Saturday, June 16, 2007

INNOCENT: Duke Helped Nifong

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Since Wednesday, the second day of Nifong’s ethics trial, I’ve been traveling in the Northeastern part of the country. I’m now in upstate New York at a conference attended by people from all over America and parts of Europe.

Everywhere I’ve gone, the interest in Nifong’s trial has been great.

When people hear I’m from North Carolina, many bring up the trial. They wonder how Nifong could’ve “gotten away with it for so long” and why “someone didn’t stop him before now.”

I usually don’t say much because I want to draw people out and learn more of what they’re thinking.

But when I do share my thoughts, here is some what I say to people:

A major reason why Nifong got away with it for so long has to do with Duke University.

When Nifong said those things last March and April about the players being “hooligans,” ridiculed them for getting attorneys, and flat out said they must be guilty not a single Duke administrator, trustee or senior faculty member even cautioned Nifong about his remarks.

Not one!

In fact, Duke’s president kept issuing statements saying he wanted everyone to cooperate with the police.

Those statements from Duke’s president – his name is Richard Brodhead but he introduces himself as “Dick” - made Reade Seligmann and the other players look like they weren’t cooperating with police.

Brodhead issued his statements at a time when the Durham Police and our major newspaper, the Raleigh News & Observer, were telling people the players weren’t cooperating.

Sure, that was all false. Brodhead and any trustee who cared to know knew that.

But ordinary citizens in Durham didn’t know that.

Most of them thought that if the President and Trustees of Duke University had no objections to what Mike Nifong was saying and doing, than what could be wrong with any of it.

Duke's Dick Brodhead went nine months before he could ever bring himself to say a single word critical of Nifong. Meanwhile, Nifong sailed on attempting to frame the players and winning two elections in the process.

And that make’s a certain kind of sense, doesn’t it?

Wouldn’t we expect a university president and its trustees to speak up if their students were being ridiculed for exercising their constitutional rights; and were being falsely accused of throwing up a "wall of silence” when they were actually providing police with more answers about their conduct than Dick Brodhead and Duke’s trustees have ever provided about theirs?

I’ve talked enough. What do you think?

INNOCENT: Nifong, “Alleged” & The N&O

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
In today’s Raleigh News & Observer under the headline,

Nifong to resign, denies lying,
we read about DA Mike Nifong’s testimony at his State Bar trial for ethics violations and come to this subhead:
Didn't say 'alleged'
That's followed by:
And he said he was surprised that he never used the phrase "alleged victim" in his many public statements: "I can't believe I did that."

Yet, in his testimony Friday, Nifong never used the word "alleged" as he referred to Mangum as "the victim" at least eight times.
The N&O’s lead reporter for the story is Anne Blythe.

Blythe was one of two N&O reporters (Samiha Khanna was the other) who last March 24 “broke” what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape case” in a front-page story in which the accuser was seven times referred to as “the victim” or in the possessive “victim’s.”

Blythe, Khanna and the N&O never once used “alleged.”
The following day on the N&O’s front-page the same two reporters' bylines appeared above what we now know was a deliberately fraudulent story in which, among other acts, the N&O withheld critically exculpatory news (see this 4/12/07 story published the day AFTER the NC AG declared the players innocent), including that the accuser had said the second dancer was also sexually assaulted at the party, hadn’t reported the attack for fear of losing her job, and was the kind of person who would do anything for money.

In that deliberately fraudulent March 25 story headlined:
Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
Blythe and Khanna's story four times called the accuser the "victim" without using alleged. They explained why the accuser was granted anonymity to make what later proved to be false charges she was gang-raped, beaten and strangled by three lacrosse players this way:
"It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify the victims of sex crimes."
As far as I know Blythe, Khanna and the N&O have never apologized to the players, their families and their readers for repeatedly reporting falsely that Crystal Mangum was “the victim.”

And they’ve never retracted the March 25 story which is filled with falsehoods and from which the N&O deliberately withheld exculpatory news that may very well have spared the players and their families terrible ordeals, and spared our community the great damage done to it by the Duke Hoax.

You can read today's N&O's the entire story here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jun. 15, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: Today's post is only trivia but it's trivia people often want to know about.

I also think it will be the briefest post ever in this two year old series.

Churchill's favorite whiskey? Johnnie Walker Red.

Brandy? Hine.

Champagne? Pol Roger.

Here's to a good weekend. Cheers.

INNOCENT: Can Nifong Be Prosecuted?

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
This past April in Slate UNC – Chapel Hill Law Professor Joseph Kennedy considered the question of whether Nifong can be prosecuted for criminal acts. Key portions of the article follow, including Kennedy’s conclusion.

What Kennedy said in April was extremely informative and interesting then. It’s even more so now that we’ve seen four days of Nifong’s State Bar trial and heard him resign his office on the witness stand [excerpts]:

According to federal statute, it is a crime for any person acting "under color of law" to willfully deprive a person of a constitutional right. Acting "under color of law" essentially means using the power of the government, and it includes the actions of state prosecutors in criminal cases.

The constitutional right at issue would be the defendants' well-established due process right to disclosure by the prosecutor of exculpatory evidence. Nifong would only be guilty of the federal civil rights charge if he specifically intended to deprive the defendants of their constitutional right by suppressing the test results.

The statute does not require Nifong to have believed he was prosecuting innocent defendants—and to have gone after them anyway. Deliberately depriving a defendant of his constitutional rights is a crime if you believe him to be guilty.

Nifong has repeatedly claimed that he ultimately did nothing wrong because the defense eventually received the DNA results. North Carolina's discovery law, however, clearly required the results to be included in a report prepared last April, not handed over months later. (Emphasis added. Kennedy's statement concerning what the law requires was affirmed frequently this week by attorneys testifying and prosecuting at Nifong’s State Bar trial. – JinC)

It is less clear when a prosecutor needs to produce exculpatory material under the federal constitution. In deciding whether or not a defendant is entitled to a dismissal or other remedy, many courts have found no violation of federal constitutional rights when the material was produced at trial, on the theory that the defendant was not ultimately prejudiced by the timing of the disclosure.

These court decisions, however, do not rule out criminal liability for a prosecutor who deliberately tries to withhold evidence that ends up eventually getting produced anyway. The "no harm, no foul" defense doesn't fly here. Obstructing justice does not require that you suppress evidence, only that you try. Federal civil rights law is similar.

This should mean that in the Duke lacrosse case, the defense's ultimate success in getting the raw data of the DNA tests would not save Nifong.

The timing of the disclosures is relevant, though, as to whether Nifong in fact intended to suppress the DNA results. If Nifong was simply trying to delay production of the tests as long as he legally could, he would not be guilty of the federal charge. He might even avoid liability on the state charge on the theory that intending to "delay justice" is different from intending to obstruct it. To win, the prosecution would have to prove that Nifong was trying to suppress the test results in the hope that they would never be disclosed.

Could criminal prosecutors surmount that hurdle? If the state bar complaint is true, they very well might. That complaint accuses Nifong of making intentional misrepresentations to both the trial judge and to state bar investigators. If the prosecution can convince the jury that Nifong lied in a cover-up, the district attorney will have a hard time arguing that he was not trying to cover up exculpatory evidence in the first place.

Also, the weaker the original evidence against the former lacrosse players, the more reason for a jury to think that Nifong was trying to permanently withhold the test results out of fear that otherwise he would never win a conviction.

The fact that the North Carolina attorney general did not just dismiss the original rape case, but actually found the defendants to be innocent, suggests that the evidence of their guilt was weak indeed.

Even if Nifong did commit a crime, should he be charged? Do we want our prosecutors worrying about becoming defendants themselves?

If they deliberately suppress evidence of innocence, I think we do.

The law is written to ensure that charges will be brought only against a prosecutor who was deliberately trying to completely withhold evidence that suggests innocence. Prosecutors who made a mistake, or stalled, are off the hook.

And consider this parallel: In securities cases, we indict corporate officers for obstruction of justice when they delete e-mails if we think they are trying to hide material from government investigators.

Rogue prosecutors merit the same treatment. The prosecutor's obligation to disclose evidence suggesting innocence protects innocence. Prosecutors should know that when they deliberately thwart that protection, they do so at their own great peril.
I’ll have more to say soon. In the meantime, Kennedy’s entire article is here.

I’d like to hear what you think.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jun. 14, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: One of you picked up a spelling error in yesterday’s post. I corrected it and placed a “thank you” on the post thread.


Churchill’s predecessor as Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, did all he could during the late 1930s to keep Churchill in “the wilderness.” He considered Churchill a dangerous war-monger and his own appeasement policy toward Hitler the way to “peace in our time.” Chamberlain fought to keep Churchill out of the Cabinet until the day war was declared in September, 1939.

After Churchill succeeded Chamberlain, he treated him with great consideration, even magnanimity; and never more so than in November 1940 in the House of Commons where he spoke of Chamberlain who’d recently died of cancer. [Excerpt]:

It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man.

But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused?

They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart – the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace, even at great peril, and certainly to the utter disdain of popularity or clamor.

What ever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove of the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned.
Chamberlain’s letters and his aides testify to his sincerity in pursuing appeasement. Even as late as August 1939, by which time Hitler had broken his Munich agreements and most European statesmen believed war was very likely, Chamberlain persisted in his belief that he could work with Hitler.

So Churchill was right about Chamberlain’s “sincerity” but he was wrong about the verdict of history.
I’m rushing now and have had computer problems. Citations tomorrow.

INNOCENT: Nifong, The N&O and Race

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
During his live blogging of the Nifong ethics trial, KC Johnson has called attention to statements and questions from Nifong's defense team which continue the vicious sliming of the lacrosse players as racists which began last March.

If you're asking yourselves how Nifong could get away with bringing up the race issue last March, and why so many people still believe the slime about the players being racists, consider how the players were framed in the public's mind even before Nifong began to speak publicly about them on March 27, 2006.

On March 25, the Raleigh News & Observer headlined on page one, above the fold:

Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
Right there in the headlines, without any qualifying quotes to suggest the N&O had doubts, readers were told the story concerned "a night of racial slurs."

Reporters Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe’s story began:
The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."
So N&O readers who were expecting to learn about "a night of racial slurs" weren't disappointed. They were given the N&O's racist hype which later proved to be a fraud right up front in the story's second paragraph; and followed in the third with the emotional: "We were so scared."

The N&O's Mar. 25 story went national. By the evening of the 25th it had been picked up by the networks and was ready for publication in newspapers all over America.

When a few skeptics asked the N&O who, besides the woman it kept saying was "the victim," had confirmed that "racial slurs" were barked "by men in the house" before "the victim" started dancing, the N&O said it had used "a police report" to confirm what "the victim" reported.

N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill also told readers the N&O has extremely high “standards of verification;” and that the N&O often gets beat on a story because it won't put out a news story until it's sure it has the story right.

The Raleigh N&O's falsehoods about the players and racist remarks were made to order for Nifong as he fought a close Democratic Party nomination fight in which racial issues could be decisive.

All Nifong had to do was embrace the N&O's falsehoods and say, in effect, "I believe!"

We can be sure the N&O was the first news organization to peddle the lacrosse players as racists libel.

But we can't be sure why the N&O did it. We can't even be sure what "police report," if any, the N&O used.

Editor Sill has never identified the “police report” the N&O felt met its “standards of verification.” Nor have any of the other N&O editors and reporters who've worked on its Duke Hoax coverage.

I'm glad Nifong is finally being held to account for his Duke Hoax actions. But others should be held to account, too.

And high up on the "held accountable" list with Sgt. Gottlieb, Inv. Himan, Cpl. Addison, President Brodhead, the Group of 88 and others should be the Raleigh N&O.

The N&O belongs high on the list not just for all it did to create the witch hunt and attempted frame-up, but for all it did to sustain them for thirteen months while it withheld the exculpatory news that on March 23 the accuser had told the N&O the second dancer was also sexually assaulted but couldn't report it for fear of losing her job; and that the second dancer "would do anything for money."

You can read the N&O's entire deliberately fraudulent, error-filled and racially inflammatory March 25 framing story here.

INNOCENT: Cheshire Made Me Smile

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
In today’s Durham Herald Sun’s account of testimony yesterday at DA Nifong’s ethics trial and reactions to the testimony, we read this excerpt:

[Defense attorney for David Evans, Brad Bannon,] criticized Nifong's inflammatory pre-trial statements. They included telling the news media that "one would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong."

As Bannon was testifying, courtroom spectator Betty Lawrence -- an attorney representing Nifong legal opponent and community activist Beth Brewer -- recalled being shocked when learning of that particular remark last year because of Americans' right to legal counsel.

"And to say that you can infer that somebody's guilty because they consult a lawyer is grossly unfair and goes against the whole scheme of things," Lawrence said.

Fellow Evans attorney Joe Cheshire said if he were questioning the Durham prosecutor, he would ask, " 'Who are those two people sitting with you, Mr. Nifong?' He would answer, 'They're my lawyers.' "

Cheshire said he'd remind Nifong of that pre-trial remark about not needing an attorney when innocent and ask, "What is going on here?"
Yes, what Nifong did was terrible and almost certainly criminal. But I couldn’t help smiling at Cheshire’s remark.

What about you?

INNOCENT: Poetic justice & The Herald Sun

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Folks, before reading any further I want you to swear on DA Mike Nifong’s law license that you won’t repeat to Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley what I’m about to tell you.

You just did?

OK, let’s continue.

After all the shilling for Nifong the H-S has done (in fairness, some of its recent coverage has been much more objective), what should happen today but the following.

The H-S set out to publish two excellent letters to the editor excoriating Durham Police Cpl. David Addison and his enablers for a letter Addison wrote which the H-S published Sunday. If you want more background on the matter read this post.

Anyway, two response letters were published today, June 14, on the H-S's editorial page in the letters section of its print edition.

So far, so good for the H-S.

But, when it came to publishing the letters at, a mistake was made that is poetic justice.

The letters with their headlines were placed in the editorials section. As of 3 PM Eastern, you can still find the letter there with their heads: Addison letter continues to mislead community and Blue wall of silence. Here's the link to's editorial section.

Isn’t that wonderful!

Just in case the letters are moved and you have trouble finding them, I posted them below.

Hats off to letter writers Philip Wood (he blogs at the superb and William Doherty, a retired member of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association. They’re aiding justice.

A last word before I end: remember, you all promised not to tell Bob Ashley about his “editorials.”

Addison letter continues to mislead community

The extreme hypocrisy offered by Durham Police Department Cpl. David Addison in his June 10 letter does a terrible disservice to the organizations he represents. Addison, who serves as liaison to CrimeStoppers, president of the Triangle Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association and as occasional spokesperson for the Durham Police Department, decries "slander and vicious attacks" from city leaders, yet it was his own slander and vicious attacks that contributed to the hoax that city leaders now investigate.

As spokesperson for the DPD, Addison falsely informed the community: "You are looking at one victim brutally raped," and "police approached the lacrosse team with the five-page search warrant on March 16, but that all of the members refused to cooperate with the investigation," and that there was "really, really strong physical evidence" of the crime that we all know now never occurred.

As spokesperson for CrimeStoppers, Addison misled the media and the community with a statement that read in part: "The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."

Addison attempts to dissuade inspection of his own actions, and those of a few other officers who have also sullied the department. The community would be better served by his cooperating with the investigation.

Rather than denouncing the effort to restore the integrity and public confidence he helped destroy, Addison should consider being the first to break the real "wall of silence" behind the hoax.

Philip Wood

Cary, N. C.

Blue wall of silence

"Wall of Silence." Isn't that what Cpl. David Addison said about the Duke lacrosse team, even though he was wrong? I am writing because as a retired member of the New Jersey state Police Benevolent Association, I still receive their newspaper in the mail. Addison is a disgrace to any police department. He continues to stand in silence, otherwise his department's crimes will be exposed. This is truly "the blue wall of silence."

He and his department make all of us who have served or are serving look like a bunch of liars and hoax artists. I was a PBA member for 25 years and we never stood behind police corruption. Only in Durham can this happen. We would not stand behind police officers who tried to railroad three innocent Duke students

William Doherty

Westmont, N. J.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jun. 13, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In his daily speech, formal speeches, and writings, Churchill frequently and effectively used analogy to make his points and persuade his listeners and readers.

In Churchill On Leadership: Executive Success in the Face of Adversity (Forum, 1997), historian Steven F. Hayward tells us:

Churchill’s use of vivid analogies was second nature to him; a complete collection of his analogic phrases would fill a medium-size book.

The beauty of an apt analogy is that it conveys in one or two sentences a truth or insight that is less convincing or clear when explained at more length. The futility and slaughter of trench warfare attrition in World War I, for example, can be amply explained as a function of the superiority of defensive weaponry and tactics available at the time. The artillery barrage and huge manpower needs necessary to mount an offensive against such defenses could not be sustained beyond a short range, making large breakthroughs impossible.

Still the commanders on both sides tried over and over again. Churchill explained the frustrating dynamic equilibrium of the war much more effectively: “Every offensive lost its force as it proceeded. It was like throwing a bucket of water over the floor. It first rushed forward, then soaked forward, and finally stopped altogether until another bucket could be brought.” (Emphasis Hayward’s)

For another - unrelated but irresistible – example, he described his dislike for golf by saying that it was “like chasing a quinine pill around a cow pasture.” (pgs. 102-1-3)
A word to all of you who are golfers: please, Churchill made the analogy, I only reported it.

But in truth, like Hayward, I find it irresistible.

Talking to Readers & Commenters – 6-23-07

As always check those threads. There is a lot of serious discussion and some great humor on them.

Jack says Duke is a lost cause. The future, he feels, is with the 88 and those sharing their views.

Jack makes a strong case for his point of view. I hope he’s wrong. By the end of the week I’ll post on why I think, with all its problems that the Hoax has uncovered, there’s a chance to turn Duke around somewhat, although it will be a hard struggle and will take many years

But if it isn’t at least tried, that will be bad for Duke and for America. Many of you have rightly pointed out that a good many of Duke’s problems are ones you find on most campuses. I agree with that. We all need to be working to change the slide of so many schools to the Left.

Someone asked if I’ll be here when the lacrosse case is over. The Good Lord willing, yes.

I plan to keep pushing on the Addison matters. One reader said he didn’t seem as important as some of the others involved in trashing the team and working the attempted frame-up. I agree. But Addison is still very important for what he knows and the undeniably of what he did..

I just purchased Mike Presser’s book and I can’t wait to see how Addison plays out in it. The book has no index so I’ll have to go through the entire book.. In the meantime, if sny of you have read the book, please comment on it

More tomorrow.


Two Letters Call Out Addison

Today, June 13, there are two fine letters in the Durham Herald Sun responding to DPD Cpl. David Addison's letter this past Sunday. Later tonight I'll work these letters into a proper post, but for now I want to get them "out there."

Thanks go to the letter writers Charles Wolcott and Mike Lausten.


Come clean, Addison

For months now, many have demanded that Durham Police Cpl. David Addison come clean with the source of the language in the infamous "wanted" poster distributed above his signature in April 2006 in the Durham community.

If the language, which implied the guilt of the entire Duke lacrosse team in the commitment of a "horrific" crime, came from Durham CrimeStoppers, on whose letterhead it was distributed, then it should be attributed to the CrimeStoppers board.

If the language came from someone else within the Durham Police Department, then Addison should identify that source and the specific authority by which they instructed him to use such language.

But if the language came from him and him alone, then he should acknowledge as much and be held accountable for his actions.

It's time to stop hiding behind Durham CrimeStoppers and come clean with the source of the irresponsibly inflammatory language.

Dallas, Texas
June 13, 2007

Durham police as victim

I read with amazement the letter you printed from Durham Police Department Cpl. David Addison. Put in the kindest light, during the Duke lacrosse case Addison made written and verbal statements that have now proven to be false.

If I had acted as Addison did, I would want to write and speak to apologize to anyone whom my words and writings had harmed.

Instead, Addison claims victimhood and asks for readers' sympathy. I don't think many others see things the way Addison does. His letter clouds the situation and he compares it to a fight with Mike Tyson.

I would think by now the people of Durham would be tired of their public officials mincing words. State Attorney General Roy Cooper didn't. When he made his statement declaring the players innocent, he restored some much needed confidence in the North Carolina justice system. Cooper was direct and clear. I respected his statement and I think others did too. Unfortunately Addison doesn't seem to have learned from Cooper's example.

If Addison wants to continue what Cooper began, there are only two words the public is interested in hearing him say: wrong and sorry.

Ashburn, Va.
June 13, 2007

Responding to Comments - brief

I'll say more tonight, June 13, but for now three items.

Some of you have messaged at forums that you had trouble commenting at JinC.

I think things are fixed now. I hope everything is working.

Thanks for the heads up on the WRAL live with Victoria Peterson. I hope it gets posted at WRAL.

Lots of good comments responding to Addison out at WRAL and some other sites plus some letter I understand will be appearing in the Herald Sun.

More tonight.


INNOCENT: Prof. Coleman’s Letter

One year ago today the Raleigh News & Observer published Duke Law School Professor James A. Coleman Jr’s letter to the editor.

I thought some of you would like to reread it today, perhaps while you’re taking a break from watching DA Mike Nifong’s trial before the NC State Bar.

Under the head, Special prosecutor should take over Duke case, the letter began:

Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement. This is the only way to restore some degree of public confidence in the handling of the case. Up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case.

The circumstances under which the alleged victim identified the three defendants is typical. An assumption has been that Nifong and the Durham police merely botched the procedures under which the alleged victim identified the three members of the lacrosse team whom she claims raped her. According to the police account of the identification, however, the police officer who presided over the proceedings told the alleged victim at the outset that he wanted her to look at people the police had reason to believe attended the party. Thus, the police not only failed to include people they knew were not suspects among the photographs shown the woman, they told the witness in effect that there would be no such "fillers" among the photographs she would see.

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice. The prosecutor would not care if the pre-trial identification was subsequently thrown out by the court. The accuser would identify them at trial by pointing to the three defendants seated in front of her as the three men who assaulted her. The prosecutor would argue that she had an independent basis (independent of the identifications thrown out) for doing so.

Whatever the truth is, Nifong can no longer personally restore public confidence in the prosecution of this case. Someone with professional detachment and unquestioned integrity must review the case and determine whether the evidence against the three students warrants further prosecution. That would serve the best interest of the alleged victim, the three defendants and public.

James E. Coleman Jr.

Duke Law School

Some letter, isn’t it? Coleman was describing a frame-up: “Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice.”

But the frame-up didn’t work. Coleman played a critical role in making sure it didn’t work.

The three young men who were indicted owe him a great deal as do all the rest of us who want to live in a society of laws instead of what the Nifong’s always create: a police state.

Thank you, Professor Coleman.

INNOCENT: DPD Panel can subpoena

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Here’s some important news reported June 12 by the Durham Herald Sun:

Should it become necessary, officials will subpoena witnesses called by the committee appointed to investigate the Durham Police Department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case, City Attorney Henry Blinder said Monday.

The investigating committee lacks subpoena powers of its own, but Durham's charter gives the City Council and the city manager full authority to conduct investigations, subpoena witnesses and gather sworn testimony, Blinder said.

Pending discussions between city lawyers and investigation chairman Willis Whichard will determine "the most efficient way to have that [power] exercised" on the committee's behalf, Blinder said.
There was some question before this report as to whether the panel would be able to subpoena witnesses. This story appears to clear that matter up.

Although the H-S doesn’t mention it, I’m sure it mattered that Whichard is a former Justice of the NC Supreme Court and Dean of the Law School at Campbell University.

INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity (Post 3)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: To understand the post below, it will help if you’re familiar with the contents of “INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity” and “INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity (Post 2)”


On the front page of today’s Durham Herald Sun there’s the headline:

Council upset over corporal's letter
followed by the subhead:
Mayor: “We’re not attacking anybody” with lacrosse probe
Reporter Ray Gronberg’s story begins:
City Council members aren't happy with what they regard as a Durham Police Department corporal's insinuation that election-year politics are behind the investigation they've ordered into the department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

Responses to the jibe Cpl. David Addison voiced in a letter to The Herald-Sun came Monday from Mayor Bill Bell and Councilman Eugene Brown, who went out of their way to address the matter during a morning budget review.

Brown called Addison's letter "really troublesome" and added that council members ordered the investigation to find out how police and prosecutors wound up indicting three innocent men on false charges of rape.

"As public officials, our job is not to circle the wagons around any one particular department," Brown told his fellow council members. "If we are going to circle the wagons, it is around the truth."
Brown has been a leader in calling for a thorough and independent investigation into how the DPD managed to arrest and charge three innocent young men in the Duke Hoax case when the evidence clearly indicated they were innocent. He’s prepared a set of questions he wants the panel which will conduct the investigation to answer. Brown's questions are posted here at Liestoppers.

Gronberg’s story continues:
Bell agreed. "We're not attacking anybody," he said. "The investigation isn't set out to attack anyone. It's to try to find the truth, as best as we can find the truth."

Addison's letter, published Sunday, said the Police Department "has been subjected to another round of criticism from the city of [Durham's] leaders," but didn't identify its focus. He added that the department is "bloodied from slander and vicious attacks" and compared it to a worn-down fighter who's "just blocking punches."
In yesterday’s post, “INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity (Post 2),” I noted Addison had signed the letter as President of the Triangle Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association. I noted:
The question of whether Addison was writing on behalf of and with the formal approval of PBA’s Triangle Chapter is important for many reasons, one being this: Addison’s DPD Supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ, has said Addison didn’t write and distribute the text of the CS Wanted poster at the behest of DPD.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Durham CS at the time of the poster’s production and distribution, Duke University Police Director Robert Dean, has said the CS board had delegated authority to Addison to produce CS Wanted posters and that the board, as a result, didn’t review the CS Duke lacrosse poster before it was distributed.

I plan to pursue the question of whether Addison was writing on behalf of the Triangle Chapter of PBA
I didn’t have to do any pursuing. The answer was in Gronberg’s story:
The corporal signed the letter as president of the Triangle chapter of the N.C. Police Benevolent Association. But the group's statewide executive director, John Midgette, said Monday that the letter "did not go through the [association's] central office as it normally would" for pre-publication review.

Midgette talked with Addison Monday. He said the corporal was trying to comment on the chapter's attempts "to obtain much-needed pay raises" and more say in City Manager Patrick Baker's selection of a new police chief.

It was unclear Monday what any efforts by the chapter on the pay-raise issue entailed, aside from a single letter Durham police Lt. Andy Miller, president of the state PBA, published in The Herald-Sun on June 2.

Nobody from the association spoke during a June 4 public hearing on the city's proposed budget for fiscal 2007-08, or during a seven-meeting series of council budget reviews that began May 29 and concluded Monday.
Midgette sounds like he was scolding Addison and trying to get him our of hot water at the same time. But if you read Addison’s letter here it doesn’t say anything about a pay raise.

Those of you who’ve followed the work of attorney Alex Charns that’s often been reported on at JinC will be very interested to read what comes next in the H-S story:
In contrast, council members were hardly alone in reading Addison's letter as a commentary on the lacrosse case by an officer who was involved in it and who might be facing fresh scrutiny.

Addison's missive "didn't make a whole lot of sense," said Alex Charns, a Durham lawyer who last year sought an internal-affairs investigation of the Police Department's handling of a crucial public bulletin on the lacrosse case. "Maybe it was a preemptive strike since he's feeling the heat for the way he's conducted his business over the last year. All one can do is read what he wrote and wonder."

The bulletin Charns wanted investigated went out over Addison's signature on March 28, 2006, and said without qualification that the lacrosse accuser "was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed" during a "horrific crime [that] sent shock waves throughout our community."

Charns -- who represents an unindicted lacrosse player -- contends the bulletin libeled members of the Duke lacrosse team and fueled public hysteria. Senior Police Department officials toned it down a couple weeks later, but they rejected Charns' request for an internal-affairs probe.

Addison's handling of the March 28, 2006, bulletin is one of the things Councilman Brown wants the upcoming investigation to address. Brown asked who authorized Addison to issue it and how he reached its "fallacious conclusion."

"I wish he'd spent the time to answer those [questions], which I feel are very salient, instead of writing something like this," Brown said.

Notes from the two detectives most heavily involved in the lacrosse case, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Investigator Ben Himan, show Addison played a key behind-the-scenes role early in the case. The detectives credit him with passing along an anonymous CrimeStoppers tip about a now-notorious e-mail from lacrosse player Ryan McFadyen that joked about hiring more strippers and killing them.

Gottlieb said Addison contacted him the morning of March 27, 2006, to relay the tip, which included the full wording of the McFadyen e-mail. Gottlieb and Himan responded by procuring and executing a search warrant for McFadyen's dorm room and automobile.
Addison's Sunday letter aside, Midgette said the PBA will monitor the council-ordered investigation.

The group's leaders believe officers working on the case "were doing their job at the direction of an authority higher than themselves and without much direction or leadership, quite frankly, from the Police Department's chief and his hierarchy," Midgette said.

When contacted Monday, Addison said there "was nothing in [his letter] implying lacrosse or investigation" and declined further comment.
If you haven’t read Addison’s letter you really ought to.

I think this H-S story reports one more step in the process of wringing the truth out of those on the “Nifong/DPD investigative team.”

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 12, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: Two of you commented yesterday. I’m rushed now and traveling tomorrow. But in a few days I’ll respond to both of you in a Talking with Regulars & Commenters post.


I try most days not to make your lives more difficult than they already are. Today will be different. I want to invite you to wrestle with a difficult question.

Recall in yesterday’s post I mentioned that while Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt were meeting secretly at Argentia Bay, Newfoundland, their military chiefs were meeting there at the same time. The American public was later told the chiefs were there to get acquainted and discuss protecting American merchant shipping in the North Atlantic.

As I said yesterday, that “was true but incomplete. Much more was discussed between the two nations’ military chiefs. They discussed the distribution between the two countries of the military arms America was then beginning to produce in increasing numbers. They also discussed a common war strategy.”

I then quoted some of what historian Martin Gilbert records one of Churchill’s military aides, Col. Ian Jacob, said after the meeting in a memo Jacob prepared for Churchill. Today I want to give you all of what Gilbert records Jacob wrote and then ask you the difficult question. Gilbert records Jacob wrote:

The Americans have a long way to go before they can play any decisive part in the war. Their Navy is further ahead than their Army, both in thought and in resources.

Both are standing like reluctant bathers on the brink, but the Navy are (sic) being forced to dip a toe at a time into the shark-infested water. Their ideas, however, have not got beyond how to avoid being bitten; they have not yet reached out to thoughts of how to get rid of the sharks.

The President and his entourage (by “entourage” Jacob meant FDR’s civilian aides) are far ahead, and intend to keep pushing forward until the time comes when the Germans can no longer disregard American provocation. The sailors and soldiers only hope that moment won’t come before they can gather together some respectably armed forces with which to fight.
The “American provocation” Jacob is talking about refers to conflicts between the American navy seeking to protect our shipping and German U-boats seeking to disrupt the lifeline of supplies to Britain. You can read here about what some historians say was an undeclared war in the North Atlantic in 1939 to 1941. At the time of the Atlantic Charter meeting, many well-informed people thought if America got into the war, it would be because of an incident in the North Atlantic.

My question: Do you agree with Jacob when, for all practical purposes, he says FDR in August 1941 was pushing the U. S. into war rather than merely preparing the U. S. for war if it came?
For this post I drew especially on Martin Gilbert’s Finest Hour: 1939 – 1941. (Houghton Mifflin, 1983). The portion of Jacob’s memo I quoted can be found on pg. 1166.

INNOCENT: What Nifong Didn’t Do

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

On the thread of a post at KC Johnson’s Durham-in-Wonderland linking to some video of today’s Bar trial of DA Nifong there’s this first comment:

Nifong's lawyer...

"Mr Nifong did not create the media interest in the Duke case"

Said with a straight face - If that's the best he has to offer, we are witessing one very slow death here.
While I agree with the commenter that Nifong is in a very bad position at his Bar trial, Nifong’s attorney is not wrong when he says: "Mr Nifong did not create the media interest in the Duke case"

If we forget that or just decide we don’t want to acknowledge who created the media interest in this case and how it was done, we’re setting other innocent people up to be victimized in the same way the Duke students were.

So I responded to the anonymous commenter as follows:

To Anon @ 8:21,

I'm no Nifong fan and have said for many months that he should be disbarred and very likely tried for criminal acts.

That said, Nifong didn't "create the media interest in the Duke case."

That was done by the Raleigh News & Observer.

Remember, Nifong didn’t begin speaking publicly about the case until Mar. 27, 2006.

On Mar. 24 the N&O "broke" the Duke lacrosse case with a front page story in which the accuser was repeatedly described as "the victim" without the N&O using "alleged" even once.

So in the first story the public and the rest of media read about the Duke Hoax, the N&O cast Mangum as "the victim" and the Duke students as her victimizers.

On Mar. 25 the N&O ran the fraudulent "anonymous interview" story about what, in front page headlines above the fold, it said was a night that ended "in sexual violence."

That N&O story described the anonymous accuser as a young black mother and student who was "so scared" when she found herself before a group of boozing, barking white racist Duke male lacrosse players, three of whom then gang-raped, beat, robbed and chocked her for thirty minutes, after which their teammates formed "wall of solidarity" to cover up for them and foil the efforts of the Durham Police Department to identify, arrest and charge the rapists.

The N&O’s story, which it knew at the time of publication was a fraud and from which it withheld important exculpatory information, “went national.”

By the evening of Mar. 25, networks were broadcasting it and newspapers were laying out the N&O’s fraudulent story for their Sunday editions while media satellite trucks were gassing up to head for Durham.

On Mar. 26 the N&O reported on a vigil by Duke faculty and students, religious groups and community organization (never named) in support of “the victim” and demanding the students “break their silence”

On Mar. 27, a Monday, the N&O ran a story on a demonstration outside the house on N. Buchanan Blvd. The N&O said activists were demanding with signs and shouts that the students “confess.” The N&O didn’t mention the activists were shouting under a large “CASTRATE” banner.

That same day an N&O news columnist, Ruth Sheehan, said the team’s silence was “sickening” and that “good guys” didn’t cover up.

By Mar. 27 the N&O had, for four long days, been in full throated mob cry savaging the students, hyping the false script (frightened black mother raped by drunken, racist, privileged white males) Nifong made his own, and poisoning the public’s mind against the students.

Only after all of what you’ve just read did Mike Nifong on Mar. 27 begin speaking to the public.

And when he did, Nifong said what we’d been reading in the N&O since Mar. 24, and what the rest of media had been sheep-like repeating.

Nifong even, like the N&O, made no mention of the extraordinary cooperation the players had provided police. In fact, he followed the N&O’s lead and promulgated what the N&O and Nifong both knew was a deliberate falsehood: the players hadn’t cooperated.

Again, I want Nifong disbarred. I think he should be investigated for committing criminal acts while he and others pursued a frame-up.

But, please, don’t tell me Nifong “create[ed] the media interest in this case.”

John in Carolina

INNOCENT: Nifong Trial (Post 1)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
KC Johnson is live blogging the trial. He’s providing real time reporting and commentary. Keep checking in with him.

I watched this morning session of the trial on Court TV. Overall, not a good morning for Nifong.

To use a football analogy, if you think of this morning as the first down, Nifong and his attorney Freedman go into the afternoon session at 2nd down and 26.

Freedman’s opening statement had problems that reveal the weakness of Nifong’s case rather than Freedman’s skill as an attorney.

What Freedman said was well-presented but it amounted to a mixed salad of defenses to which he added a sympathy dressing.

So we got blaming of the police, media, DNA expert Brian Meehan, Nifong’s inexperience as a DA, etc, etc. To that Freedman added a strong reference to Nifong’s prostate cancer in the late 1990s, which the public has since been told he’s now free of.

For Nifong, one problem with Freedman’s statement is that it amounts to: “Yes, all those things happened, but they were everyone else’s fault. And did you know my client’s been a sick guy?”

A much bigger problem for Nifong is that Freedman’s statement is probably that best defense he can mount for. Don’t expect any “smoking guns” from the defense table. Freedman, IMO, fired his best shots this morning.

I thought the Bar Counsel Jean was a pedestrian presenter and questioner with a very strong case, because so much of the evidence she was discussing is what attorney’s call prima facie or self-evident: tapes of his inflammatory statements, testimony recorded in court, etc.

But as I watched Jean I kept saying, “I sure wish Joe Cheshire or Brad Bannon or Wade Smith were prosecuting Nifong.

I sort of got my wish when Wade Smith was called as the first witness by the Bar.

That was a very smart move. Smith is very well known and respected by NC attorneys. His testimony, which so far has been devastating for Nifong, is sure to resonate with them. First impressions, lasting memories.

The Bar surely knew that as a trial court veteran known for his calm and impressive manner who would be testifying about matters he knew intimately, Smith’s testimony would set a very high bar (no pun intended) for Freedman and Nifong to hurdle.

The Bar was right. When a tape of Nifong last spring laughing in court at a request by Reade Seligmann’s attorney, the late Kirk Osborn, for bail reduction was shown, Smith was the perfect witness to have on the stand.

I thought the Bar and Jean’s most effective moment came when she asked Smith if in all his years of practice he’d ever encountered a prosecutor who’d acted as Nifong did.

Smith paused as if trying to recall and then said, “No.”

In terms of influencing public opinion, Nifong hurt himself this morning even as he said nothing. He appeared very uncomfortable. He blinked a lot. His facial muscles twitched. He often rubbed his hands to his mouth.

One irony: many of the camera shots of Nifong showed the courtroom audience. And who should appear just above Nifong’s right shoulder? Brad Bannon, the defense attorney whose diligent work uncovered the exculpatory DNA evidence Nifong withheld.

Biggest news item of the morning: In Jean’s opening statement, as reported by KC Johnson:

before April 17, Himan speaks to Nifong--Himan expresses grave concerns about going forward with indictments of Seligmann and Finnerty--Nifong says to go ahead anyway, even though the police had no evidence that Seligmann was even present. Himan goes to superiors to express concerns--they go to Nifong--Nifong overrules them.
That’s going to reverberate again and again in the days, weeks and months to come.

Later tonight or tomorrow I‘ll say something about Smith’s testimony concerning the atmosphere outside the courthouse on May 18 and then within the courtroom. At both places Reade Seligmann was subjected to shouts of physical threats, including death threats in the courtroom, before the judge entered it.

What I saw of Smith’s testimony on this matter (Court TV cut away during part of it) was extremely powerful as indicating the kind of atmosphere that Nifong helped create and did nothing to condemn.

More on the trial this evening.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 11, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It’s well known that in August, 1941 Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt met in secret for four days at Argentia Bay, Newfoundland. Their meeting is now commonly referred to as the Atlantic Charter meeting, after the document of shared Angle-American ideals that was later released to the public.

But not so well known is that during those four days the military chiefs of the two nations who had accompanied their leaders to Argentia Bay were also meeting. At the time Americans were strongly against America’s entry into what they called “the European War.” So when news of the meetings became public, the presence of the Chiefs was explained as a get acquainted meeting at which protecting American merchant shipping in the North Atlantic was also discussed.

That was true but incomplete. Much more was discussed between the two nations’ military chiefs. They discussed the distribution between the two countries of the military arms America was then beginning to produce in increasing numbers. They also discussed a common war strategy. Here’s some of what one of Churchill’s military aides, Col. Ian Jacob, said after the meeting in a memo he prepared for Churchill:

The Americans have a long way to go before they can play any decisive part in the war. Their Navy is further ahead than their Army, both in thought and in resources.

Both are standing like reluctant bathers on the brink, but the Navy are (sic) being forced to dip a toe at a time into the shark-infested water. Their ideas, however, have not got beyond how to avoid being bitten; they have not yet reached out to thoughts of how to get rid of the sharks.
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll say more about Jacob’s memo and the military discussions at Argentia Bay.
For this post I drew especially on Martin Gilbert’s Finest Hour: 1939 – 1941. (Houghton Mifflin, 1983). The portion of Jacob’s memo I quoted can be found on pg. 1166.

MSM & Approval Ratings

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t find at least one MSM news organization mentioning “President Bush’s low approval rating.”

We’re all told that’s because MSM has to “report the news.” It has nothing to do with the fact that liberals and leftists dominate news reporting in America.

Well, OK, but what about the approval rating of Congress?

About five months back, when the Democrats took control of Congress, I remember reading about how popular Congress was.

But I haven’t seen anything lately about Congress’ approval rating. I wondered why.

I decided to take a look at the home page of where, when I scrolled down the page with my eye on the left hand column, I came to poll reports of Congressional approval (33.8%) and President Bush’s approval (33%).

I think now I understand why I haven’t been reading much about MSM’s congressional friends’ approval rating.

INNOCENT: Three "Great Paragraphs"

The late historian Barbara Tuchman, whose works include The Proud Tower and The Guns of August, was an admirer of what she called “great paragraphs.” Standing alone and apart from their original context, "great paragraphs" nevertheless could interest and inform readers because of how skillfully they combined facts and narrative flow within the small compass of a single paragraph.

I want to offer you three paragraphs I think meet Tuchman’s “great paragraphs” standards. I came upon them while reading about the Duke Hoax.

Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, published a letter from G. Holman King, “a proud lacrosse grandparent,” which contained this paragraph:

Brodhead has defended those actions on the flawed premise that he was "forced to act upon radically imperfect information" or that "action has been required in the face of deep uncertainty." In fact, once he had justifiably suspended part of the lacrosse season, there was no immediate compelling need for further action. He could have, and should have, deliberately preserved his options until there was more certainty. A safe haven was readily available to him-the presumption-of-innocence principle.
Momtothree at Liestoppers recently posted, "How the Duke Rape Hoax Became the Duke Racial Epithets Crime-of-the-Century Hoax (and Remains So Today)," which contains this paragraph:
Let it be said up front that racial epithets are deeply reprehensible, and concede that probably one or more of the party attendees did utter something racial. That the AG has concluded this occurred as a response to racial taunting from Kim Roberts gives context, but not justification for these words. Yet what has been made of them, and the way these utterances have been used to condemn an entire team and smear the reputations of the three indicted players (whom no one has ever seriously claimed uttered any epithet) is far more disgraceful and blameworthy.
And in Professor William (Bill) Anderson’s just published open letter to Duke lacrosse parents we find:
It was so bad that many of your boys, after Duke cancelled the lacrosse team’s season, could not go onto campus in fear of their own safety, and some of them even lived in their cars. Duke University broke contract with you – but still demanded your tuition and fees in return. Your sons were falsely accused; they knew they were falsely accused, but few at Duke, save the heroic women’s lacrosse coach Kerstin Kimmel and her players, would support you. It was that sense of being all alone, or to paraphrase the former lacrosse coach Mike Pressler, there were 50 people who knew the truth, and 50 million who thought they knew it – or really did not want to know the truth if it got in the way of a good story.
I hope you agree you’ve just read three great paragraphs. And I hope that tempts you to read Holman’s and Anderson’s letters and Momtothree’s post.

INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity (Post 2)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: If you’re already familiar with DPD Cpl. David Addison’s actions last March as DPD spokesperson and as Durham CrimeStoppers Coordinator and his just published letter in the Durham H-S, you may want to skip the following background and just scroll down to the star line.


Yesterday, June 10, in a letter to the Durham Herald Sun, DPD Cpl. David Addison complained about those questioning how, during the frame-up period of the Duke Hoax, DPD arrested and charged three men for multiple felonies when the NC Attorney General later found there was no evidence of their quilt. This post contains Addison’s letter.

Addison claimed such questioning hurts DPD. In fact, a thorough and fair investigation into DPD’s Duke Hoax actions will help DPD by giving Durham City government and worthy police leaders the information they need to correct in DPD what needs correcting, including replacing those whose actions went counter to their oaths.

Addison’s letter did two good things. First, it gave the public an example of the “reasoning” of those such as Nifong supporter and City Councilwoman Diane Catotti, who have opposed an independent investigation.

And, second, it gave justice seekers a chance to respond and ask Addison, his DPD supervisors and Durham City Manager Patrick Baker why last March Addison, as DPD spokesperson, repeatedly told the public and the media a “brutal rape” had been committed when he knew it hadn’t; and why he composed and sent to DPD substations, the media and others the text of the false and libelous Durham CrimeStoppers Wanted poster which then appeared in the community under an official DPD header.

More information about all of this can be found in this post, which contains many links including one to a post at Liestoppers which contains a photo copy of the CS Wanted poster and another with a letter from an attorney, Alex Charns, who represents one of the unindicted lacrosse players and has asked for an official public inquiry into the production and distribution of the Wanted poster and a full, official apology by DPD and Durham City to the players.
There have already been a lot of good results from The Addison Opportunity.

I’ve gotten copies on and off line of letters to the H-S responding to Addison. I’m sure there are already many more at the H-S.

That’s wonderful. Every time someone asks “Why did a DPD spokesperson ….?” and “Please tell us who authorized …..” questions it helps the public to understand what’s at stake here in Durham: proper police conduct and all that means for fair treatment of every citizen.

WRAL.Com has a news story on Addison’s letter. The story includes this:

City Councilman Eugene Brown said he was “shocked and disappointed by the letter.”

“Our job as a city council is to try to get to the truth, as painful as that may be,” Brown said. “I’m usually in support of what PBA supports. But in my judgment, this was definitely overboard and I was shocked.”
PBA is a reference to Police Benevolent Association. The H-S identified Addison as President of the Triangle Chapter of the PBA, but Addison did not claim in the letter to be writing on behalf of the Triangle Chapter.

The question of whether Addison was writing on behalf of and with the formal approval of PBA’s Triangle Chapter is important for many reasons, one being this: Addison’s DPD Supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ, has said Addison didn’t write and distribute the text of the CS Wanted poster at the behest of DPD. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Durham CS at the time of the poster’s production and distribution, Duke University Police Director Robert Dean, has said the CS board had delegated authority to Addison to produce CS Wanted posters and that the board, as a result, didn’t review the CS Duke lacrosse poster before it was distributed.

I plan to pursue the question of whether Addison was writing on behalf of the Triangle Chapter of PBA.

Be sure to read the readers comments at the WRAL story. A lot of the comments are helping to get the truth out there.

There will certainly be more that comes from Addison’s letter. I’ll keep you informed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

INNOCENT: DPD’s Sorry Addison

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
For days last March Durham Police Cpl. David Addison acted as DPD spokesperson.

During that time Addison made what he knew were false and racially inflammatory statements to the press and public about the Duke lacrosse players and a “brutal rape” that never happened.

What’s more, acting as Durham CrimeStoppers Coordinator, Addison wrote and sent to police substations, media and others the text of the Durham CS Duke lacrosse Wanted poster, which Addison also knew contained false and racially inflammatory statements.

Addison has never explained why he did those things. And Addison’s DPD supervisors and City Manager Patrick Baker have so far failed to ask him about them.

Perhaps they’ve said nothing because they all respect a DPD sworn officer's right to privacy in cases involving the framing of innocent citizens.

Whatever the case, we know Addison's now feeling very, very sorry. He told us that in a letter published today in the Durham Herald Sun.

And who’s Addison feeling sorry for?


You can read Addison’s letter in full in this post.

If you come to the end of Addison’s letter and find yourself crying, go straight to Liestoppers where Joan Foster has a poetic response to the sorry Cpl. Addison:

Shall I send you a box of Kleenex to wipe away your widdle tears?
Or a teddy bear to comfort you and allay your widdle fears?

All this "scrutiny and criticism" has Davey-boy verklempt
He's writing to the newspaper that his "Team" should be exempt!

He feels "bloodied by the slander"..oh my! We feel your pain!
Though I'm thinking of three other guys (one who shares your name)

I'm thinking of the year they spent, "vicious attacks" and such.
Because, Davey, your "Team" was incompetent and/or corrupt.

They walked to court past death threats, were hounded by the press
Protesters called to "castrate" them and other chilling threats. …
The rest of Joan’s poem is here.

Nice work, Joan. One of your best.

INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

In this post I want to encourage you to write letters to the Durham Herald Sun in response to a letter that appeared in the H-S today from Durham Police Cpl. David Addison.

Here’s Addison’s letter (If you’re already familiar with it, scroll to below the star line):

To the editor:

The Durham Police Department has been subjected to yet another round of criticism from the city's leaders. This is like the first round of a fight with Mike Tyson. The decision has already been made.

We continue to stand in silence because our teaching shows us that retaliation does not profit anyone. As we stand bloodied from the slander and vicious attacks, we are just blocking punches. The air of voice is beaten out and the eyes of clarity have been closed. The only things we have left are the legs which are supported by over 500 sworn officers and nearly 200 civilians. We are still able to think but even the referee penalizes us for blows we have not thrown. How much more can we take? A lot, I suspect. However, we cannot and will not subscribe to the philosophy of abuse or continue to be victimized.

It is amazing, or is it just an election year? You decide.

David Addison
June 10, 2007

The writer is president of the Triangle Chapter Police Benevolence Association

Addison’s letter is an opportunity for people to write the Herald Sun and highlight what certain DPD officers have done during the attempted frame-up of three innocent young men. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions of Addison and others in DPD and Durham City government.

Those are two strong reasons for writing a letter to the H-S. And I want to mention another one. Addison tries to make it appear that by objecting to questioning of DPD’s actions during the attempted frame-up, he’s defending all DPD officers and support personnel.

But that’s not the case. He’s only speaking for those like himself who, with good reason, fear public exposure and scrutiny of what they did.

Most DPD officers do a good job and regret what’s gone on. They know that without the public’s respect and cooperation, their already difficult and dangerous work will become more so.

Good DPD officers don’t fear a thorough and fair investigation. They privately believe that such an investigation is a necessary first step in rebuilding DPD’s public trust and respect, which have been very damaged during the Duke Hoax. But the officers are reluctant to say that publicly because DPD’s leadership and City Manager Patrick Baker don’t want a thorough and fair investigation.

Now if you’re thinking you might write a letter, I want to provide some information.

First, letters can be sent via email to:

Letters are limited to 250 words.

The H-S publishes letters from out-of-towners. Police and prosecutors all over America are watching Durham. They’ll be influenced by what happens here. For that reason if no other, every American has a stake in how things work out here.

So please write fact-based and questioning letters that will inform the public, hold our police department to account, and encourage those here who are fighting for justice.

Below is some background information concerning Addison and a few links to documents and other information you may find useful. Scroll down; pick and choose.

If you know a good deal about Addison, skip past the background to the star line.

I end the post with a Duke prof's letter that recently appeared in the H-S. It’s a model of the kind of letter that can influence public opinion.


In March, 2006, Durham Police Cpl. David Addison’s regular assignment was Coordinator for Durham CrimeStoppers. He remains in that position today.

Beginning on March 24, 2006, the day DPD officers working on the Duke lacrosse case were ordered to report directly to DA Mike Nifong and for some days thereafter, Addison also served as DPD spokesperson. In that position and over the course of days Addison repeatedly made false statements to the media and the public about a “victim brutally raped” when we know there never was any evidence of a brutal rape.

On March 28, in his capacity as Durham CS Coordinator he released the text of a Wanted poster that included, among other false statements, this:

The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed.
Addison has never explained why he made the false statements or published the text of the false Wanted poster. Neither have Addison’s immediate supervisor, Major Lee Russ or Deputy Chief Ron Hodge, who during most of the Duke lacrosse frame-up period was directing DPD while Chief Steve Chalmers was on leave.


Here’s a link to KC Johnson’s post responding to Addison’s letter. The post contains a number of examples of false statements Addison made. KC includes links to the sources from which he got the statements.

This is a JinC post which includes a letter from Alex Charns, an attorney representing one of the 43 lax players who weren’t indicted. Charns has asked for a public investigation into the production and distribution of the Wanted poster as well as a formal, public apology by Durham City and DPD for the distribution of the poster.

Here's a link to a document at Liestoppers which Durham City Councelman Eugene Brown recently released It contains questions concerning DPD's actions in the Hoax case.

This is another JinC post that contains, among other things, answers by Duke Police Director Robert Dean to questions I asked him concerning the CS Wanted poster. Dean was Chair of the Durham CS Board of Directors when the poster was produced.

This links to a Liestoppers post which has photo copies of the Wanted poster as well as the anonymously produced “Vigilante” poster.

Now that “model” letter to the editor which appeared under the heading:“Where’s the respect?”

To the editor:

Once again, Duke, along with a number of other institutions, did not fully observe Memorial Day. Permanent staff were let off, but classes were still held.

Why is it that the university can rearrange its schedule to give everyone Martin Luther King's birthday off, and even have a lecture in honor of his memory, but the university cannot find the time to truly commemorate probably the closest thing we have to a sacred holiday in America -- honoring those who gave their lives for their country? By properly commemorating this day we also pay respect to the friends and loved ones most affected by these deaths.

I think it is shameful that Duke and other institutions -- including many universities -- will not make the effort to observe this day above all, but also other national holidays.

There are priorities in life. Make this one of them.

Thomas Crowley
June 9, 2007
The writer is a professor at Duke University


Your letters will help. I hope to read many of them in the H-S.