This post builds on these two post: A clanger in the Addison Motion to Dismiss (7/7/08) and More about the Addison Motion clanger. (7/8/08)
If you haven't already read them and their threads, I encourage you to do so.
Moving on - - -
Both posts include the following from attorney James Maxwell's Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of Durham Police Sgt. David Addison and three other DPD members (two sworn, one civilian) :
”after March 21 (one week after the alleged events had occurred), none of these Plaintiffs were even considered a part of he (sic) ongoing investigation.” (emphasis mine)A commenter asked whether “the 3/21 date [could] just be a typo -- and the intended date be after the Evans indictment -- when Nifong said something to the effect that there were no more suspects?"
That’s a fair question many reasonable people will ask.
I’ll respond to it here and hope I convince the questioner and other reasonable people that, while “the 3/21 date” may be a typo, it’s also a clanger: a conspicuous mistake whose effects reverberate beyond the immediate circumstances of the mistake.
Let’s begin by granting for purposes of this post the date was a typo and that attorney Maxwell really meant to state a date on or after Nifong said the Plaintiffs were not suspects.
Nifong made such a statement on May 16, 2006, the day he sought and obtained the indictment of David Evans whom he knew then was innocent of the charges brought in the indictment. This from newsobserver.com on May 16, 2006:
Nifong said in a statement that there will be no more charges in the case.Now let’s allow, again only for purposes of this post, that Maxwell files an Amended Motion to Dismiss in which he tells the court and all other parties to the suits something like this:
"At the outset of this investigation, I said that it was just as important to remove the cloud of suspicion from the members of the Duke University lacrosse team who were not involved in this assault as it was to identify the actual perpetrators," Nifong wrote. "For that reason, I believe it is important to state publicly today that none of the evidence that we have developed implicates any member of that team other than those three against whom indictments have been returned."
”I didn’t mean to say the Plaintiffs weren’t considered part of the ongoing investigation after March 21. I meant to say they weren’t considered part of the ongoing investigation after May 16.There’ll be reverberations from that.
Consider just some of what Maxwell will be conspicuously acknowledging on behalf of his clients:
The Plaintiffs were considered suspects after March 28, the day Nifong learned from the state lab the DNA testing was negative for the Plaintiffs and the rest of the 46 lacrosse players tested (Clang!).
They were considered suspects after April 4 when none of the Plaintiffs were picked out in the rigged photo lineup by false accuser Crystal Mangum (Clang!).
The Plaintiffs were even considered suspects after DNA Securities' Dr. Meehan told Nifong and Durham Police investigators Gottlieb and Himan his testing produced positive matches for one of Mangum's "drivers" and four unidentified males, but NO positive matches for the Plaintiffs or any of their teammates. (Clang!)
With the hypothetical Amended Motion we're considering here, Maxwell will be reminding everyone that his clients, the Defendants, treated the Plaintiffs as suspects throughout the events we've just read.
And he'll be telling everyone, particularly judge Beaty whose duty it will be to read and rule on the Amended Motion, that Maxwell's clients didn't stop treating the Plaintiffs as suspects until the day Nifong and the Durham Police investigators secured David Evans indictment.
That was a shocking injustice judge Beaty has no doubt known about since April 2007 when NC attorney general Roy Cooper declared Evans and the two other Duke lacrosse players innocent.
An Amended Motion such as the hypothetical one we've considered will remind Beaty of the Duke lacrosse investigative travesties and injustices. So too will whatever response the Plaintiff's attorney, Bob Ekstrand, makes to Maxwell's March 21 reference
I hope you agree Maxwell dropped a clanger.