Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Duke lacrosse: A fake Herald Sun story?

From the Merriam –Webster Online Dictionary:

Fake - Not authentic or genuine; a sham.
From today’s Durham Herald Sun, “Lawyers haggle over DNA matches”:
Semen found in the house where three Duke lacrosse players allegedly raped an exotic dancer matches the DNA of two team members, but lawyers disagree about its potential impact on the unfolding case.

The previously undisclosed matches, one involving indicted rape suspect David Evans and the other involving a player not charged, have been confirmed by several sources close to the case. (bold added)

According to the sources, semen on a towel was DNA-linked to Evans.

The towel was retrieved from a hallway at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann are accused of raping an exotic dancer during an off-campus lacrosse party in mid-March.

The towel also contained non-semen-based DNA from someone else, the sources said.

They said the other DNA did not match the alleged rape victim or any of more than 40 Duke lacrosse players who gave bodily samples for analyses.
PREVIOUSLY UNDISCLOSED MATCHES?

Excerpt from the Apr. 11 Raleigh News & Observer, "DNA clears players, lawyers say; DA vows to continue Duke inquiry:"
They also found no DNA on the woman's clothing or belongings, players' attorneys said. The tests found DNA matches to two players, from a towel outside the bathroom and on another object, [defense attorney Joseph] Cheshire said.

One sample was from a player's semen and another was a different type of DNA, Cheshire said. He said that was to be expected in a bathroom shared by the three men who lived in the house.
PREVIOUSLY UNDISCLOSED MATCHES?

Excerpt from WRAL.Com Apr. 10 “DA Plans To Proceed With Case Despite No DNA Matches:”
Answering questions from reporters, defense attorney Joe Cheshire did say that DNA of two of the men was found on a towel and on the floor of the bathroom, but that it was not in any way related to the DNA found on the alleged victim.

"The bathroom where this DNA was found happened to be the bathroom of the two boys," Cheshire said. "And any expert and any person in the world will tell you that your DNA is in your bathroom."
Are reporter John Stevenson, editor Bob Ashely and the Herald Sun giving us a genuine story of previously undisclosed DNA matches or are they giving us a sham repackaging of material previously disclosed?

Public demand is growing for the replacement of DA Mike Nifong, whom the Herald Sun supports, with an ethical special prosecutor who'd review the indictments.

If a special prosecutor takes over, most legal experts who’ve expressed an opinion expect the prosecutor to move to dismiss the indictments because they’re based on flawed and very possibly fabricated evidence.

If the indictments are dismissed, there'll be no basis for a trial of the three students. However, Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley has said he wants “the privilege” of seeing the students on trial as do other Durham community leaders such as former school board member Jacqueline Wagstaff and Duke president Richard Brodhead.

Question: Did the Herald Sun today give us a genuine story about previously undisclosed DNA matches, or did it give us a sham repackaged "old news" story intended to prop up sagging public support for a case most people know has been nothing so much as a series of injustices?

I plan to send the story reporter, John Stevenson, and editor Bob Ashley emails asking them the question: genuine or fake? I'll include a link to this post. I'll let you know what I hear back.

I also plan to ask both of them why the story doesn't tell readers about N.C. Central University law professor Irving Joyner’s connection to the Duke lacrosse case. Here's all the Herald Sun told readers:
N.C. Central University law professor Irving Joyner also said Monday the semen evidence should not be automatically discounted.

"It would tend to support the prosecution's case," he said
But as the Apr. 19 dailyrecord.com reported:
Irving Joyner, an N.C. Central law professor, is monitoring the case as requested by the state chapter of the NAACP.

"It was important that arrests were made and more that it was explained why (additional) arrests weren't made," said Joyner, who teaches criminal law, civil rights and race and the law. The police report described the alleged victim as saying she was raped by three men. …

Joyner was in touch with state NAACP leaders. "My assessment," he said, "was that things are moving forward. We're now on track. And we'll just have to wait and see what happens next."
Editor Bob Ashley came to Durham less than two years ago. His first act was to fire scores of dedicated, honest journalists and others like them who worked at the Herald Sun.

Ashley told the community not to be concerned. “Just wait until you get to know me,” he said. "Wait until you see what I do with the paper."

Well, people in Durham have. And guess what? The paper's circulation is down more than 25% since Ashley took over, and by all reports circulation's continuing to decline.

A few closing thoughts: This morning’s story, “Lawyers haggle over DNA matches,” may help keep people like Wagstaff and Brodhead as subscribers but not too many others. And it does nothing to promote informed citizenry or justice in Durham.

Hat Tips: Anon. reader and KC Johnson

13 comments:

joan foster said...

Another great piece, John.
Liestoppers blog comments on this too.

http://liestoppers.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Here's what Irving Joyner told Sports Illustrated:

"Much of what the defense is putting out there now will never be presented to the jury," adds North Carolina Central law professor Irving Joyner. "We have a rape shield law and other evidentiary barriers. Nifong may have been engaging in some political showmanship at the beginning of the case. But that does not take away from the value of his evidence and the fact that he has probable cause to pursue the case. He still has a viable shot at victory before a jury in Durham."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/magazine/06/22/duke0626/

Would Nifong have a "viable shot at victory" in front of a "jury" or only in front of a "jury in Durham"? What exactly was Joyner trying to suggest?

Sundayjack said...

I don't understand where Irving Joyner's head is at. He's a teacher of the law, for cryingoutloud. Yes, DNA evidence on a towel in a bathroom should not be discounted; and, yes, it would tend to support, rather than disprove, the alleged crime; but, it still has to be reconciled with DNA evidence on the only known crime scene - Crystal Gail Mangum, herself. To buy his logic, you have to suspend disbelief to such extremes, and essentially craft what is a "magic bullet theory" for DNA. I suppose, though, that I should remind myself that there are those that believe the "magic bullet theory," including a commission of respected people which included the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This is why, regardless of how the evidence seems to slant, a jury verdict is NOT what these kids want.

I still say, and I'll continue to say it, that this case will fail on the photo array process. Now, if defense counsel could only get that motion in front of a judge.

Sundayjack said...

Just one more quick thought on Joyner's "viable shot at victory" statement. This seems to me a textbook case for change of venue. In a political season, where this case is THE central issue both in the news and in the public debate, if ever there were a case where an impartial jury would be difficult to find, this is it. AND, a Nifong political victory over "none of the above" would be the argument you'd bring to a judge - that the jury pool had already decided this case. It would be a tougher argument without Lewis Cheek on the ballot.

Man, Mike Nifong is providing years of lecture material for law professors everywhere.

Anonymous said...

John - I understand you supported Cheek's petition drive. Would you also support an Anybody But Nifong campaign? Please email letgovernordecide@yahoo.com

Michael Gaynor said...

Question: Did the Herald Sun today give us a genuine story about previously undisclosed DNA matches, or did it give us a sham repackaged "old news" story intended to prop up sagging public support for a case most people know has been nothing so much as a series of injustices?

I plan to send the story reporter, John Stevenson, and editor Bob Ashley emails asking them the question: genuine or fake? I'll include a link to this post. I'll let you know what I hear back.

I'm looking forward to any reply, but not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

The N&O story today points out the obvious (and already known) fact, the semen DNA found in the bathroom where the bogus rape claim was made belonged to the person who used that bathroom on a daily basis.

Every piece of evidence in the case supports the innocence of the 3 charged.

Where is Irving Joyner's head at?

Joyner is a racist.

JVJ said...

I don't see how that towel would have any bearing on the case since no DNA was found on the AV. I would be more suspicious if a towel with semen DNA HADN'T been found in a house with college-aged guys!

Anonymous said...

False rape claims dstroy lives. I'm glad people are still upset about cases like this Duke Lacrosse case. These boys are suppose to be innocent until proven guilty, but instead, he's publicly humiliated, reputation destroyed and they can't g back to school until proven innocent.

About Nifong wanting to get ID cards from Duke Lacrosse members who weren't charged, a judge was suppose to make a ruling last friday.Does anyone know what that ruling was.

And I thought only skin tissue as found on the towel. Wendy Murphy on the Nancy Grace show was the one who made up the lie about semen on the towel.

Anonymous said...

I agree, rape shield laws make it almost impossible to defend against a claim of rape. The stripper's criminal record, past dating and sex history, and history of reporting false claims of rape and kidnapping isn't admissible in a court of law, but anything and everything is fair game to use against the innocent boys to stain and tarnish these boys' character.

Concerned mom said...

Rape shield laws will NOT disallow everything in the False Accuser's past...it is wishful thinking on the part of Joyner and other FA supporters...the defense will vigorously fight to include much of her history in the trial, and much of it will be deemed relevent and certainly NOT off limits. Of course, that is assuming this debacle even gets to trial, which is doubtful given the fact that the photo lineup was blatantly illegal...

ME said...

John,

Posted Aug 2 at the N&O:

MORE HERALD-SUN DUPLICITOUS REPORTING

John In Carolina continues to hold Editor Bob Ashley and the Herald-Sun accountable for duplicitous reporting (my words) related to the Duke Lax Case. Of particular note is the failure of the Herald-Sun to disclose the “opinions” of law professor Irving Joyner and his connection to the Duke Lax Case (Joyner was quoted in a July 31 H-S article):

Question: Did the Herald Sun today give us a genuine story about previously undisclosed DNA matches, or did it give us a sham repackaged "old news" story intended to prop up sagging public support for a case most people know has been nothing so much as a series of injustices?

[Snipped for brevity. See the remainder and N&O The Editor's Blog.]

http://johninnorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2006/08/duke-lacrosse-fake-herald-sun-story.html

ME

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