October 5, 2007

Duke lacrosse players bring a civil rights case against Nifong and others.

NYT reports:
In a 162-page complaint, Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans sought redress for what they described as “one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial, and scientific misconduct in modern American history.”...

They “knew that these charges were completely and utterly unsupported by probable cause, and a total fabrication by a mentally troubled, drug-prone exotic dancer whose claims, time and again, were contradicted by physical evidence, documentary evidence, other witnesses, and even the accuser herself,” the complaint continued.

Mr. Nifong, who lost his public office, his license to practice law in North Carolina and his freedom during a 24-hour prison stay, used the racially-charged rape case to increase his chances in an election in which he faced “formidable competition in his own party’s primary election,” the complaint said.
Here's the complaint (PDF).

32 comments:

LutherM said...

Regarding the defendants, it could not have happened to a more deserving group of people.

MadisonMan said...

Police and prosecutorial misconduct I can see -- but scientific? Does that mean the lab work was beyond sloppy and they actually falsified lab reports?

Salamandyr said...

Good on 'em. I hope they win.

Heir to the Throne said...

I wonder what the reaction to this news will be from the gals at Feministing and Pandagon who still believe that the Duke 3 are guilty.

That and HBO is going to make a movie about the Duke 3.

Yachira said...

Beautiful!

I hope Nifong and the others involved in this self-serving persecution do not get one minute's peace for the rest of their lives.

john said...

I know that these young men need to follow the miscarraige of justice to its source, but I cant help but feel that the Greek chorus of Duke profs, wailing aloud its griefs, is being let off as a bystander, not a co-perpetrator, to this drama. It is comparatively easier to find justice, even though much delayed, in our existing legal system, than it is in our academies, where one can don the gown of speach codes, groupthink, and PC to disparage, malign, and convict without fear of reprisal.

Nifong is roadkill now. The academy remains the real problem.

john said...

Ok, so I don't know how someome follows a miscarriage as I'm note even sure it has wheels.

angie said...

This hasn't been so much a miscarriage as a willful abortion of justice.

knoxwhirled said...

I just went to pandagon and scrolled through for the first time since the Marcotte/Edwards incident. This is an actual assessment of the "Girls Gone Wild" phenomenon...

the hyper-entitled masculine culture of “Girls Gone Wild” (which conservatives blame on the girls, of course, but feminists are increasingly realizing is about the boys involved in the videos and the party scenes at which they’re and their sense that they are entitled to demand that girls humiliate themselves for their approval, and how the girls often feel that choosing otherwise might not be a realistic option).

How do you argue simultaneously that women are strong and capable--but can't manage to stay out of a "Girls Gone Wild" video. Give me a f*ing break. How insulting.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Police and prosecutorial misconduct I can see -- but scientific? Does that mean the lab work was beyond sloppy and they actually falsified lab reports?


MM,

I see the issues with the lab as:

1. yes, sloppy enough to inject tester DNA into the samples. but not a huge issue

2. falsified? if taking direction from the customer to exclude clearly exculpatory information from your report summaries counts, sure. They knew that none of the 46 suspects were found on the alleged victim, but the alleged victim, who denied having other sexual encounters and claimed that the rapists ejaculated into her had semen from 4-5 different mystery males in her orifices. That seems to me to be a conspiracy that impacts on reputation of science.

3. the search warrant claimed that DNA tests would confirm guilt or innocence. Then a scientist worked with the DA to obfuscate and mislead both the defense and the court as to the actual results and innocence of the defendants.

PatCA said...

Hooray for them. Nifong and others did real damage and it's about time he and academia meet the real world.

F15C said...

John above is right: "Nifong is roadkill now. The academy remains the real problem."

88 firings.

That would be a good start at real justice in this matter. We all know that said firings or anything like them will never happen. The 88 will continue on the payroll just as if they did nothing heinously wrong. Because they were, and still are, on the 'correct' side of the issue as far as academia is concerned.

john said...

Patca -

Just my point: Academia has not, and probably will not, meet the real world. Some schools - law, engineering, architecture, even economics, dabble in the real world, even Ann does; others are created to avoid it, indeed, they create their own campus world.

Cedarford said...

John - but I cant help but feel that the Greek chorus of Duke profs, wailing aloud its griefs, is being let off as a bystander, not a co-perpetrator, to this drama.

Duke paid huge for the actions of administration, faculty, and "Good Nurse Tara" - the woman's studies grad & rape exam crusader. Settlement with Coach Pressler who was on the verge of a national championship for an undisclosed sum reflecting his lifetime loss in earnings. An ugly admission of grade retaliation against two Lacrosse players, settled for under 1 million. A huge Settlement for the 3 accused players for Duke's role in threats, defamation, civil rights violations, and Duke Medical malpractice and cover-up - by Duke - reputed to be in the range of 30 million. A pending class action lawsuit against Duke by the 43 unaccused players who suffered civil rights violations & defamation by Duke employees - plus, recuperation of legal expenses, personal & parental expenses related to Duke Medical malpractice and harmful actions by Duke Employees.

********************
The present suit against the City of Durham, BTW, is scary in it's scope. They apparantly have the goods on the cops, Durham leadership, DNA testors, and DA staff - and not only seek 30 million for the 3 defendents, but up to triple punitive damages, and the City placed under a 10 year consent decree where the Court Master would control all hiring and firing of personnel in law enforcement in Durham.

In two blogs specializing in the Lacrosse case coverage, the Court filing and leaks reveal more bombshell allegations:

1. Durham PD assigned an initial investigator that had determined there was no evidence to charge any player with a crime and he was overruled by Durham leadership by Durham leadership when he tried to formally close the case - and the case was reopened and given to a cop noted for his anti-Duke bias.

2. There was methodical intimidation and threats delivered against key witnesses in the case, including the arresting cop and second stripper. Jail and career harm were threatened for witnesses not to exonorate the players.

3. Nifong, the investigating detective, and the lead police Sargent DID enter a conspiracy to conceal exculpatory DNA evidence from the grand jury and the public on the car ride back from the DNA testing lab - and police supervision and city leaders were aware of parts of the conspiracy when Detective Himan plead to his chain of command not to go in and deceive the Grand Jury.

4. The police supervision allowed defamation of players, suppression of evidence, as did city leadership (and the matter and others the press never picked up until leaks came with the Special Prosecutors )was discussed at off the record meetings...

john said...

Cedarford -

You are absolutely correct. Duke as a corporation has suffered and paid mightly for the actions of the Greek chorus. Its the chorus that has exonerated itself, despite the damage, monetary and reputation, it has caused this once great (basketball) school.

Chortle.

Cedarford said...

Add that the lawsuit the defendents filed is by the premiere big bucks firms.

Starting with Connolly & Williamss.

They are playing for blood, lots of it, and the consent decree they seek is as harsh in it's scope as the monetary damages. Basically, it is for a Court master to come in and fire the culpable cops involved, then have Durham spend 10 years under court, vs. Lefty and AA guidance.

Revenant said...

Police and prosecutorial misconduct I can see -- but scientific? Does that mean the lab work was beyond sloppy and they actually falsified lab reports?

Yes, MadisonMan -- Nifong got the lab to conceal the fact that Crystal Mangum had semen from multiple men (none of them lacrosse players) in her vagina and rectum and on her underwear. The lab, after consulting with Nifong, omitted that information from the report that was given to the court and to the defense team, and revealed only that Mangum had her boyfriend's semen in her. The defense didn't find out about the other men (presumably clients from Mangum's other career as a prostitute) until seven months later.

This is the specific incident of wrongdoing for which Nifong got jailed in contempt of court.

Joe said...

How about permanently dissolving Duke and disincorporating Durham?

tc said...

Ann,

What we need is a sexual harrassment suit against the US Supreme Court -and the US Senate and House of Representatives- for declaring that men and women are equal. It is the biggest lie and falsehood in history.
We need to repeal the equal rights amendment because it is destroying the world.

Tom

Methadras said...

The seedy underbelly of this whole thing is that the families of these young men paid dearly to get to the truth. Even though this case never went to trial, you can see clearly that monetary influence played a heavy hand in getting to the truth of this type of prosecutorial misconduct and illegality. Frankly, I hope Nifong never sleeps another day in his life. He should be totally stripped of the ability to practice law anywhere in the country and should become a pariah wherever he goes. What he did was beyond the pale and shouldn't be tolerated. All this does is make those that have been or feel they have been improperly targeted by prosecutors to rattle the cages in the halls of justice to revisit any prosecutorial misconduct in their particular cases.

The legal profession, much to Ann's chagrin and possible blinders (pure speculation on my part) is in need serious overhaul from the bench to the bar.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

MM, to expand on my post and that of revenant: The defense didn't find out about the other men (presumably clients from Mangum's other career as a prostitute) until seven months later.

Given this info, there were 2 possible reasonable outcomes.

1. The alleged victim lied when she said that (a), she had had not sexual contact in the previous week, and (b) that the defendants had ejaculated in her. Clearly this was exculpatory because it went to credibility. IT was hidden, OR

2. she was telling the truth bout being raped, but had the ID's wrong and there were 4-5 rapists lose in Durham. The police subsequently made no attempt to locate the semen contributors, AND

in fact indicted one of the player AFTER issuing a subpoena claiming that if forced to give a semen sample it would prove his guilt or innocence, and having been proven Innocent by that standard, after having no semen on the alleged victim was indicted and pilloried for 10 months.

The lab's evidence mattered a lot.

Pogo said...

This is what happens when critical law theory meets the real world.

Durham is lucky only money is involved. In any other time, there'd have been serious violence for this.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The academy remains the real problem.

Not at all mate. It's called academic freedom. Tenure. The ability to say anything you wish no matter how outrageous, unsubstantiated or relevant without risk repercussion as long as it provokes discussion and reflection

Windbag said...

Nifong is lucky he only spent 24 hours behind bars. Much longer, and he may have found out what rape really is.

Trooper York said...

Robin: You're a blot on the name of Gotham City University. When the students find out what kind of a person you really are, they'll hate you forever.
(Batman TV Show)

mtrobertsattorney said...

"The academy is the real problem"

What we need is a brilliant common law judge to create a new cause of action that can be filed against that Greek chorus of 88.

tjl said...

I disagree with those who see Nifong as some demonic Ahab-like figure cackling with fiendish glee as he went after defendants whom he knew to be innocent. It's more likely he acted as he did because he possessed to an extreme degree certain traits common among a subgroup of career prosecutors: self-righteousness, arrogance, and an inability to see opposing points of view. But in addition to these usual failings, Nifong added a truly rare degree of laziness and incompetence -- how else to explain his failure to interview the complainant until the case had already disintegrated, or his bizarrely inept attempts to explain his mishandling of the DNA to the State Bar?

Disbarment, career destruction, and financial ruin should be punishment enough for Nifong. It's a pity that there's no legal theory available to join the Group of 88 faculty in the lawsuit and hold them accountable for their significant contributions to the witch hunt.

knoxwhirled said...

academic freedom. Tenure. The ability to say anything you wish no matter how outrageous, unsubstantiated or relevant without risk repercussion

Yes, we've heard a lot about "academic freedom" in the last 6 or so years, what with characters like Ward Churchill and Kevin Barrett in the news. You have to wonder if all the "advantages" of that particular system truly outweigh the negatives. Especially since, it looks increasingly like a caveat brought out only to shore up the abuses of Political Correctness.

TerriW said...

I'm still trying to figure out how Law & Order is going to pull a "ripped from the headlines" version of this. Or maybe it's a great time to do it, if Fred Thompson is leaving and Jack is getting promoted -- his first replacement could be a temporary guest Nifong who gets tarred and feathered on his way out.

Or maybe they'll punt it to L&O:Criminal Intent, because the DA's aren't as important on that show.

EnigmatiCore said...

"We need to repeal the equal rights amendment because it is destroying the world"

psst. Trog-- you do realize that the Equal Rights Amendment never passed, right?

Otherwise, it was a valiant effort at a troll post. Though you only had one person respond to you (me), if you keep up the effort and get a whole lot smarter, eventually you will be able to get lots of people to respond to your trolling efforts!

Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

tiny fists said...

Martin Boags is the poor man's Mike Nifong. Case 8CA10541 in the Los Angeles Criminal Court(Downtown) makes it clear that this kind of evil is still going on. In that case unprecented tactics were used to bury the defendant- whom they long knew to be innocent.