Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Duke lacrosse: At Friends of Duke University

there are two items I want to call to your attention.

First, Joan Collins of Garden City, N.Y., writes a beautiful letter which begins

Amidst all the ugliness and weakness the Duke Lacrosse Case has revealed, we should not forget the true heroes that have emerged. Dave Evans, co-captain of the 2006 Duke Men's Lacrosse Team is such a hero.

Ernest Hemingway defined courage as "Grace under pressure." What better evidence of this than Evans' inspiring and courageous speech to the press on the steps of the Durham County Jail on May 16, 2006.

One day earlier, Mr. Evans joined fellow senior classmates in graduation ceremonies at Duke, one of the most important and long awaited days of students and their families. But Evans and his family had been told earlier that Dave would be indicted and thrust front and center into the media spectacle known as the Duke Lacrosse Case.
You can read the rest of Joan Collins' letter here.If you want to go there right now and finish the letter before moving to the second item, I don’t blame you.

Go ahead. A click from Joan’s letter will bring you back here to JinC.

And I’ll be right here waiting when you get back; and then we can go on to the second item which is a response by FODU's Jason Trumpbour to a Raleigh News & Observer op-ed critical of FODU and supportive of the man they’ve called “America worst DA,” Mike Nifong.

Trumpbour begins:
In a recent opinion piece in this newspaper, John Schwade weakly defends Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong’s handling of the Duke lacrosse case. Schwade can find little positive to say about Nifong. […]
Trumpbour summarizes Schwade’s “case,” and then says:
[Schwade] devotes most of his efforts to personally attacking Nifong’s critics, among them Lewis Cheek and the organization I represent, the Friends of Duke University. Cheek he dismisses with ridicule. […]

As for FODU, Schwade borrows a page from Nifong and attempts to exploit or create prejudice within the community by using unfair caricatures. He compares us to the mafia and darkly suggests we are using “money”, “influence,” and “friends in the national media.” […]
Trumpbour easily turns Schwade’s false accusations on themselves :
[Friends of Duke University is] a group of alumni and parents who are deeply concerned about what is happening to three members of the Duke Community.

We want to see justice served, not frustrated.

I myself am a former attorney in the Criminal Appeals Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s office. I now teach law, jurisprudence and legal practice to law students and students in a graduate program in legal and ethical studies.[...]

The source of our concern is Nifong’s egregious and systematic misconduct. Nifong has made false and prejudicial extrajudicial statements in violation of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
With Trumpbour's background, you'd expect him to expose Nifong’s misconduct; and he does just that :
[Nifong] has invited the public to disregard the civil rights of the accused and made appeals to prejudice.

He has a continuing conflict of interest due to his political alliance with another attorney who hopes to profit from the Duke case.

He has manipulated witnesses.

Worst of all is his violation of NCRPC Rule 3.8 which prohibits a prosecutor from avoiding “pursuit of evidence merely because he or she believes it will damage the prosecutor’s case.”
There’s more. You can read it all here.

Thank you Joan Collins and Jason Trumpbour. Thank you FODU.

To the players and families: Your case grows stronger ever day.


Anonymous said...

The wheels of justice are grinding slowly. Do all of us have to wait on Nifong's timetable of a trial next spring? Should this abusive prosecutor be allowed to get away with this ridiculous and unfair delay?.

joan foster said...

Joan Collins letter is hearfelt..and eloquent.She has touched many hearts tonite.
I hope the families of these young men will see it!

Anonymous said...

The wheels of justice grind slow and exceedingly fine.

They also enact a toll on the foolish. Nifong, look out!


NDLax84 said...

Ain't gonna be no trial. Not no way. Not no how. Smith is on the hot seat. With an impeccable reputation for fairness and deference to the rule of law. Media scrutiny will be redoubled when the matter is finally next in court. Let Mikey start that, "Well, I believe DPD is still working to ascertain phone and computer records..." SHIT in front of ol' W. Osmond. I do believe a public dressing down is in order. Can't wait!

Cash, and the following Black press, is thisclose to adopting "hoax" as the primary headline descriptive for this travesty. Ed Bradley's comin' to town. It's over, Johnny. It's all over. 'Cept the malicious prosecution suits.

NDLax84 said...

Sorry JWM. I fear that two shared bottles of Santa Margherita have loosed the ol' Marine Corps tongue. Apologies for my lapse of decorum, here, at this impeccable place.

Anonymous said...

To 11:28:

Agree that Cash Michaels has all but called this a hoax. In that vein, the Johnsville News has issued this challenge to readers:

When does the Main Stream Media call this case a Hoax?


Anonymous said...

So why are you sure that CBS will air the truth?

James said...

I thought I might bring something up: Judge Titus seemed to be steering himself in a way that would give him a great deal of exposure to the related media coverage...he is also up for re-election. Name recognition counts...how does Durham assign judges to cases? This being Durham I could imagine Titus somehow inserting himself into the case, perhaps simply by 'picking' a part of the docket he knew that the LAX 3 would be on...it is not inconceivable, similar things have happened in 'similar' areas.

Of course there is a new dedicated judge but this has never really been addressed.

CBS has been 'burned' before and probably is not looking for another firestorm (with a vocal minority). I would expect them to devote some amount of time to the egregious behavior of other NC prosecutors (the overturned death penalty case that led to the full discovery laws, although not truly full, is one such case). Nothing has happened to those prosecutors - one remains a judge. The NC Bar cannot try them because of time issues but it reinforces a belief the there is still a old 'Southern Justice' system going on in NC.

So yes, I am also sceptical that CBS will give much time to the case and more to related issues. Expect a 'balanced' view I suppose.

The case received a very rare classification by a justice that assigns an individual judge to the case in effect granting the LAX 3 the a speedy trial (something NC does not grant to its citizens...).

The lack of a speedy trial statute or ammendment to the state constitution invites prosecutors such as Nifong to abuse/pervert the NC justice system for political ends ...hopefully this will spur some sort of reform. I would settle for a better bar association judicial process (ie one in which you can actually get a prosecutor disbarred) and stronger rules of conduct.

Nifong only looks foolish to those who do not believe the false accuser (the majority) and not to Nifong's voters (a minority in two senses although one is a white elite comprising 'intellectuals' and 'victims advocates'). If you look foolish to the rest of the world but not to your voters why change you ways? He *has* to win this election so majority public opinion outside of Durham is meaningless.

I attend Wake Forest University and while we do not have the sort of strained relations that Duke has with Durham, we do experience some 'friction'. This tends to be from a group similar to that in Durham. We do reach out to the community in many ways that perhaps Duke fails to do. Wake also has an 'identity' that is historically Baptist which helps to a degree with community relations (brings in the community of Winston-Salem, ie, gospel groups, Baptists, etc).

There probably will be a trial. I would give a 75 percent chance up from around 100 percent with the prior judge who seemed to be taking control of the case (Titus).

Concerning Johnsonville's 'When will the MSM call it a hoax' poll: I am surprised by the number of respondents voting that, yes, the MSM will call the sham prosecution what it really is, a 'hoax'. I voted 'no' as I do not believe the MSM will do that - not even Tucker Carlson. 'Hoax' is an emotionally loaded word that the MSM would be terrified of using as it might put off some viewers, invite a NAACP response/boycott, and related to the NAACP a possible campaign to get the advertisers of the MSM involved to withdraw support..

Perhaps the MSM will call it a 'hoax' after a resolution, but not before.

James said...

I made a mistake in my lengthy post regarding my belief in the probability of a trial.

The original states:
"I would give a 75 percent chance up from around 100 percent with the prior judge who seemed to be taking control of the case (Titus)."

That should, of course, read 'down from arounnd' not 'up from around'.

My 'odds' will change once there is a hearing before the new judge but not before then. Being granted the status that this case received suggests the justice believed that the case had some serious issues or raised some NC justice 'image' concerns. Or a combination of the two.

The 'odds' given on conviction, if the case is moved out of durham, would move to zero percent from around 70-80 percent at present.

I do believe that if there is a trial Chesire will look for a jury pool that will comprise a representative racial makeup of the community but would include minorities that are either retired military (a good number) or those who have a college education. While that would not eliminate all bias it would go a long way in getting a 'hung' trial. As for the 'whites' on any jury - elderly men and women who are 'southern'.

James said...

Found this in one of the wral links. It's a GREAT one from Nifong's office spinning the exceptional status as good for Durham.

"She said that because Smith was based in Person County, a Durham judge wouldn't need to neglect other local business while handling the lacrosse case, which is projected to last months.

"It will not disrupt our other criminal courtrooms," Clark said of the lacrosse proceedings. "Other cases will be tried at the same time. It will not produce a backlog. In that sense, [the exceptional designation] will make the whole judicial process more efficient." "

JWM said...

To Anons re: "Wheels of justice..."

Fair people are all hoping for what you two are pointing out.

To Joan Foster,

Well said. You get around the blogoshere a lot. Can you help post that letter other places?

The players have been so slimed; they deserve all the "correcting" we can get out there.


I appreciate your sensitivity.

That said, I'm not sure JinC is really impeccable. Certainly Melanie Sill doesn't think so.

Anon re: Johnsville "challenge,"

Interesting challenge. I plan to post on it.

Anon asking, "So why are you sure that CBS will air the truth?"

You question cuts to the chase. We all need to keep it before us.

James with 3 comments,

I'm glad your commenting. You help me learn.

And I love commenters who correct their errors.

I'll ask a favor of you and every other JinC readers: When I make a mistake, please point it out.

You all will make JinC a better place and me a better person.

To all of you commenters,

Thank you.


James said...

If you'd ever like to use Nifong's ADA's quotation it is sourced at:http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-762409.html

I could not locate the link on wral when I realized I should have originally included it.

Regardless, it appears Nifong can make anything he does to slime Durham appear positive for Durham. Yes, I say 'Durham' and not just 'the Durham justice system' because Nifong has really hurt Durham. ALL of my relatives have a negative view of Durham and live FAR AWAY (AZ, PA, Signapore, Canada). They generally do not 'devour' news but this particular story had both a national media appeal (rich, white boys) and a 'it could happen to me' aspect.

At Wake everyone is aware of the hoax and the response is universal: it is a hoax and it could just as easily happen here. One of my friends knows an indicted LAX member (not going to identify him as they are from the same place).

So...anyone with college aged kids should be a bit worried about this case - especially if you reside in NC and even more so if you attend a 'SELECTIVE UNIVERSITY'. Wake qualifies and many others do as well.

The 'sick' part about the 'Duke' image is that, in fact, most Duke students do not have 'rich' parents. Most are from middle class families and the majority receive financial aid. Both Wake and Duke have minority populations that EXCEED the national proportions. (Wake more so). The 'issue' in Durham is that Duke is not representative of Durham in race/socioeconomic background. Well, perhaps Duke (and NC in general) should focus on improving public education and there would be less friction and Durham would be a less depressing place to visit (in terms of the economic vitality of the city).

I type quickly and am not obsessive about this but find this whole case to be applicable to my situation. If the LAX 3 can be convicted on this junk of a case any rape claim will lead to a conviction...which is somewhat scary.

NDLax84 said...

Tucker Carlson already has called the sham a "hoax."

CARLSON: Welcome back. I just want to make something absolutely clear. In our conversation with Georgia Goslee a moment ago about the Duke rape hoax, she alleged—or appeared to allege; she was speaking pretty quickly—that Reade Seligman‘s DNA—he‘s one of the accused lacrosse players at Duke—was either found on the victim or at the scene.

As I attempted to make clear, that is completely untrue. And it is completely untrue. So I just want to make totally clear, Reade Seligman‘s DNA not found, so far as we know, anyway—so far as anybody knows—on the accuser. Totally false.

We continue now our conversation with the Reverend Al Sharpton. Rev, welcome back.

SHARPTON: Yes, sir.

CBS needs its street cred back. It's going to be bloody.

Joan Collins said...


Having just returned from vacation, I was delighted to find find my letter "Profile in Courage-Dave Evans" highlighted on your distinguished blog. Thank you.

I would like to emphasize that Ernest Hemingway's definition of courage as "Grace under pressure" truly captured that special moment of Dave Evan's speech on May 16,2006.

Abe Lincoln said "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power". Lincoln's words are so simple, yet so profound. Do they not call to mind Mr. Nifong's actions over the past months in the Duke Lacrosse Case?

But perhaps any comparisons should be reserved for a future letter.

Anonymous said...


The Profile in Courage letter was written by Joan Collins. Joan Foster is the very witty one.