Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Excusing Brodhead Hurts Duke

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

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
By now who doubts that following Crystal Mangum's vicious lies about white male Duke students who played on the school's lacrosse team, Duke's administration and some faculty acted in ways that gave credence to Mangum's lies and endangered the students ?

If you're still a doubter, talk to Duke trustees who've already quickly settled five lawsuits on condition that in exchange for money to partially offset the harm Duke did them, the litigants (the former lacrosse coach and four of the players) say nothing publicly about the settlements other than that they're satisfied with the settlements.

And we're told there are more lawsuits to come.

Even Dick Brodhead, the University's President, doesn't really defend what he and the University did. He says nothing about his refusal last Spring to meet with the lacrosse parents. He's never explained why, following consultation with some trustees, senior administrators and senior faculty, he's been silent since racists who flaunt that they carry firearms shouted threats, including death threats, at Reade Seligmann last May 18, outside and within the Durham County Courthouse.

When Brodhead does mention Duke's response to Mangum's lies and the Nifong led frame-up attempt and on-going cover-up, he mostly offers whines and excuses as when he famously told the late Ed Bradley last October "the facts kept changing."

Duke's trustees have sponsored a national "Dinner with Dick" tour aimed at convincing alums and others of two things. The facts "really, really" did change. And we all need to "look to the future."

This Duke alum wishes the trustees would stop trying to prop up Brodhead. They need to seek and find a new president who doesn't believe "facts [keep] changing".

Duke's next President must be someone who embraces and cherishes America and its system of justice. Duke should never again have a President who endorses the idea that the accused must prove their innocence at trial. That concept is for police states.

It's not hard to identify people who use facts to reason and accept and cherish the American system of justice.

Just look at what scholar and columnist Thomas Sowell wrote on April 25, 2006, exactly one month after the Raleigh N&O published its deliberately fraudulent "anonymous interview" story about a night of "sexual violence."

See if you can find even one factual error or erroneous conclusion in Sowell's column. Or anything that smacks of the Left's contempt for American values:

People who were not within 1,000 miles of Duke University have already taken sides in the case of a stripper who has accused Duke lacrosse players of rape.

One TV talk show hostess went ballistic when a guest on her program raised questions about the stripper's version of what happened.

Apparently we dare not question accusations of rape when it involves the new sacred trinity of race, class, and gender.

Media irresponsibility is one thing. Irresponsibility by an agent of the law is something else -- and much more dangerous. Prosecutors are not just supposed to prosecute. They are supposed to prosecute the right people in the right way. In this case, prosecutor Michael Nifong has proceeded in the wrong way.

Having an accuser or a witness pick out the accused from a lineup is standard procedure. That procedure not only serves to identify someone to be charged with a crime, it also tests the credibility of the accuser or witness -- or it should, if the lineup is not stacked.

A lineup should include not only people suspected of a crime but also other people, so that it tests whether the accuser or witness can tell the difference, and is therefore credible. But the stripper who claimed to have been raped by members of the Duke lacrosse team was presented with a lineup consisting exclusively of photographs of members of the lacrosse team.

In other words, whoever she picked out had to be a lacrosse player and would be targeted, with no test whatever of her credibility, because there was no chance for her to pick out somebody who had no connection with the team or the university. Apparently District Attorney Nifong was no more wiling to test the accuser's credibility than was the TV talk show hostess who went ballistic, though credibility is often crucial in rape cases.

Mr. Nifong went public with his having DNA evidence collected. Then, after the DNA failed to match that of the accused, the students were arrested anyway and their bail was set at $400,000 -- in a community where a youth accused of murder had bail set at $50,000.

When a prosecutor acts like he has made up his mind and doesn't want to be confused by the facts, that is when the spirit of the lynch mob has entered the legal system. When this happens on the eve of an election for the prosecutor, it looks even uglier.

If the young men accused of rape are in fact guilty, they need to be proved guilty because they are guilty, not because an election is coming up or there is racial hype in the media or a legally stacked deck. More important, we need to know that the rule of law is there for all of us, regardless of who we are or who our accuser might be.

Even beyond this case, we are increasingly becoming a society in which some people are allowed to impose high costs on other people at little or no cost to themselves. This sets the stage for extortion, not only of money but also of legal plea-bargains extorted by ambitious prosecutors.

The stripper, for example, does not even pay the price of having her name known, while the names and pictures of the accused young men are all over the media. Even if they are acquitted, or the charges thrown out of court, this case will follow them and they will be under a cloud for the rest of their lives.

Mr. Nifong has said that he has a third person whom he may indict. If so, he has already demonstrated to that third person what he can do by disgracing the other two and putting a heavy financial burden on their families for bail and lawyers. If that third person cannot stand the disgrace or his family cannot afford the expense, that is leverage for getting him to say whatever the prosecutor wants him to say.

This case presents opportunities as well as pressures. Race hustlers are having a field day, including the inevitable Jesse Jackson.

A fellow stripper who was at the same party sees in this an opportunity -- in her own words -- to "spin this to my advantage."

The biggest opportunity that this case presents is for District Attorney Michael Nifong to win his election, even if the case falls apart later and the law is cheapened by all this.
Thomas Sowell gave us that column - a wise and compassionate public service affirming what America strives to be - seven days after Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were indicted and a year before they, along with David Evans, were declared innocent by the NC Attorney General who called Nifong a rogue prosecutor.

For all but a few months of that year, Dick Brodhead went along with the rogue prosecutor's plans. Brodhead wanted to see the three young men stand trial where he said they'd have a chance to be "proved innocent." During his "Dinner with Dick" talks and at other times since he's assured people he's one of Nifong's critics.

Duke's BOT Chair, Robert Steel, keeps telling people that all the trustees support what Brodhead and other senior Duke administrators have done and not done in response to Mangum lies.

That, if true, is bad for Duke.

The University deserves better than Brodhead's whines. It should have a President who can take facts and reason as Thomas Sowell did in his April 2006 column titled: "Law or Lynch Law"


Anonymous said...


It seems the more light you shine on Duke, the more putrid the odor eminating from the administration.

Why would any reasonable parent pay $30K per year to send their children to this corrupt institution?


Roger '71 said...

Could not agree with you more. As an alumnus, I am more distressed each day with the (in)actions of Brodhead, the administration, and the BOT to not at least say "We're sorry", and to address the deporable behavior of the "88."

brittany said...

The hope for Duke lies within its own walls. Professor James Coleman for President.

Anonymous said...

Ken -

It's closer to $46K.

But your question still stands.

My answer?



Locomotive Breath said...

When I went to Pressler's book signing at the Regulator one older gentleman got up and remarked that he had spent 40 years as an archivist at Duke Library. He then went on to remark that Duke never ever apologizes for anything.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead and Steele are using Alumni contributions to pay off the lawsuits! PLEASE, can't somebody do something about that? It would seem to me to be a misuse of the funds which were generously provided to Duke for educational purposes, NOT to pay for administration's misdeeds.

Furthermore, would just one or more Lacrosse players please NOT take the money and settle??? Just please, somebody, take them to court for the sake of all the people who have suffered so much and for those who have borne the heat of the battle day after day in support of the innocent.

Is there an "Innocent" out there who will temporarily delay the "settlement" in order to allow/force justice?

I think this little "Meet Dick" tour is a great idea. Surely these people do NOT understand how incensed Duke Aluni are at them. I predict that after a few such alumni dinners the "weasle tour" will be cancelled. Perhaps the poor guys will come down with some kind of "cold."

Scott said...

Shouldn't the tour be called "Dinner With A Dick?"

Ashley said...

Gary '67,
John-keep up the good work. I think the "Dinner with Dick" tour is over, and won't be repeated. In Philadelphia, his reception was decidedly mixed, with the only audience applause coming in reference to questions as to why Kim Curtis was still on the faculty, and why he wouldn't meet with the lacrosse families. (He didn't answer either question.) I doubt he will expose himself to to such questions anytime soon.