Under the headline “Fed judge KO's Duke, city's lacrosse plea” the Durham Herald Sun’s Ray Gronberg reports:
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from Duke University and Durham's government for sanctions against the legal team that's representing 38 members of the 2005-06 Duke men's lacrosse team.The rest of Gronberg’s story’s here.
U.S. District Judge James Beaty Jr. held that the Web site, news release and news conference the players and their attorneys used to publicize the filing of the case in February didn't run afoul of ethical guidelines intended to assure a fair trial.
Beaty stressed that under the law, Duke and Durham had to show the statements made on behalf of the players had a substantial likelihood of prejudicing jurors.
The lead attorney for the players, Charles Cooper, said prejudice isn't likely, given that a trial in the federal civil-rights lawsuit is likely a year and a half away.
Beaty also noted that he and lawyers for both sides would also have a chance, when the trial begins, to question potential jurors and screen out any who've formed an opinion about the case. …
At the website Duke sought to shut down, www.dukelawsuit.com, the following statement is posted:
Chief Judge James A. Beaty, Jr. of the US District Court in Winston-Salem today denied Duke University’s and the City of Durham’s motion to sanction lawyers for the 38 Duke lacrosse players for holding a news conference and maintaining a blog about their lawsuit.The judge's ruling won’t come as a surprise to those of you who’ve followed the case in posts here.
Judge Beatty issued an order which included guidance to both the plaintiffs’ and the defendants’ attorneys about their relations to the news media.
We will study the judge’s guidance and govern ourselves accordingly. …
This post - Duke lowers bar and stumbles - includes some of my thoughts on the motion as well as the much more expert thinking of attorneys Paul Mirangoff (blogs at Powerline.com) and Jason Trumpbour ( spokesperson for Friends of Duke University and University of Maryland Law School professor) who are both linked in the post.
See also Duke's Motion a Stumble
Regarding Cooper’s statement that a trial is a year and a half away, keep in mind that discovery would occur well before the start of a trial.
I’m very glad to be reporting what is good news for citizens who wish to keep themselves informed concerning a civil rights suit with implications not simply for the parties directly involved, but for justice in America.
Hat tip: Very alert blog friend in NY