Friday, January 16, 2009

Two question for the N&O’s Saunders & Durham DA Cline

In Spring 2006 Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Barry Saunders wrote a series of columns hyping Crystal Mangum’s hoax, trashing the Duke lacrosse players and cheer leading for what many people recognized even then was a frame-up attempt led my now disbarred Mike Nifong.

Saunders even wrote a column urging the Durham city council to appoint Ron Hodge, the man who as deputy chief led the DPD Duke lacrosse “investigation,” the new police chief.

That was after we learned DPD spokespersons had lied to the public, incriminating evidence had been manufactured, and exculpatory evidence withheld.

When the students subsequently sued Durham city, DPD and others, Saunders said all each should receive was a fish sandwich, a pop drink and a one-way bus ticket out of town.

Although he never used his column to condemn those who waved the CASTRATE banner, shouted death threats at one of the innocent men in a courtroom or circulated Vigilante posters, Saunders sure wrote a lot about the Duke lacrosse case.

But now, when there’s a good chance that with the discovery and trial portions of the players suits looming, we'll learn much more about the gross injustices, including very likely crimes committed by some involved in it, Saunders wants to move on and forget about the injustices. so does Durham’s new DA, Tracey Cline, who served as a top ADA to Nifong during the frame-up attempt and its cover-up.

In a recent column Saunders offered readers an admiring portrait of Cline. Here’s the last part of it:

Cline didn't say what she would've done differently, but she insists that neither Durham County nor she is obsessed with the case that focused international attention on the job she now holds.

"The bottom line is, we all know [that] that one case out of 70,000 damaged Durham. Not just the DA's office, but all of the citizens, too. It wounded us, but it's a wound that will heal. When I go out and speak to residents, not one of them has ever asked me about" it.

"They want to know," she said, "how we're going to deal with the gangs, the habitual offenders and the break-ins" plaguing the city.

"I want to ensure the criminal justice system works for everybody," she said. "The first thing I need to do is make sure I have a team of prosecutors who share the same goals I have. ... I want -- and have -- prosecutors who're committed to justice every day, not just when the cameras are rolling. I don't want to just be a prosecutor who sends people to jail."

We have relegated the case to the trash cans of our memory, but not everyone has -- as I found out when visiting my dad in Washington, D.C., last month. His retiring next-door neighbor came over to show off a farewell card he'd received that day -- his last -- as a U.S. Department of Defense attorney. The card was signed by dozens of his employees and the dude had that mellow, unflappable glow you get from knowing you'll never have to punch another clock.

This soft-spoken, gentle man became enraged -- to put it mildly -- as he told what he'd like to do to Nifong.

He was on such a roll that I didn't bother telling him that the new DA is named Cline, not Nifong. If you doubt it, just ask anybody in Durham.


I’ve two questions for Saunders and Cline:

1) The testimony under oath of the case’s two principal DPD investigating officers, Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan, directly contradicts DA Cline’s public statements regarding her role in securing of the NTO.

See Who owns that “toxic” NTO?(1/13/08), NTO battle - Durham DA v. Police (1/17/08),and Durham ADA changes NTO story.(2/2/08)

Doesn’t the Durham public need to know who’s lying?

2) In a few days we’ll honor the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. Do you agree he’d want us to uncover the facts of the frame-up attempt and the cover-up its spawned instead of dismissing the victims with “a fish sandwich, a Yoo-hoo and a one-way Greyhound bus ticket?”


Anonymous said...

Poetic Justice would look like this: N & O goes belly up and it is Barry Saunders, with a sack lunch and a pop drink in hand, stepping onto the bus. Steve in New Mexico

Anonymous said...

Everything I've read from Saunders has shown he is rabid racist and hate-monger. I wouldn't expect him to acknowledge or apologize for his lies and biased comments. The late Dr. King rolls over in his grave every time Saunders opines.
Tarheel Hawkeye

bill anderson said...

What else can we expect from a racist like Saunders? For that matter, what else would we expect from the newspaper that gave us the Hoax/Frame in the first place?

Of course, Durham has "moved on." They're angry that they could not get a false and wrongful conviction but, hey, they are really forgiving people in Durham, so they will let it pass.

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson has nailed it. He usually does.

Anonymous said...

I just don't see what is the big deal about the NTO. It appears Himan asked her how they were to get the testing done and she told him he needed an NTO. Are you saying she told Himan to lie in the NTO or assisted him and Gottlieb in writing the thing? Are you saying she presented it to the judge and got it signed? I think it is clear she didn't put a lot of importance on this thing and had more important and pressing matters to attend to. The players decided not to fight the NTO and the test results were a big factor in getting the accused declared innocent.
As far as your 2 questions for Saunders and Cline they are both more concerned with the questions from Durham residents about crime and gang activity. As they should be. It is good to see that Cline is more concerned with the real issues in Durham.

JWM said...

Blogger JWM said...

To Anon @ 8:07,

I'll be traveling a good part of the day so won't respond to your comment until this evening or tomorrow.

By than others may have.

In the meantime, I'll just say this: Your comment is so like the sort of thing I'd expect Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley to write.

You wouldn't be Bob, would you?


9:13 AM

Anonymous said...

In today's WSJ, Alan Dershowitz lists and explains his five top picks of accounts of legal cases. Saunders and Cline might want to tkae a look as Dershowitz selects Until Proven Innocent by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr. stating"...(they) pillory not only the prosecutor in the supposed sexual acssault case - he was eventually disbarred after charges against the three players were dropped before going to trial - but also the president of Duke University and those on his faculty who were willing to sacrifice innocent students as a bizarre form of racial reparation. The Duke case demonstrates how contemporary political correctness, run amok, can deform the legal system just as dramatically as other prejudices have in the past."
Saunders is an example of someone who is bound and determined that there needs to be a payback by whites for slavery and Cline demonstrates by her words and actions that the DA's office has learned nothing from the Duke case.

Anonymous said...

To the 8.07:
You say "(Cline) had more important and pressing matters to attend to." Interesting that you should make such an observation; you must have some inside information, so just what were those more important and pressing matters? In reading the news accounts from the HS, the N&O, and The New York Times it's obvious the DA's office was pretty spun-up over the lacrosse frame from day one. Was Cline perhaps the only ADA who wasn't working overtime to put four innocent men in prison for a crime that never happened? The "big deal" about the NTO was that it stood the United States Constitution on its head and violated normal prosecution practice. That's the "big deal." Maybe if it were you or one of your family who was being railroaded by Nifong and his staff (including Cline), you'd have a slightly different take on the matter. Fortunately, you are in the distinct minority as regards reaction to this near-tragic miscarriage of justice. We can only marvel at your willingness to condone such behavior.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

A further observation: Every single Assistant District Attorney in Nifong's office had to know it was a frame. Their denials prove either willful ignorance or corrupt depravity. A case with the notoriety such as the lacrosse frame had is not one which ADAs overlook or ignore. Cline, like all her fellow prosecutors, is corrupt, plain and simple.
Her claim that she is now working vigorously to stop the gangs and improve the parole system is merely an attempt to paint herself as a dedicated public servant. She is a public disgrace.
Tarheel Hawkeye