Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Durham DA Asks State Investigation

The Durham Herald Sun is reporting tonight:

Durham County Interim District Attorney Jim Hardin has asked state officials to determine whether current or former government officials should face criminal prosecution over their handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

The request was confirmed Wednesday by Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Potential targets include anyone who acted "under the color of law enforcement," meaning former District Attorney Mike Nifong and an array of people in the Durham Police Department.

Hardin's request surfaced Wednesday, as attorneys for exonerated lacrosse players David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were meeting with Durham officials to discuss a potential federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.

The three players were indicted last year on what Cooper eventually ruled were false charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.

The subsequent fallout has included Nifong's disbarment, resignation and last week conviction on a charge of criminal contempt, all stemming from his attempts to hide exculpatory evidence from the players' defense team.

North Carolina law authorizes only a sitting DA, a sheriff, police officers or judges to request an investigation by State Bureau of Investigation.

Cooper's office is reviewing Hardin's request, said Talley.

Talley couldn't say who was reviewing the request or when the review might be completed.

Hardin said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
Folks, you know this story is huge. I’ll comment later tonight and again tomorrow.

For now a little info about “color of law” ---

From Law.Com dictionary:
color of law

n. the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists.

An outstanding example is found in the civil rights acts which penalize law enforcement officers for violating civil rights by making arrests "under color of law" of peaceful protesters or to disrupt voter registration.

It could apply to phony traffic arrests in order to raise revenue from fines or extort payoffs to forget the ticket.
And this from the FBI’s Miami-based Civil Rights Program website [excerpt]
An official would violate the color of law statute by fabricating evidence against or conducting a false arrest of an individual. That person's rights of due process and unreasonable seizure have been violated.

In the case of deprivation of property, the official would violate the color of saw statute by unlawfully obtaining or maintaining the property of another.

In that case, the official has overstepped or misapplied his authority. […]
At the Miami FBI site we also find this:
The public entrusts its law enforcement officials with protecting the community. If it is shown that an official willfully failed to keep an individual from harm that official could be in violation of the color of law statute.
As the public considers what might happen as a result of interim DA Hardin’s request, we here in Durham can recall that our City Manager, Patrick Baker, has always praised our police force for its handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

Baker is an attorney.

The entire H-S story is here.

More later.


Anonymous said...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

How's that Hoax working out for you Durham?


Anonymous said...

Let's hope the day of reckoning is soon.

Anonymous said...

color of law -
a cogent point of law

color of money -
the cogent point of interest in Durham

Anonymous said...

Brodhead (and included with him is BOT head Steel, becasue if ya mention one ya have to mention him also) has to be embarassed by these developments. Or maybe not since all he knows is how to be and eglish teacher.

Anonymous said...

state protecting state.
More reason for a federal investigation!

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Alas, the good Doctor Brodhead has already bought himself an indulgence at the expense of the Trustees of Duke. A payoff was made to the three defendants of the phony rape charge, and attached thereto was an agreement that we vulgar members of the public would never discover the dirty secrets that were the cause of the payoff.

We may only hope that in case of a State investigation of plain and fancy turpitude by government officials, the DPD will come under intense scrutiny. And if said scrutiny is intense enough, it will penetrate the connection between the police forces of Durham and Duke University, and unearth the violations of the whole lacrosse team's civil rights by these so-called enforcers of the law. And it would be natural to pursue that up its chain of command to... the Duke Administration itself.

It is the case, by state law, that discovery must be open. Discover away, boys, and don't spare the supoenas.

kbp said...

Thanks John

This case has opened our eyes to the need for being very careful when considering what should be done versus what is actually done.

If the state is busy investigating, does that mean the fed's will NOT open their big endless book of laws to go after ALL of the DPD and courthouse crowd in Durham?

Anonymous said...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!! FINALLY!!!! Only question,what the heck took so long? There will be DPD/judges/town officials who should be rightfully be shaking in their boots right now. As parents we have been asking for the truth to come out for 18 months!!!

I just hope it also leads to the doorsteps of Dukes/Broadhead/Burgess/Waslick(sp?) and the Duke PD. Way too much there unknown that needs to be looked into.