Monday, June 18, 2007

INNOCENT: A Zany & Dangerous Letter

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
______________________________________________
In today’s Durham Herald Sun there’s a letter in which almost every sentence contains an assertion that is zany, dangerous or both.

Usually I ignore such letters but this one really deserves a fisking.

From Judy Schlegel of Durham, the letter runs under the head: Don't call her a liar

As a woman, I remain very disturbed at the way the events of the lacrosse case are being played out.

[ Just what it is that disturbs you, Ms. Schlegel? That the young men who were the victims of an attempted frame-up have been declared innocent by NC’s Attorney General? That the State Bar’s panel that tried Nifong affirmed the AG’s finding of innocence? ]

Would the accused be treated like sweet, innocent victims if they were not super rich?

[ Their families are not "super rich" but if their families hadn’t the resources to hire expensive defense attorneys, the frame-up might well have worked.

In that case, you and people like you would be very satisfied that David Evens, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann would be going to jail for most or all of the rest of their lives.

Ms. Schlegel, people like you are dangerous. No one should support the actions of rogue prosecutors like Mike Nifong who corrupt justice by framing innocent citizens.

If America ever gets enough people like you and Nifong, the country will be well on its way to becoming a police state.
]

Are we going back to the days when the victim of a sexual assault must defend herself?

[ Sexual assault is a terrible wrong. Women, men and children shouldn’t have to defend themselves from sexual assault. People who perpetrate sexual assaults should be subject to legal punishment just as robbers, muggers, and people who falsely accuse others of crimes should be subject to legal punishments.

But in a courtroom someone who’s claimed to be a victim of a sexual assault has to be ready to help defend and prove what they've charged because in America people accused of crimes have the rights to confront and challenge their accusers at trial.

And wouldn't you want those rights for yourself, Ms. Schlegel, if a woman accused you of sexually assaulting her?

You wouldn't want people saying, "We shouldn't challange the word of the woman accusing Judy Schlegel of sexual assault," would you?

In granting you and all others in America those rights, we're not “going back” to any “days,” at least not any days since America adopted the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
]

Many want to label the accuser a liar.

[ That’s because so much of what she said is manifestly false. ]

Even Attorney General Roy Cooper did not do that. He said she really believed what she was saying.

[ AG Cooper said those on his staff who worked closely with Crystal Mangum think she may actually believe the contradictory and unbelievable stories she told them.

In order to be a liar, you need to not only make a false statement, but to deliberately make it with the intent of deceiving.

Cooper was saying, in effect, Mangum was delusional (he did not actually use the word “delusional”); and therefore may very well have believed her statements that were manifestly false.
]

There must be a reason for her belief.

[ There may be, Ms. Schlegel. Mangum may even have more than one reason for what you call “her belief.”

But that doesn’t mean her belief(s) is credible and deserving of our belief any more than your assertions, which I don't doubt you sincerely and ardently believe, are credible and merit fair-minded people's respect.

Also as much as I respect AG Cooper, I haven’t ruled out in my mind that Mangum knows in her mind that she made up a lot of what she said.

I haven’t even ruled out that she counted on people like you to buy into her lies and to support a frame-up and her subsequent efforts to bring suits for damages against the real victims of her hoax who she, like you, apparently believed were "super rich."

I simply don’t know.
]

I do think this case should have gone to trial so all the facts could come out.

[ Ms. Schlegel, please! “All the facts” don’t come out at trials. You know that.

Sometimes judges rule that certain facts are inadmissible at trials. At other trials we know prosecutors have not only withheld facts, but have offered as “facts” fraudulent “evidence” which has helped send innocent people to prison.

When you speak about wanting a trial this is what I think you really mean: "I wanted a trial so badly. I was really looking forward to those three being convicted. Now DA Nifong will never have a chance to do that. It's all so sad."

I’d like to fisk the rest of your letter but I’m out of time.

A few closing comments:

You begin your letter with “As a woman…”

I’ve heard many men say the very same things you say. So what does your being a woman have to do with the noxious statements you made in your letter?

I think what you say doesn’t have so much to do with gender as it does with the way your mind works just as when I hear women and men make sensible and informed statements I think those statements have less to do with gender than with intelligence, logical reasoning ability and fair-mindedness which many members of both genders frequently manifest.

And we can all thank God for that.

Finally, I was sorry to read you had a few years ago what sounds like a very rough time with cancer. I’m glad things are better now. I hope the road ahead is smooth and long.

John
]

Folks, the rest of Ms. Schlegel’s letter follows.

Much has been made of the fact that the accuser changed her story several times. I am not surprised. Two years ago I was hospitalized and very ill. It was so traumatic that two weeks later, I was giving different stories to different people especially with regards to timing. Today I still cannot remember exact details, but I know a lot of what happened particularly the very stressful parts. I would think that being hospitalized for cancer is less traumatic than being sexually assaulted, and so I would expect that the accuser would not have every detail straight. That should not stop us from getting to the truth that we can.

If the City Council wants to spend taxpayers' money investigating the handling of this case, then they must look at this side also. Our legal system must protect those who are falsely accused, but not by quickly dismissing the claims of women.

JUDY SCHLEGEL
Durham
June 18, 2007

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Schlegel shouldn't be faulted for having bizarre thoughts; after all, she had some pretty serious trauma fighting cancer. She is probably more to be pitied for having trouble grasping reality. The Hurled Scum was absolutely dead wrong in publishing the poor woman's letter, exposing her aberratiions for all to see. I liken it to pointing and laughing at someone having a grand mal seizure. At this juncture, what is gained by publishing the ravings of someone who is obviously trouobled? Hurled Scum does it again!! What a rag!!!

SoCal Pir8 said...

You should respond by sending this post to the local fishwrap exposing, point by point, all her wrong and misstated comments.

Anonymous said...

And exactly who does she suggest pay for the charged but innocent players lawyers?

Anonymous said...

"not by quickly dismissing the claims of women"?

Is this woman serious? After an indictment of 3 innocent people for 13 months, an investigation by the AG, millions of dollars in legal fees, and a trial by the bar committee, she thinks this is quickly dismissing the claims of women?

Sadly, either this is not a legitimate letter (which is what I suspect) and was written by one of the professional enablers in Durham, or this woman clearly has some trouble with rational and logical thought processes, not unlike Nifong himself.

The HS should not be printing such letters at this time. It just encourages continued denial of the truth. Crystal was lying. Unless the citizens of Durham can accept this simple truth, there will never be any progress to move past this fiasco.

HumboldtBlue said...

Sadly enough, this particular strain of a narrative is alive and well all across the internet.

This is my particular favorite, because it wraps up, in one neat paragraph, the idea that when you are declared innocent, well, you're not THAT 'innocent.'

"but I can't help but think that those "boys" did something wrong... They may not have raped her, but I can't believe they're as innocent as they say they are. For innocent people, they sure were quick to get a lawyer, and were very silent about what happened when they were first charged. If you were wrongly accused, wouldn't you blab to anyone who would listen to you?"

And so it goes, over and over again. Ignore the fact that the three accused didn't rape Mangum, Ignore the fact that Nifong conspired with Meehan to withhold exculpatory evidence. Ignore the fact that we are protected by the Constitution and have the right to a presumption of innocence, and also the right to confront our accuser.

Ignore, ignore, ignore -- it makes it easy to see the etymology which leads us to ignorance.

The particular gem above comes from the comment section of a blog entry on Huffington Post (where I was banned last year after commenting on one woman's ignorant screed, and asking if she was Amanda Marcotte's mother) which blasted Nifong for his criminal, stupid and inexplicable actions.

Anonymous said...

You can not reason with delusional people or liars. When they commit crimes, they must be dealt with. That's why Nifong had to be disbarred and Mangum should be charged. Ms. Schlegel should be pitied and not held up for public ridicule. I agree the letter never should have been printed.

HumboldtBlue said...

JWM,

KC has just reported that Duke has reached a settlement with the three players and their families.

HumboldtBlue said...

And yet one more legal gem from huffpo ....

"41. shaggles
The charges were dropped. We should assume that they are innocent. That's the law. Anything else is just conjecture including assuming that the charges must be false just because they were dropped."

Astounding in its ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I believe Ms. Schlegel is a Durham attorney which makes her letter even more offensive and dangerous. I do agree with one thing she said "I remain very disturbed". Yes, she is very disturbed and her letter echoes Mike Nifong's outrageous statement at his disciplinary hearing that he still believes that something happened.

Ms. Schlegel's letter is a perfect example of the damage that Mike Nifong has done.

Anonymous said...

I thought she was just another crazy lady but if she really is a lawyer, she is truly stupid. The falsely accused young men just got a lot money, they have a lot lawyers (good lawyers) and these statements are actionable.

Anonymous said...

The illness is no excuse for the craziness. You are right about the trial scenario. Actually, we just had a trial. Even at that, some folk do not want their long held opinions challanged by the testimony.