remain against the three players, who have adamantly proclaimed their innocence since being charged earlier this year.

The case is a mess and has been for months even before Nifong opened himself up to legal charges of prosecutorial misconduct.

A North Carolina congressman has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate allegations that Nifong abused his power for political gain.

At the time the accuser, an African-American stripper, made her claim of being sexually assaulted, Nifong was running for re-election in a district where the black vote is extremely important.

The racially incendiary charge that a group of white, privileged males at Duke had raped a local ‘disadvantaged’ black woman required cool heads and fair dealing by people in positions of responsibility.

Nifong was anything but a model of blind justice. He referred to the entire Duke lacrosse team as a ‘bunch of hooligans.’ He allowed a rigged photo lineup that included no one other than members of the squad.

When the accused picked out the three who allegedly raped her in a small bathroom, one had an alibi of receipts and photographic records that made it nearly impossible for him to have been anywhere near the scene of the ‘crime.’ He was charged anyway.

There is not a shred of evidence, other than the accuser’s statements (and she has given at least three conflicting ones) that a crime ever took place. Her own fellow stripper at the scene at one point said her story was a crock.

And yet, three young men remain charged with crimes that could put them behind bars for decades.

In 2005, when serious questions were raised about a sexual abuse charge filed against a local high school principal, Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green moved reasonably quickly to drop all the charges. That’s what a responsible prosecutor does under such circumstances.

But Nifong has shown himself to be anything but a responsible prosecutor.

He has consistently overstated the evidence against the defendants and ignored and/or withheld exculpatory evidence that pointed to their innocence.

In an interview with the New York Times last week, Nifong signaled that he might drop all the charges against the three defendants if the accuser testifies that she is anything but 100 percent certain of her identification.

But the dropping of the charges after nearly a year of dragging the names of the defendants through the mud will prove little concerning Nifong’s integrity as an officer of the court.

There are few people more dangerous to the civil rights of individual citizens in this country than an ambitious prosecutor with a political agenda.

Such men and women need to be held accountable for their actions.

Mike Nifong has shown by his actions and behavior during this case he is everything that a prosecutor should not be."
posted by ericb at 9:42 PM on December 25, 2006


I'm curious because I have been gone for the duration of this case, but why is there such a visceral response on both sides of this case? I can understand the alleged victims side more, she was allegedly raped, but why such a response from those "defending" the frat boys? Is it mainly a reaction to the media storm or the justice issues? Is it because people are actually defending a group's right to gang-bang strippers? What is it?

I'm not implying anything here, I really want to know. There are tons of high profile cases each year, this one seems to cause the most divergent viewpoints and I just wonder what it is.

I guess it does hit all the big buttons doesn't it: sexism, racism, classism, outside agitators, jocks vs. non-jocks, frat boys vs. unaffiliated...
posted by Pollomacho at 9:48 PM on December 25, 2006


I guess it does hit all the big buttons doesn't it: sexism, racism, classism, outside agitators, jocks vs. non-jocks, frat boys vs. unaffiliated...

Jeez Pollo, I must be a simpleton. What did it for me was watching the parents, and thinking it could be my kid some day in the wrong place at the wrong time having their life ruined by another adult. I know that must seem unbelievable, that one can hold views that actually don't easily pigeonhole themselves into a freshman sociology bull session.
posted by docpops at 10:26 PM on December 25, 2006


to clarify: the adult being the DA
posted by docpops at 10:28 PM on December 25, 2006


But why this case as opposed to any other high profile case, docpops?

Also, on a side note, I'm not exactly buying that there are any innocent parties involved in this one. Wrong place at the wrong time? Somebody was gang-banging strippers at the house where they hang out regularly. Poor little guys.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:33 PM on December 25, 2006


Has the "truth come out?" When was that? I read that the charges of "rape" were dropped but not the charges of "sexual offense." So these guys are no longer charged with vaginally raping the woman, just ass raping her. I think the truth may still be floating around out there someplace.

Pollomacho, you clearly have not been paying attention. You want me to recap one more time? No, read EricB's links (the factual news links) - read the DNA testimonies a few posts up.

You're disputing these facts? OK, plough your lonely furrow - nobody's going to join you. Don't be coy though and say there is no truth being uncovered.

I'm curious because I have been gone for the duration of this case, but why is there such a visceral response on both sides of this case? I can understand the alleged victims side more, she was allegedly raped, but why such a response from those "defending" the frat boys? Is it mainly a reaction to the media storm or the justice issues? Is it because people are actually defending a group's right to gang-bang strippers? What is it?

I think you answered your own question. Yes, there was a visceral response from those who initially 'sided' with the accuser - the 'blacktivisits' and feminists all decided that the white frat boys were guilty as charged before any evidence came out. There was a hue and cry by the media.

My reaction is against the 'angry mob' mentality that is entirely hypocritical of the causes they claim to fight. By judging these guys because of their skin colour, their gender and their class, they were 'fair game' to many who (hypocritically) pretend to care about racism, sexism and classism.

You're surprised that people get heated when evidence comes out making a mockery of the accusations? What is more amazing is your ambivilance to injustice. Or is it that you don't care about victims of injustice if they're white rich boys?

Perhaps you're just one of those hypocrites harping on about the evils of racism and sexism - all the while practicing them.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:54 AM on December 26, 2006


Corrected hyperlink: Duke Case No Model for American Justice.
posted by ericb at 8:51 AM on December 26, 2006


Somebody was gang-banging strippers at the house where they hang out regularly.

Prove it.
posted by ericb at 8:52 AM on December 26, 2006


Hard Lessons From The Duke Rape Case.
posted by ericb at 8:55 AM on December 26, 2006


L.A. Times:
"Nifong isn't the only one who profitably could engage in an examination of conscience. Those who seized on this case as an emblem of a 'larger truth' — a racial double standard in rape prosecutions, the historical exploitation of black women by white men, the arrogance of adolescent privilege — did not contribute to a clarification of the factual questions that are at the heart of any criminal case. It may be true, as a Washington Post feature put it, 'she was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air.' But in a criminal case, atmosphere is no substitute for evidence. "
posted by ericb at 9:38 AM on December 26, 2006


Or is it that you don't care about victims of injustice if they're white rich boys?

Do you know who the victims of injustice are? The ones who are not "white rich boys." The ones in the past whose lives may have been destroyed by this prosecutor's obvious lack of ethics. The ones who couldn't afford high-profile attorneys capable of uncovering such evidence. I believe the danger of the defendants in this case becoming true victims was quite low comparatively, a belief which - lo and behold! - is panning out. They will more than likely be acquitted of the rape charges. The system works! Well, for them anyway. Because of all this, I believed that my sympathy was not necessary, and my learned distrust of near-ivy league frat boys posed no threat to the outcome of this case. Nevertheless, apparently these beliefs make me scum, an asshole, and a hypocrite and I should wonder what the fuck is wrong with me. I may be racist and sexist, as well.

Your reasons for feeling so strongly about this case may be nothing more than a sincere interest in the general workings of our judicial system, but considering the themes of the case (very sensitive themes which are there despite the evidence and undoubtedly have an effect on the opinions of all those who have previously seen or read anything about the case, whether you choose to accept that or not), I choose to believe otherwise, that it may possibly be for other reasons. docpops, for instance, has already admitted he is Duke alumnus, which just might affect his views beyond that alleged sincerity. This might have meant nothing to most of you, but it was quite the revelation to me. Obviously, I wasn't off-base in believing bias may be afoot.


Somebody was gang-banging strippers at the house where they hang out regularly.

Prove it.


I'm sorry - has more evidence come forth proving she did not have semen on her from multiple men? How about this: "Somebody was gang-banging a stripper at the house where they hang out regularly." Is that better?
posted by dgbellak at 10:40 AM on December 26, 2006


I'm sorry - has more evidence come forth proving she did not have semen on her from multiple men? How about this: "Somebody was gang-banging a stripper at the house where they hang out regularly." Is that better?

No. Here's a better one, since it goes along with the evidence:

A stripper was gangbanged somewhere by five unknown men who have been proven NOT to be any of the duke lacrosse players.

Obviously none of us are off base in believing bias is afoot in everything you've said, so much so that you've clearly ignored any evidence that demonstrates injustice being practiced against these boys. Christ, even I can see how fucked up these false accusations are, and I've spent my entire youth specifically being bullied by rich white lacrosse players.

And I'll go you one further: If a person agrees to have sex with multiple partners at the same time, then that is the business of those partners and that person, and no one else. If you really want to hate on these kids for engaging in a sexual act you find distasteful, then by all means go right ahead, but stop pretending that these charges hold any merit because both the law and reasonable morality don't agree with you.
posted by shmegegge at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2006


> "Somebody was gang-banging a stripper at the house where they hang out regularly." Is that better?

Well, she hasn't made any further accusations (yet.) If you can correct her on that, better get in touch with Mr. Nifong right away. On his record, he'll certainly be ably to kludge up a case against any names you can supply (if he thinks there's anything in it for him.)
posted by jfuller at 11:57 AM on December 26, 2006


They will more than likely be acquitted of the rape charges.

That's a moot point. The rape charges have been dropped and there will never been a finding for or against such.

A stripper was gangbanged somewhere by five unknown men who have been proven NOT to be any of the duke lacrosse players.

Exactly. All white Duke lacrosee players (43) gave DNA samples to the investigators days after the alleged rape. None of the male DNA samples discovered on the accuser's body and undergarments match the DNA of any Duke lacrosse players -- particularly and especially the three she has accused.
posted by ericb at 11:57 AM on December 26, 2006


*be a finding*
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on December 26, 2006


BTW --- the accuser ("Precious") stated to the investigators that she had not had sex for over a week before the alleged rape. The other dancer/stripper ("Nikki/Nicky") who was also in the house performing (for what turned out to be about 20 minutes) has stated nothing happened in the house -- and that the accuser's story is a "crock." Furthermore, the D.A.'s office didn't talk to the accuser until last Thursday -- 9-months after the alleged rape! I suspect that when they told her they found male DNA from 5 different men from the swabs taken that night (and that none of those samples matched anyone at the Duke party) she backtracked on her original claims which varied from day one with inconsistent accounts in subsequent interviews and written statements She claimed 3, 5 and 20 men had raped her. In some accounts she said she was raped anally, vaginally and/or orally, etc., etc., etc. The defense attorneys are not the ones that made the D.A. drop the charges. Nifong did that on his own -- particularly after we learn that he had kept exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys all along.
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on December 26, 2006


All white Duke lacrosee players (43)

Correction: there are/were 46 white lacrosse players tested.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on December 26, 2006


It's likely that no rape occurred that night -- before or after performing at the lacrosse party. The DNA samples may have been deposited on or in her body in separate incidents with what we now know is from 5 unknown males. No where has it been stated that the DNA samples were semen. They could be any of a number of biological products.

"Medical evidence likewise failed to sustain the accuser’s claims. The SANE nurse’s medical report, which listed 'diffuse edema of the vaginal walls' as the only significant item, provided little evidence for the accuser’s story of a brutal, sustained attack. Indeed, this swelling could have been a result of the accuser’s known activity in the hours and days before the party, which included consensual sex or a job that involved entertaining with a vibrator in a hotel room.

.... the accuser’s 'driver' told police that before the party, she was behaving erratically and had fulfilled a variety of one-on-one 'appointments.'"*
posted by ericb at 1:03 PM on December 26, 2006


Pollomacho:

> I'm curious because I have been gone for the duration of this case, but why is there such a visceral response on
> both sides of this case? I can understand the alleged victims side more, she was allegedly raped, but why such a
> response from those "defending" the frat boys? .... I'm not implying anything here, I really want to know.

The hottest of the hot buttons pushed by this case has to do with the argument that gave us rape shield laws (specifically that rape is the most under-reported violent crime because victims fear undergoing a second humiliation when their sex life is trotted out for unsympathetic scrutiny in court; [wiki]) and, contrarily, this case's most unwelcome proof that the sexual history of a woman who makes a rape accusation can indeed be highly relevant to the credibility of her claim, so that you really do need to go into this history when investigating the accusation (unless you just don't care about convicting innocent people.) It's a hard choice, and hard choices notoriously make nasty threads.
posted by jfuller at 1:24 PM on December 26, 2006


Prosecutorial Indiscretion -- "“Just when you thought DA Mike Nifong couldn’t make a worse mess of the Duke rape case..."
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on December 26, 2006


NPR: "National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor is writing a book about the [Duke rape] case and talks with Madeleine Brand."
posted by ericb at 3:22 PM on December 26, 2006


Kevin Finnerty, father of accused student, Colin Finnerty speaks about the case.
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on December 26, 2006


Here's the official Motion to Compel Discovery: Expert D.N.A. Analysis [PDF]. It was submitted to the court and contains details of the scientific findings, as well as a full background of the case.
posted by ericb at 4:11 PM on December 26, 2006


Motion to Suppress the Alleged "Identification" of the Defendants by the Accuser [PDF] is an interesting read. It summarizes the accuser's various statements (verbal and written) about the alleged assault, as well as notes taken by investigators, etc.
posted by ericb at 4:34 PM on December 26, 2006


jfuller: this case's most unwelcome proof that the sexual history of a woman who makes a rape accusation can indeed be highly relevant to the credibility of her claim

Wha? How does her previous sexual history have anything to do with this case? The merits of this case rest upon the DNA test, not about if she was a virgin or not.

The wiki article, which is fairly sparse, doesn't even mention the argument that you posited, which is not the sole basis for rape shield laws. The issue is significantly more complicated and nuanced than you let on. For starters, numerous studies have shown that rape shield provides more accurate informational bases for adjudication as the prejudicial effect on juries of learning of an alleged victim's sexual history often surpasses any value the information itself could have. There seems to be strong agreement among criminal justice scholars and practitioners that this is a good thing and the only opposition seems to come from those who don't know how criminal trials work.

I suspect that if the US were to get rid of rape shield, we'd get rulings that would look like this.

And ericb, no matter how many articles you post, not a single one of them constitutes evidence. You'd be amazed what a good defense team can do. We will never know what really happened that night, but as far as this case is concerned, we will not have the information you seek until a trial begins. Even if charges are dropped, that does not mean the accused are innocent. Sure the case looks weak now and there's little question in my mind that Nifong mishandled the whole situation. That doesn't mean we know what's going on behind the scenes, what claims to believe, etc. I think anyone who believes themself to have a firm understanding of what really happened is probably wrong.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:36 PM on December 26, 2006


Even if charges are dropped, that does not mean the accused are innocent.

actually, under our legal system it does
posted by pyramid termite at 4:45 PM on December 26, 2006


I think anyone who believes themself to have a firm understanding of what really happened is probably wrong.

Or had their "DNA sample" left in the panties of the accuser.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:50 PM on December 26, 2006


allen.spaulding -- regarding "evidence," I'll go with what has been submitted to the court and been made available publically (as per the various motions above) to help form my position and opinion. In our judicial system people are considered innocent until proven guilty. The D.A. in this case came out swinging and maintained the boys guilt from day one. As more information (some of which appears to have been supressed) comes to light, it appears that this case is based on a false accusation. If any source -- whether it be reported, or the outcome of a trail -- can demonstrate that these boys are guilty, I will respectfully admit that my opinion and judgement is/was flawed.

I take into account the changing story of the accuser, the statements of the other exotic dancer, the DNA and scientific evidence, the timeline of events (including photos taken by lacrosse players, cell phone records, ATM slips and photographs that place one of the accused not at the house at the time of the alleged rape, the initial "100% identification" made by the accuser of one boy -- who happened to be away, visiting friends at another college, etc.).
posted by ericb at 4:50 PM on December 26, 2006


actually, under our legal system it does

No, it just means that a prosecutor chose not to pursue the case for any number of reasons. Even a court finding someone not guilty does not mean that a person is innocent, but rather that there is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty. I mean, that's why juries choose between guilty and not guilty, instead of guilty and innocent. But thanks for playing.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:51 PM on December 26, 2006


ericb, I agree with what you said. My reading of what has been made available is that this case seems increasingly questionable. I never said the kids were guilty, I just said that all of the press coverage in the world can't replace a trial.

People are mad that the press essentially convicted these kids in the first place. I agree, the press was reprehensible. We shouldn't let the press acquit the kids for the same reason. If the prosecution has evidence, then we will see it in a trial and we will be able to judge then and only then as to the final elements of the guilt.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:54 PM on December 26, 2006


allen.spaulding -- please read the two motions to which I link above. No DNA from the three accused was found on or in the accuser's body and clothing. Nor, was any found in the location where she claims the rape occured (i.e. the bathroom at 610 North Bucanan Blvd.). She claimed that she was sexually assaulted by these three boys -- none wearing condoms and each ejaculating. In one claim she said one of them ejaculated in her mouth and she spit it on the floor next to the toilet. No sperm was found there. No DNA from any of the accused was found in the bathroom -- or, for that matter, anywhere else.

We now learn that there was DNA traces from 5 men --- sperm and epithelial cells -- found by investigators. None of these matched any of the 46 white Duke lacrosse players. Furthermore, the rape kit/examination showed no signs of trauma, etc.
posted by ericb at 4:58 PM on December 26, 2006


ericb, I agree with what you said. My reading of what has been made available is that this case seems increasingly questionable. I never said the kids were guilty, I just said that all of the press coverage in the world can't replace a trial.

Fair enough. You're right. It will be interesting to see if this does proceed to trial, or, if Nifong will drop the remaining chrages. As well, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of the alleged misconduct of D.A. Mike Nifong.
posted by ericb at 5:02 PM on December 26, 2006


No, it just means that

they remain innocent until they are PROVED guilty, no matter what hotheaded partisans on the internet may want one to believe

that IS the way it works ... period
posted by pyramid termite at 5:05 PM on December 26, 2006


I'm not going to go back through your 65 posts and find which ones in specific you're referencing, but I've seen the defense's motions. I don't know how Nifong will react, what his arguments will be, if there was a problem with the test, etc.

This is what a trial is for. We have an advisary system for a reason, so that each side can make their case. Nifong has done a terrible job with the media thus far, but he's not supposed to make his case there. He's supposed to make it in court. Until then, I 'm not going to come to any conclusions regarding the facts of this case.

I have come to the conclusion that Nifong is a dolt and that the player who sent the skinned-alive email is disgusting.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:10 PM on December 26, 2006


they remain innocent until they are PROVED guilty, no matter what hotheaded partisans on the internet may want one to believe


Sorry, you just don't get how this works. An individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It doesn't mean they are innocent.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:17 PM on December 26, 2006


Yes, there was a visceral response from those who initially 'sided' with the accuser - the 'blacktivisits' and feminists all decided that the white frat boys were guilty as charged before any evidence came out. There was a hue and cry by the media.

And what about the visceral response by the other side? People seem just as quick (and I say people because I'm not announcing my own opinion or pointing fingers) to announce the saintly innocence of these poor, sweet boys based on a prosecutor that has apparently fucked up every aspect of this case.

I don't know who's right here. I have not been following this case and judging by ecrib's littany of publications from the defense things do look pretty bad for the prosecution.

Here's what I can gather. A couple of strippers were hired by the Duke Lacrosse team for a party. At some point during the night of the party one of the strippers got covered in semen from 5 guys and it's possible that more guys had sex with her too but either wore condoms (unlikely if it was rape) or did not ejaculate (entirely possible rape or not). She accused some folks of rape. Maybe she pointed out the wrong guys, maybe she picked out a couple of guys that she thought saw in the swirling mess of that night, maybe she's full of shit, who knows? The prosecutor started going full steam ahead even may have bent the rules a bit possibly for personal political gain, possibly because he wanted to ensure a swift conviction, possibly for some other reason, who knows (and he too is innocent until proven guilty, no)?

What I find really facinating is that just by asking a question about why people are so viscious, I myself become attacked. That's exactly what I'm talking about.

Am I ambivalent towards injustice? For fuck's sake, no! Am I ignoring evidence? No, I'm reading the articles and statements that have been provided with a critical eye and when I find questions, I'm asking them, that's what rational people generally tend to do, right? But this case is ar from rational in either camp it seems and I was wondering why? When there are so many cases of this type of injustice, why this case in particular seems to cause people to fling ad homenems like proverbial monkey poo? I thank everyone thhat has tried to answer me rationally. It is really fascinating to see something go from an everyday case, which sadly it is, and turn it into a spectical where uninvolved people all over the world become filled with red-faced rage in violent reaction to some questioning in chatrooms.

I reiterate that I believe it is the hot button issues that this case touches. Race, sex, class these things sell ad time on CNN, therefore we get more in-your-face coverage, more media whores making their grandstand speeches, and therefore more black-and-white opinions, even when reality of the situation is probably somewhere in the grey area in between.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:28 PM on December 26, 2006


and what are you going to do, sir? ... sentence them with semantics?

no, you are going to wait until the outcome of the trial, if there is one and then you will go on with your life, if you have one, and nothing you SAY is going to make the slightest bit of difference to anyone connected with the case

i'm sick of know it all legal eagles who think they KNOW what happened or think that innocence is some kind of relative concept they can disregard if their personal prejudices are strong enough

my point stands
posted by pyramid termite at 5:29 PM on December 26, 2006


i'm sick of know it all legal eagles who think they KNOW what happened or think that innocence is some kind of relative concept they can disregard if their personal prejudices are strong enough

Sorry guy, but you're just wrong. I've consistently insisted throughout this thread that none of us can know what to believe before the trial begins. I have pointed out that those who believe they know that the lacrosse players are guilty are wrong, as are those who believe they know that the dancer was lying.

Fortunately, we live in a society where they are presumed innocent and I'll fight to keep this principle, one of the most important bedrocks of a free society. (Although it is not a constitutional protection and in fact wasn't necessarily the law until 1890s).

Your point doesn't stand, nor does it hold water. We don't know anything about what really happened that night. The only judgments we can make are about how the parties have handled themselves in front of the camera in the media circus that followed. As for what happened that night, we won't know for sure until there's a trial, if there's a trial. And they could be innocent and be found guilty by an overzealous jury and they could be guilty and be found not guilty by a jury (see OJ). All I am saying is that it's a mistake to jump to either side right now.

ericb - I agree, I think how Nifong is treated will be fascinating.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:42 PM on December 26, 2006


At some point during the night of the party one of the strippers got covered in semen from 5 guys

Not true. No where has it been demonstrated (please, read the court filings) that she "was covered in semen from 5 guys."

According to the DNA findings that has now been made available (and, originally kept from the defense) there were traces of sperm and epithelial cells found on/in her body and clothing that may have been deposited there from earlier in the day -- and, possibly longer than that. What is known is that none of the DNA is from the 46 white Duke lacrosse players.
posted by ericb at 5:48 PM on December 26, 2006


Also -- in the court filings there is the possibility that the traces of male DNA may be from one of the men who handled the samples during the chain of custody -- going to/from the Durham Police Department to DNA Security.
"Y-STR profile: 'could be BM.' The BM may stand for Brian Meehan, the lab director of DNA Security who performed some of the testing in this case. Dr. Meehans Y-STR profile...is consistent with the identifiable alleles at every locus in the Section 2 public hair comb profile. However, there are two loci where there is additional male allele which does not match any of the four male analysts employed by DNA Security, and the first of which does not match any of the indicted Defendants in this case." *
posted by ericb at 6:02 PM on December 26, 2006


What is known is that none of the DNA is from the 46 white Duke lacrosse players.

Actually, what is known is that the lab in question didn't match the DNA to the 46 samples they had. You're assuming the testing was done properly.

Also, what seems to me to be the biggest hole in the story was the claim that everyone at the party was from the lacrosse team. Perhaps the prosecution's biggest mistake was that in showing the alleged victim only pictures from the lacrosse team, and only testing those 46 players, he accepted the defense's story that only lacrosse players were there.* It's possible that both sides of this case are telling the truth. If there were white non-lacrosse players there, they could have assaulted her and she might have thought they were on the team. The 46 players would then test clean. Knowing they'd be cleared by a DNA test, they could insist that they were the only people there, thereby protecting the actual perpetrators.

Obviously, this is pure speculation, I'm just showing that it's possible to construct a narrative to fit the facts in question that show some murkiness.

*There have also been studies that eyewitness accounts are least accurate when it comes to identifying members of another race. And all white people look alike, do you know what I mean? I kid, I kid.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:06 PM on December 26, 2006


And just to show I'm not biased in one direction, here's another equally plausible scenario (or equally ludicrous, take your pick):

Couch K discovered a cheating scandal on his team that would bring Duke to its knees. Players were exchanging child pornography and tickets with their marxist indoctrinating professors in exchange for good grades. The University President, realizing what this scandal would do to fundraising, needed a plan to distract attention away from the marxist-kiddie-porn-for-B-minuses-and-courtside-seats scandal. I mean, with a name like that, you know the newspapers were going to run with it.

So President calls Nifong who also needs some help, as he's running for reelection and is not good at his job. They hatch an ingenous plot whereby the get a dancer to invent some charges and Nifong intentionally botches the prosecution, so that there was no way the students would be put in jeopardy. They even choose a student who was at an ATM at the time. In exchanging for dragging their names through the mud, Couch K gives the accused students courtside seats. And kiddie porn.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:16 PM on December 26, 2006


The police do know who was in attendance that night -- and all were members of the lacrosse team. There are photographs taken by many of the attendees. The polic also have statements from those in attendance, as well as from next door neighbors, etc. At no time have the investigators claimed that there were unknown males at the party.

Regarding the DNA -- the first testing done by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) on March 27 - April 2 found no DNA evidence from the rape kits. On April 5 the state got permission to have a private lab, DNA Security, do further Y STR testing. That is the lab which found DNA from 5 unknown males -- which was found in her anus, pubic hair and vaginal area.
posted by ericb at 6:18 PM on December 26, 2006


Couch K

Um, Coach K? But in this narrative, a Couch is likely more appropriate than a Coach! ;-)
posted by ericb at 6:20 PM on December 26, 2006


ericb - If that evidence holds up in court, then that avenue of inquiry will be shot down. The legitimacy of the DNA tests will also be a question. From this vantage point, it does seem like there is very little evidence that Nifong can use to make his case. Interestingly, gang rape is actually harder to prove than individual rape, as it's no longer he-said/she-said in the absence of physical evidence, but he-said and he-corroborated and he-also-corroborated/she-said.

If he doesn't have any physical evidence, it's hard to imagine him getting a conviction at this point. Still, we're going to have to wait and see.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:23 PM on December 26, 2006


Polomacho --

Here are some resources that you might find helpful:
Duke Rape Case Narrative.

Rape, Justice, and the ‘Times’ [New York Magazine]

60 Minutes' Ed Bradley Talks To The Accused Lacrosse Players
They provide background and details of the case.
posted by ericb at 6:31 PM on December 26, 2006


oops Pollomacho ... "Manly Chicken?"
posted by ericb at 6:32 PM on December 26, 2006


Peter Boyer's report in the Aug. 4th issue of the New Yorker.
posted by semmi at 10:12 PM on December 26, 2006


People are mad that the press essentially convicted these kids in the first place. I agree, the press was reprehensible. We shouldn't let the press acquit the kids for the same reason.

I think the evidence (DNA tests, photographs, ATM records, phone records) is pretty much acquitting the accused anyway. - and what exactly are they accused now? The rather ambiguous 'sexual offenses' - who knows what that could actually mean - and kidnapping (let's see how long that one lasts).

It is the evidence the media are now poring over that are causing them to view the players as wholly innocent, whereas in the beginning the visceral response was based more on a hatred of a particular configuration of gender, race and class - perhaps the last only configuration you can publicly scorn without being accused of being a sexist or racist.

Here's what I can gather. A couple of strippers were hired by the Duke Lacrosse team for a party. At some point during the night of the party one of the strippers got covered in semen from 5 guys and it's possible that more guys had sex with her too but either wore condoms (unlikely if it was rape) or did not ejaculate (entirely possible rape or not). She accused some folks of rape. Maybe she pointed out the wrong guys, maybe she picked out a couple of guys that she thought saw in the swirling mess of that night, maybe she's full of shit, who knows? The prosecutor started going full steam ahead even may have bent the rules a bit possibly for personal political gain, possibly because he wanted to ensure a swift conviction, possibly for some other reason, who knows (and he too is innocent until proven guilty, no)?

And you claim to have read up on the facts of the case that are on record? Actually, given your inaccurate summary, I'd probably share your opinion.

Actually, what is known is that the lab in question didn't match the DNA to the 46 samples they had. You're assuming the testing was done properly.

Hmm.....DNA evidence doesn't reveal the brutal gang-rape she accused 20, then 5, then 3 men of perpetrating.

So the DNA tests must be wrong.

SANE test doesn't reveal any signs of alleged rape.

I'm guessing you think the SANE test wasn't conducted properly?

allen.spaulding, you're doing a good impression of Nifong here - and you say you're practicing law? Heaven help us...
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:02 AM on December 27, 2006


I believe the danger of the defendants in this case becoming true victims was quite low comparatively, a belief which - lo and behold! - is panning out.

dgbellak, you don't think the last 9 months has in anyway hurt the accused - who have had their names all over the media, had death threats, been suspended from college (for their own safety)?
posted by FieldingGoodney at 12:08 AM on December 27, 2006


> How does her previous sexual history have anything to do with this case? The merits of this case rest
> upon the DNA test, not about if she was a virgin or not.

Any evidence of a history of over-the-edge, out-of-control behavior by a complainant, sexual or otherwise, bears upon the believeability of the complaint. It is pertinent while investigating the complaint, to help decide whether a crime was actually committed and is worth taking to trial, or conversely whether we just have a case of some over-the-edge, out-of-control gonzo crying wolf--as seems increasingly likely here.

Let's say it was a financial crime. Joe accuses his accountant of embezzling $750,000, and the police ask around and discover that Joe has a history of out-of-control financial behavior, he plays the horses and three different bookies say he's dropped a quarter million with each of them, and the police take this into account when deciding whether to charge the accountant. No one has any problem with that.

So why ignore a complainant's history of sexual behavior when a sex-crime complaint is made? There may be reasons to do so. I mentioned one, you mention that there are others. But there is also inevitably a cost, namely increasing the likelihood of taking false accusations to trial and hence also increasing the likelihood of convicting innocent people. Is it worth that risk? Possibly. But it's certainly still a hot-button issue, not remotely a settled one.
posted by jfuller at 6:52 AM on December 27, 2006


In today's Wall Street Journal: A Dirty Game (subscription required); entire text reproduced here with commentary.
posted by ericb at 8:15 AM on December 27, 2006


jfuller - you are refusing to consider a relative cost-benefit approach to rape shield, specifically you aren't looking at costs and widely exaggerating benefits.

A heart biopsy might provide a doctor with information to make an accurate diagnosis, but it could also cause great risks to the patient's health. If doctors started performing heart biopsies on every patient who came in, whether with a sore back or with the sniffles, many patients would be unnessarily harmed and soon people would stop going to doctors.

Empirical studies have shown time and time again that the information received through an inquiry into a victim's sexual history is small compared to the amount of damage it could do through the prejudice a jury might find, in addition to acting as a deterrent to seeking justice. Rape shield acts in the same manner as a professional guideline would, in that it prevents doctors from opening up any patient they want just to poke around.

And just as there are times when invasive surgery is necessary, there are instances when the probative value of past sexual experiences is high enough that it is admissible in court. The standard exceptions to rape shield are:
1) When the defendant claims consent and can establish prior consentual sexual relations between himself and the victim.
2) When the defendant denies having sex at all with the victim and proves that the victim had sexual relations with another man at the relevant time, which could explain any physical consequences of the alleged rape.

These exceptions, hammered out through reasoned discourse and empriical research, work. In the first case, the evidence doesn't go to impeach the victim's character, but instead to establish the mental state of the defendant. In the second, the prejudicial effect upon the jury is dwarfed in comparison to the need to establish an alternate explanation.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:43 AM on December 27, 2006


> jfuller - you are refusing to consider a relative cost-benefit approach to rape shield, specifically
> you aren't looking at costs and widely exaggerating benefits.

Well, I'll agree with you there. I do believe that the ability of an accused to discover any existing evidence of his innocence and present it in his own defence is a fundamental human right not subject to cost-benefit analysis. The cost to humanity of denying fundamental rights is by axiomatically considered greater than any possible benefit that might accrue from denying them.
posted by jfuller at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2006


Well, I'll agree with you there. I do believe that the ability of an accused to discover any existing evidence of his innocence and present it in his own defence is a fundamental human right not subject to cost-benefit analysis. The cost to humanity of denying fundamental rights is by axiomatically considered greater than any possible benefit that might accrue from denying them.

I agree with this principle within certain bounds that we as a society hold dear. We do not violate privileges between doctors and patients, priests and parishoners, and spouses because we believe that protecting these relationships is fundamental to the rights of people in our society. We do not allow lawyers to badger witnesses during cross-examination or deposition because we believe in a certain degree of dignity to which we are all entitled. And we require discovery and cross-examination to relate solely to matters which are relevant to the case because we believe in a limited judiciary and not an inquisition. Limiting the scope of discovery and interrogation serves the same purpose as I mentioned above in the doctor analogy.

If you witnessed a bank robbery, you'd likely be subpoenaed to testify in a criminal trial. It would be appalling if a defense attorney was allowed to impeach your testimony by asking you what various sex acts you performed with your sexual partners, or if you were ever molested as a child, or to produce your medical records for the court.

Having an unlimited right to discovery as you mentioned is a terrifying idea and belongs only in the worst inquistorial courts. We balance this right against a very real need to protect the rights of third parties and other members of our society.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2006


Klayman, Founder of Judicial Watch, Files Ethics Complaint Against Duke Prosecutor Nifong.
posted by ericb at 7:47 PM on December 27, 2006


Mainstream Media news titles before the evidence came out (you can google them for verification):-

The Devils at Duke
White boys Wilding
Racism, Sexism, and priviledge play roles in scandal at Duke
Black Students rally around Duke Rape victim
NC Central Chancellor: The alleged victim has our support
Duke lacrosse team out of control
Duke lacrosse allegations fit mold
Committee to probe Duke Lacrosse culture
Duke Season cancelled due to bad behavior
Duke Team incident merits punishment
Duke Lacrosse case somehow gets uglier
Duke Lacrosse team had a reputation for swagger
Threats made against Duke Lacrosse team
Duke's lacrosse team incident has hate crime written all over it.
Duke Lacrosse team in trouble before
Duke games called off amid team sex scandal
Duke Lacrosse Rape claim spurs outrage
Duke Larcosse Rape scandal; accused players revealed in victim's statement
Duke Lacrosse Players may be charged for failing to stop Gang-Rape
Grusome Duke Lacrosse Details
Duke Lacrosse behavior unacceptable
Advantages of the privileged Lacrosse sect
Truth is worse than fiction: Duke Lacrosse
Player threatens Strippers in E-mail
The Devils came out in Durham
Duke Team exposed
Male violence against Women at Duke
Sounds like Hate
Duke players afflicted by sense of entitlement
A call for outrage
Fraternity of Silence
Hundreds join rally for victim
Professor wants team to be disbanded
Knowing White from Wrong
Code of Silence harms integrity
Another Reason to Hate Duke
To Hate like this
Take back the Night against Sexual Assualt at Duke
3 miles and a World away, a vigil for the accuser
Sex crimes awareness vigil at Duke
NCCU students march against assualt at Duke
Day 3 of Protests at Duke
Crowd gathers to protest Lacrosse team
Speak out against team scandal
Search warrant reveals plans for another team party
NAACP weighs in on rape case
DA confident Gang Rape occured
Dancer tells of Duke Rape
Victim reveals details of ordeal
Duke should do the Honorable thing
NAACP meets with DA in Duke Lacrosse case
DA stands behind rape charge
DA: Rape may have a racial angle
A pained community gives love and support to victim
Duke saga shows athletes can’t be allowed to think they are above the law

posted by FieldingGoodney at 9:50 AM on December 29, 2006


The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys has issued a public letter to Mike Nifong, demanding that he recuse himself from the Duke lacrosse case:
"It is in the interest of justice and the effective administration of criminal justice that Mr. Nifong immediately withdraw and recuse himself from the prosecution of these cases and request the cases be assigned to another prosecutorial authority."
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on December 29, 2006


“Nifong engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation . . .”

-- The North Carolina State Bar v. Michael B. Nifong, p. 16.
posted by ericb at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2006


New York Daily News:
"It has become plainly obvious that a gross miscarriage of justice has been perpetrated against the three Duke University lacrosse players who were charged last spring with raping a stripper at a raucous house party.

Enough evidence has unfolded to conclude that Collin Finnerty of Garden City, L.I., Reade Seligmann of Essex Fells, N.J., and David Evans of Bethesda, Md., are the targets of an irresponsible prosecution by a race-baiting, politically craven district attorney.

Durham, N.C., DA Michael Nifong played the race card early and often in branding Finnerty, Seligmann and Evans, who are white, as having gang-raped a black woman. He called them 'racists,' and 'hooligans' whose 'daddies could buy them expensive lawyers.'"
posted by ericb at 5:07 PM on December 29, 2006


Mike Nifong’s hometown paper asks for his resignation .
posted by ericb at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2006


U.S. News & World Report: D.A. in Hot Water Over Duke Rape Scandal.
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on December 29, 2006


More on the 'presumed guilt' frenzy (before any evidence emerged) that a lot of people are now busily sweeping under the carpet.

Here are the Duke professors who publicly thanked black activists for marching against the Duke lacrosse players:

LIST OF INDIVIDUAL NAMES IN SUPPORT OF THE “WE’RE LISTENING” CHRONICLE AD

DUKE'S GROUP OF 88

Abe, Stan (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)

Albers, Benjamin (University Writing Program)

Allison, Anne (Cultural Anthropology)

Aravamudan, Srinivas (English)

Baker, Houston (English and AAAS)

Baker, Lee (Cultural Anthropology)

Beckwith, Sarah (English)

Berliner, Paul (Music)

Christina Beaule (University Writing Program)

Blackmore, Connie (AAAS)

Jessica Boa (Religion & University Writing Program)

Boatwright, Mary T. (Classical Studies)

Boero, Silvia (Romance Studies)

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo (Sociology)

Brim, Matthew (University Writing Program)

Chafe, William (History)

Ching, Leo (Asian & African Languages and Literatures)

Coles, Rom (Political Science)

Cooke, Miriam (Asian & African Languages and Literatures)

Crichlow, Michaeline (AAAS)

Curtis, Kim (Political Science)

Damasceno, Leslie (Romance Studies)

Davidson, Cathy (English)

Deutsch, Sally (History)

Dorfman, Ariel (Literature & Latin American Stds.)

Edwards, Laura (History)

Farred, Grant (Literature)

Fellini, Luciana (Romance Studies)

Fulkerson, Mary McClintock (Divinity School)

Gabara, Esther (Romance Studies)

Gavins, Raymond (History)

Greer, Meg (Romance Studies)

Glymph, Thavolia (History)

Hardt, Michael (Literature)

Harris, Joseph (University Writing Program)

Holloway, Karla (English)

Holsey, Bayo (AAAS)

Hovsepian, Mary (Sociology)

James, Sherman (Public Policy)

Kaplan, Alice (Literature)

Khalsa, Keval Kaur (Dance Program)

Khanna, Ranjana (English)

King, Ashley (Romance Studies)

Koonz, Claudia (History)

Lasch, Peter (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies &
Latino/a Studies)

Lee, Dan A. (Math)

Leighten, Pat (Art, Art History, and Visual Studies)

Lentricchia, Frank (Literature)

Light, Caroline (Inst. for Crit. U.S. Stds.)

Litle, Marcy (Comparative Area Studies)

Litzinger, Ralph (Cultural Anthropology)

Longino, Michele (Romance Studies)

Lubiano, Wahneema (AAAS and Literature)

Maffitt, Kenneth (History)

Mahn, Jason (University Writing Program)

Makhulu, Anne-Maria (AAAS)

Mason, Lisa (Surgical Unit-2100)

McClain, Paula (Political Science)

Meintjes, Louise (Music)

Mignolo, Walter (Literature and Romance Studies)

Moreiras, Alberto (Romance Studies)

Neal, Mark Anthony (AAAS)

Nelson, Diane (Cultural Anthropology)

Olcott, Jolie (History)

Parades, Liliana (Romance Studies)

Payne, Charles (AAAS and History)

Pierce-Baker, Charlotte (Women’s Studies)

Pebles-Wilkins, Wilma

Petters, Arlie (Math)

Plesser, Ronen (Physics)

Radway, Jan (Literature)

Rankin, Tom (Center for Documentary Studies)

Rego, Marcia (University Writing Program)

Reisinger, Deborah S. (Romance Studies)

Rosenberg, Alex (Philosophy)

Rudy, Kathy (Women’s Studies)

Schachter, Marc (English)

Shannon, Laurie (English)

Sigal, Pete (History)

Silverblatt, Irene (Cultural Anthropology)

Somerset, Fiona (English)

Stein, Rebecca (Cultural Anthropology)

Thorne, Susan (History)

Viego, Antonio (Literature)

Vilaros, Teresa (Romance Studies)

Wald, Priscilla (English)

Wallace, Maurice (English and AAAS)

Wong, David (Philosophy)

posted by FieldingGoodney at 8:51 PM on December 29, 2006


I'm glad to see no law professors there. I keep stressing this, but the lesson to be learned is not to jump to conclusions before a trial nor to have the media decide your fate before there's anything resembling one. Those Duke professors certainly should know better than to come down on any side.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:46 PM on December 29, 2006


TIME magazine:
“The Dec. 28 ethics charges are expected to be expanded when the state bar's grievance committee meets again Jan. 18. Like a grand jury, the committee meets periodically; the current ethics charges stem from its most recent meeting in October and cover public statements Nifong made about the case last March and April. At its next meeting, the committee will deal with revelations from a Dec. 15 court hearing in which the state's DNA expert admitted he and Nifong agreed to keep secret from the defense early DNA results showing no Duke lacrosse player could be implicated in an attack upon one of two exotic dancers hired for the March 14 house party.

....Now that the North Carolina State Bar has filed a 17-page, 41-count ethics complaint against District Attorney Michael Nifong's handling of the Duke rape case, there's a different kind of New Year's countdown taking place in Durham: when and under what circumstances will Nifong leave office…All of this would be moot, of course, if Nifong were to resign from office or be forced off the case by the presiding judge. The North Carolina governor's office, which appointed him to the post, could also ask him to resign from office.”
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on December 30, 2006


“Michael Skube, a former Pulitzer Prize winner and professor at Elon University, predicts in an L.A. Times op-ed that Duke’s ‘recovery from a rush to judgment’ might be a painful one indeed. As ‘the vigilante posters have come down’ and ‘the candlelight vigils have gone dark,’ it seems that ‘this time the story might not be reducible to the all-purpose epistemology of race, gender and class.’ Critics of Duke’s response, Skube perceptively observes, are most united by ‘a reaction to the group-think that immediately took hold once the story came to light.’

Skube discovered that the potbangers of last spring have erected a ‘wall of silence.’ From Jennifer Minnelli, who attended a March vigil: ‘I have no comment. Good luck with your research.’ From the husband of a vigil organizer: ‘Your chances of getting a comment from her or from anyone in this house are exactly zero.’

Skube obtains a quote from one protester, Ned Kennington, who does regret his actions, but who deflects blame onto Nifong. ‘Duke,’ Kennington states, ‘is populated by a faculty that is very socially conscious. I think I am guilty of that. But this [case] was fueled by Nifong’s assertions, which fit into our preconceptions.’ He adds, ‘I trusted that Mike Nifong was talking in a careful, judicious way when he called the lacrosse players hooligans.’

(Consider the unintended irony of that last remark. Also, blind faith for the police and/or prosecutors is rarely a trademark of the academic Left.)

Nearly nine months out, not one of the Group of 88 has retracted his or her signature from the document. Or expressed a word of support for the lacrosse players. Or even publicly criticized Mike Nifong. And despite prompting from Ed Bradley, Richard Brodhead refused to have anything critical to say of the Group of 88’s rush to judgment. Skube concludes, ‘For the university, those preconceptions — a reflexive, left-leaning culture shared by many of its supporters — are part of the larger problem.’”*
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on January 1, 2007


A Visit with the Collin Finnerty Family
"It started as an open dialogue between mothers. Mary Ellen Finnerty, whose son Collin was indicted in the Duke lacrosse incident, broke the silence of the three families involved and agreed to speak to Chapel Hill writer Sharon Swanson in an exclusive interview for Raleigh Metro Magazine.

The result is a profound and frank inside view of how a family has suffered — and transcended — the anger, shock and dismay created by the apparently false charges against their son."
Interview is here.
posted by ericb at 10:29 AM on January 3, 2007


"Duke lacrosse defendants Colin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann are both expected to be reinstated today as Duke students in good standing, two sources close to the case told ABC News. Defendant David Evans was allowed to graduate last spring, but underclassmen Seligmann and Finnerty were suspended from the University pending a resolution of the assault charges."
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on January 3, 2007


“...Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta formally invited Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann to return for the spring term.

The symbolism of this move cannot be missed: with the decision, the Duke administration is formally saying that the presumption of innocence no longer can be ignored and strongly implying--through its deeds--that no one in the upper levels at Duke any longer believes in the credibility of Mike Nifong's allegations. Coupled with Brodhead's repeated demands that Nifong recuse himself, this act signals a dramatic, and welcome, shift by the administration on the case, and a statement that from here on out, Brodhead will stand on behalf of due process.

The Seligmann family replied with a gracious statement [PDF], taking care to thank ‘the outpouring of support that we have received from Duke alumni,’ looking forward to the time when Reade can resume his normal life as a full-time student, and noting, correctly, that ‘by now it should be plain to any person who has any objectivity that the charges against Reade are transparently false.’”*
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on January 3, 2007


Duke's Economics Department Takes Its Stand.
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2007


Newsweek: In Scandal's Shadow -- "Reade Seligmann details his family's anguish since that infamous lacrosse party."

TIME: Teacher Support for the Duke Players -- "Now that rape charges have been dropped, some faculty members are expressing regret over what some saw as bias against their own students."
posted by ericb at 7:03 PM on January 6, 2007


Collin Finnerty’s DC Conviction Set Aside.
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on January 9, 2007


ScrippsNews: Nifong should face prosecution.
posted by ericb at 10:39 AM on January 10, 2007


Editorials Against Nifong.
posted by ericb at 10:40 AM on January 10, 2007


MSNBC: What’s left to say in Duke rape case?
posted by ericb at 10:41 AM on January 10, 2007


Yet again: Accuser Changes Story in Duke Lacrosse Case.

Former aide, Nifong snipe at each other.

Anatomy of a Frame.

WSJ: The Michael Nifong Scandal - "The Duke rape hoax is redolent of past decades' phony child-abuse cases."
posted by ericb at 10:00 AM on January 11, 2007


Duke Accuser Changes Story. Again.

The Smonking Gun has the full defense motion containing details.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on January 11, 2007


From the Smoking Gun article:-

But while the woman now claims that the sex assault came nearly an hour earlier than she first reported, Seligmann's lawyers contend that their client has an alibi for the earlier period as well.

That made me laugh out loud.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:45 PM on January 11, 2007


Preview of this coming Sunday's '60 Minutes' on CBS: Expert Admits "Big Error" In Duke Case.
posted by ericb at 8:10 PM on January 11, 2007


"Duke law professor James Coleman--the voice of moral clarity throughout this affair--commented on the latest developments to both the N&O and the Chronicle.

In the N&O, Coleman suggested that the time might have come to open a criminal inquiry into Nifong's behavior, and asked, 'Who would believe that a witness, nine months later, suddenly recalls facts that coincidentally negate evidence produced by the defense?'

Quite correctly, he added, 'These people are almost criminal. It's making a mockery of the system. It's like Nifong is mooning the system. It's contemptuous.'

In the Chronicle, Coleman noted, 'It's extraordinary that a witness testimony changed so drastically nine months after the incident. A jury would find it hard to believe her. That's just not credible. It's like the end of a bad mystery novel where all the ends are tied up.'

Other members of the law faculty appear to agree. In his strongest comments on the case to date, Paul Haagen asked, 'Does this case look like it's moving toward an implosion?' His answer: 'Yes, it is moving toward that.' And Thomas Metzloff added that the dropping of the rape charge seems like a tactical move, rather than one based on pursuit of justice. 'Did something really change two weeks ago, or was [Nifong] feeling the heat from the DNA hearing?' Metzloff's answer: 'He did it to protect himself.'"*
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on January 12, 2007


DA in Duke Rape Case Asks to Be Taken off Case
"District Attorney Mike Nifong has requested that he have himself removed from prosecuting the Duke Lacrosse rape investigation, ABC News has learned.

A source close to the investigation said Nifong sent a letter to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper asking his office to assume responsibility of the case. Calls to the Attorney General's office and Mike Nifong's office were not yet returned."
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on January 12, 2007


Nifong to be Sued by Lacrosse Players -- Mother Confirms Families' Intent to Sue DA.
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on January 12, 2007


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers blasts Durham D.A. Mike Nifong.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on January 12, 2007


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