Saturday, February 02, 2008

Durham ADA Changes NTO Story

The Durham Herald Sun reports today Freda Black's announcement she'll be a candidate for DA in this year’s primary scheduled for May 6. Black was the disgraced Mike Nifong’s major opponent in the 2006 Democratic DA primary race.

A former Durham ADA, Black was dismissed by Nifong when he was appointed DA by the governor to fill the unexpired term of his predecessor who’d been made a judge. Black is now in private practice.

The H-S story also mentions current Durham ADA Tracey Cline who has told friends and supporters she’ll be a candidate in the May primary.

The story includes this:

Cline defended her role in getting a court order for DNA evidence from 46 lacrosse players "as a regular routine that any assistant district attorney or district attorney would give police advice to do everyday."
What the H-S reports today Cline is now saying represents a major change from what on Jan. 9 the H-S reported Cline said:
From the Jan. 9 Durham H-S - - -

[…] At the heart of the matter is material taken from the notes of lacrosse case lead detective Ben Himan, and notes and a deposition from Durham police Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

They referred to Cline's role in the creation of a non-testimonial order, or NTO, that allowed police to take photographs of and collect DNA evidence from 46 of the 47 members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Cline denied that she had any role in writing the order.

"The record will indicate that David Saacks did it," she said. Saacks is the interim district attorney but was an assistant DA at that time. "I didn't prepare any paperwork on that case. Nothing at all. I've never even seen or laid hands on a non-testimonial order."

She said, "I remember Gottlieb asked me about a non-testimonial order, and I told him I was not available."

But when asked by The Herald-Sun whether she'd asked police to draft the non-testimonial order, Cline responded, "I don't recall."

Himan's notes and Gottlieb's deposition indicate that police consulted Cline on March 22, 2006, after they learned players, on the advice of attorneys, wouldn't show up that day for a scheduled meeting with investigators.
How about that?

In less than a month Cline has gone from saying she was unable to “recall” whether she’d directed police to prepare the NTO to defending her role in getting the NTO as just “a regular routine that any assistant district attorney or district attorney would give police advice to do everyday."

Quite a change, isn’t it?

Did Cline have “a recovered memory” experience all by herself. Or did someone(s) remind her that she did have a role in securing the NTO?

If someone(s) did, who was that someone(s)? What was said to Cline that improved her memory?

Now that her memory’s improved, does Cline agree with what Gottlieb and Himan have been saying: that she directed them to prepare the NTO?

That question needs to be answered. We shouldn’t have to wait for discovery to get Cline’s answer. She should give it now.

Cline should also tell us on what basis she at least supported and perhaps ordered the preparation of an NTO request which was anything but routine. In fact, it’s been called "mammothly unconstitutional" and a "dragnet fishing expedition."

Readers following the case, especially those with questions concerning the who, why, when and how of the securing of the NTO, may be interested to read:

Who “Owns” that “Toxic” NTO? (1/13/08)

NTO Battle – Durham DA v. Police (1/17/08)

Today's entire H-S story is
here.

6 comments:

Tarheel Hawkeye said...

I'd say Ms. Cline has very selective memory. Does anyone know if she's got legal rep or is she doing it herself? She may just be dumb enough to think she doesn't need a rep. The plaintiff counsels will eat her alive if she does.

kbp said...

Thanks John

I saw the articles at WRAL and the HS. Even left a couple comments. Rather disappointing group to select from, IMO.

bill anderson said...

I also have to wonder if Cline lied when she said that she had not looked at the case files in the lacrosse case. Nifong was counting on her, the rape victim, to aggressively prosecute this case, and she says that even though she was to have a major role in the trial, that she had done NO preparation?

Right. And pigs fly.

Anonymous said...

The DNA coming up negative to the team was the single most important factor in swinging public opinion in the team's favor - IMOO, The team was glad to give over their DNA swabs to prove they were innocent of the alleged crime.

Anonymous said...

The DNA coming up negative to the team was the single most important factor in swinging public opinion in the team's favor - IMOO, The team was glad to give over their DNA swabs to prove they were innocent of the alleged crime.

sceptical said...

John,

You asked some excellent questions that candidate Ms. Cline needs to answer (hopefully before the depositions in the civil case so she can't "spin" her reply). I posted part of your column on Liestoppers Forum for broader comment.

sceptical