Sunday, January 20, 2008

Addison's Motion to Dismiss (Post 1) Comments

On the Addison's Motion to Dismiss (Post 1) thread there are currently three very thoughtful comments.
I want to respond to a part of each here; and also to a part of one of the offline comments I received.

Let’s begin -----

KBP, a citizen journalist who’s been commenting with useful information and probing questions since before Duke’s Dick Brodhead claimed on 60 Minutes he had no way of knowing what Nifong was up to, said:

A good part of the reasoning looks to be a claim about what he MIGHT not have known, so that lack of knowledge shields him.
I don’t doubt that will be part of the claim.

But when Addison’s attorney advances the “lack of knowledge” claim to shield him, his attorney, James Maxwell, will also have to contend with questions concerning what “a reasonable, trained officer” would or should have known or been expected to do.

No one disputes, for instance, that on Mar. 28, 2006 Addison distributed via email to DPD substations, media outlets and others the text of the Durham CrimeStoppers Wanted poster.

Addison’s stated without any qualification suggesting doubt that “[t]his horrific crime” occurred at the Duke lacrosse party.

Would a reasonable, trained police officer have done such a thing on Mar. 28?

That’s a question the court may ask.

If it does, I’m told claims such as “the lead investigator told me” or “the other investigator told me” generally don’t excuse you.

Addison’s actions will be judged by the court against the “reasonable, trained officer” standard with “but they told me” not an excuse for a “reasonable, trained officer.”

The next comment was from Silent @ 7:39 AM.

Silent provided an excellent summary post relating to Addison, the CS Wanted poster, etc.

I saw only one error in the entire post. Silent says the poster wasn’t corrected until almost a month after if was distributed.

In fact, the poster text as originally distributed Mar. 28, 2006, first via Addison’s email, and then on DPD official letterhead (Full disclosure – DPD denies it’s responsible for the distribution of the poster) was changed two weeks later on Apr. 10.

Changes included no longer calling Crystal Mangum “the victim” and no longer referring to “this horrific crime.”

I note Silent’s discrete error in an otherwise excellent post for three reasons:

1) Apr. 10 was the day the results of the first round of DNA testing done at the state lab were released to the defense attorneys and by them to the public.

2) Based on email copies I and no doubt attorneys for the plaintiffs have in hand, Addison made successive changes to the CS “Wanted” poster text in response to emails from DPD Maj. Lee Russ. All Russ’ emails were sent to Addison on Apr. 10.

3) Noting the single error in Silent’s comment allows me to call eveyone’s attention to the fact that the “horrific crime” CS Wanted poster was out in the community for two weeks before Addison modified it at the direction of his DPS supervisor who requested the modifications on the day the first DNA lab results were to be made public.

Anon @ 1:06 quotes from the Memorandum of Law in Support of the Motion to Dismiss:
"... even assuming that in his official capacity as a spokesperson for the Durham Police Department, Addison made some false, misleading or inflammatory statements (which is all denied by the Defendant, David Addison)"
If I’ve understood Anon’s comment correctly, Anon is wondering whether the quote doesn’t mean Addison is somehow going to deny he said or emailed certain statements.

I doubt it does mean that at least as far as statements which were taped or of which there are copies of his emails are concerned.

What I believe the quoted extract from the memorandum is saying is that he will deny he knew they were false and misleading; and he will dispute they were inflammatory.

The offline comment included this:
As it relates to Durham's responsibility, I reviewed Gottlieb's deposition given in connection with Nifong's ethics hearings. Note in particular the following statement by Gottlieb:

" And then there were several other people from high ranking positions across the community who would sit in on some of these meetings."

Gottlieb specifically mentions the City Manager, the DA and senior Duke police officials.

In particular we are aware of the 3/29/06 meeting attended by city manager Baker, Durham chief of police Chalmers, deputy chief Hodge, Gottlieb , Himan, senior Duke police officials Dean and Graves, and an attorney from DPD. Given the events which occurred just before and just after this meeting ( negative DNA test results from SBI, release of Ryan M. e-mail, Duke police giving players' key card Durham police, the illegal photo ID/lineups ) I strongly suspect that this was not a routine status meeting.
I agree it wasn’t a routine meeting.

I’ve posted before that Baker’s explanation that the purpose of that meeting was merely for him to check in with Gottlieb and Himan to make sure they were getting all the assistance they needed is preposterous.

Two other things I want to note about the 3/29 meeting.

It followed by a day the distribution of the CS Wanted poster.

Duke’s Police Director Robert Dean was at the time chair of the Durham CS executive board and is David Addison’s friend and mentor.

Thanks to each of you for commenting.


silent_l said...

I apologize for the error you noted -- I somehow crossed two dates (March 13th and March 28th), and turned a period of almost two weeks into a period of almost a month. Now if only I could inflate time like that it my own life. :)

And yes, you're quite right about the timing of the sudden urge to correct the original outrageous phrasing. It would be tough to argue, as Addison will likely need to argue, that this phrasing, regardless of what he had been told, was appropriate for a "reasonable, trained officer" in his position. As for the question of whether his comments were false, misleading, and inflammatory, KC had a lovely response to that on Jan 16th at DIW, itemizing which specific comments were false, which were misleading, and which were inflammatory.

I definitely understand the legitimate purpose behind giving police officers the limited form of immunity they enjoy, but it is not, and should not be, a license to do anything they want, for any reason, and then claim immunity.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for being OT, but I have something to say. My wife recently underwent double mastectomy at the UNC Cancer Center at Chapel Hill. Although I live in North Carolina, I had never been to the Chapel Hill-Durham area before; I was stunned at the differences between the two towns. Chapel Hill is a typical university town and I can see that the residents and the students mixed freely and there is an overall friendly atmosphere with clean shops, restaurants, etc. Durham, on the other hand, looks very much like Southeast Washington DC with sleazy porn shops, shuttered storefronts, and a populace that seems to frown (or is it glare?) at white faces daring to show themselves. The Duke campus is quite lovely, but a student at Duke is well advised to stay on campus unless he/she is armed. Now I see why the Tarheels look down their noses at the Blue Devils--Duke is surrounded by a virtual cesspool. It's time to pull up stakes and get Duke in a community commensurate with the University. Please don't get me in the middle of a Tarheel/Blue Devil peeinfg contest, I am neither.

Anonymous said...

You make is very clear that


kbp said...

Thanks John.

FWIW, I did not wish to leave the impression that I felt Addison's motion was a good defense, simply that his only defense was to play dumb.

I do appreciate how well you explained why that method is unlikely to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:06 here, sorry I clearly did not make my point well.

I did not think, believe, suggest, or even imagine Addison would actually try to deny statements he made on video, etc.

I do believe, however that the sentence I quoted did just that. Not because he denies specific details but because it is poorly written. I would have expected better in a written, legal response.

I once wrote a letter to the editor that my lawyer reviewed before I summitted it and he showed more care and concern about what I said than I see here.

It appears they threw in the blanket denial as an afterthought.

Anonymous said...


4/10/06 was also the date that DA Nifong and 2 DPD officers (Himan and Gottlieb) met with DNASI's Meehan and were told that there was male DNA on items from CGM's rape kit that were not from Duke Lax team members. That was the day DPD and DA knew that Duke Lax team members were innocent, and that very likely there was no crime. It also meant that CGM was confused about not having intimate activity for 7 days prior to 3/13/06 (as she had claimed. That could also have been a reason for changing the CS info.