Sunday, April 05, 2009

Professor Coleman on Duke Lax, Stevens, Law Enforcement

Yesterday Duke School of Law professor James Coleman at Huffington Post began:

The United States has one of the best criminal justice systems on earth; in practice, however, there are two systems. One system, the one that tried former Senator Ted Stevens, seeks justice. The other system, the one to which the public is largely indifferent, is the one in which the kind of misconduct that freed Mr. Stevens is both common and tolerated.
Professor Coleman overgeneralizes when he says the “system” that tried Stevens was seeking “justice.”

Parts of the “system” appear to have done that; but other system parts – the prosecutors – during both the pre-trial and trial periods were so malfeasant that the trial judge was forced to throw out the jury verdict of guilty on multiple counts.

Attorney general Holder now says the case is so tainted the government won’t seek a retrial.

Coleman has a good deal to say not only about the Stevens case, but also the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt.

I disagree with some of what Coleman says about the frame-up attempt, but that's for another day.

Liestoppers Meeting has the full text of Coleman’s post here followed by, as of 10:30 AM ET, an extremely well-informed, incisive string of comments


Anonymous said...

If the system worked as Coleman posits, then I earnestly pray that he will be maliciously prosecuted as were the lacrosse players for a crime that never happened.
If the system worked, Nifong would have dropped the investigation upon receipt of the negative DNAs.
If the system worked, Himan and Gottlieb would never have had the chance to perjure themselves before a grand jury.
If the system worked, any one of the five (?) NC judges would have thrown the case out of court.
I have a news flash for Professor Doctor Coleman. The system is broken. The system has been abused by the Nifongs, the Himans, the Gottliebs to the extent that it is unable to function as a system of justice. North Carolina courts don't dispense justice, they freely interpret the law and their atitude is "bring the guilty bastard in and we'll give him a fair trial."
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

In a NY Times op ed piece by John Farmer (a lawyer who was the attorney general for NJ from 1999-2002) which appeared in Friday's edition, Farmer states that the Steven's case " did not occur in a vacuum and should not be treated as an isolated instance." He goes on to mention the lacrosee case where he states "...the reputations of several students were destroyed by a county district attorney pursuing political ambitions, and who was later disbarred and convicted of friminal contempt."
Coleman might want to take a look at Farmer's piece as Farmer believes that "prosecutorial misconduct takes many forms, from failing to disclose critical evidence to disclosing information illegally to the press to overreaching in the exercise of the prosecutor's discretion. Underlying all of them is a frightening misconception of the role of the prosecutor."
Unfortunately, we increasingly have a justice system that has been politicized beyond belief. Despite what the Democrats want to admit, this did not begin with the last Bush administration. Until real changes are made, we will continue to have a justice system that reacts to political (and here I would say that the pc agenda is front and center) considerations rather than seeking to restore "the imperative that prosecutors seek justice, and nothing more."
Farmer calls on AG Holder and the Justice Department to "commit to investigating all illegal disclosures of grand jury evidence and instances of courtroom misconduct, and to punish those responsible." Such a step would go a long way to restoring a confidence in the legal system. The fact that none of those involved in the hoax perpetrated on RCD have seen any jail time (the one night jail sleepover that Nifong "attended" the lone, laughable exception) should be rectified - and could be by some action by the Justice Department.
Until that is done, Coleman's belief that the system does work is merely just one of many fairy tales that people tell themselves often enough until they believe them to be true.

Anonymous said...

And addition to my first post:
If the system worked, the wronged parties would be able to access grand jury records to determine what "evidence" was presented to obtain the indictments. But North Carolina is one of only three states that do not make transcripts or other recordings of GJ testimony.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't North Carolina keep a transcript of Grand Jury proceedings? Why doesn't the legal establishment of the state demand it?

Anonymous said...

The North Carolina legal establishment, AKA: Good Ol' Boy network of corrupt judges and slick lawyers, likes it just the way it is.
In the 2008 session of the legislature in Raleigh, a Mecklenburg Senator submitted a bill requiring transcripts for all GJ proceedings. By some miracle of alchemy or perhaps intercession of Mandrake the Magician, the third version of the bill magically changed itself to a permit for judges to perform marriages. And nobody in the legislature batted an eye! I sent an email to the senator asking WTF, but never received a reply (surprise, surprise).
It's because of stuff like this that so many people today love their country but distrust and dislike their government.
FACT: The perjured testimony of Himan and Gottlieb was the sole rationale for the indictment of the players.
FACT: Subsequent investigation by the attorney general proved there was no crime committed.
ERGO: What "evidence" could have been offered? We'll never know, and that's the way most of the lawyers and judges like it. Am I cynical? You bet your butt I am!
Tarheel Hawkeye

Ken said...

Professor Coleman is emblematic of lefty jurisprudence in that he believes doing anything, legal or illegal, constitutional or unconstitutional, moral or immoral that produces the result he desires is "seeking justice". It is the attitude of statists and tyrants everywhere. It is also the attitude of our media.

I have no particular affection for Ted Stevens and Alaska Republicans should have rejected him but he was subject to a show trial and a false conviction. Coleman, like Nifong, is no different than any other member of a lynch mob.