Posts Tagged ‘Duke lacrosse’

Schools roundup

Duke subpoenas KC Johnson

The academic writer and blogger, co-author with Stuart Taylor Jr. of Until Proven Innocent, has long been a thorn in the Duke administration’s side over its conduct in the lacrosse case. The university has been fighting in court to force Johnson to hand over emails and correspondence that it says it needs to defend other litigation, and some of its informational demands have been very broad indeed. Too broad? [Johnson, Durham-in-Wonderland]

Update March 6, that was fast: Duke backs down.

January 3 roundup

  • Popehat’s Ken to the rescue after Maine lawyer/lawmaker assists naturopath in bullying critical blogger [Popehat]
  • Newt’s “patriotism made me stray” among highlights of the year in blame-shifting [Jacob Sullum]
  • Nifong sidekick, now in a spot of legal bother himself, hits back with lawsuit [K C Johnson, Durham in Wonderland]
  • Shareholder action: “Delaware approves $285 Million in Plaintiffs’ Lawyers’ Fees” [Bainbridge, WSJ Deal Journal, WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Even one death is too many — WE MUST BAN NETI POTS!” [NYDN via Christopher Tozzo]
  • Debatable premise of Joe Nocera analysis on Stephen Glass case: bar admission turn-down = “rest of his life … destroyed” [NYT, Howard Wasserman/Prawfs, earlier]
  • Who says Connecticut never reforms liability? Towns won protection last year from some recreation-land tort exposure [CFPA, earlier here, here]

“38 lacrosse players sue Duke University”

Inevitably so? Maybe not. As longterm readers will recall, we were early and vocal among those calling attention to the legal travesty that was the Nifong prosecution, but it’s quite a jump from there to the proposition that the taxpayers of Durham, the university and its president Richard Brodhead personally should fork over money for emotional distress damages to, say, students never prosecuted at all and family members, who comprise the plaintiffs in this new case. (Kristen M. Daum, Newsday, Feb. 21; Bob Van Voris, “Duke Lacrosse Players to Sue School Over Rape Probe”, Bloomberg, Feb. 21; Malkin). The plaintiffs have a website here. (Corrected to fix misstatement on identity of plaintiffs. And broken link now fixed).

More: James Taranto at the WSJ quotes the Raleigh News & Observer under the heading “Yoo Hoo! Over Here! Ignore Us Please!”:

*** QUOTE ***The latest Duke lacrosse suit got off to a big start Thursday with publicists, lawyers of national renown, a media blitz at the National Press Club and a lawsuit with its own Web site.

The 38 members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team who filed the suit in federal court say their reputations were damaged by their association to an escort service dancer’s phony gang-rape allegations.

The players chose not to appear at the news conference, said Bob Bork Jr., the group’s hired publicist, because they don’t want to attract attention.

*** END QUOTE ***

If they didn’t want to attract attention, it might have made more sense not to call a press conference. Or, if they had already called it and felt they had no choice but to go through with it, maybe they could have created a diversion by having a stripper show up or something.

The News & Observer also notes at the end of its article:

Only three members of the 2006 team have not filed suit — Matt Zash, a former captain; Matt Danowski, the current coach’s son, and Kevin Mayer.

And more: Bob Bork, Jr. writes to say he was misquoted in the News & Observer report, and says the following is a transcript of what he did say about the players’ absence:

One final comment before we start. None of the 38 players who are filing this lawsuit are here today. They considered participating, but many have jobs and some are still students and lacrosse team members at Duke. One is in Army Ranger school preparing to deploy to Iraq.

Know this — the players are united behind this lawsuit. At the same time that they are understandably concerned about retribution and slanderous media coverage. Who can blame them after what they endured for 13 months in 2006 and 2007. They are walking a fine line between trying to live normal lives in the wake of an unspeakable trauma and at the same time trying to get answers to questions that remain unanswered by their university.

Nifong/Lacrosse update

Former Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong, railroader of the Duke Lacrosse 3, was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to one day in jail; this punishment is for lying to the trial court about the existence of DNA evidence. He reported to jail today to serve his sentence. He has already been disbarred, of course.

Next to come is the players’ civil suit, though that money is unfortunately going to come from the taxpayers of Durham rather than from Nifong. The players are attempting to negotiate a settlement before filing their suit; they’re reportedly seeking $30 million, plus changes to the legal process to allegedly prevent the district attorney from hijacking a police investigation the way Nifong did. They intend to file suit within a month if the city doesn’t settle. (AP, Herald-Sun)

And then there’s this little tidbit:

Durham’s Police Department, which helped Nifong secure the indictments, has also come under criticism. A special committee probing police handling of the case stopped working last month, however, because the city’s liability insurance provider warned that the committee’s conclusions could provide material for lawsuits.

At this point, if we were Bizarro-Overlawyered I’d be rambling about “Profits over People” or something, but since we’re not, I’ll just point out that it simply demonstrates the perverse incentives of the legal system and its unbounded discovery rules. As long as everything you put on paper can be used against you — even in hindsight — then the incentive is not to put it on paper. (Of course, I’m not suggesting that the specific wrongdoing in Durham was only obvious in hindsight; people like K.C. Johnson figured it out right away. But the incentives are the same in every case.)

“Airman Who Alleged Rape Faces Court-Martial”

Amber Taylor points us to this AP article:

A female airman says she faces a court-martial next month because she refused to testify against three male airmen she accused of rape.

The woman is charged with one count of committing indecent acts and one count of consuming alcohol as a minor. The defense says the charges involve the same men she accused of raping her.

The woman dropped the charges after feeling “pressured”; the men agreed to nonjudicial punishments in exchange for immunity and their testimony against the woman. If the story is true (and that’s a big if: the only substantive comment in the coverage is from the defense attorneys, as the prosecutors are forbidden from commenting in detail while the case is pending), it is certainly something shocking: you’d expect that sort of thing in remote parts of Pakistan, not in the armed forces. Of course, as the Duke Lacrosse case showed, there are many other scenarios where a woman could allege rape, back down from her allegation, and legitimately be charged with wrongdoing. Court-martial is scheduled for September 24.