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I Haven't Been Closely Following the Duke Lacrosse Team Alleged Rape Case,

partly because it's the sort of matter on which one needs to know a good deal of facts to have a sensible opinion. But this story struck me as quite odd; could any prosecutors among our readers comment on it?

The district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a woman at a team party said during a court hearing Friday that he still hasn't interviewed the accuser about the facts of the case.

"I've had conversations with (the accuser) about how she's doing. I've had conversations with (the accuser) about her seeing her kids," Mike Nifong said. "I haven't talked with her about the facts of that night. ... We're not at that stage yet."

Nifong made the statement in response to a defense request for any statements the woman has made about the case.

I would have thought that in a rape case, interviewing the victim would be among the first things the prosecutor would do. Of course, if she's in intensive care for her injuries, he might want to put it off briefly; but even if she's deeply psychologically traumatized, he'd want to talk to her at some point, the sooner the better, even if he has other witnesses he can count on. Am I mistaken?

PersonFromPorlock:
Prosecutors have investigators and other subordinates to delegate to; otherwise, the workload would be impossible. That said, I suspect that Nifong has been especially careful not to come into too close contact with the facts of this case, just in case it eventually blows up.
10.28.2006 5:22pm
Jim M.:
In my jurisdiction, prosecutors rarely interview victims of crime prior to charging the case and rely on the police interviews of the subject. If there are additional questions that need to be asked, prosecutors send investigators or the police back to do follow up. It's rare to have a meaningful discussion of the facts of the case until the eve of trial when the prosecutor preps the victim for trial. Even then, an investigator or police detective will be present.

I'd imagine that this is almost universal - a prosecutor does not want to become a witness in his own case.
10.28.2006 5:26pm
whit:
I have a lot of experience investigating rape cases. I did two child rapes last week. This case stunk from the beginning. It smelled of politics then, it REALLY smells of politics now.

Given the PUBLIC comments that the prosecutor made about his conviction that the offenders had committed the crime, and his trust in the truth of the victim, it is inconceivable to me (especially considering the mountains of exculpatory evidence presented on behalf of the defense) that the prosecutor has yet to at least witness a police interview with the "victim", let alone speak to her himself. In my jurisdiction, prosecutors have to be very careful about actually interviewing victims themselves, because they can't be both witnesses and prosecutors.

This case (on the prosecution's side) is a joke. I really really detest rapists, and that is why I took a lot of specialized training in rape investigation, so I could investigate these types of crimes thoroughly, and this case (the prosecutor) has been insane from the beginning.

The facts that the defendants are practically leaping over themselves to cooperate in EVERY way with the prosecutor was the first sing of the of their innocence (imo), not to mention the incredible inconsistencies.

The most damning aspect is the lineup procedures. They were COMPLETELY 100% against standard police procedure, and I can't imagine any police officer I know using such a ridiculous identification procedure after the fact to identify suspects. JUST based on the ridiculous photo lineup procedures, I would think this case should be thrown out.

Again, it is not that unusual, in the 'average trial' for the prosecutor not to have interviewed the victim much, if at all, prior to trial. But given his public statements, his rush to judgment, his dismissal of defense-friendly evidence, etc. etc. it's just another example of a ridiculous prosecutor caught up in desire to please feminists (many of whom are finally coming around to this absurd witch hunt), and to play the race card.
10.28.2006 6:01pm
Brian Garst (www):
Nifong was never interested in the facts in this case. It's been a racially driven witch hunt since day one.
10.28.2006 6:06pm
Dasarge:
OK, it has been nearly 30 years since I did my short stint as a prosecutor. But, I am still perplexed at how this matter was handled.

As I understand it, the duty of the prosecutor is to do justice, prosecuting crimes being the principle means to that end. One cannot ascertain just how justice will be served unless and until one has the facts in hand. A prosecutor doing his or her duty would have the complainant interviewed -- repeatedly, if necessary -- and get to the bottom of the matter. If the allegations hold up, then he or she can assess how justice would be served by prosecution. If the allegations collapse under investigation, then justice admits of only one course: dismissal.

Avoiding the facts and leaving innocent people hanging out is, in my view, a disgraceful abdication of duty.
10.28.2006 6:15pm
AntonK (mail):
And it gets worse, from Instapundit (http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/503820.html)


A woman identified as the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case performed an athletic pole dance at a Hillsborough strip club at the same time that the accuser was visiting hospitals complaining of intense pain from being assaulted.

A time-stamped video shows a woman at The Platinum Club on March 26. The club's former security manager, H.P. Thomas, identified her as the accuser.

The video, reviewed by The News &Observer, shows a limber performer. The same woman told doctors at UNC and Duke hospitals around that time that she had been beaten and assaulted and was racked with pain.


http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/503820.html
10.28.2006 6:16pm
whit:
Yes, the evidence is mounting not only that the indictments should be dismissed, but it is rapidly approaching (if it has not already) the point where consideration must be given to investigating the alleged victim for filing a false police report.

a REAL prosecutor has to approach EVERY victim (just like every cop does) with an understanding that he or she could be lying. Cause people lie. And to reference alan dershowitz- rape is simultaneously the most underreported and overreported crime. iow, a greater %age of rapes that occur are not reported vs. most other part I crimes, however a greater %age of false reports are made as well vs. other part I crimes. and unlike some part I crime false reports, false accusation of rape usually result in actual suspects being arrested, convicted etc. whereas many other part I false reports are just made for insurance purposes etc. and no suspect isplaced in jeapordy.

in my experience, prosecutors, even with a mountain of evidence are extremely unlikely to prosecute rape and domestic violence accusers of false reporting because it is seen as politically correct "blaming the victim". people who make up false reports of crimes and place people in jail for them, especially, are arguably JUST as bad as criminals who actually rape people.

they do a disservice to REAL victims of rape and violence, and they completely smear and ruin innocents lives- on purpose

i have dealt with these peopel firsthand (rapists and false accusers)

i don't know who disgusts me more
10.28.2006 6:24pm
elChato (mail):
I prosecuted a number of rape cases and other sex crimes. It would be inconceivable not to have met with an adult rape victim early on, usually with a victim assistance person present, to go through the details of what had happened. Then, you would meet a couple of times prior to trial to go through what she could expect at trial, on direct and cross. This goes double for a case where the victim has given obviously conflicting statements which are contained in the police reports.

It does sound like he's spoken with her, and you have to walk a fine line between preparing your case and upsetting someone who's (allegedly) had something horrible happen to them.

But in this case either a number of the cops have screwed up, or this woman has told a large number of different and diametrically opposed stories to almost everyone she talked to. You bet I would go through all of those inconsistent statements with her. A prosecutor needs to know what she said and why she said it, and also to prepare her for cross, because you can bet the defense will be asking her.

I have been skeptical of Nifong's behavior from the beginning (if his pre-indictment comments didn't violate the rules of professional conduct pertaining to pretrial publicity, then they just need to be repealed because they mean nothing). Maybe that colors my thoughts here too-- I suspect that he doesn't want to meet with her because any story she tells could be inconsistent with what she's said before and therefore become Brady material. In my opinion that's lazy, counterproductive, sneaky, and disgraceful. I think that he will create more problems for himself doing it this way. I think he has tried to take the easy way out every chance he's gotten.

Another day, another bush-league attempt at strategy by Nifong. He needs to go back to handling traffic tickets.
10.28.2006 6:33pm
KC Johnson (mail) (www):
Given the specifics of this case, it is extraordinary that Nifong didn't ask the accuser about her story before indicting: he had essentially no physical evidence and no DNA matches; the statements of the second dancer and the person described as the accuser's "driver" contradicted the accuser's version of events in critical ways; and the accuser herself toward myriad, mutually contradictory stories to police before finally making a statement on April 6, three weeks after the alleged attack.

But Nifong was more than prosecutor: as defense attorneys publicly revealed in court for the first time on Friday, he also personally supervised the police investigation after March 24 (i.e., eight days into the investigation). Officers doing the investigation on the ground were instructed to report to him, not to their police superiors, for "direction" on how to handle matters.

So we have a situation in which not only the prosecutor but also the lead investigator for the case is claiming he sought indictments without ever speaking to the accuser to hear her version of events.
10.28.2006 7:18pm
whit:
and any police officer with ETHICS, should have told Nifong that police do not work for the prosecutors office, or the public defenders office.

their job is to be independant collectors of evidence. iow, INVESTIGATORS.

not pawns for prosecutors.

Police do not work for the prosecution. Nifong should remember this.
10.28.2006 7:20pm
tbaugh (mail):
I've been a prosecutor for 31 years. The police do investigate, but the prosecutor makes the charging decision, and at least here (Wayne County, including Detroit) it would be unheard of to make the charging decision in a serious assaultive case, particularly a case of this sort, without interviewing the complainant (other than a homicide, of course). I've never heard of such a thing.
10.28.2006 7:30pm
whit:
i agree, tbaugh.

my point in the prior post is that police working for prosecutors have less incentive to be fair, impartial investigators, cause the prosecutors JOB is different from the police's job.

manyy prosecutors officers have investigators assigned (some jurisdictions they are civilians, others they are law enforcement).
10.28.2006 7:48pm
Michael B (mail):
"... a disgraceful abdication of duty."

More complicit than even abdication would admit, D.A. Mike Nifong is acting as an officious grifter.

He's been caught in some considerable social forces, true enough, but he wasn't elected to be dog catcher, he sought and fought for the position he currently holds. More than abdication, his is an active, indeed a pro-active, involvement, fully conscious of the ruin he is helping to forward against the accused.
10.28.2006 7:52pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I know from conversations with prosecutor friends that in case like this they don't just interview the lead witness, they get to know them pretty well. While lunching with one prosecutor, she pointed out another group -- two prosecutors were lunching with the victim-witness in a rape case.

This is not just a felony case, but probably the highest-profile case in his office in years. From what I understand, there's no forensic evidence, no confessions, no police who witnessed the event.

He's not spoken with the key witness?

Is going to walk into court without a clue as to whether she sounds resolute or evasive? Whether she's got some subject that makes her blow up or become intimidated, so that he knows to avoid those and try to block defense efforts to go there? How do you know whether a case is winnable without those data?
10.28.2006 7:55pm
whit:
The last paragraph sounds like it was written by a lawyer, Dave Hardy. :)

Imo, the most important question the prosecutor should consider is DID THE RAPE EVEN HAPPEN?

that question should come before how the victim 'sounds' or anything else, as to how winnable it is.

i'm not saying yer stuff isn't important, but there is every indication in this case that the prosecutor WANTS to believe a rape happened, and an immense amount of doubt that one did.
10.28.2006 8:14pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
This paragraph is written by a lawyer, whit:>)

Nifong is a disgrace and should be defeated by the citizens of Durham in November.

I agree with you, whit, elChato and tbaugh. Anyone who makes the charging decision without thoroughly assessing the credibility of the complaining party, especially in a a racially charged situation like this is abdicating his/her responsibility.

As KC Johnson has diligently documented on his blog, the case has more holes than swiss cheese.
10.28.2006 8:41pm
whit:
Jim, I will forgive you your lawyerspeak if u will forgive my neanderthal police attitude.

And from my experience, I have assembled case packets on rapes that have gotten decline on charging from prosecutors (as they should have) that were much stronger than this durham case.

and I know if I had used that photo lineup methodology used in this case, i would be in serious trouble.

what is so sad is how every group jumped on board this case as a matter of identity politics. I was on the group "feministing" weeks ago, which is a feminist politics site, and people there would simply not admit that this case was incredibly weak. every post was about what scumbag, rich, spoiled, white racists these lacrosse players were, etc. it was all about venting their class, race, and gender concerns. the facts take a backseat when that comes into play.

it's an exact mirror image of the racist south stereotype from a century ago where a black male would be railroaded into a rape charge based on his race, and the victim's race.

it's just amazing to me how the EXACT same thing is happening here, except with the race and class status reversed.

the "victim" here has practically every point you could get for "victim cred" - race, gender, single mom, sex industry worker, etc. etc.

and the defendants were (at least assumed to be) rich, white privileged, etc. etc. children of the elite. that's turned out to be not so true, but regardless - somebody is not guilty merely because of their class.
10.28.2006 8:51pm
great unknown (mail):
Where's the discussion about disbarment?
10.28.2006 8:53pm
Dasarge:
Where's the discussion about disbarment?

Someone needs to make a complaint, first. Having spent some time working my state bar's ethics issues, a complaint from a collection of lawyers with significant prosecutorial experience would have more credibility. It should not matter but, in fact, it would help a lot if a good proportion of the complainants were women with significant experience in sexual assault cases.

I may be a lawyer (29 yrs), but I also spent 15+ years as a firefighter/EMT, as well. When victims called 911, I was the guy who usually got there even before the police. More than once we had to wait with our suffering victim far too long because the sheriff was tied up trying to clear another, false report. The biggest victims of false reports are women themselves. False indictments by narcissistic grandstanders are worse still.

Martha Stewart got how long for lying to the FBI? Yet, making a false report of sexual assault is OK?
10.28.2006 9:35pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Imo, the most important question the prosecutor should consider is DID THE RAPE EVEN HAPPEN?

that question should come before how the victim 'sounds' or anything else, as to how winnable it is.


Sure. My point is that, if at this point in time, he says he hasn't talked to the lead witness, then he is either lying or an flaming incompetent. Most likely both.
10.28.2006 9:38pm
Toby:
All of this has left out the key facts of the case:

1) Nifong was recently apointed to fil lthe job by a lame duck governor
2) In his first time running for his apointed position, the strongest candidate was a high-profile female formerly in the DA's office and a black lawyer. Each had strong support from their base in the primary with no Republicans running.
3) Nifong needed a way to peel off enough of the base from each of his oponents to win the primary.
4)The the LAX party fell in his lap - with indictments immediately preceding the primary and the trail after election.

Are there any additional facts Nifong needs to get from the accuser?
10.28.2006 9:41pm
RainerK:
Dave Hardy,

...they get to know them pretty well. While lunching with one prosecutor, she pointed out another group -- two prosecutors were lunching with the victim-witness in a rape case.

Do the posecutors lunch with the defendant(s) too, to get to know them better? On the chance that they are innocent.
10.28.2006 9:42pm
PSS, Esq.:
Perhaps it is common for prosecutors to "outsource," so to speak, the task of interviewing rape victims to police officers and investigators.

The problem in this case is that the police did not conduct a thorough investigation on any level. I understand that two of the accused have pretty strong alibis, and yet, no officer has ever spoken to them about what transpired that night.

I feel as though this case is going to be an embarrassment to Michael Nifong, and indeed, the entire state.
10.28.2006 9:54pm
whit:
Not getting the suspect's side of the story is absurd.

I have investigated dozens of rapes. I want to hear their side, and on some occasions, what the suspects have told me have PROVED their innocence, and in many other cases, led to other suspects, etc.

In this case espceially, the defendants have bent over backwards to cooperate as much as possible, to volunteer for stuff, to come in and provide evidence that helps support their innocence, etc.

Nifong never wanted any part of it
10.28.2006 9:57pm
whit:
"Do the posecutors lunch with the defendant(s) too, to get to know them better? On the chance that they are innocent."

Generally speaking, the defendant's defense attorney would not allow that. Not to mention that once a defendant HAS an attorney, the prosecutor CAN't contact them and ask them to lunch
10.28.2006 9:59pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Isn't it likely that one of Nifong's deputies has been interviewing the victim? Preparing a case like this takes a lot of work, and a District Attorney in charge of running a large office probably can't give that much time to any one case. He's probably doing what senior partners in large firms do all the time -- letting a junior lawyer prep the case so he can step in when it goes to trial. That Nifong hasn't personally spoken with the victim isn't much of a problem as long as a deputy D.A. has.

More troubling, perhaps, is Nifong's decision to try the case personally. He also seems to handle the various hearings personally, which may suggest that he really is handling the case himself after all. Inserting himself into the most volatile -- and visible -- case his office has seen in years while running for office was a very questionable decision, since the interests of justice won't always coincide with the interests of the incumbant.
10.28.2006 10:39pm
elChato (mail):
Edward,

the linked story says "Nifong said none of his assistants have discussed the case with the woman either and only have spoken with her to monitor her well-being."

Therefore neither Nifong nor any of his assistants have discussed the case with the alleged victim, when the facts of the case are very much in dispute and the victim has given contradictory statements.

It really is just incredible. Unless this is the most inept prosecutor's office ever, there is no reason that this would happen other than a deliberate choice by Nifong, so that he won't have anything he will have to turn over to the defense.
10.28.2006 10:48pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Well, that's what I get for not following the link. Thanks, elChato.
10.28.2006 11:01pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
I'm sure the prosecutor will interview the alleged victim after the final election results have been tallied. After all, the prosecutor is an honorable man.
10.28.2006 11:06pm
RainerK:
Whit,

Thanks for the answer. My question was meant to be rhetorical. I'm not totally naive, just a bit idealistic. I do realise that the prosecuter must speak to the victims of a crime. In an ideal world prosecutors would not have to be preventd from speking to the defendant either. Fact is, the process is a battle and the field is far from level. Hell, I couldn't even afford to pay an attorney's first few hours of work without it seriously setting me back.
Prosecutors are often convinced of guilt and hell-bent on winning and defense attorneys are charged with getting their client the best "deal" possible. And too often the truth be damned. Enter politics to make even more of a mess of things.
If I sound cynical, I am. The Duke rape case is a text book example of everything that stinks in our system of criminal "justice". I highly recommend Prof. KC Johnson's excellent blog.
10.29.2006 12:08am
whit:
rainer, i agree. to paraphrase a quote about politics, our system is the worst - except for all the other systems out there.

prosecutors are hammers. thus, all defendants look like nails to them.

but our adversarial system is infinitely better than a system like - say - france's

my earlier point was that, contrary to the conception of many, cops are not (should not) be out to PROVE a case against somebody.

they should be investigators - evidence gatherers. they should be diligent in seeking out evidence, but they should not just be looking for stuff that confirms guilt. prosecutors can, to an extent, afford to be prosecution minded, cause they have a counterpart to be defense minded.

in terms of the INVESTIGATION prior to it handed to the prosecutor, there is no "defense" or "prosecutor" side of the police force. the police , who investigate, have to operate NOT like a prosecutor or a defense attorney, but with the best interests in finding out The Truth (tm), even if it goes against their case theory, or a suspect's guilt.

many defense attorneys are very hostile to this, as they think the cops are TRYING to pin something on a suspect. dishonest ones are. but real cops are trying to gather facts surrounding an incident, and let the facts come as they may.
10.29.2006 12:16am
DRJ (mail):
K C Johnson deserves a Pulizter or its internet equivalent (a Bloggie?) for his work on the Duke lacrosse case. In fact, at this point, we should call it the Nifong case because DA Nifong has become the center of this tragedy.
10.29.2006 12:56am
DRJ (mail):
Ugh ... that's Pulitzer. Sorry. I've obviously never won one.
10.29.2006 12:57am
Tareeq (www):
This is not just a felony case, but probably the highest-profile case in his office in years.

That was probably the Michael Peterson case. Our own OJ, though there was far more doubt that the defendant was guilty.

Dasarge, it's unlikely that the state bar would consider a complaint until the case has been resolved. For all of the hoo-hah about this case, there is a witness (the complainant) who's identified the three defendants.

All things in their time. North Carolina does recognize causes of action for abuse of processs and malicious prosecution, but of course the charges have to be resolved before those causes ripen.
10.29.2006 1:27am
godfodder (mail):
As a lay person, I have to say that this kind of prosecutorial misconduct-- or at best amateurishness-- is totally stunning. There are three young men who's lives are completely in turmoil, their educations on hold, who are spending a fortune on their own legal fees, and all for what? So Nifong can score some cheap, divisive political points? If he gets elected on the back of this case, it will be a pyrrhic victory. No one-- not the police, not his own office, not the public-- will respect him or trust him.

He really should go to jail himself for this kind of calloused indifference to his own public duty. It's hideous; the sort of thing people don't think happens in America.
10.29.2006 1:31am
Aric (mail) (www):
Now, I understand that the prosecutor has immunity for his official actions. However, would his giving press conferences calling these guys rapists when he apparently has / had no reason to think that they are count as an actionable slander?
10.29.2006 1:11am
whit:
"For all of the hoo-hah about this case, there is a witness (the complainant) who's identified the three defendants. "

except she didn't. not in any meaningful sense. she was shown a group of photographs, ALL of lacrosse team players who were at the party, TOLD they were all at the party, and asked to pick out the ones who raped her.

that is not an identification of the suspects in any meaningful sense. and runs contrary to ALL standard procedures regarding photo lineups. i would still love to know who's idea it was. i cannot imagine ANY police agency using such a lineup procedure.

that alone, imo, should be enough to get the case thrown out.
10.29.2006 1:45am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Whit -- it gets worse. Not only was the procedure as you describe, but they did it three times. That is, they showed her the photo array of the roster and she said she couldn't identify anybody. Then they did it again, and the same thing happened. The third time they showed it to her, she picked out these guys.
10.29.2006 3:23am
whit:
obviously under the legal principle of "trius-leprechaunum"

third time IS the lucky charm
10.29.2006 3:54am
bobby_b (mail):
Given the rapidly-changing stories coming from a "victim" in a case where the prosecutor is pinning all his career hopes, Nifong may simply be taking a partial page from the defense side, by avoiding getting answers from his "client" until shortly before trial.

That way, he can get from her responses that match the most current-to-trial known information, and not worry about which iteration of future disclosures (from anyone) are going to contradict what she tells him.

Face it. This guy sees the need to defend his own actions in the future. He's in better shape if he, personally, can say "she told me this, she never changed her story to me, and that's the information I went to trial with." If he had been speaking to her for months, and her story had changed and contradictory information had come out (as it has), and then he simply decided to use the "best" (for him) story at trial, he'd have a much more uncomfortable afternoon or two before the bar authorities.

Granted, he still faces that burden through the police interviews, but I think he's more personally insulated if there's no prior Nifong interview.

(I suppose I should disclose that I did some prosecution work (misdemeanor only), but spent the bulk of my crimcourt time on defense.)
10.29.2006 4:19am
Visitor Again:
my earlier point was that, contrary to the conception of many, cops are not (should not) be out to PROVE a case against somebody.

they should be investigators - evidence gatherers. they should be diligent in seeking out evidence, but they should not just be looking for stuff that confirms guilt. prosecutors can, to an extent, afford to be prosecution minded, cause they have a counterpart to be defense minded.

in terms of the INVESTIGATION prior to it handed to the prosecutor, there is no "defense" or "prosecutor" side of the police force. the police , who investigate, have to operate NOT like a prosecutor or a defense attorney, but with the best interests in finding out The Truth (tm), even if it goes against their case theory, or a suspect's guilt.

many defense attorneys are very hostile to this, as they think the cops are TRYING to pin something on a suspect. dishonest ones are. but real cops are trying to gather facts surrounding an incident, and let the facts come as they may.


I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen law enforcement--police officers and prosecutors alike--express disappointment when their theory of the case crumbles. It's rather unsettling when some cop or prosecutor expresses disappointment because a witness fails to identify the suspect, because a search doesn't produce evidence of the suspect's guilt, because evidence surfaces pointing to the guilt of someone other than the suspect, and so on. It's almost as if they have suffered a personal loss, even a personal affront. They are saying to the suspect, in effect, "It's too bad it looks like you didn't do it. How unfortunate." My reaction, unspoken, is "Well, screw you, too."

This kind of law enforcement attitude merely offends one's sensibilities. Far more damaging are those instances in which law enforcement settles on a theory of the case very early on and refuses to budge from it no matter what. My experience has been that in cases presenting this sort of prosecutorial fixation, there is some kind of political motivation improperly influencing the investigation and prosecution of the case.

That certainly appears to be true in the Duke lacrosse team case.
10.29.2006 5:06am
percuriam:
It is truly surprising that Nifong did not interview the witness regarding the facts prior to seeking an indictment in this case. As a prosecutor, I rarely rely only on agent's reports of what key witnesses say--I bring them in for an interview. After all, charging someone with a serious crime is crushing to the family of the defendant.
Obviously the defense lawyer wants all impeaching materials and her prior statements to see if it inconsistent.

That being said, why can't the defense investigator just go interview her? IS the vicitm represented by an attorney?

If she talks, they have a statement they do no have to share with prosecutors. If she does not, that looks bad in front of a jury.

This case sounds like it is going down hill for the prosecutor.
10.29.2006 7:17am
joe (mail):
See http://chunkydonkey.blogspot.com/


By the way, The Duke rape case story is just amazing. How did these guys possibly get indicted? well other than the obvious race/political issues. But the fact that the faculty and administration basically led, not just supported, the rush to judgment is scary. Not much doubt the Amherst administration would have followed the Duke model. This is a pretty good summary of the case
Good story

or the Kurt anderson story in NY magazine killing the
NYTimes coverage is also nice.
10.29.2006 7:54am
johnt (mail):
You must wonder how long Nifong would have pursued this if the cracks in the case had been reported as quickly as they became apparent. Further, if he had received the sort of criticism, deserved, as the athletes received, underserved.
It's not just that the NY Times, a disgrace in any event and as usual, as well as other media,did a bad job, they wanted to do a bad job. That's called corruption.
Nothing touches them nor causes shame or even second thoughts.
It's a malevolent self delusion that blocks out any criticism, self or otherwise.
10.29.2006 8:26am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Interesting tidbit about the "identification": If they used the same procedure illustrated on 60 Minutes the pictures were small black and white pictures produced by photocopier or black and white printer. Each individual picture had to have been significantly smaller than 2"x3".

So that's what the "indentification" was - basically dozens of small, black and white pictures of white guys with crewcuts/short hair. Pick a couple, in these conditions they all look the same. With no "control" pictures thrown in of people who couldn't have been suspects.
10.29.2006 8:59am
AntonK (mail):
E-mail below sent to NR's "The Corner":


I've been a prosecutor in Michigan for almost 32 years (I briefed and argued the Hudson v Michigan "knock and announce" case this year) and I was astounded to read that not only had the charges here been brought without the DA's Office interviewing the alleged victim, but that she has yet to be interviewed by the DA's office. One doesn't bring charges in assaultive cases, especially of the sort here, without first interviewing the alleged victim. I've simply never heard of such a thing.
10.29.2006 10:12am
Peter Wimsey:
Whit writes:
but our adversarial system is infinitely better than a system like - say - france's


Why do you believe this? It seems to me that France's system (and Western European legal systems in general) do at least as good a job as the US system in terms of meting out justice. A particular advantage of continental european style justice systems is that "overzealous prosecutor" type cases (such as this one appears to be based on news reports) are much less of a problem.

EU systems are primarily focused on finding out the truth. The US system is primarily focused on protecting the rights of the accused. This has the effect that, IMO, if you are guilty, you should prefer the US system; if you are wrongly charged, you would prefer the EU system.

I work in the US system, and I think it works fine on almost all cases that no one ever hears about, but I think it's just not correct that it is vastly superior to other legal systems out there.
10.29.2006 10:46am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
10.29.2006 10:46am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
What does a prosecutor profit when he gains the world but loses his soul in exchange?
10.29.2006 10:49am
j.s.:
I was a DA for 12 years and prosecuted a number of rape/child sex cases. I never interviewed the victim until it was time to prepare her/him for trial. Same with my co-workers.
10.29.2006 11:11am
great unknown (mail):
The "soul in exchange" argument only works if you believe in one. This is similar to using "shameing" as deterence or punishment for malfeasance by corporate executives, and then watch them be rehired elsewhere for multi-millions of dollars. Souls and shame are not bankable.
(Boy, that sounds ponderous, but it seems to be "the way it is.")
10.29.2006 11:11am
David Maquera (mail) (www):
Then let's hope that Nifong does not believe in a Final Judgment because if he does, then he is going to be miserable on his deathbed years from now pondering about the bargain he made today for a short term political gain that will barely merit a footnote in the annals of history.
10.29.2006 11:36am
David Sucher (mail) (www):
I am glad to see that a law professor was non-plussed, too, When I read the story I thought "How odd. Is that SOP?"

One question for those who suggest it is prudent (for the DA not to interview): Why would interviewing the complainant make the DA into a witness? I don't get that...it's simply additional questioning by the public safety authorities. No?
10.29.2006 11:51am
whit:
look, this stuff may vary from state to state, david, but i can state from numerous experiences and conversations with prosecutors in my state, that if a prosecutor interviews a witness (alone), they cannot testify to the interview cause it creates a conflict being both a witness and a prosecutor.

that's how it works in my state. many prosecutor's offices have investigators to do this. there is no problem with the prosecutor observing the interview (if it is to be used for evidence) or conducting an interview (as long as they don't want to present what was said as evidence)
10.29.2006 12:06pm
Siona Sthrunch (mail):
The significance of the Duke case does not lie so much with the evidence of charges brought against innocent individuals. Innocent people are charged all the time - otherwise, after all, there would hardly be a need for trials.

Of much greater signficance is that the Duke University faculty itself, and in particular its law school faculty, have fiercely attacked the accused students and have strongly sided with the prosecutor despite the unambiguous nature of the exculpatory evidence.

Years ago, universities in general and law schools in particular were strong supporters of individual rights and of some commitment to general principles of fairness and of rationality. That the faculty of a respected and wealthy private university would so firmly, publicly and unanimously disavow its commitment to individual rights signifies statists have emerged victorious, at least in academia.

It is true that in all probability the charges will be dropped, but the signal that the Duke faculty and administration have sent to prospective faculty and current faculty will remain.
10.29.2006 12:08pm
whit:
"The significance of the Duke case does not lie so much with the evidence of charges brought against innocent individuals. Innocent people are charged all the time - otherwise, after all, there would hardly be a need for trials."

but there is a critical distinction. innocent people (defining innocence here as meaning they did not actually DO the crime, either because they were falsely (intentionally) identified, unintentionally falsely identified, or the victim of simple bad luck of lots of evidence agaisnt them even though they didn't do it) being charged is one thing

the problem is that (probably) innocent people are being charged when the EVIDENCE does not support charging.

our system of justice is based on the principle that it is better to let 10 guilty go free, than to convict one innocent.

regardless, it still happens that some innocent people are convicted (let alone charged).

we have no perfect knowledge, memory, etc. and simply put - bad luck can put a string of coincidences together as well.

that's life. oh well.

it is an entirely different thing to have EVIDENCE that overwhelmingly lies on the side of the defense, iow they they ARE innocent, and STILL charge them

i agree with you about the university atmosphere of course. this is all an edifice of identity politics. these men are "oppressor class" in every way - racially, genderwise, classwise, etc. and the "victim" has victim cred to the highest degree. in cases like this, all the leftwing ideological ninnies KNEW they were guilty before they saw any evidence. because of the color of these men's skin, their (supposed) wealth, etc.

statists have been running academia for a long time, unfortunately. i totally agree on that
10.29.2006 12:31pm
j.s.:
One doesn't bring charges in assaultive cases, especially of the sort here, without first interviewing the alleged victim. I've simply never heard of such a thing.

I guess the 6th and 14th Amendment don't apply in Michigan. Here in California, we have 72 hours to file a complaint and arraign a defendant after they have been arrested otherwise they must be cut lose. This means almmost all cases are filed without the prosecutor interviewing the victim.
10.29.2006 2:15pm
tbaugh (mail):
J.S:

No, because of the prompt-arraignment requirement the warrant function is staffed 365 days a year (and under Riverside v McLaughlin a failure to obtain a judicial determination of probable cause after 48 hours is presumptively unreasonable); the police bring their investigative reports, and in serious assaultive cases (and other kinds of cases) the victims or purported victims in for interview, and the decision whether to charge, and if so, what, is made after review and interview. This means in some cases--the "in custody" as opposed to not in custody cases, where the prospective defendants are already under arrest--everything has to move fast, because if the defendant is let go, you'll never find him. The Duke case is not such a case--there was no need to arrest before interview there at all, and thus no time pressure on getting the interview done and the charging done, as the prospective defendants weren't going anywhere (similarly, for example, when we investigate claims of excessive force by police; there isn't an arrest and then interview, with a 48-hour time pressure, because the possible defendants are readily "findable"). We certainly don't interview the victim in the bulk of property-offense cases, but we do in serious assaultive cases, particularly sexually assaults and assaults on children (where the victim-witness staff is most helpful). It's just necessary in order to make an intelligent decision in these cases.
10.29.2006 2:37pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):

I suspect that he doesn't want to meet with her because any story she tells could be inconsistent with what she's said before and therefore become Brady material.


Havent taken evidence yet, what is "Brady Material."
10.29.2006 2:37pm
tbaugh (mail):
Add:

I don't mean to suggest that in the Duke case they arrested and thus didn't have time to interview; that's not how they proceeded, and they had all the time they needed to interview (which is much more difficult when the defendant is under arrest, such as picked up on probable cause at the scene or shortly after the crime, and the charging decision must be made in 48 hours to avoid release).
10.29.2006 2:40pm
j.s.:
Tbaugh: You're lecturing the wrong person. My gripe was the blanket statement that 'it's just not done.' Well, it is done in the majority of cases and prosecutors are more than able to make intelligent decisions on whether to file on a case.
10.29.2006 3:15pm
tbaugh (mail):
J.S.

My "its just not done" was as to serious assaultive cases, particularly of this sort. Do you really reach charging decisions on sexual assaults, child assaults, and other serious physical assaults without talking to the complainant? (and don't find unwelcome surprises more likely to occur than when the interview occurs before charging?) Be interesting to see if its "done in the majority of cases" of this type throughtout the country, or if the practice varies from place to place.
10.29.2006 3:25pm
Daniel San:
A prosecutor who interviews a witness can then become a witness. The prosecutor is not an investigator and generally does not have a duty to interview a witness to determine the details of her story. If they police have done their job, the prosecutor should have notes and assessment of an investigator that the prosecutor can rely on. If not, the prosecutor should request more investigation before filing anything.

Obviously, different jurisdictions differ on the duty and practice of prosecutors in this respect.
10.29.2006 4:09pm
AntonK (mail):
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy is appalled by Nifong's misconduct:


If the AP report is true, and the quotes from Nifong are accurate, that is just breathtaking incompetence. It is unethical to indict a case — not talking mere arrest here, but indictment, which is a much weightier step — unless a prosecutor is personally convinced that a rational jury would find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial based on the facts that are known at the time of indictment. How can you indict a he-said-she-said case without first satisfying yourself about what she would actually say?

Nifong is not a social worker, he's the prosecutor. It's not his job to inform himself about how the witness is doing. Of course, as a human being and as someone who has to work with a witness, you always ask such questions. But the prosecutor's principal task is to get the witness's testimony and evaluate it against other known evidence. Indictment can ruin lives. You don't do it unless you're confident you've got the goods.
10.29.2006 4:19pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Of much greater signficance is that the Duke University faculty itself, and in particular its law school faculty, have fiercely attacked the accused students and have strongly sided with the prosecutor despite the unambiguous nature of the exculpatory evidence.
That's completely wrong. The Duke University ethnic studies faculty, and other squishy subjects like English, "fiercely attacked the accused students." IIRC, there were no law school professors in the 88 who signed the initial statement attacking them. (Meanwhile, law prof James Coleman has fiercely attacked the prosecutor.) The Duke administration has been wimpy and non-committal about the whole thing, trying to avoid anything that would look like it had an opinion about any of the issues.
10.29.2006 5:14pm
Hattio (mail):
Whit Said

contrary to the conception of many, cops are not (should not) be out to PROVE a case against somebody.

I have to agree with the previous commentater who spoke about the disappointment he had often seen by law enforcement when they did not get the result they wanted. If police officers regularly stuck to just investigating impartially, there wouldn't be the need for most of the protections we have.
10.29.2006 5:19pm
whit:
in re: the dissapointment thing...

this is basic human psychology, hattio. anytime you "buy" into ANY theory, be it political, scientific, etc. evidence to the contrary causes psychic discomfort. cops are no different in this regard than lawyers, politicians, academics, scientists, or any other human beings.

many of the "protections" we have are not aimed at seeking the truth (which should be what trials are about), but at obfuscation and lawyer games. we all know that.

regardless, i agree with the basic premise. impartiality in investigations is essential to proper investigation. this does not mean one cannot develop a case theory (a working theory) because you have to focus an investigation, follow leads, etc. it means that you do not accept what ANYBODY says at face value, be they alleged victims, suspects, or whatever. plenty of ideologues believe otherwise. domestic violence advocates believe women don't lie about DV's. obviously, they do. EVERYBODY lies. robbery victims lie, rape victims lie, etc. suspects lie, lawyers lie, etc.

but if you think the procedural and constitutional protection are mostly needed because COPS aren;t doing their job right, i STRONGLY disagree. the vast majority of cops, in the vast majority of cases do an incredibly admirable job. some of those protections are there because of absurd bone headed judicial decisions. others are there, as they should be, because our constitution and system fo law would rather see 10 guilty go free, than an innocent to be convicted.

but our system is far less interested in "truth", than say the british system. it is more enamored of loopholes though
10.29.2006 5:26pm
j.s.:
tbaugh: Yes. I said as much twice already. You may not like Nifong, but the bottomline is that he has been a DA for over 27 years and has done over 300 felony trials. I think he knows what he is doing.
10.29.2006 6:23pm
Jam:
This guy has been following the case. This a list of some of his articles.

Duke Lacrosse: A 'Meaning' in Search of a Scandal by William L ...
There can be no confidence in an administration that believes suspending a lacrosse season and removing pictures of Duke lacrosse players from a web page is ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson131.html - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

Duke, DNA, and the Law: Politics Over Principle by William L. Anderson
Lest anyone think that I am defending the behavior of Duke's Lacrosse players ... Thus, the Duke Lacrosse players engaged in actions that by themselves were ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson129.html - 18k - Cached - Similar pages

Duke and the Death of Academe by William L. Anderson
However, a large number of students, such as the Duke Lacrosse players, do not see themselves as attending college in order to be transformed into True ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson143.html - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

Duke and Deceit: Brodhead's Folly by William L. Anderson
Much of the information I am putting in this piece comes from personal conversations and emails with parents of some of the Duke lacrosse players, ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson144.html - 28k - Cached - Similar pages

Desperate Times by William L. Anderson
Furthermore, the article wastes no time is rehashing the old lie that the Duke lacrosse players were refusing to cooperate with the police: ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson138.html - 19k - Cached - Similar pages

Nifonging the Standards of Justice, Part II by William L. Anderson
DURHAM - District Attorney Mike Nifong will wait until the Duke University lacrosse rape case goes to trial before telling the defense exactly what the ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson142.html - 24k - Cached - Similar pages

'Nifonging' the Standards of Justice by William L. Anderson
The judicial proceedings that have happened in Durham, North Carolina, since the first accusations that three Duke University lacrosse players raped a ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson140.html - 34k - Cached - Similar pages

The Earl of Dook, or the Continuing State of State Justice in ...
Moreover, she told police that the Duke Lacrosse players who "raped" her did not wear condoms. Mangum's parents later claimed that the players used a ...
www.lewrockwell.com/anderson/anderson130.html - 29k - Cached - Similar pages
10.29.2006 7:04pm
Michael B (mail):
"I think he knows what he is doing." j.s.

It isn't about not "liking" Nifong and few have argued Nifong doesn't know what he is doing. To the contrary, the arguments have largely been that he knows all too well what he's doing. Incidents like the photo line-ups, kowtowing to decidedly PC and political forces despite contrary evidence are microcosms, are reflections of the fact that Nifong knows what he's doing rather well. Lawyerly dissimulations, recommendations of Nifong's bona fides, etc. notwithstanding.

It's not about crucifying Nifong, it's about properly weighting the flood of evidence which not only fails to support the allegations but which additionally and decidedly run contrary to that evidence.
10.29.2006 7:35pm
John R. Mayne (mail):
This is a complicated topic.

Interviewing the witness without an investigator or other person present can indeed make the prosecutor a witness. This could disqualify that prosecutor from handling the case further.

It also creates fodder for the defense: Did the prosecutor talk to you? For how long? What did he say to you? Did you talk about the evidence?

So, it's really case specific. Talking to victims without someone else is rare, but may be the right thing to do sometimes, if it's the sort of case you're going to kick loose if the witness is at all problematic. If you're very confident that your victim is not going to say anything odd, you can take the risk.

On less serious cases, or if cornered (in domestic violence cases, the victims will sometimes catch you to tell you I-fell-he-didn't-do-it; you generally know they are recanting beforehand) you could offer to stipulate to the statement should it become relevant. (And, no, a recanting statement to the prosecutor isn't always admissible - though always disclosable.)

Normally, though, you'll have a second person with you.

There are cases where you want to get whatever statements you can before the person gets on the stand - gang members sometimes are willing to talk to me before they forget everything in court. (Shot? Me? I don't remember.)

But there are other cases where the only thing a prosecutor might do is to explain the court processes and give a standardized spiel - something like: Tell the truth/short answers are better than long answers/tell the truth even if it's embarrassing/you're not prosecuting or defending the case; don't worry about what I think - just tell the truth/pretend that the defense attorney is trying to get to the truth and answer his questions the same way you'd answer mine.

Give the spiel, and move on. Prosecutors often have to rely on law enforcement to help us read the credibility of victims - they're live at the scene, and we're not. It would not be abnormal not to talk to a victim in an early stage of a proceeding, and it would not be wildly abnormal to limit a conversation to a generalized spiel.

As to the specifics of the Duke case or whether not speaking to the victim was appropriate there, I have no comment at all.

--JRM
10.29.2006 7:48pm
Michael B (mail):
correction: "It's not about crucifying Nifong, it's about properly weighting the flood of evidence which not only fails to support the allegations but which additionally and decidedly runs contrary to the allegations."
10.29.2006 8:02pm
Don T (mail):
I think everyone is missing the real message here. Brodhead and the city and judicial officials are weighing here the value of the lives,careers,etc. of three "rich" white guys against the massive rioting which they feel will occur when the guys are found innocent. The longer this can be put off and be talked to death, the less severe the rioting and destruction to property (including Duke property) and possible loss of life.
10.29.2006 9:16pm
Stan (mail):
Haven't read the other responses—but the New Yorker had a rather lengthy essay about this.
10.29.2006 10:02pm
Don T (mail):
Is the New Yorker article on the web?
10.29.2006 10:25pm
Don T (mail):
I found the New Yorker article..excellent.
10.29.2006 11:32pm
Siona Sthrunch (mail):
David M. Nieporent writes:


Of much greater signficance is that the Duke University . Nieporent's attempt to minimize the significance of the gang of 88'sfaculty itself, and in particular its law school faculty, have fiercely attacked the accused students and have strongly sided with the prosecutor despite the unambiguous nature of the exculpatory evidence.



That's completely wrong. The Duke University ethnic studies faculty, and other squishy subjects like English, "fiercely attacked the accused students." IIRC, there were no law school professors in the 88 who signed the initial statement attacking them. (Meanwhile, law prof James Coleman has fiercely attacked the prosecutor.) The Duke administration has been wimpy and non-committal about the whole thing, trying to avoid anything that would look like it had an opinion about any of the issues.



I think that Mr. Nierporent raises some valid criticisms of the tone of my post, which could have been misleading.

I would like to clarify a few matters as to my original post and to respond to Mr. Nierporent's comments.

As to the clarification, Mr. Nierporent is correct that only the "gang of 88" amongst the faculty have expressly and publicly condemned the three students. However, I would still argue that the faculty as a whole has condemned them: they have been suspended; the entire lacrosse season was cancelled; and, perhaps most important, there has been negligible support for them or criticism for the punitive measures taken against them and their team. This deafening silence should be taken in my view as tantamount to support for the gang of 88 (e.g. as silence can be an adoptive admission, U.S. v. Fortes, 619 F.2d 108). For the law faculty to stand by while the University's president takes action that contravene so clearly traditional principles of rationality and individual rights goes to show the essential loss of power those ideas have any longer.

Mr. Nierporent is also correct that one faculty member, Prof. Coleman, had criticized the prosecution (e.g. http://www.newsobserver.com/580/story/449892.html ). Prof. Coleman's criticisms are so muted and critical of the defendants that in my view they do not in themselves weaken my thesis. Prof. Coleman does raise irregularities in Nifong's tactics, but he failed to criticize the main unfair act of Nifong - his vouching for the accuser and whipping up the mob into a frenzy around Durham. Prof. Coleman also constantly refers to the "alleged victim" and the need for a disinterested prosecutor, as if there were some doubt among reasonable people that the charges were true. In fact, to the extent that Prof. Coleman argues that there is any evidence meriting prosecution, he underscores my point that the respect for rationalism and individual rights has waned in the university.
10.30.2006 12:18am
Lev:
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060904fa_fact
10.30.2006 2:10am
Public_Defender (mail):
Some prosecutors are aggressive. Some are lazy. Some are both depending on the day. Some are able to find that balance between laziness and stupid agression.

Some prosecutors care about playing by the rules and making society safer. Some think only about the next office they want to run for.

Nifong seems like a political climber who vacilates between laziness and stupid agression.

The trick for the defendants' lawyers will be how to convince Nifong that his career will be less damaged if he dismisses all charges.
10.30.2006 5:02am
elChato (mail):
For anyone still reading this thread: the latest is that Kim Roberts, the second dancer, has now said to the media that after leaving the house that night, the alleged victim told Roberts she wanted Roberts to "put marks on" her (while Roberts was trying to get her out of Roberts's car).

This is more very bad news for the prosecution. But Roberts is so bad as a witness, I don't know if they will use her; on the other hand, NOT calling her at a trial will look bad to a jury too. From a prosecution perspective, this is the "corroborating" witness from hell.

By the way, even if the woman said these things it doesn't mean she didn't get raped- the alleged statement could mean a number of things in context that aren't inconsistent with what she says happened at the house. But it certainly is consistent with the defense theory, i.e. that this charge is a complete fraud. As ABC News said, this case is a seemingly bottomless well of surprises, none of them good.

I don't know how Nifong plans to take this case to trial. However I do recall in his pre-indictment glory days that he bragged to reporters about how good he was at trial, and how he would hate to be up against someone as good as himself. We will see.
10.30.2006 9:07am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

What does a prosecutor profit when he gains the world but loses his soul in exchange?


Lawyers have souls?
10.30.2006 9:50am
P.B. (mail):
Gene, the best site for this is Durham in Wonderland, run by KC Johnson,
a professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
10.30.2006 10:57am
whit:
"Lawyers have souls?"

to employ and old usenet'ism...

EVIDENCE PLEASE!!!!
10.30.2006 12:04pm
Mike99:
On the issue of whether a prosecutor interviews witnesses before arrests and charges are made, I'm no prosecutor, but I have watched A LOT of Law and ORder. They often arrest and charge based on what the police report and not on interviews by the lawyers.

Has TV been lying to me?!?!?!?!?!
10.30.2006 12:39pm
whit:
the point also is that is not just a 'normal case'. nifon came out and made public statements about his certainty of guilt, certainty the 'victim' was telling the truth, and his certainty that the DNA tests would support the victims claims (hint to nifong: they didn't)

it was bad enough he made these politically grandstanding media events out of a serious criminal trial. but it is more and more apparent. but it is AMAZING that he did not even sit in on an interview or two that cop did with the "victim", so he could hear stuff firsthand.

this is not a normal case in SO many ways. the photo id. the fact that the defendants are BENDING OVER BACKWARDS to cooperate - iow, to provide the prosecutors with evidence of their INNOCENCE.
10.30.2006 12:56pm
NickM (mail) (www):
The most bizarre part is that one or more of the lacrosse players may well have committed an act which would qualify as rape (or sexual assault - I don't know the particulars of the NC law) - example: unconsented-to vaginal penetration by fingers during a lap dance.

A case of that nature probably wouldn't be brought due to the difficulty of proof (not to mention that the victim looks very unsympathetic in that case), but it wouldn't be difficult for a motivated prosecutor to charge it as a vice offense (and probably get a guilty plea for community service and probation).

Nick
10.30.2006 2:02pm
Kempermanx (mail):
State Bar Complaint,
I have posted this on LaShawn's Blog, another Blogger following the case. I had drinks 2 weeks ago with one of the 32 Bar Counselors, these are the 32 lawyers that run the NC Bar. Couldn't get much out of him, but he did say the Nifungu was the subject of much discussion at their meeting 2 weeks ago, right after the 60 minutes story. I asked him what the Bar could do. 4 possible outcomes, nothing, censure, suspension for a time, or disbarment(permanent suspension). I am very confident that at least one complaint has been formally presented to the Bar, and I am also pretty sure we will see action by the Bar after the election, which unfortunately Nifungu will win. One quote I did get from him was "We take lying to a Grand Jury pretty seriously" That leads me to believe Nifungu is in deep trouble, and rightfully so.
10.30.2006 2:05pm
Russ (mail):
The main problem with this case is the damage it does to women overall. Cases like this one causes folks to doubt more and more stories of rape(legitmate, viscious rapes), and that will eventually lead to women who have been actually assaulted not being able to get justice done.
10.30.2006 5:20pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
When I grow up I want to run for county prosecutor so I can get national TV exposure while campaigning for the Black vote by falsely accusing rich white boys of felonies.
10.30.2006 6:45pm
whit:
"The main problem with this case is the damage it does to women overall. Cases like this one causes folks to doubt more and more stories of rape(legitmate, viscious rapes), and that will eventually lead to women who have been actually assaulted not being able to get justice done."

absolutely. the worst harm in a false reporting (which is this is increasingly looking like) is to the defendants.

after that, EVERY legitimate rape victim is harmed. Because this case will be remembered for a LONG time, especially if it basically comes out that it is a complete sham.

Al Sharpton has his Tawana Brawley, and Nifong may have his.
10.30.2006 10:36pm
RainerK:
Another memorable quote by Mr. Nifong here.
If he is sincere in his statement that "the underlying divisions" and "the future of Durham" make it necessary to pursue this case, then he has no clue what the duties of a DA are.
More likely he is pandering to the voters.
Unfortunately his stance is one taken by many DAs. They see themselves on a mission for the "common good". Justice takes a back seat.

It will be most interesting to see how he's going to extricate himself come Wednesday next week.
10.31.2006 8:49am
whit:
I AGREE. the reason to pursue a case is that there is strong evidence against the accused.

ANY other reason "underlying divisions" blah blah blah is a bunch of ridiculous rubbish that should have exactly zero relevance to the decision of whether to pursue this case.

but of course, DA's are politicians first, and prosecutors second - in all too many instances
10.31.2006 12:36pm