Wednesday, January 02, 2008

“Call home immediately”

I'm starting 2008 Duke Hoax posting with a simple 1, 2, 3 post containing:

1) A bit of information about my wife and me and some former and current Duke and Carolina students.

2) A small but very important extract from the brief attorney Robert (Bob) Ekstrand recently filed on behalf of three unindicted Duke students who claim the University and others conspired to violate their civil rights.

3) Some simple questions.

Let’s begin:

1) By virtue of living close to Duke and UNC- Chapel Hill and many years involvment with national professional associations and some other things, my wife and I have gotten over the years a good number of calls from friends and acquaintances in other parts of the country that went something like this:

"Our (son/daughter) will be going to (Duke/Carolina) and we want (him/her)to have a contact close by just in case. Would you .....?
You know the rest of that call and we've almost always said yes, being sure to say there would be times we weren't in town and that we always wanted to meet the in-coming student right off.

As "call just in case" people, we gotten to know a good number of Duke and Carolina students who for the most part never needed to make the "just in case call."

But some have. And whenever the reason had to do with some kind of a legal matter, our response was/is always the same: "Call home. Your parents need to know. We'll call them also and see if there's anything they want us to do. We'll try to help you and them as best we can."

We always put the part about also calling the parents out there because there are some students who get in legal scrapes and don't put "call home" on their "to do" lists.

Nothing that I’ve just said about what my wife and I do is anything more than responsible adult behavior, is it?

2) Extract from Ekstrand's brief - - -

XI. THE CONSPIRACY TO ORCHESTRATE THE MASS INTERROGATION OF UNCOUNSELED STUDENTS (JinC Readers Note: the excerpted portions of the brief are found on pages 126 through 128. )

369. Instead of closing the case or following the extant, (though unpromising leads of the non-lacrosse team members who attended the party), Duke Police Defendants.
Duke Officials Defendants, and Durham Police Defendants agreed to keep the case to remain open, and colluded to deliver to Gottlieb to every member of the team for interrogation, en masse.

A. Duke University Defendants’ Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy

370. Duke Police and Duke Officials understood and agreed to:

(1) Deliver all 47 team members to Gottlieb and Himan, at a designated
location, to be interrogated by Durham Police;

(2) Create a false sense of security in the team members by minimizing the
seriousness of the investigation and the charges being investigated, and
encourage team members not to seek legal counsel or to reveal the planned
interrogations to anyone;

(3) Provide no information to the Plaintiffs or their teammates about the nature
or scope of the interrogations;

(4) The team members would not be informed that, during the interrogations,
every one of them would be asked to volunteer to give their DNA and a
“mug shot” photograph, or that a team of CSIs from the Durham Forensic
Services Unit (“FSU”) had been mobilized for purpose of taking DNA
swabs, mug shot photographs, and pictures of any scars or marks on the
team members’ arms and torso.

(5) The team members would also not be advised that if they submit DNA
samples and mug shot photographs voluntarily, they waive their right to a
report of the results of all DNA testing and photo identification procedures
as soon as they are available; and, further, that they could have that right
merely by requesting a Nontestimonial (“NTID”) Order be obtained for the
same purposes; and, further that, absent an NTID Order, a right to that
information would not arise again unless the individual is indicted, and then
only pursuant to constitutional and/or statutory discovery; and

(6) Provide a primary location and/or a satellite location(s) for isolated
interrogations of individuals.

B. The Durham Police Defendants’ Acts in Furtherance of Conspiracy

371. Durham Police, for their part, understood and agreed to:

(1) Conduct interrogations of the team members individually. Upon
information and belief, the interrogators would employ all of the
rudimentary interrogation techniques, including, but not limited to, dividing
them, exhausting them, falsely reporting to one individual that a
teammate’s account contradicts theirs in material respects, and the many
other standard tools of interrogation.

(2) Coordinate the overstaffing of the FSU to take DNA swabs and “mug shot”

(3) Provide Duke Police and Duke Officials with information relating to their
charging decisions.

3) Some simple questions - - -

Let's put aside for now questions of whether what's alleged in the portion of the brief cited above is true in part or whole.

Let's allow that there are confidentiality provisions regarding to whom and what university administrators may disclose concerning a student.

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators when they first learned DUPD and DPD were investigating crimes alleged to have occurred at a party attended by certain Duke students from advising those student to "call home immediately?"

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators from sending emails to the students concerned urging them to call their parents to let them know what was happening?

Was there anything that prevented Duke administrators from saying to eighteen and nineteen year-old students that the administrators and the students could jointly call parents to make sure that anything the parents thought should be done in the students' interests was being done?

In the more than twenty-one months since the night of March 13/14 has Duke ever claimed it did some or all of what I've asked here?


Anonymous said...

Dear John,

This is another excellent post. It warmed my heart to read it. Those parents who contacted you and your wife over the years were lucky to have such reliable, dependable and above all wise friends close to their Duke students. I cannot imagine better advice than what you told those kids to do in case of trouble: "call home immediately." You obviously had the best interest on those kids in mind. In the aftermath of the lacrosse scandal, it appears highly unlikely that the Duke administrators had the best interest of the lacrosse players on their minds.

Anonymous said...

John, John, John, you have good sense. That is not a quality exhibited by more than a handful of "adults" at Duke.

Anonymous said...

In fact, Duke officials advised the players not to engage independent counsel nor tell anyone, including their parents. Duke's behavior from the beginning is consistent with the factual allegations in the Ekstrand complaint, i.e. that Duke officials conspired with Durham authorities to railroad the lacrosse players.


Anonymous said...

"Uglier and Dukier".

Anonymous said...


"In the more than twenty-one months since the night of March 13/14 has Duke ever claimed it did some or all of what I've asked here?"

And, of course, Bob Steel was unaware of all of this. He just gets his information from the newspapers.


RedMountain said...

I also think this is an excellent post. The giving of legal advice (and bad advice at that), the dorm search, and the giving away of the key card info are hard to justify. I have stated before that Duke went way overboard in terms of it's cooperation with the Durham police. Was that due to an interest in getting the case resolved quicky or due to a conspiracy by the Duke consortium to frame the players?

Anonymous said...

"...about my wife and ME...", not "and I."

Anonymous said...


"Was that due to an interest in getting the case resolved quicky?"

A reasonable question. It begs another.

After the facts were in and the players were declared innocent, when did Bob Steel direct Brodhead to finally meet with the players' parents and offer a sincere apology?


Anonymous said...

John, you and other commenters are unintentionally mischaracterizing the Complaint as a "Brief". A Brief is a filing in support of a motion or appeal, with citations to the record (deposition transcripts, documents, other exhibits) and supporting law (cases, statutes, etc.). The Complaint is the document which lays out what a Plaintiff intends to show (statement of facts) and the wrongs allegedly comitted (causes of action). The Ekstrand complaint is one of the more remarkable, and frankly, risky I've ever encountered. Usually a Plaintiff or in this case Plaintiffs, will lay out a somewhat vague recitation of facts in the complaint, leaving some wiggle room if discovery fails to support the facts as they are thought to be. If the Defendants can poke holes in any of the very specific allegations, the whole suit may be in jeopardy.

It surely looks to me that this Complaint was intended to punish Duke and the other actors b/c counsel believes the case will settle, with very little of the facts seeing the light of day. This was the one opportunity for the Plaintiffs to get the story off of their collective chests for all to see.

Anyway, forgive the rant. The only filing in the case so far is the Complaint. Next comes the Answer which will most certainly be a line-by-line denial of the allegations in the Complaint.