It's Official, the Duke 3 are INNOCENTI have been watching this case more closely than most that the antique media cover over an extended period of time. Lashawn Barber has had the best coverage throughout IMHO. It seemed to me early in this case (or non-case) that there was a snake somewhere in the woodpile. I waited for some time before posting anything. My first post was 4/9/2006 2 way rape shield laws. I will quote it here because I still think this is the biggest issue not dealt with.
Great commentary on the Duke rape allegation case at DukeNewSense. (HT: Powerline) It really just isn't at all clear what happened here. What is clear is that the reputations of a bunch of college kids is severely damaged even if it is eventually "proven" that no crime was committed.I would argue that if such a law were in place we wouldn't know these 3 young men's names and the amount of harm done to them would have been mitigated significantly. Also, the advantage to a monster like Nifong in pursuing what he had to have known were probably false and certainly unprovable accusations would have been reduced. If he can't use the names and faces of the "privileged white students" to whip Jesse "hymietown" Jackson and Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton into a frenzy to ensure that the vast majority of the local black population votes for him in his election bid, maybe this travesty of justice would have never occurred.
I was all in favor of rape shield laws to prevent the press from trying the victims of rape on the evening news. I am becoming more and more convinced that, due to the nature of the crime, those laws should go both ways.
If they did it, publish the names after they are proven guilty, then toss them in jail. If they didn't do it their ID should also be shielded. Even the allegation of rape is a stigma no innocent person should have to carry around.
I then point you to my third and final post on this topic until today, 4/29/2006 Duke Rape non-case. I said that far back, 6 months before the election in question, that not only was Nifong's case in serious trouble but that if the case continued down this path he could be disbarred. If it was that obvious that early to a non-lawyer sitting half a continent away that these things were true I have two questions:
1. Why did it take almost a year to get these false and libelous charges dropped?
2. Why is Nifong's disbarment (technically disciplinary but I am optimistic) hearing not for another month and change?
Don't get me wrong, it is more important for justice to be served than swift but this seems insane to me. Hat's off the AG for having the guts to not only drop the case but to say that Nifong was wrong in pursuing it and that it was clear that the players were INNOCENT. (For my fellow non-lawyers who don't follow trials and such as much as I do trust me that this is a big deal. Usually you get "there is insufficient evidence to move forward" not "we are sure they didn't do it".)
That said, the AG got this handed to him months ago. Just the evidence we know about is pretty conclusive. The press have been covering this nationally not to mention the blogs. I would think that given the mess the case turned into that the AG would make getting to the bottom of it a very high priority. These boys were publicly accused over a year ago, denied a speedy trial and looked to all the world INNOCENT. I don't get it.
Final thoughts: I am not a big supporter of civil lawsuits for defamation but it seems to me that this is the case said laws were written for. I hope they sue both the DA's office and the University as well as the lying stripper, Nifong, the cops who conducted the illegal photo array, the idiot university president, the gang of 88 and anybody else they can think of and win at least 8 figures - each. I further hope that since the lacrosse coach had to quit/be fired that there will be 89 faculty openings at Duke real soon now. I know that last part is wishful thinking, but if I had a kid going there or was an alumni I would be very vocal about now.
We should all continue to hold these players and their families in our prayers.