Duke recriminations

by Walter Olson on April 13, 2007

North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper deserves credit for making it clear to all that the players were innocent and not merely unprosecutable (Stuart Taylor, Jr., “An unbelievable day”, Newsweek, Apr. 12 (web-only)). Cooper may not deserve so much credit for sparing the false accuser any public legal consequences (John Podhoretz, “Let the liar be named and shamed”, New York Post, Apr. 12). Durham DA Mike Nifong is in richly deserved trouble, of course but it would be wrong to let the press off the hook for its many sins in covering the case (Howard Kurtz, “Media Miscarriage”, Washington Post, Apr. 12; K.C. Johnson, Apr. 12 (on the New York Times’ reporting; check other entries at his blog for the sins of the Durham Herald-Sun, Newsday, etc.)). And let’s not forget the Duke faculty, or at least large portions of it (Vince Carroll, Rocky Mountain News, Apr. 12).

See these links for our extensive earlier coverage of the case.

{ 11 comments }

1 Amsterdamsky 04.13.07 at 4:25 am

I am not a lawyer but the apparent intimidation of the potentially exonerating Sudanese taxi driver witness seems criminal. If these kids had public defendents and not high profile rich lawyers hired by their parents I am sure they would be in jail right now for 20 years. Absolutely chilling.

2 Ima Fish 04.13.07 at 8:11 am

“of course but it would be wrong to let the press off the hook for its many sins in covering the case”

My wife mentioned that one of the “hosts” of the View was outraged that the charges were dropped and was adamant that the players were guilty.

Fox had a nice overview of the accuser’s life. (I wish I had a link, sorry!) It was interesting that this was the second time she accused men of gang rape only to have the charges drop. And she also accused a man of attempted murder, but that too was dropped.

3 Todd R. 04.13.07 at 8:53 am

The juciest bite of this story, I predict, will be found attached to the Duke 88.

4 Deoxy 04.13.07 at 10:22 am

Concerning statements such as that on the View, sadly, I think the only way to stop stuff like that would be to file slander or libel suits against everyone who said such. The evidence of innocence is overwhleming (as this post points out, kudos to Roy Cooper for stating that plainly); claims otherwise at this point (without some extreme new piece of evidence to back it up) should be considered malicious.

Yes, I know… a stauch Overlawyered reader and supporter advocating lots of lawuits… unfortunately, I don’t know of any other way for these guys to act now that would “make things right”.

The odds of this are low, and I mostly appreciate that, but the only other alternative is for the three men in question to simply endure repeated injustice and slander, which is a poor outcome as well.

5 jb 04.13.07 at 10:27 am

From the NYT:

“This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed,” Mr. Seligmann said. “If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, I can’t imagine what they’d do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.”

6 Zoe Brain 04.13.07 at 10:31 am

And in Orange County…. well, read this.

Summary : DA knows from photo and witness evidence of the accused’s innocence, so uses her step-daughter as a hostage to get the accused to plead guilty.

There are very significant other factors involved too. He’s gotten away with it.

7 Richard Nieporent 04.13.07 at 6:16 pm

As they say Deoxy, it is the exception that proves the rule! I am with you on this. There are times when lawsuits are appropriate and this is one of them. One can also hope that the state will give him free room and board to make up for his lost pension.

8 Platy 04.15.07 at 1:30 am

Only an idiot would have believed that the Duke boys were guilty of the crime they were accused of, but everybody seems to be overlooking that they were guilty of other things; specifically, they were guilty of very poor judgement in contracting with women of questionable integrity to provide sexual entertatinment, they were guilty of squandering an opportunity to receive a prestigious education in favor of spending their time consuming alcohol, and they were guilty of being children of privilege who it’s pretty hard to have any sympathy for. The lessons they are taking away from this experience are worth more than any Ivy League education.

9 Richard Nieporent 04.15.07 at 12:46 pm

but everybody seems to be overlooking that they were guilty of other things; specifically, they were guilty of very poor judgement in contracting with women of questionable integrity to provide sexual entertatinment, they were guilty of squandering an opportunity to receive a prestigious education in favor of spending their time consuming alcohol,

I believe what you are trying to say Platy was that they were guilt of being college boys.

and they were guilty of being children of privilege who it’s pretty hard to have any sympathy for.

Only if you are a left-wing ideologue. The last I looked it was not a crime in this country to be financially successful.

Only an idiot would have believed that the Duke boys were guilty of the crime they were accused of

You mean like Duff Wilson of the New York Times who when given exclusive access to Nifong’s files continued to support Nifong’s persecution of the three Lacrosse players or the infamous Gang of 88 Duke faculty members who have still to this day refused to apologize for their rush to judgment.

10 jb 04.15.07 at 3:09 pm

Platy: None of what you say they are guilty of is a crime.

So your post is a non-sequitur.

11 Todd Rogers 04.15.07 at 10:15 pm

Ditto on the non-sequitur. Ditto on Rishard’s reponse. Guilt is hardly a term that should be applied to any of their behavior.

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