Sunday, September 21, 2008

Durham conviction’s tossed. N&O ignores its Duke frame sames

The front page of today Raleigh News & Observer headlines:

Man walks free after 7 years in prison

Judge throws out Durham case that put a youth behind bars
The story under reporter Anne Blythe’s byline begins:

Erick Daniels spent nearly a third of his 22 years behind bars for crimes a judge said Friday he did not commit. …

Judge Orlando Hudson threw out the case and ordered his release Friday after a day and a half of hearings.

Carlos Mahoney, a Durham lawyer who took on the case several years ago, argued that Daniels had ineffective legal representation at the trial and appeals level. Mahoney also said Daniels was the victim of prosecutors who withheld evidence that would have helped his defense, and of police who used a flawed photo lineup to identify him. …

His case was sent to Durham Superior Court and, at age 15, he was tried as an adult. At trial, a prosecutor relied on [the victim’s] identification of Daniels. She identified him from a middle-school yearbook photo after 30 minutes of study.

The state offered no physical evidence or corroborating testimony linking Daniels to the crime. Daniels was found guilty and sentenced to 10 to 14 years in prison. He would have been eligible for release in 2012. …

Robert Harris, the lawyer who defended Daniels at trial, testified at the hearing this week that, in hindsight, his counsel had been flawed. ...

Harris also opened the door for this week's hearing. A client told Harris that he committed the burglary and robbery, information that was not available during Daniels' trial.

Knowing that put Harris in a difficult spot. The evidence could exonerate Daniels, but under rules that govern attorney-client relationships, the information was privileged and potentially damaging to his client.

Eventually, Harris told Freda Black, the prosecutor in the case, that another man had confessed. Black, called to the stand Thursday, testified that she did not pursue the information. …

The entire N&O story’s here.


Reporter Anne Blythe was bylined in spring 2006 on many of the N&O’s racially inflammatory and biased Duke Hoax stories, including the most infamous of them: the deliberately fraudulent and racially inflammatory March 25 story with a headline telling readers it was about a woman’s “ordeal” during a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

In truth, the Duke lacrosse case was really about the trashing, libeling and endangerment of the Men’s lacrosse team and an extensive frame-up attempt of three of its members.

The Duke frame-up attempt, led by now disbarred former Durham DA Mike Nifong with enablement from many others, included withholding of evidence and a rigged photo ID process.

The frame-up attempt has resulted a number of major suits, including three now working their way through the federal court system.

Yet with all of that, there’s no mention of the Duke frame-up attempt or the suits in Blythe’s almost 900-word story.

Why is that?

IMO Blythe and the N&O want people to forget about the witch hunt, frame-up attempt and ongoing cover-up, in all three of which the N&O's played a leading and disgraceful role.

In its print edition, a small sidebar using very small font accompanies Blythe’s story:“Durham Prosecutions Take Another Hit.” The N&O notes past instances of both Durham police and prosecutorial misconduct. It says only this about one of the most important, extensive and notorious cases of police and prosecutorial misconduct in North Carolina’s history:
The Duke lacrosse case of 2006-07 case exposed the misconduct of Mike Nifong, the former district attorney who was stripped of his license and ousted from office for withholding evidence of the accused players' innocence.