Thursday, July 02, 2009

DPD & The Non-Lacrosse Students At The Party

Readers Note: On the thread of Nifong Copier “Discovery” Story: A Fantastic Lie there are six comments – three each from cks and skeptical – concerning the actions and inactions of DPD Duke lacrosse investigators in the first days and weeks of the hoax and frame attempt.

I’ve combined cks and sceptical’s three comments each on the thread into two comments each here on the main page.

Combining their comments that way sets up a Q&A which is very informative as to what DPD was and was not doing in Mar. and Apr. 2006 regarding the non-lacrosse students who were at the party.

The exchange between cks and skeptical will also no doubt lead many of you to ask probing questions which ought to have been asked in 2006 by media and answered then by DPD.

Keeping in mind the wise admonition: “Don’t get in the way of a good thing,” I’ll say nothing more in this post except "thank you" to cks and sceptical.



cks asks - - -

If, as the news reports indicated, there were both students and non-students in attendance at the party, why were only lacrosse members' (who of course had to be students at Duke)pictures shown to Crystal Mangum? I think that this also goes to the heart of the frame. . . .

sceptical responds - - -

There were at least 2 students at the party who were not members of the lacrosse team-- Brent Saeli and Blake Boehimler (see Himan's case notes).

That prompts cks to ask - - -

This raises the question as to why those two students pictures were not a part of the photo array shown to Crystal?

Who made the decision not to include them?

Would their inclusion (in the photo line-up)have made the frame more difficult to maintain?

sceptical answers - - -

cks asks why pictures of [the two students] who were not lacrosse players were not shown to Mangum.

The answer is that the police were not really sure of who was at the party, even among the lacrosse players. Duke Police gave them pictures of the lacrosse team which is what were used in the March 14 and 21 ID sessions with Mangum.

The April 4 session used the pictures taken pursuant to the NTO on March 23.

However, by then Himan had contacted and interviewed Brent and Blake.

From his notes:

** 3/28/06 1720hrs - Went to the apartment of William Blake Boehmler ---/---/---- /7/84, he agreed to come to the station to talk about what happened on 3/13/06. Mr. Boehmler signed a non-custodial form and was advised that the meeting was voluntarily and he was free to go at any time and that he was not in custody. He stated that he was invited by some of the lacrosse players to the party, he stated that he came over. The girls started to dance he stated that none of them looked impaired and that he stated that there was an argument and someone mentioned something about a pimp. Mr. Bohemler stated he got scared and decided to leave (due to him being on probation) and that he left with Brent Saili back to 1107 Urban Ave. He gave name of friend that he was with at the time of the party and who he was during the night Brent Saeli... **

So pictures of Brent and Blake could have and should have been used in the April 4 session-- they were not. . . .


Ex-prosecutor said...

This case illustrates perfectly the need for a prosecutor, in a high publicity and what is to be a hotly contested case, to become involved during the investigation, not to lead it, but to view the matter with a skeptical eye, to make certain there actually is a prosecutable case, that all leads have been followed, and that evidence which might exculpate those charged has not been ignored in the rush to an indictment.

Two dangers of such early involvement are loss of prosecutorial immunity, since investigation is not a traditional function of the prosecutor and that the prosecutor may become so involved as to become a witness, leaving the prosecution to another.

Here, the back and forth questions and explanations perfectly illustrate what can happen when a prosecutor, instead of exercising case and skepticism, instead tries to lead the lynch mob.

What the makeup of the jury would have been for the trial of this case we will never know. However, my experience in trying high publicity cases involving black defendants and white victims, is that the likely result of a trial would have been a hung jury or a not guilty.

Mr. Nifong proceeded in this case solely with an eye to charging the defendants, sliming them to the maximum amount and winning an election.

Any fair prosecutor, faced with this debacle of an investigation, immediately would have known that the case could not be won and if, by some miracle it were, the convictions would never have made it past an appellate court.

larry said...

The cops did know who was at the party. They may not have known everyone who was at the party but they had a great start when they interviewed the three residents of the house. The police could have done their work and inquired further with some others that they knew were at the house and got a complete list. They should have been included in the NTO and were not. why did the police not include these folks but did include someone like ross who everyone knew was in raleigh.

Anonymous said...

Amazingly stupid or something much worse?

On 3/28 Boehmler voluntarily goes to the station and gives a statement (just like the 3 captains) and neither Gottlieb (his own 'notes' indicate he was present for the interview) nor Himan ask for DNA or pictures?

Yet later Himan threatens either one or both of the non-lacrosse attendees with a publicly advertised NTO ??


Anonymous said...

Jinc -
Not on topic but a quick note to let you know that yesterday was at the former India Office as well as the Foreign office where I was able to spend some time in the Office of the Foreign Secretary (he was gone for the day - thus the reason to be allowed in)where I stood where Sir Edward Grey stood when he stated that "the lamps were going out all over europe and we will not see them relit in our lifetime". I found where the warroom of churchill was - will be visiting there next week. Other than the weather (beastly hot) all is well in London.

sceptical said...

Some have argued that the Durham PD investigation of the lacrosse case was just incompetent.

However, the way Gottlieb and Himan approached eyewitnesses belies that claim.

As jmoo points out, Gottlieb and Himan knew by at least March 28 that Boehmler and Saeli, two Duke students who were not lacrosse players, were at the party. Yet Gottlieb and Himan did not ask for their pictures or DNA, and did not include them in the April 4 PowerPoint "pick any three" photo ID session with Mangum. If there had been a rape, then they would be more likely to be suspects, since they were present at the party, than a lacrose player such as Brad Ross who was not even in town. Yet Mangum was shown Ross' picture and not one of Boehmler or Saeli.

This suggests that Gottlieb and Himan were determined than Mangum pick a lacrosse player-- another student would not fit the narrative they were trying to construct.

Another important eyewitness whom they virtually ignored was Jason Bissey, the neighbor who saw the party from outside his window. Any rational police investigation would have officers checking with the neighbors. Instead, Bissey had to call the police instead of the opposite way around. When he did talk to Himan, instead of being questioned, Bissey was told to write out a statement. Himan did not pick up the statement until April 3.

So much for a sense of urgency in talking to an uninvolved eyewitness who might cast some doubt on the time-line being concocted to allow time for a non-existent rape.

Also, the Durham PD never talked to any of the seven nurses or physicians who saw Mangum at Duke Hospital on March 14 except Tara Levicy, the rookie SANE. They never interviewed Julie Manley M.D. who actually did the pelvic exam and collected the swabs. Their reliance on Levicy, the feminist SANE wannabe, fits a pattern of selective investigation.

Police investigations should be open to many theories of a crime. With the lacrosse case, there appears there was only one theory of the "crime." The investigation was then tailored to bolster that narrative.

The shoddy Durham PD investigation of the case can only be explained by either extreme incompetence or by an investigation designed to reach a pre-ordained conclusion-- in other words, a frame-up.

While Himan was a rookie investigator, Gottlieb certainly was not. And Gottlieb was regularly briefing his commanders, including Lt. Ripberger, Capt. Lamb, and Deputy Chief Hodge. These experienced officers should have made suggestions, but they did not, to our knowledge.

There is a tendency in the media and public opinion to blame only Nifong for the lacrosse case. However, before he actively took over the case on March 24, the Durham PD had already started the path to a frame-up.

After March 24, while Nifong certainly was primarily responsible, he would not have been able to carry the case so far without the connivance of the Durham PD.

It's not only about Nifong.