Monday, April 17, 2006

The Duke lacrosse case: Some of the bad; some of the good

I have no problem with any Duke lacrosse player following advice of counsel and exercising constitutional rights, especially when I see the team attacked with the prejudicial and inflammatory kind of journalism The N & O’s Ruth Sheehan practices. (Here and here)

The horrific attacks by Sheehan and so many others on presumed innocent young citizens do serve a few important, albeit unintended, purposes. Let's look at them:

1) The attacks remind us of how precious our rights are and that we must always be ready to protect them.

2) They remind us of how fortunate we are to have in the community citizens who will do that. Look at some of what former Chapel Hill mayor and UNC Law professor Ken Broun recently told The Durham Herald Sun:

"Their attorneys advise them not to talk to police even if they're totally innocent, because of the possibility that things that you might say even if you're totally innocent in the case might be viewed differently by the person hearing them than you meant them," (Broun) said.

"I think that a criminal defense lawyer will generally tell a person under suspicion that unless there is a good reason to talk to police -- for instance, if there's a plea bargain involved or the story is clearly exonerating -- the lawyer will often tell the client not to talk to police.

And I wouldn't draw any reflection on guilt or innocence based upon the failure to talk, particularly after a lawyer gets involved. That's pretty standard operating procedure."
3) They remind us to be ever grateful for the service of our military and public service officers, our court system and reasonable citizens respectful of due process and presumption of innocence


Jim Pomeranz said...

If you read Ted Vaden's column in the Sunday, April 16 edition of the N&O, you should be upset with his injection of race with his last question. See my blog at

Jim Pomeranz

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