Sunday, June 28, 2009

DPD Deputy Chief Hodge On Mar. 14, 2006 & Thereafter

Readers Note: If you're not familiar with the contents of:

Why Nifong Knew On Mar. 14

Sceptical’s Response To "Why Nifong Knew On Mar. 14"

Sceptical Says Nifong Knew Before Mar. 23

Nifong Copier “Discovery” Story: A Fantastic Lie

I encourage you to read those posts before reading the one which follows below the star line because that post presumes you’re very familiar with the contents of the four posts I’ve just cited and linked to.



The entire thread of
Nifong Copier “Discovery” Story: A Fantastic Lie is well worth reading.

In the coming days I’ll respond to part or all of each of the 15 comments presently there.

I’ll begin here with an interlinear response to part of one of sceptical’s thread comments.

Sceptical’s in italics; I’m in plain.

Sceptical said in part - - -

… I do not think to start with that there was an overall conspiracy (that happened later).

I agree although I think we should allow that one or more officials who were on the case very early (Mar. 14, 15 & 16) already had, at least in his/her or their minds, the idea/wish to “get something on these guys no matter.”

That said, in those first days it was right for officials to respond to Mangum’s charges with a full, fair investigation.

There’s no doubt that by Mar. 23 when Nifong’s chief ADA David Saacks agreed to “walk” the “mammothly unconstitutional” NTO “through the court” conspirators were already involved in a frame-up attempt.

But there's a great deal we don't know about the actions between Mar. 14 and 23 of power figures connected to the DL frame.

We'll have a much better understanding of how and why the frame was attempted when we know, for example, what DPD Deputy Chief Ron Hodge and some of the other key figures did between Mar. 14 and 23 as well as what they did after that timeframe.

I believe there was a convergence of interests, the combination of which was quite unlucky for the team.

You’re right about that.

1) A mentally-ill prostitute who did not want to be incarcerated, for whom a rape claim was the way out;

And whom, as she rested all snug in her bed,
Saw visions of $ $ $ $ dance in her head.

2) A Duke-hating cop who wanted revenge for being transferred;

Gottlieb’s a very complex guy whose role in the frame attempt and the ongoing cover-up has been largely misconstrued because of all the “Duke-hating cop” talk.

It’s a given Gottlieb’s a “Dukie hater;”

and he certainly had a central and odious role in the frame-up attempt;

and there’s no doubt he produced bogus “notes” to support both the frame-up attempt and the ongoing cover-up;

but with all of that,

if we want to understand how the frame developed we must acknowledge the truth of what a very wise person told me as the frame-up began to unravel:

“Gottlieb wouldn’t have been in there for a heartbeat unless the top commend wanted him there; the city, too.”

Gottlieb no doubt had his own internal motives for much of what he did.

But during Mar. 2006 Gottlieb wasn't some kind of off-the-range freelancer; he was the dutiful agent of DPD's top command.

3) A wannabe SANE rookie whose feminist ideology outweighed professional ethics;

Sceptical, the concision and truth in that sentence made me want to cheer.

It’s a sentence Churchill would’ve loved; and one Strunk and White would score “A” for its omitting “needless words” and making “every word tell.”

4) A cowardly university administration who wanted to teach the athletes a lesson and wanted to curry favor with the city;

Faced with the obvious lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong, Duke was indeed “cowardly.” Dishonest, too.

5) A politically desperate prosecutor who needed a big case to ensure his salary and pension;

It’s not important to the injustices of the case; or to the struggle to discover as much of the truth as we can; or to hold to some account those responsible for the wrongs; or to acknowledge those who in tough circumstances did right;

but just for the record I’d like to say:

I’ve never bought in to the “ensure his salary and pension” explanation.


6) News media looking for a hot story with "Sex, lies and Duke."

That’s true as regards much of media that came on “the story” after Mar. 25, 2006 when the Raleigh N&O sent across the nation and the world a story its headlines told readers without any qualification suggesting doubt was about “a night” which ended in “sexual violence.”

You take away any of these 6 factors and there might not have been a "Duke Lacrosse Scandal."

Later on, there was a more organized conspiracy between Duke, the Durham police, and the Durham administration. See Ekstrand's civil suit.

But at the beginning it appears there was an unfortunate combination of circumstances leading to a disaster.

Sceptical, you’re doing here what few people following the DL case do: you’re looking forward from “the beginning” (Mar 13/14) and asking questions.

Let’s imagine we’re in Durham early on the morning of Mar.14, 2006. We’ve just heard about Mangum’s false charges made at Duke’s ER.

At that moment we know nothing else about what would become the DL case.

But we are safe in assuming that however flimsy the woman's charges, they’ll be some kind of police investigation which, when any rape charges are made, is the proper police response.

Given the explosive nature of the most serious crimes alleged - - a black woman accusing white Duke students of gang-raping and beating her - - we would reasonably think that police command will make sure the investigation is headed by a top investigator known for empathy, investigative skill and fairness.

But on Mar. 16 we learn Gottlieb’s been put in charge of the investigation.

Gotttlieb’s record suggested he wasn’t likely to lead a fair investigation; yet he was put in charge of it.

Looking forward from Mar. 14 we can say with certainty the decision to put Gottlieb in charge, made in the first days of the case, was made with knowing disregard of the need for an empathic, skilled and fair investigator leading such a sensitive and potentially explosive investigation.

What we knew by Mar. 16 gave us strong reason to doubt DPD top command wanted a fair and full investigation of Mangum's charges

Who put Gottlieb in charge of the investigation? And why?

I'd like to ask DPD Deputy Chief Ron Hodge those questions.

Recall that Hodge was in day-to-day charge of the department during most of the “investigation” while the since retired Chief, Steve Chalmers, was, we were told, taking care of his mother who was ill and residing in Durham.

In this post I provided a link to an April 12, 2006 MSNBC story which included this from Hodge:

"I don't think we would be here if it wasn't (a strong case)," Maj. Ron Hodge, the assistant (sic) chief of the Durham Police Department, said after the forum. (Hodge is deputy chief. The parenthetical "a strong case" is in the MSNBC story. – JinC )(bold added).
Nine months later in January 2007 when Nifong stepped aside and turned the case over to the NC Attorney General’s office, Hodge assured the Raleigh News & Observer DPD had collected evidence and that the case would go forward. I posted on the story here. The post contains a link to the N&O story which included:
Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge said Nifong's stepping aside won't change the substance of the evidence collected by the department's detectives that a sexual assault occurred. (bold added)

Hodge said he thinks that the case will still go forward and that the remaining charges will be prosecuted.

"I don't think it changes anything that we've done," Hodge said. "It just means that we'll have to deal with a different attorney."
Why did Hodge say in April, 2006 DPD had a strong case when, as we now know, it never had any credible evidence?

Hodge must have known that then.

Why did Hodge claim in January, 2007 that DPD had collected evidence which would enable a prosecutor to go forward with the case when, as the Attorney General said just three months later, there was no credible evidence any crime had been committed?

What was Hodge doing?

What has Hodge done in connection with the DL case starting on Mar. 14, 2006 and going forward from there?

The Duke lacrosse victims and their families deserve to know. So does the public.


Anonymous said...

It strikes me that Hodge is like a lot of deputies and assistants in bureaucracies. He didn't have a grasp of what was going on and believed everything his subordinates told him. Thus, when Gottlieb assured him there was ample evidence to prosecute, Hodge took him at his word. Then he embarrassed himself by making public statements--even after Nifong had been exposed--that the Durham police were prepared for a full court press. I have no knowledge of Hodge's background or training, but any senior police official who puts himself on the record without knowing a case in its entirety either is an amateur or a out-and-out phony. A good cop doesn't let himself get put in such a position PERIOD.
What is Hodge doing these days? If he's still on the Durham payroll then the city is more screwed up than I could have imagined.
Tarheel Hawkeye

sceptical said...


Your point is well-taken that how Gottlieb assumed the investigation of Mangum's charges is vital to the question of an "early" conspiracy.

One of the civil suits suggests a benign explanation: when Inv. Buffy Jones of the DPD decided to close the file on the rape charge, Crystal's claims of robbery still remained. Such a robbery charge would be in Gottlieb's bailiwick because he was in charge of property crimes in District Two. (see para. 132 and 133 in Carrington et al v. Duke et al.)

However, this seems unlikely. Gottlieb was working at City Hall when he found out about the case.
His assignment was most probably approved by someone who was his superior.

It could have been Rod Hodge, as you suggest, but there are other possibilities including Capt. Jeff Lamb, the new district commander.

Depositions from just a few of these people will answer how Gottlieb got assigned to the case and, just as importantly, who approved Nifong taking over the case.

(Note to Tarheel Hawkeye: Ron Hidge is still an assistant chief of police in Durham).


Ron Hodge is still one of two assistant chiefs of the DPD.

Anonymous said...

The answer to the questions that you pose are fundamental to the case - I have a hard time believing that the deputy chief of police would not be fully briefed about a case - especially knowing that it was a case dealing with an explosive issue. Durham is no backwater jurisdiction. It is an important city in North Carolina where it would be expected (especially given the presence of a law school of some reputation) that playing fast and loose with the law is done at one's peril. Yet, that is what was done with nary a peep from the Duke legal community. Why is that? While I am not a big believer in conspiracy theories, from the very beginning it seems as if there are way too many coincidencies and unanswered questions.

inmyhumbleopinion said...

sceptical said...
One of the civil suits suggests a benign explanation: when Inv. Buffy Jones of the DPD decided to close the file on the rape charge, Crystal's claims of robbery still remained. Such a robbery charge would be in Gottlieb's bailiwick because he was in charge of property crimes in District Two. (see para. 132 and 133 in Carrington et al v. Duke et al.)

However, this seems unlikely. Gottlieb was working at City Hall when he found out about the case.
His assignment was most probably approved by someone who was his superior.



4 Q. All right. Let's talk a little bit
5 about the investigation itself. When was your initial
6 contact about this case, about the investigation?
7 A. I was called on Wednesday. I don't know
8 the.
9 Q. You are welcome to look at the
10 investigative notes.
11 A. 3/15/06, I was a called by Investigator
12 Jones, and I was working off-duty at City Hall.

13 Q. All right. What division is
14 Investigator Jones in?
15 A. She works at District 5, Investigations.
16 And I believe -- I don't know if she still works there
17 now or not. I think she may have been transferred to
18 District 4, but I'm not sure.
19 Q. And later that day you agreed to adopt
20 -- she asked you -- from your notes, it appears that
21 she asked you if District 2 would take over the
22 investigation?
23 A. Uh-huh (yes).

24 Q. And you agreed to do that later in the
25 day?
Margaret M. Powell, CVR - (919) 779-0322

Sgt. M.D. Gottlieb - 4/19/07
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you did agree, you agreed to take it
3 over later that day?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. You said that you assigned
6 Investigator Himan as the primary investigator on what
7 became the Duke lacrosse cases?
8 A. Yes.

I was working off duty at Durham City Hall when I received a call from Inv. B. Jones in reference to a case she was handling. She stated there was a rape reported at 610 N. Buchanan which is in District 2...

...I explained to Inv. Jones that District 2 Investigations could take over the case if she needed our assistance, however, I explained to her it would be in the best interest of the victim to limit the number of interviews of the traumatic event. I advised her we should first consult with Sgt. Fransler and see if she agreed on this decision to transfer this case to District 2 from the On-Call Team. If in fact District 2 adopted this case, the interview for this evening would need to be canceled and the District 2 Investigator who would be assigned in the morning would interview the victim then. Inv. Jones stated she would discuss this with her Sergeant and get back to me.

INCIDENT #06-8310 TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOR COUNCIL (prepared by Gottlieb)

3/15/2006 1720HRS:

610 N. Buchanan is in District 2. The case - a reported rape - was transferred from the On Call Team to The Durham Police District 2 Criminal Investigations Division. According to Gottlieb this was done at the request of the On Call officer, Inv. B.S. Jones, and on the approval of her superior, Sgt. Fansler.

sceptical said...

Thanks to IMHO for the references to the Gottlieb deposition. Sgt. Fansler is also listed in the civil suits as being involved in the decision for Gottlieb to take over the case.

However, I take what Gottlieb said with a big grain of salt. What he is saying may be correct, but I suspect it is only a half-truth. As J in C suggests, there may have been involvement of higher-ups beyond Fansler which Gottlieb may not have mentioned.