Friday, September 01, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Rape Update


DURHAM, N.C. -- Attorneys representing three Duke lacrosse players charged with rape filed a motion Thursday seeking additional notes and reports from investigators, including the results of a toxicology test performed on the accuser.

The motion _ filed jointly by attorneys for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans _ seeks notes and e-mails outlining activities of Durham police officers involved with the case and a report outlining statements made by the accuser in a meeting with District Attorney Mike Nifong and investigators in April.

It also seeks results of a toxicology report discussed by attorneys during a meeting last week with Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III. Nifong said the report found the accuser's system "was negative for the presence of any controlled substances," though the report has not been provided to the defense, according to the motion.

In a past motion seeking such toxicology reports, defense attorneys have cited a story published in Newsweek in May that said Nifong "hinted" such tests would reveal the presence of a date-rape drug. The accuser told police she was raped by the three players at a March team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

The motion seeks handwritten notes from at least 11 Durham police officers regarding their activities in the case; e-mails to and from officers regarding the lacrosse case; reports from labs that performed DNA testing for the case; and an order allowing defense attorneys to view items in a sealed rape-kit box.

The defense also renewed its request for records from the facility where the accuser was taken for involuntary commitment in the hours after the party and where she first said she was raped. The accuser interacted with at least three staff members and was there for 40 minutes, but there is no "substantive report" about her presence there, according to the motion.

Nifong did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment Thursday.

posted by David at 2:20 PM :: Permalink ::

Comments on "Duke Lacrosse Rape Update"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:16) : 

Comparing LAX case to that of Scottsboro Nine

I am a college instructor who teaches criminal justice and a criminal defense attorney. In my entire career I have never seen such a bizarre and unfair case as the one against three Duke lacrosse players.

I teach a class about a similar case in American history, the Scottsboro Nine. In March 1931, a group of nine black teen-agers was charged with rape on incredibly flimsy evidence in Scottsboro, Ala. The nine were originally charged with the rape of two white women. Even after one woman testified that she lied about the rape, the nine teens continued to face rape charges and the threat of death by execution.

In the Scottsboro case, the two women were part-time prostitutes, but that didn't matter, nor did it matter that at least one of the boys was known to be physically unable to have sex, and two of the boys were only 13. Like Durham, the real issue was race.

In Scottsboro, nine young men were wrongly charged and condemned because they were black, and today the Duke lacrosse players have, in my opinion, been wrongly charged and condemned because they are white and the alleged victim is black.

The one constant with respect to the two cases is racism. I often ask my students if it possible for blacks to discriminate against whites in the same type of mindless ignorance as the KKK or the way the mob went after the Scottsboro Nine. The answer I receive is yes, and my students point to Durham as proof.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:17) : 

Many prominent folks in Durham supported the candidacy of Mike Nifong for district attorney, none more distinguished than law professor Robinson Everett. His column of May 12, "Try a lie detector test for alleged victim" is sage advice. Given the accuser's troubled history of crying "rape," according to law enforcement officials, one might reasonably ask why Nifong did not administer such a test when she first made these allegations some two months ago. The job of prosecutor is not just to seek indictments; it is to seek justice. The suggestion that the accuser be given a lie detector test is not just good advice, it is an exit strategy for a prosecutor whose case now appears to be hopelessly lost.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:17) : 

No-case Nifong

Once again District Attorney Mike Nifong has been shown to be an arrogant individual who apparently cares more about publicity and getting votes than he does about seeing that justice is served. If we the public are getting the right information from the press and the defense attorneys, Nifong does not have a case.

It appears to me that Nifong erroneously opened his mouth in an irresponsible manner initially in order to obtain votes and is now too arrogant and egotistical to admit his mistake. So he has chosen to continue with a case that as it stands now would render a not guilty verdict by any impartial jury. I only hope that if this case goes to trial that the jury is not made up of people who are out to get the "well-to-do white boys from the north."

Nifong's conduct does not say much for our justice system here in Durham and/or for his qualifications for the DA position. Too bad that all Durham registered voters did not have the option of voting on the DA position. No, I have not predetermined that these boys are not guilty but, if Nifong has no more than has been evident so far, I also could not beyond any reasonable doubt say they are guilty. I will say that many things concerning this matter stink and I pray that the real truth comes out at some point.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:17) : 

Bigoted support

Alas, I graduated from college a few years ahead of the Myspace and Facebook crazes. But recently I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Being a Durham resident, I searched on Myspace for message boards about the Duke lacrosse case, curious to read how my peers had weighed in. Of five groups, four backed the lacrosse players. Supporting them in principle does not concern me -- they are indeed innocent until proven guilty. But the content of the messages I read were shocking: "I think some poor, black girl was pissed at the rich, white kids and decided she would try and take them down. … I'm not racist, but these are the kind of things that make people that way." "…Colin Finnerty wudnt [sic] do such a thing especially coming from such a good family." "Once this case gets tossed out like it should, they should throw [the accuser] in jail for being a waste [of] humanity." Such comments were unfortunately not exceptions to the rule. According to these folks, people can be "driven" to racism; kids from "good" (aka wealthy) families don't do "such things," and the accuser is a "waste of humanity." What happened at that party I do not know. But I am sure of this: no woman deserves such a verbal gauntlet of ignorance as I read today. To my generation: resorting to bigotry, classism and hatred is not the way to go. Get real and grow up.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:17) : 

No Duke players wore bands saying 'innocent'

"Reprehensible," "astonishing" and "shame" are just some of the words Earl Holt used in his guest column [Forum, June 1] to describe the audacity of Duke women's lacrosse team members wearing sweatbands saying "innocent" in the recent NCAA national semifinal game. In fact, as your editorial pointed out on May 30, no Duke player wore such a sweatband. Some of the women did wear bands with the uniform numbers of the three indicted male Duke players.

Others wore bands saying "No regrets, No excuses," the motto of the men's 2005-2006 season. In both cases, women players made a personal choice to show support for their friends, and they chose language decidedly different from what Holt rails against. Writing (and publishing) a column based on such a fundamental inaccuracy, is … well, I'll just leave it at "astonishing."

The writer is senior vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke University.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:17) : 

It's all about race


The mentality of those who have railroaded the three Duke lacrosse players can be illustrated no better than with the gross analogy put forth by Kim Brummell in her July 16 letter. Like her hero Mike Nifong, she operates without facts. The film "A Time To Kill" told a story of KKK hoodlums who raped and beat a pre-adolescent black child and left her for dead. Her father was found not guilty for killing them because his reaction was so understandable in such a circumstance. Let's do a 180-degree turn and get back to reality in Durham. The strippers in the lacrosse case are not innocent children and have extensive criminal histories of their own. Mike Nifong is certainly no actor. If he had that craft at his disposal perhaps most of the public would not have been so repulsed when he told a crowd on his campaign trail that he wasn't going to let it be said that a black woman can be raped by privileged white men at Duke University and get away with it in Durham, N.C. The heck this case isn't about race. That's all it's about. It sure isn't about facts and evidence. Using the film "A Time To Kill" and suggesting that it has any relationship to the Duke lacrosse case is inciteful idiocy and tailor-made for the race-baiters living in "Nifong Land." There's an Al Pacino film called "And Justice For All." I and many others will need to employ no dramatic license to say that its script will be played out in this case. All "cosmic justice" seekers look elsewhere.

Chapel Hill


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (01 September, 2006 15:18) : 

Referencing the astute observation that District Attorney Mike Nifong made during his press conference today about political appointments, he affirmed: "I am struck by the irony that this group of citizens wants to use this procedure to make an end run around the electorate now," Nifong said. "I believe that Durham's district attorney should be selected by the voters of Durham, not by the governor."

I hope Nifong was listening to himself when he said those words, because Nifong ironically embodies the truth of that very mistake. Look at the mess we have been saddled with when the governor appointed the current DA.



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