Friday, January 25, 2008

Responding to Addison's Motion (Post 1) Comments

Readers Note: If you’re not very familiar with these posts -- Addison's Motion to Dismiss (Post 1) and Addison's Motion to Dismiss (Post 1)Comments – I encourage you to read them in order to understand the post below.


Folks, I'm responding here to parts or all of some of the comments on the thread of Addison's Motion to Dismiss (Post1) Comments.

Commenters are in italics; I’m plain.

Silent @ 6:00 AM 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. :)

Silent’s error was accidental in an otherwise outstanding post. I’ve made much worse errors at JinC and elsewhere.

Silent continues: 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.

Silent put things just right. I’ll only add: “Amen.”

Anon @ 11:36 AM said:


You make is very clear that


Some Duke students sometimes drink too much, drive too fast and do other things that are wrong.

But overall, I think Duke students are part of what’s good about Durham.

I’m glad they’re here.

I've seen many Duke students do wonderful things for our city. Their services as well as their fine character are underreported by our local media.

A number of Duke students have become my friends and my family’s friends.

I'm glad those students are an influence on our grandchildren.

And I’m glad you commented.

kbp, one of my favorite citizen journalists, said in part:

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.
That’s just what I understood kbd to say.

If I suggested otherwise, I apologize.

Here’s the next comment in full:
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 submitted 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.
I can’t judge whether “they threw in the blanket denial as an afterthought.”

I’m posting Anon@1:06’s comment in full as a way of saying to Anon@ 1:06: "If I in any way misunderstood your comment, I'm sorry. I’ve posted your explanation in full on the main page as a way of trying to set things right in case I misunderstood."

My guess is Anon @ 1:06 and I are very close together on Addison and his dismissal request.

BTW – For all of you: I very much doubt Addison will be dismissed as a defendant in a suit I feel certain will go forward to discovery and trial.

Anon @ 11:25 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.
DPD knew before 4/10 no brutal gang rape like Crystal Mangum claimed had been committed.

DPD knew that in the early morning hours of March 14 when then DPD Sgt. John Shelton found Mangum “passed out drunk” in “the second dancer’s” car and directed his back-up, DPD Officer Willie Barfield, to take Mangum to Durham Access.

If Shelton had seen anything like the severe, very possibly life threatening injuries a woman battered and gang-raped by three young athletic men for thirty minutes in a small bathroom would’ve suffered, he would’ve called for an ambulance and emergency medical assistance.

When then DA Mike Nifong first learned the details of Mangum’s false claim, etc., he too knew they were false.

I very strongly doubt Mangum was “confused about not having intimate activity for 7 days prior to 3/13/06.” But I can’t be sure.

I appreciate the comments as I’m sure most JinC readers do also.


drew said...

I’m not engaged in the legal profession, nor expertly trained in the law; however, many of the comments about Addison’s motion highlight one of the structural constraints that the defendants in the civil action must contend with – in order to get dismissed prior to discovery and trial, they need to assert a plausible defense to ALL the counts in the complaint that affect their own particular situation. As a result, any single defendant who can reasonably (and, possibly, provably) dispose of all matters except one will still find themselves in the mix when the case comes to trial.

Cpl. Addison’s problem in this regard is that he will be (and is) forced to argue some rather bogus explanations for why he would not be found to be culpable in many of the counts of the complaint. This is the reason for some rather tortuous parsing of explanations such as “…it might have been false, but it wasn’t misleading” or “… it happened, but it wasn’t intentional”. Let’s all be serious here, folks – Cpl. Addison was a professional police officer charged (at least in part) with being the Department’s spokespersons to the public, and the media. In addition, his responsibilities to CrimeStoppers had a similar “prudent man” requirement. He’s going to have a hard time arguing that he was caught up in the emotion of the case because all of his colleagues in the Department were similarly afflicted. He’s stuck with suggesting that he is (and was) a professional police officer (particularly in light of his recent promotion) who was swayed by the statements and actions of others, and that his statements to the public and press were inappropriate as a result. The result doesn’t “hang well” with the predicate, and his attorneys must surely realize this.

If he can’t get himself dismissed from the case, his defense will be interesting – he’s going to have to throw some other DPD folks under the bus in order to save his own skin, and the perjury laws might not let him get away with that one. My suspicion is that he did indeed truly believe the foundational aspects of the hoax; i.e., that a crime did take place, that the LAX players were the perpetrators of that crime, and that there was a collusive “wall of silence” used to hamper the investigation. He will likely argue that he wasn’t personally involved in the actual investigation, and could therefore not be expected to be personally aware of all of its most minute details. But that “defense” will fall under the weight of the “police professional’s” obligation to determine facts, not just assertions made by other people not directly involved in the case. Part of the job he was supposed to do would reasonably involve separating fact from hearsay, and checking the validity of the “facts” against the source of the statements.

I would acknowledge that Cpl. Addison could not be expected to be the first person within the DPD with whom relevant facts would be shared by the investigative team; however, the fact that some of his statements were made well after exculpatory information was available, and that once the statements were made, minimal resources were exerted in correcting or modifying the statements, speaks volumes about the DPD’s commitment to accuracy, or Cpl. Addison’s attention to detail. Both situations will not help him much in the legal gymnastics that will ensue.

JWM said...

Dear Drew,

I'm not a lawyer either but lawyers tell me the same thing you say with regard to dismissal: in order to get dismissed prior to discovery and trial, they need to assert a plausible defense to ALL the counts in the complaint that affect [Addison]

Thanks for a careful and most interesting post.