Justice Comes to Durham?

No, no one screamed at Coach K for 90 minutes and told him he was worthless and incompetent. Still, pretty big news.

ABC News is reporting that all charges will be dropped against three Duke lacrosse players charged with sexually assaulting a stripper in March 2006. The network cites "sources" close to the North Carolina Attorney General's office which, in January, took over the case from Durham DA Mike Nifong.

Although it is obvious that Nifong has no case -- never had a case -- it will be very interesting to see how any dismissal is spun by AG Roy Cooper. My money is on a minimal approach, with Cooper refraining from too much criticism of Nifong while possibly loading up on the accuser as unreliable, resulting in a case that could not be won.

Of course Cooper should not only criticize Nifong, but bring charges against the man. But I seriously doubt that happens.

Previous Nifong misconduct goodness here and here .

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  • Ayn Randian||

    You cannot be serious. This case started more than a year ago!! Whatever happened to the right to a speedy trial? Do you just get to play King when you're a DA, holding charges against college kids for over a year while your lying "victim" gets her story straight?

    Nifong and the rest of the corrupt jokers should be sent to the libertarian gulag.

  • Makes me Sick||

    ...

  • jgray||

    aynrandian-

    we have a libertarian gulag?

    where is it? i wanna visit on vaca w/ the kids
    show them what happens to the bad people

  • ||

    Weren't there 4 victims of prosecutorial misconduct here? What about the 4th?

  • ||

    Coffe intake optimized. Pls. ignore previous post.

  • VM||

    hier will clear some of the things going on there. (H/T to Grotius)

    Ayn Randian - "Nifong and the rest of the corrupt jokers should be sent to the libertarian gulag."

    um. Tromsø, Norway?

  • ||

    If a woman -- a minority woman, no less -- says she was raped, no one should question her. Period. Letting these racist rapists get away with their crime is almost as disgusting as Don Imus not being fired for talking about nappy-headed ho's.

  • ||

    It's tough to figure out what to punish Nifong for because, like cops caught acting violently on video, some % of his behavior is legally sanctioned, even if incorrect.

    It's a similar problem with cops caught beating some resisting suspect to a pulp. Maybe the first or first two blows are completely legal.

    Not every action Nifong took that turned out to be wrong was improper, and not every improper action he took was criminal, yet our jury-based legal system is designed to look at the accused's actions throughout the event.

  • lunchstealer||

    Yeah, I still think that there's more to this story than we're seeing. I don't quite buy that a stripper is just going to randomly accuse some college students of rape unless they really pissed her off.

    And I do buy the idea that some pampered frat boys might end up getting carried away with their own power and ignore the distinction between hiring a stripper and renting a plaything.

    Now, it's pretty clear that Nifong got carried away and wanted to get a slam dunk against these guys to make his name as a prosecutor, and probably set himself up for statewide or national politics. It's also pretty clear that the stripper either exaggerated her story or left out other parts of the story. And those two things are enough that the legal procedings should stop. The legal presumption of innocence in this case should kick in.

    But legally, OJ didn't do it. But I still personally think he did it, and I am at most going to reserve judgment with respect to the Duke kids.

    (Disclaimer - I'm no fan of Duke basketball, but I've got nothing against Duke the school. My college fencing team recieved a lot of support from Duke's fencing coach, and another friend of mine is currently on the Duke fencing team. This is not some anti-rich-kid-school bias. As schools go, Duke's a mensch.)

  • Kid Handsome||

    Just for the record, according to the AP story, Nifong is facing charges.

    My recollection is they include withholding evidence from the defense, lying to bar investigators and failing to cooperate with the investigation. There may be a distinction in that these are probably bar charges, not criminal charges, but he is going to trial.

    Oh, and I'll note, since I hate Nifong, this seems like a good opportunity to question any law that requires one to "cooperate" with an investigation. Who determines that? Oh, the government determines it you say. What's the criterion? How far over you bent?

  • ||

    Yeah, I still think that there's more to this story than we're seeing. I don't quite buy that a stripper is just going to randomly accuse some college students of rape unless they really pissed her off.

    Of course you think there is more to the story... you were probably part of the lynch mob when the story first broke. You either say "Yeah, I was wrong", or you create elaborate imaginary constructs to justify that you were not wrong.

  • Sandy||

    Rex, that's a pretty Nifongian line of argumentation. Posit some wild claim even though you have no knowledge of the person involved's opinions in the past and then use that as a basis to question the motives for their present assessment of a given situation.

    I award you troll points for that, well played.

  • ||

    Rex, that's a pretty Nifongian line of argumentation. Posit some wild claim even though you have no knowledge of the person involved's opinions in the past and then use that as a basis to question the motives for their present assessment of a given situation.

    I award you troll points for that, well played.


    It isn't troll points, it is satire. People can can demand that the government throw innocent people in prison based on Nifong logic, and it is A-OK by people like you. But using Nifong logic in a satirical way in a harmless online forum, and people like you go apeshit.

    Just face it, there was no witch burning, and so you are pissed.

  • ||

    lunchstealer, how can you even compare this case to OJ? There was a ton of evidence pointing to him as the murderer, as opposed to essentially no evidence supporting these rape allegations. Your theories of frat-boy behavior do not count as evidence.

  • txl||

    I think this story goes to the point of excesses by prosecutors in general. I don't know that much about Nifong, but he isn't the only prosecutor that does this shit. These days prosecutors don't even seem to consider the possibility that someone might be innocent of charges and look at cases as a scorecard rather than the futherence of justice. How many other, less affluent people have gotten fucked by unscrupulous prosecutors like this and couldn't fight back or had to take a plea deal because his Public Pretender couldn't defend him?

  • ||

    Something probably happened there

    Well, duh. There were people there, and they were at least breathing. That's "something."

    Seriously, though, news reports suggest that what likely happened was something like this: One member of the team arranged, on behalf of himself and the other players, with an "escort service" to provide a pair of "dancers" (read: strippers) to put on a half-hour show for $800. (According to at least one report I've read, he requested the strippers, er, dancers, be white, but the escort service said they couldn't provide two white dancers and asked if one of them could be mixed-race, which the player said would be OK.) At the appointed time, two black strippers--I mean dancers--showed up, but one of them was drunk or stoned or otherwise terribly messed up. The strippers, who were paid their $800 in advance, only performed for about two minutes, during which some of the players made crude and suggestive comments. (Can you imagine that? I can't even begin to think why people watching a strip show might do such a thing, rather than sit demurely as is they were watching a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.) Apparently the one who later cried rape was so impaired that only by stretching the meaning of the word can she be said to have been "performing" at all. After those two minutes, the dancers decided they were out of there, which for some reason annoyed the lacrosse players, who made some more crude (and this time racially offensive) remarks. But in the end, the dancers left without finishing their show, and some of the players continued to vent their anger at being ripped off--in one case, in a nasty e-mail message in which the player fantasized about hiring some strippers for another party and then killing and mutilating them.

    As far as I can tell, the only actual crimes that are known to have been committed were probably fraud by the dancers and underage drinking by the team members.

  • SPD||

    Seamus,

    So basically, the strippers were drugged-out and unreliable, and the lacrosse players were drunk, misogynist assholes. Neither merits criminal charges. Somehow I failed to be shocked in either case, though.

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