Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Letters from friends 1



This section contains letters and comments written by the Friends of Duke University. If you want to contribute, please email your letters or comments to us. We will review and post them as appropriate.

83 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 1 - Posted on June 10, 2006

This letter was written to all of us by one of our friends.

Dear Friends,

Good afternoon. As a former commercial litigator and white collar criminal defense attorney, I regularly worked in joint representation of multiple parties, on both plaintiff and defense sides. I have represented corporations and individuals, wealthy and not. And I assure you, legal costs are prohibitive for even the most basic legal work associated with a court case.

I know from hard experience how extremely difficult it is to explain to individuals wrongly embroiled in litigation why they must find some way to come up with funds for effective representation. Houses are double and triple mortgaged. Savings depleted. Extended families and friends contribute. Litigation can and does change lives, financially and emotionally.

That is why I am contributing to this common defense fund for Duke lacrosse players wrongly implicated in the court case in Durham. The criminal case will be resolved, as it should be, in a court of law. Nonetheless, individuals innocent of any wrongdoing must still find a way to pay for effective legal representation during that process. These costs will be enormous, and there are many individual students involved. I hope that my contribution will assist in bringing all relevant facts out, especially given the press coverage at the initial stages of this case.

I'll confess that Duke is my alma mater, and I count my time there as one of the most positive influences in my life. And it is my hope that Duke as an institution becomes better and stronger as a result of this extremely ugly situation. By all appearances, the administration, with the help of former law professors of mine, have taken significant steps in that direction. I know from personal experience that my professors did not flinch from hard facts when I was a student there. They had my respect then, and they do now.

So I ask you to consider giving what you can and forwarding this email to as many like-minded individuals as you think appropriate.

Sincerely,

 
At 5:35 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 2 - Posted on June 10, 2006

The letter below was written by the parent of a Duke Lacrosse team member. It was published in the John in Carolina discussion board, on April 3, 2006 (and republished on June 10). The letter was written to the Newsobserver editor in response to the paper's publication of the “vigilante poster”.

Duke lacrosse mother speaks out: A repost

I don't know if you have any children, I can't imagine that you do.

I'm sure you are aware of the cruelty and profound harm of discrimination against groups of people.

My son is a Freshman student-athlete on the Duke Lacrosse team. He is a young man honored for his integrity, academics and sportsmanship. He is a high school All American. He has worked hard since he was five years old to excel in a sport that he loves.

It is very difficult to put that much time into a sport and maintain excellent grades and an extensive record of community service. There are many other boys on this team who are similarly honored.

There are Christians who have never had a beer.

There are boys who did not go to the party.

There are boys who left the party early and did not have a beer.

And then there are boys who are "vile," "out of control" boys who have been arrested with an open container of beer. Why don't you delve into the arrest records of all Duke athletes, of all Duke students, or of all Duke employees, for that matter?

Can you imagine how proud my son was when he was recruited to Duke to study and play the sport in which he excels?

I went to Duke and his brother and sister graduated from Duke. Our love and respect for the University has been central to our lives.

You are discriminating against one group of people, not because of fact, but because of innuendo.

You are writing harmful generalizations about boys whom you know nothing about.

When these allegations are proven false, will you write about the woman who has victimized these boys? No, you won't because that is not sensationalist news.

These boys have faces. They are individuals with families. To grossly characterize them is slander and libel. You should be "dumped."

 
At 5:39 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 3 - Posted on June 12, 2006

This letter was written by the parents of a Duke lacrosse player who graduated in 2002. It is written to the Duke president and trustees.

Dear President Brodhead and the Board of Trustees,

Ever since the events of March 13, 2006 involving the Duke Men’s’ Lacrosse Team were reported to the country and the world, we have wanted to contact you and express our assessment of the situation. As parents of a 2002 Duke graduate and member of the lacrosse team, we had a great deal of interest in the events as they unfolded. As each day brought new revelations and corresponding responses from the District Attorney and the University, we became more and more horrified and unable to comprehend what was happening to the young men involved. The outline…

1. A party was hosted by the Duke Men’s Lacrosse Team. After that party an accusation was made. It was immediately accepted as fact and reported to the public without a thorough investigation by either the DA or the University. Why?

2. The answer seems to be simple: it is because members of the lacrosse team have a “bad reputation” as a result of underage drinking (certainly not unusual in the high school and college setting), noise violations (certainly not unusual from homes and apartments around college campuses), public urination (certainly not unusual for it is demonstrated on every golf course and on every highway every day) and open containers (hmm, now that’s a real problem?). Now, really, are these significant concerns? No. Unusual? No. Annoying? Yes. Is this behavior unique to the Duke Lacrosse Team? You might think so from the reports emanating from the University and the press. But the truth is, of course not!

3. The problem was exacerbated because the team hired strippers for their party. Unusual? Unfortunately, no. Gather the statistics from universities around the country. Not only are strippers hired by male organizations but female as well. Again, do we like it? No. Approve of it? No. But is it criminal? Unique? Make these young men the “scum of the earth?” No! No! No!

4. Now, one would expect that the University, en loco parentis, would be trying to guide its “wayward children.” In fact, it seems like it was, to some degree. But as all of us know, guiding teenagers and young adults is often a frustrating job that will show results at a later time (perhaps when the frontal lobe is completely developed). In the meantime, parents, and hopefully en loco parentis, honor and support them for the good they do. The Duke Men’s Lacrosse Team is, and has been, stellar academically, outstanding athletically, accepting of others, generally well-mannered and major contributors to the University and Durham communities. What more do we expect? A little more social self-control? Okay, yes, but that will come.

5. The problem seems to be that no one in a position of authority stopped to consider the facts before condemning the young men and the lacrosse team…still without evidence, only an accusation.

6. Now the problem becomes these young men, and those before them, are characterized as “hooligans.” Uncooperative, lying “hooligans.” This profile has come from the DA and is supported by the University (the President as well as the Group of 88). What a windfall for the media!

7. All of a sudden it is bad to be intelligent, athletic, cooperative, honest, financially stable, productive, giving …especially if “caught” for underage drinking or making too much noise. Because of these characteristics, the young men must be rapists; after all, they have been accused.

8. The fiasco has begun. There is no presumption of innocence from the DA, the University or most of the media.

9. The young men, their families, their team, their University, and the alumni of the University have been tarnished. The city of Durham is in disarray, and old wounds have been brought to the forefront and placed on the backs of the 47 members of the Duke Lacrosse Team.

How could this fiasco have been prevented? The easy answer is if the team had not had the party. Okay, that has been addressed above. The next answer is if CGM had not made her accusation (from all signs, false accusation). But, the correct answer is if the “adults” involved, the DA and the University, had approached the situation with maturity and wisdom. If there had not been immediate condemnation of the lacrosse team, their character and their “blue wall of silence” (meaning their consistent telling of the truth); if the University had not allowed defamatory posters of the lacrosse team to be hung on its private property; if there had been a presumption of innocence as must be afforded all citizens according to the Constitution (5th, 6th and 14th Amendments) of the United States; if there had not been “leaks” from the DA’s office; if there had been understanding, constraint and respect shown by the University for its students (not because they are perfect, but because of their many exceptional characteristics); this would have played out in a much more civilized, appropriate and legal manner. Thus, it would not have been as destructive to the lives of the lacrosse players, their families, the accuser, her family, the University and the city of Durham.

Our interest in this situation is not only because we are good citizens who want justice and fairness to prevail, but also because it affects us personally. We, like many others at Duke University, are not financially privileged. As educators with over 75 years of combined service, we sacrificed to educate our sons at some of the finest schools (Gilman School, Colgate University and Duke University) in the nation. At this time, a portion of our sacrifice was in vein. Our son’s Duke University diploma and his years of service and success as a member of Duke’s Men’s Lacrosse Team have been tarnished, not by the actions (a wild party) of the 2006 lacrosse team but by the inappropriate reactions of the University. Publicizing the minor illegal indiscretions of the team (without putting them in context with the rest of the University or college students in general), not showing any public support for the fine young men involved, allowing the world to believe the vile email was the result of a psychotic student rather than related to a movie that is required viewing in some Duke University courses, and providing the climate that allowed a portion of the faculty (Group of 88) to feel comfortable and unfazed about publishing slanderous/hateful material, this is the travesty of it all.

We hope that soon, you will develop the courage and moral fiber to tell the world the truth about the young men of the 2006 Duke Lacrosse Team as well as all those who graduated before. They are a group of typical college students who participate in normal college activities. They party, and sometimes demonstrate “boorish” behavior. But they are not rapists. In fact, they are young men of undeniably exceptional character as demonstrated by their academic and athletic achievements as well as their service to the community, while at Duke University and beyond.

Duke Lacrosse Parents ‘02

 
At 5:40 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally posted on Junr 12:

I am overwhelmed by all three of these letters! These letters came from the heart, every one of them. Thank you those, who wrote the letters. Thank you, for sharing your hearts with us.

 
At 5:43 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 4 - Posted on June 12, 2006

This letter is from Joan Foster to Ruth Sheehan regarding Ruth's comments on her blog site.

Ruth, I’m betting you are in the ” Stage One of Parenting”….the Glory Days. No matter what you say on the record, you silently, secretly believe that you can raise your children in such a careful, concerned way… that love and logic and your personally instilled values will armor them against peer pressure. Me too. In my case, I told my college friends my goal was to be a very well educated Mother. I married a man who enabled that dream: three children, church every Sunday. He was Senior Warden, I taught Sunday School. I was Den Mother, Room Mother, 4H leader. I read my son A.E. Houseman’s poetry and my daughters’, Edna St Vincent Millay. At night, every night, my husband spent one hour reading to them…the Chronicles of Narnia, the Bible. We bought a house on a lake with a pool, so our home could be where all the kids congregated. We stayed home many a Friday night, so they could “entertain” in a no-alcohol environment. These children were my career and I was nothing if not goal-oriented. One night (.the older two were a junior and senior in high school, the youngest in 8th grade)…an admiring neighbor blurted out that our children, our family, was “amazing.” Everyone looked up to us. I can see myself, feigning modesty…a pompous ass with a wine glass in her hand. Mission Accomplished. At this stage, I might have written any of your articles on the Lacrosse case myself.

Stage Two began some months later when my daughter gave MY car keys to an unlicensed driver who was subsequently involved in a hit and run accident.” Incredulous” is not a sufficient adjective here. But there was more to come, Ruth. Because I am not writing the Great American Novel here…I’ll just give you the bullet points, spread across three adolescents and a number of years.

Anorexia (1)
Underage Drinking (3)
Court appearance for underage drinking (1)
And, the coup de gras, one actual, but blessed brief missing persons report.

The perfect son became an angry college student, the beautiful daughter an anorexic, and our baby, the sorority drinker. By the grace of God, they did not fall into a vortex of Fate like these Lacrosse players. At this point, reality was teaching me some hard lessons about my own limitations, about peer pressure, about good kids floundering while they try to find a separate identity. That woman with the wine glass was humbled.

I’m in Stage Three now. The “kids” are three productive, kind sensitive adults. The anger is abated, the anorexia long under control, the drinking, an occasional glass of wine. But on this far side of parenting, I found your early columns very symptomatic of Stage One. You could NEVER, for one second, imagine your own children in that house, your own child responding to a racial slur with a racial slur. Because of that, you should have recused yourself. No one in Stage One can fairly write about this story. Before one piece of evidence was in, when all you had was an allegation, you took out every arrow in your verbal arsenal and went after these boys relentlessly. Because you could never, ever, see your own child in that house, you were empathy-impaired.

With only allegation and no evidence, you wrote “we know you know.” With only allegation and no evidence, you wrote” the silence is sickening.” With only allegation and no evidence, you wrote “Shut down the team.” As the public reads more and more court filings, you seem unable to absorb a alternative theory. You write about the racial slurs as if destroying these boys’ lives is a fitting result. You post a “Sister survivor website and link”…while your silence on what court filings now tell us about the injuries (or lack thereof) and relevant work history of the escort worker (not exotic dancer). Please, don’t respond that you want to wait to see all the evidence. No one with that position could have written “We know you know.”

Try this, Ruth. The little one at your breakfast table this Sunday, try to imagine him not perfect. See him doing the stupid thing and going to that house that night. On the basis of one allegation, becoming the target of the local newspaper, hate groups, vigilante posters, media assaults, women’s groups, and race baiting militants who threaten violence. “We know you know”…Ruth. Your powerful words, in a widely read column led the charge. This is what you did, only allegation and no evidence, to those much-loved children of other Moms.

Joan Foster

 
At 5:44 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally posted on June 18:

As the mother of two sons, one an athlete, my heart breaks for these young men and their families. The letter to Ruth Sheehan from Joan Foster was beautiful. If it did not reach Ms. Sheehan's heart and mind, then Ms. Sheehan is unreachable.

 
At 5:46 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 5 - Posted on June 12, 2006

Following comments were published in Herald Sun on June 12, 2006.

Lacrosse Victims

I like how the head of Duke reinstated the lacrosse team like he was doing them a favor. They never should have been suspended in the first place. Last time I checked, they were "accused" of a crime, not tried and convicted in a court of law! Just imagine if everyone in the world got suspended every time they were accused of something. We wouldn't even have jobs anymore. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" Now, I do agree with the newer strict rules, because there was "proven" underage drinking. See how that works? "Proven" evidence versus "accusations." I do hope the truth comes out, but until then, stop treating these guys like they're second-strike criminals with one last chance to stay out of prison. They have just as much right to go about their normal lives like I do. Let justice do its job, not school presidents!

STEPHEN LYNN
Durham

 
At 5:47 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 6 - Posted on June 14, 2006

This letter was written by James E. Coleman to the Raleigh Newsobserver on June 13, 2006.

Special prosecutor should take over Duke case
Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement. This is the only way to restore some degree of public confidence in the handling of the case. Up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case.

The circumstances under which the alleged victim identified the three defendants is typical. An assumption has been that Nifong and the Durham police merely botched the procedures under which the alleged victim identified the three members of the lacrosse team whom she claims raped her. According to the police account of the identification, however, the police officer who presided over the proceedings told the alleged victim at the outset that he wanted her to look at people the police had reason to believe attended the party. Thus, the police not only failed to include people they knew were not suspects among the photographs shown the woman, they told the witness in effect that there would be no such "fillers" among the photographs she would see.

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice. The prosecutor would not care if the pre-trial identification was subsequently thrown out by the court. The accuser would identify them at trial by pointing to the three defendants seated in front of her as the three men who assaulted her. The prosecutor would argue that she had an independent basis (independent of the identifications thrown out) for doing so.

Whatever the truth is, Nifong can no longer personally restore public confidence in the prosecution of this case. Someone with professional detachment and unquestioned integrity must review the case and determine whether the evidence against the three students warrants further prosecution. That would serve the best interest of the alleged victim, the three defendants and public.

James E. Coleman Jr.
Duke Law School
Durham

 
At 5:49 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 7 - Posted on June 15, 2006

This letter was written by Randall Drain, and published in the Duke Chronicle.

Apologies Necessary

As an African American, an alumnus and a member of the 2005 Duke men's lacrosse program, I am revolted by my alma mater's handling of the rape allegations directed toward members of the lacrosse team.

Richard Brodhead, Larry Moneta, other administrators and certain faculty members have flagrantly and wrongfully hung members of the Duke men's lacrosse team out to dry.

This mistake has not gone unnoticed and will no longer be tolerated by the alumni community. I call on all of Duke University's alumni and donors to end contributions to the University pending a formal apology issued by President Brodhead on behalf of the faculty and administration for failing to appropriately support members of the Duke community.

If Duke University and its current leadership plan to allow TV personalities, sundry activists and District Attorney Mike Nifong run my alma mater, the school is not headed in the right direction, and I declare it unfit for support-financial or otherwise.

This issue of a commitment to one another transcends the lacrosse team, athletics and the many generations of Duke graduates. Therefore, it deserves the utmost attention. My former teammates were assaulted and harassed while Duke's administrative leaders avoided "the arena," scheduled meetings and distanced themselves from their own students.

Since the third of several versions of the alleged victim's story was reported, the conduct of three individuals has been called into question. Even if I agreed with the shallow attempt to sit the fence in reference to those three individuals, what about the treatment of the rest of the team? The other 44 members? The persecution of numerous members of the lacrosse team, under the administration's watch, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

President Brodhead, your time on the sidelines is up; Dukies don't cower when faced with tough situations, and they certainly do not take cues from the rogue, the misinformed or the fickle masses. Duke University was, is and will continue to be a great institution because it promotes leadership; once we let others outside of our community dictate to us what is best for Duke out of fear or a desire to appease, we lose what makes Duke special. Failing to stand up for students at Duke University is the most egregious offense that an administrator-pledged to serve his students fairly and equally-can commit.

A cloud of uncertainty has surrounded the case since its inception. America can keep Nancy Grace and the constant and nauseating spin of the "no spin zone," but the lack of clarity in the case demands that the leaders of Duke University fully support their students throughout the processes necessary for a resolution. Yet the members of the lacrosse team did not get that support from the professional educators and administrators on campus.

Instead, players had to rely on an exemplary group of friends to overcome the constant abuse perpetrated by other Duke students, as well as outsiders who were irresponsibly allowed on campus despite their lack of a constructive purpose.

I am sure that soon, when they creep back into their respective corners of cowardice, no one will be able to find these gullible supporters of rash Jim-Crow-esque behavior, which is ironically and sadly endemic at a school in the South that is comprised of what the alumni network would like me to believe are educated and thoughtful students.

Athletes devote up to half of their time at school representing Duke in competition, and therefore they deserve at least as much support as any other student until we know the truth. I would suggest the school's leaders (not a committee) clearly and publicly articulate support for a remarkable group of student athletes-and yes, one can have a beer before he is 21 or forget to use "inside voices" after 11 p.m., and still be a commendable student-athlete and person-as they continue to tell an unchanged story that implies their innocence.

Mr. Brodhead, you have helped to create an audience of hypocrites that may now choose to ignore the facts or "yeah but…" their way out of their past impudence. If you do not address Duke University's abandonment and abuse of the lacrosse team, you implicitly condone such behavior and send the message that only the lacrosse team need show remorse for their transgressions.

Most alarming for alumni is the fact that the failure to correct the rest of the community's mistake will further divide a campus and hinder Duke's ability to move forward. Is this the education you plan to provide at Duke University, an education where if you are wrong with "the group," you need not revisit your actions?

Mr. Brodhead, the fact is that many, if not most, married men in America have been to a party with a stripper. Some white, some black, whatever; if you truly find stripping to be inappropriate, take your stand against a nation that condones the practice.

Transference is a serious problem for a leader; do not transfer blame solely onto the shoulders of my former teammates. Duke has irreversibly and in error taken something from quality young men.

You, Mr. Brodhead, and your staff have taken their youth, you have taken their pride and you have taken their innocence in the worst way possible. The indirect way. The passive way. The deniable way. The underhanded way.

This is not and will not be the Duke Way. The safety of the middle ground was never appropriate for Duke or its administrators and it grows less and less so each day. Take the opportunity to correct your mistake instead of sweeping it under the rug and waving yet another red flag of bad leadership.

Randall Drain, Trinity '05, is a former member of the Duke men's lacrosse team.

 
At 6:00 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally posted on June 13:

I have chills on my body and tears in my eyes. I am a mother of five who knows her kids to be wonderful but fallible people. Three of my children are lacrosse players. Any one of them could have found themselves in this horrid situation. The beauty in growing older is wisdom. It is tragic so few influential adults chose to use this virtue.

 
At 6:01 PM, June 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally posted on June 23:

Thank you, Joan, for such an honest account of parenthood. I am the mother of 3, in Stage 2 of parenthood. I am optimistic that they will all come through this to Stage 3, without major scars. I can only hope the players come through this injustice with their hearts still open. Shame on the DA, race-baiters and grandstanders. The only concilation is my firm belief "what goes around, comes around." Karma can be a kick in the ass.

 
At 4:41 PM, June 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 8 - Posted on June 25, 2006

This letter written by a Duke student was published in Herald Sun on June 25, 2006
----------------------------
Nifong leaves a stain

For months every major media outlet has been reporting daily on the "Duke Rape Scandal". Throughout this entire ordeal that has ravaged my campus and the reputation of my university, people seem to have forgotten about the foundation of our legal system -- that every man is innocent until proven guilty. One person in particular has blatantly ignored this principle and ironically this person is the very one put in place to preserve justice. Mike Nifong is the real enemy in Durham. Nifong's recent comments and complaints concerning the media's coverage of the scandal are ironic and almost comical. He accuses the media of sensationalizing the story, of printing false and misleading facts, of agitating the already strained social tensions. The media may be doing these things, but Nifong is responsible. Nifong did not need evidence to take a position. He "knew" what happened and was not shy about his opinions. He readily promoted completely unproved accusations as truth, staking the reputation of 46 innocent players on an unfounded claim. I don't think Chapel Hill teaches its law students that people are "guilty until proven innocent," but that is sure what Nifong believes. He is responsible for "misleading and false" facts being reported, as well as unnecessarily prolonging the news coverage and creating enthusiasm within the community that exacerbates already strained relations. His behavior has been deplorable and as a Duke student, I hold him responsible for the ruined reputations of my three innocent classmates as well as the stain on my university.

CLAIRE THOMPSON
Durham
June 26, 2006

 
At 9:06 AM, June 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 9 - Posted on June 27, 2006

This letter was published in Herald Sun on June 27, 2006
--------------------------------

Model student-athletes

It is ironic that the Duke lacrosse case is triggering a debate over the role of athletics at Duke. The team has a 100 percent graduation rate. Over the past five years, 146 members of the team made the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll, twice as many as any other ACC lacrosse team. Sixty percent of this year's team hold that honor. And according to the Coleman report on the Duke lacrosse team culture, "The lacrosse team's performance generally is one of the best among all Duke athletic teams." It also cites the record of good racial relations and community service by the lacrosse players. It is also interesting that among the 47 players on the roster, 27 share a piece of 12.6 scholarships and pay part tuition. The other 20 players pay full tuition to attend Duke University and play lacrosse. I submit this is as close to true student-athletes as can be found in major university athletics today. I am a proud Duke lacrosse grandparent.

G. HOLMAN KING
Granbury, Texas
June 25, 2006

 
At 12:18 PM, June 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 10 - Posted on June 28, 2006

This is in response to a letter Susan Nifong (DA Nifong's sister) wrote to Newsobserver: Nifong’s Integrity on June 23, 2006.
--------------------------------

Please someone buy Mike Nifong’s sister “ Bartlett’s quotations” She needs to read what some great wordsmith’s have said about the quality of integrity. Only then can she put her brother’s actions into context.

Virginia Woolfe wrote this about integrity: “If you cannot tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about another person.” Let's remember Brother Mike on TV ...demonstrating the choke hold, talking about condoms, and hinting at date rape drugs. Just telling us all about himself and all about what evidence he’d seen. Sister, whether you believe the accused..or the accuser., Mike Nifong betrayed both. Knowing the accuser’s truthfulness would be an issue, he owed it to HER to guard his own credibility. He sold her out when he embellished ...or misrepresented... or misinformed a national audience about his evidence. Whether to benefit himself politically or promote Mike's Magical Media Tour, he did the accuser no favor. . Spare me from such a self-serving champion.

If you believe the the young men are innocent,Sister, we need to send you a thesaurus as well. It will take a commitee of all of us to find a word so base, so vile that it would describe a man who would sacrifice three young lives for his personal gain. Do you know "nifong" has become a verb on the internet...defined, Sister, as that very thing?

The writer Chilton opined he’d “prefer a loss to a dishonest gain. One brings pain at the moment , another for all time.” A tight election campaign against a bitter rival is daunting. But, Sister, integrity is not a coat you can take off at a heated campaign appearance: it’s a second skin. Nifong spoke of “hooligans and “daddy’s money.” Also, contrary to his statement to Newsweek , pundits count about 20 comments about the case after April 4. Read "The hauntings " on http://lashawnbarber.com… for a fulll review of ALL your brother's statements to the media. Fit integrity into that scenario.

Sister, John D. MacDonald tells us, “Integrity is not a 90% thing, not a 95% thing, either you have it or you don’t. “ Your brother is a man who would go on national TV , time after smirking time,…. slurping up the the attention… while he spoke of condoms and choke holds and such. While in his desk drawer, lay the accuser’s statement that belied his very words. That is not the standard poster child for integrity. even a loving sister should see that. Sister ,we'll also enclose a book of fairy tales. You know, Gipetto loved Pinocchio but he called him on his lies.

Joan Foster

 
At 11:33 PM, June 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 11 - Posted on June 27, 2006

The following letter was originally published on June 27, in Herald Sun
------------------------------

Please forgive me for voting for Mike Nifong

In May I cast my vote for Mike Nifong to provide some continuity at a critical time for the district attorney's office. May God and my fellow citizens of Durham County forgive me for this mistake. We are now faced with repeated evidence that Nifong has pressed forward with the Duke lacrosse case in a manner that suggests he has little regard for proper procedure and his duty to responsibly communicate with the defense teams. He attempted to try the case in the media, probably to assure votes in the primary race. He has placed inexcusable shadings on some public comments. These actions are beyond the pale for an officer of the court. Given the lack of another confirmed candidate for district attorney, it seems that Nifong would be our only choice in November. However, if citizens sign petitions to have a qualified individual added to the November ballot as a write-in candidate, then that name will be present as an alternative in November. Durham County desperately needs another choice for this position.

Please understand I am no fan of the obnoxious minority group of Duke University students. I feel there was a miscarriage of justice when there was not a successful prosecution for underage drinking in 2005. The reported behavior of some students has been without excuse. However, such is inconsequential in comparison to the apparent conduct of our district attorney. Will someone in Durham please step forward? Our county needs you as never before.

ED THOMAS
Durham

 
At 11:54 PM, June 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 12 - Posted on June 28, 2006
--------------------------
One of the worst of the Duke faculty (and who has to date escaped my wrath because he was not one of the 88 signers) is Peter Wood.

He publicly condemned the Lacrosse players and exactly the time when the witch hunt was building.

Here is an open letter to Professor:

TO pwood@duke.edu

It is one of the worst moral failings for a person to denounce publicly those facing a show trial

That's what you did, Professor Wood.

In China under Mao and Russia under Stalin, many were forced to do that under threat of death or imprisonment.

You did it voluntarily. Stepped forward and publicly condemned a group of students, who any reasonably aware person would have guessed with 80% certainty were being railroaded for racial and political expediency.

Speaks volumes about your lack of moral character...or your lack of intellect and judgment.

Regardless of why, your actions were a deeply disgusting thing for a teacher to do, and I suspect that students will remember them for a long time. It may even become your legacy.

And if it does, you will have deserved it.

 
At 9:18 AM, July 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 13 - Posted on July 1, 2006

This letter was originally published in Newsobserver on June 28.

Abusive Nifong

One could place the Grand Canyon between the show put on by Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong early on when he excitedly jumped out in front of the national media and what the real evidence has shown.

Many of us were led to believe that a rape had definitely taken place. Nifong went so far as to call the lacrosse players "hooligans." Putting aside other issues that clearly show this case was botched from the start, such a horrific attempt to soil the reputations of these young men before any factual evidence was available is reason enough for the citizens of North Carolina to see that he is disbarred. This kind of abusive conduct is simply unacceptable when the lives of others are at stake.

Take a moment to imagine. If these men were black athletes from N.C. Central University who had been accused of rape by a white stripper with such non-existent evidence against them as exists in this Duke case, what does anyone think would be happening right now?

With a large and powerful black population in Durham, race pimping has paid off for Nifong, politically; however, his career as a prosecutor is another matter.

Debrah Correll
Chapel Hill

 
At 8:13 AM, July 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 14 - Posted on July 3, 2006

As an NCCU graduate, I have never doubted the innocence of the Duke men in this case. It is a horrible injustice and obvious witch hunt. Meanwhile, I am amazed that no one seems to be looking into the atmosphere of cheating, extremely unprofessional behavior of students and staff, and rampant racial discrimination (against non AAs) which is prevalent on the NCCU campus. Also, I am very saddened by the way the DA seems to be ignoring a horrible, unsolved multiple murder in Durham, while pursuing this witch hunt of innocent men. See

Families despair over unsolved slayings

 
At 9:02 AM, July 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 15 - Posted on July 3, 2006

In the '60's and '70's, students had a simple response to many issues -- we'd have a march or a rally and/or a boycott. I hope today's students and faculty do the same. Focus? Well, usually we'd have a "list of demands." Were I back on campus today as I was in the '70's, here's my list:

Demand President Richard Brodhead offer Coach Mike Pressler his job back and apologize for the rush to judgment. Demand Brodhead reinstate the students until the case is over and apologize for the rush to judgment. Demand that the attorney general appoint a special prosecutor and that Brodhead pen such a request on behalf of Duke University.

We'd have this rally in the middle of the quad of course, invite all the media, and hopefully make the news. We'd also hope, beyond hope in many cases, that our voices would be heard. Where are the student and faculty activists? Where are you, Terry Sanford, when we need you? Where are the leaders?

TATE SCOTT
San Diego
July 1, 2006

 
At 11:07 AM, July 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 16 - Posted July 3, 2006

This letter was originally published in Newsobserver on July 3, 2006

Not a credible case

It is understandable that his sister would want to defend the character of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong (People's Forum letter, June 23), but information in the public record presents a very different picture of Nifong. When the Duke lacrosse case erupted, I reserved judgment on the merits until the facts became clearer. But the time has come to state the obvious: this is a criminal prosecution that should never have taken place.

Clearly some Duke lacrosse players behaved irresponsibly and crudely. For that they should face the consequences. Charges based on underage drinking and noise ordinance violations may well have been appropriate. But no one should be faced with the heinous charge of gang rape, have their lives torn apart and be subject to public vilification because a DA is hellbent on indicting someone, apparently for political gain, without regard to the exculpatory information available to him and evidence in his own investigatory file.

That should be disturbing to every member of the public: Who will be the next target if this is allowed to stand? The time has come for Nifong to end this travesty of justice. Every day he waits causes more damage to the people and institutions affected. Every day he waits creates more doubt about our criminal justice system. Every day he waits raises even more questions about his character and credibility.

Dale Hollar (Duke Law '79)
Raleigh

 
At 6:56 PM, July 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 17 - Posted on July 5
Originally published in Herald Sun on June 28
----------------------------

Nifong failed Durham

Many of us who live elsewhere and have high ability young people as children have watched with horror from afar as three such young people have had their identities disclosed and trumpeted in the national media because of the early actions on the part of the Durham district attorney in the Duke rape case. His characterization of the accused as hooligans and his speeches before race-related political groups vowing justice were just the ticket to make the case front page news all across the country and to do everything but deny them their constitutional presumption of innocence.

Whether or not these young men are guilty their reputations are ruined, and they have a long and uphill climb to the day when a jury determines their fate.

The City of Durham is not a place where I would willingly send my child to be educated, for fear, should he somehow fall under the scrutiny of this district attorney, he would be made a poster child in a political contest and a target for people whose emotions have been intentionally aroused by the district attorney, not for the cause of justice but for the cause of winning at the ballot box.

I understand that the Durham community has an unusual second opportunity to send this district attorney back to his cubicle and elect someone who is not self-serving but who understands that his job is the quest for truth, not a hunt for votes.

The country will be watching to see if Durham voters seize this chance and turn Mike Nifong out. He has failed at this responsibility.

MARTA RICHARDS
Baton Rouge, La.
June 28, 2006

 
At 11:26 PM, July 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 18 - Posted on July 9, 2006

This letter was originally published in The Cavalier Daily

Legal travesty in Durham

Growing up with a father who has spent the past 25 years working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, I think it would be fair to say that I have developed a strong sense for the law and all that its implications entail in this country. Over the years, I have seen many legal cases that have violated my views on fair justice and equality. Never, however, has my sense of justice been as violated as it has been during the past few months as I have witnessed the unfolding of the "Duke Lacrosse Scandal".

As someone who has followed this case closely, it appears -- barring any unpublicized bombshell evidence -- undeniably evident that the three accused players are innocent of the charges against them. Moreover, it appears that they, along with the rest of the Duke men's lacrosse team, are victims not only of the false accusations, but also of the hype built up by a media industry that is more beholden to what is deemed "politically correct" interpretation of events rather than the actual facts of the case.

I do not, however, want to delve too deeply into the legal minutiae of this case. I am by no means a legal expert and I certainly do not know anything about the complexities of a rape case. As a sports writer, however, I do want to focus on the unfair tarnish that this case has put on the image of collegiate lacrosse.

In recent months, college lacrosse has been castigated as a sport dominated by rich, white elitists who care for nothing except their own amusement and gratification. Countless social "experts" have paraded across our television screens painting images of boorish and irresponsible behavior that is supposedly rooted in the elite backgrounds of these athletes. Apparently, if one is white, male, athletic and rich, he is destined for life dominated by such reprehensible behavior.

This charge itself, however, is patently unfair and is reprehensible in and of itself. Yes, there are rich white athletes who exhibit this type of loutish behavior. But over the years, I have seen athletes and non-athletes, whites and others, as well as both the rich and the poor exhibit this same type of behavior. It has become convenient in recent months to put the spotlight for such social ills on college lacrosse. It is morally lazy, however, to keep that spotlight solely focused on the sport.

Let's get real. Are underage drinking and the hiring of strippers activities enjoyed only by college lacrosse players? Of course not. Also, should an entire sport be tarnished because one team happened to have a stripper party over Spring Break? Once again, I would have to let out a resounding no.

When the charges against the three players are once and for all proven untrue, who is going help the accused players rebuild their reputations? Who is going to repair the damage done to the lives of the other, uncharged Duke lacrosse players? Who is going to apologize to former Duke coach Mike Pressler whose professional livlihood has been destroyed by the charges? I am sure that it won't be the media or Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

On a personal level, I am also disappointed that this scandal marred Virginia's perfect national championship season. Fair or unfair, people could always point to the fact that the Cavaliers did not have to face a talented Duke squad as a way to minimize Virginia's amazing achievement.

As painful as this is for me to say as both a Maryland native and a Virginia student, I will be rooting for the Duke men's lacrosse team next season – except when they play the Cavaliers. After what the Blue Devils have unjustly suffered this year, it is the least that a sports fan can do.

by Barney Breen-Portnoy
Cavalier Daily Sports Editor
July, 6 2006

 
At 9:07 PM, July 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 19. - Posted on July 12, 2006

How are the falsely accused players and their families able to handle the injustices being served them at every turn ?

DA Mike Nifong has destroyed the lives of their sons and now they are trying to keep them out of jail for charges that are only based on the accuser's inconsistent statements (i.e. no physcial evidence corroborating any of her multiple stories).

The Duke administration has abandoned the falsely accused players and their families. I believe President Brodhead's current position is that we need to allow the justice system to take its course now that no other players are under a cloud of suspicion.

In my opinion it is totally unfair (and somewhat revealing) for the falsely accused players and their families to be fighting this battle without the support of the Duke administration.

I graduated from Duke and for the first time in my life I am embarrassed to be a Duke graduate. This embarrassment emanates from how the Duke administration has totally abandoned the falsely accused players despite the fact that the Office of Student Affairs and Dean Sue Wasiolek had the opportunity to come forth with critical information very early-on that would have changed the course of this entire case.

In my opinion (and in the opinion of other lawyers that I have consulted) the falsely accused players and their families have solid grounds for a lawsuit against Duke University based on this fact alone.

Although the Duke administration has failed the falsely accused players and their families I hope that the Duke alumni and friends of Duke University can demonstrate their support of these fellow members of the Duke family. The legal bills must be staggering and there is a link from this blog that describes how donations can me made to help support the pursuit of truth and fairness in this case. Please consider making a contribution.

 
At 9:13 PM, July 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 20 - Posted on July 12, 2006

I am a long time NC resident, a Duke graduate and not an attorney. I have served in federal and NC Superior courts as an expert witness. I have attorney friends, doctor friends and business friends. Here is my take on this entire disgusting mess:

1. I'm entirely familiar with "one hand washes the other" and looking after ones brethren as the legal profession likes to do (find out how many disbarred attorneys later regain their law licenses for example). Any attorney who defends the NC legal system “as is” without admitting the numerous inadequacies as revealed by the Duke case whether it be from the police, DA or judges actions is simply out of touch with reality. As taxpayers we feel ripped off.

2. There is only one honorable position for Nifong to take and that is to resign from this case. Any professional would do the right thing and extricate himself from a matter in which his personal actions had undermined the integrity of the proceeding. Thanks to Nifong we now know that some of the least competent attorneys end up on the state payroll.

3. Our poor/black citizens have got it right in that few of them would be able to mount an effective defense in a case stacked against them in a similar fashion. But then their bond would have at least started off lower.

4. Durham is the laughing stock of the country due to the caustic actions of the DA and others. And I think my alma mater has done an abysmally poor job of taking care of its students. I guess you could give Duke a few points for re-admitting McFayden, but actually that says more about his character in that he would actually consider returning.

5. I took a bike trip in Marin County, CA a few weeks ago. I mentioned I was from NC, and the comment back “Duke, huh”. Let’s hope a tobacco road basketball team does well next season so we can at least regain a little pride.

6. Bloggers and the cable news outlets have done a nice job blowing this case apart. Props in particular to The Johnsville News for pulling it all together. We’ll never hear the conventional news outlets admit their reporting may have been biased. Let’s hope most of the evidence we are seeing now makes it into court.

My prediction is this case will either not go to trial or will be returned with a not guilty verdict. Same thing I would have said in March.

 
At 9:16 PM, July 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 21 - Posted on July, 12 2006

I do not blame, as some do, the Duke Administration for their initial reaction to the lacrosse situation. The media frenzy, largely fueled by Nifong's unprofessional and prejudicial conduct, created a situation in which it would have been impossible for the lacrosse season to continue and probably unsafe for the indicted players to remain at Duke. However at this point, and especially in the face overwhelming evidence that the charges are false, the administration should reconsider its position on the suspension of the indicted students. If Duke has a policy of suspending those charged with a felony, it is a policy that has not been strictly enforced in recent years, and clearly there is administrative discretion allowed. Besides "innocent until proven guilty," basic human decency demands that the university allow these boys to regain at least some sense of normalcy in their lives, unless doing so could endanger the rest of the student body. They should at least be offered the opportunity to continue their studies at Duke in some way next semester. This will be such a difficult year for all three and their families--and I think most parents realize any of our children could have been in a similar situation. While I know many of us are extremely disillusioned with our legal system, I hope our university will find a way to do the right thing.

Duke Friend

 
At 2:40 PM, July 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Nifong has held a secondary (or less) position in government for almost 3 decades. He has now been given the opportunity to prove he is up for the task of justice and be a man. A real man says, "No, I made a mistake, let me fix it". Nifong has failed Durham and the legal system on both counts.

 
At 7:04 PM, July 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 22 - Posted on July 26, 2006

This letter was originally published in the Post Chronicle.

Right to a speedy trial

If a rape really occurred, who is really punished by the delay of a trial? In most jurisdictions, prosecutors do not rush to get indictments, which allows the prosecutor and police to do a thorough and complete investigation. Once the indictment is handed down, the proverbial clock starts, which starts "the right to a speedy trial" wherein usually only the defense can ask for more time to go over the evidence and prepare for a defense.

The government -- in this case, the prosecutor -- is supposed to comply with the U.S. Constitution and this right. This does not seem to be the case here; the defense is ready to proceed, but the prosecutor likes and wants the delay. The real question is, who is really hurt by this (over a year delay) for the trial to begin? The accused or the accuser?

Had a rape actually occurred, the victim will usually seek some type of rape consultation from a professional rape counselor. This action helps the victim put the rape behind her and let's her, attempt, to go back to a normal life. Mr. Nifong will have to put the victim on the witness stand to testify as to the events of the rape. This will open up all the alleged wounds again. Is this real justice for the victim?

Mr. Nifong apparently is not only not talking to the press, he is not talking to the defense or the victim. Mr. Nifong could join the defense and ask the trial judge to comply with the U.S. Constitution, and ask for a speedy trial for the sake of the rape victim. One defense lawyer has already asked for a speedy trial and was refused by the judge, which sets up the whole case for appeal. If an appellate court agrees, the rape or no rape, the case is dismissed.

Why not ask Mr. Nifong and the community -- who does this delay really punish?

WJD

 
At 11:13 AM, August 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 23 Posted on August 10 2006

This letter was originally published in Herald Sun
------------------------

Brodhead has refused to accept responsibility

In his response to the Friends of Duke open letter, Duke President Richard Brodhead defends his actions on the flawed premise that "action has been required in the face of deep uncertainty." In fact, once he had justifiably suspended part of the lacrosse season, there was no compelling immediate need for further action. He could have deliberately preserved his options as events unfolded until there was more certainty. Instead, he bought into District Attorney Mike Nifong's self-serving story and yielded to the exaggerated cry of a strident minority of the faculty that this team was out of control. In a knee-jerk rush to judgment, he suspended player Ryan McFayden, canceled the season and fired Coach Mike Pressler, clearly choosing political expediency over reasoned adjudication.

Those condemning actions gave credence to Nifong's media blitz in the court of public opinion and intensified the avalanche of publicity. Brodhead now seeks to avoid accountability for those actions by urging those concerned to ignore the past and move forward to healing. In my experience, healing occurs only when the offending parties candidly admit and accept responsibility for their harmful actions. The lacrosse team captains publicly apologized on behalf of the team for the ill-advised spring break party shortly after it happened. Some had hoped that Brodhead would accept responsibility for that part of the anguish he has caused. It is disappointing that he did not. He missed a golden opportunity to build a bridge to those he abandoned. This is unfortunate for all concerned.

G. HOLMAN KING
Granbury, Texas
August 10, 2006

 
At 8:56 PM, August 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 24 - Posted August 11
---------------------------------
This letter was originally published in Herald Sun.

Nifong has failed

Your Aug. 1 editorial commended D.A. Mike Nifong for stating, "I have not backed off from my initial assessment of the case." This remark deserves scorn, not praise.

First of all, Nifong's claim is untrue. He went public with his initial assessment of the case on March 27. He deemed DNA evidence so vital that he secured a court order to obtain samples from 46 white lacrosse players, promising that negative tests would "immediately rule out any innocent persons." But after the tests produced no matches, Nifong changed his assessment entirely, expressing comfort with the "good old-fashioned way" of witness testimony without DNA corroboration.

More seriously, Nifong's boast reveals a dangerously closed mind. The evidence gathered after his "initial assessment" on March 27 included medical reports from Duke and UNC that undermined his previous public claims; a multi-faceted violation of procedural norms in the photo ID session used to identify his suspects; and electronic evidence of various types proving that one of the players Nifong charged, Reade Seligmann, was either on the phone or a mile away at the time of the alleged attack. Section 3.8 of the state bar's ethics code defines the prosecutor's role as a "minister of justice," not simply an advocate.

Surely a "minister of justice" must remain open-minded to new facts as they become available and be truthful in his statements to the public. Nifong has failed on both counts.


KC JOHNSON
Brooklyn, NY
August 11, 2006

 
At 4:20 AM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 25 - Posted on August 22, 2006
-----------------------------

Dear Friends

Re: Profile in Courage
Dave Evans

Amidst all the ugliness and weakness the Duke Lacrosse Case has revealed, we should not forget the true heroes that have emerged. Dave Evans, co-captain of the 2006 Duke Men's Lacrosse Team is such a hero.

Ernest Hemmingway defined courage as "Grace under pressure." What better evidence of this than Evans' inspiring and courageous speech to the press on the steps of the Durham County Jail on May 16, 2006. One day earlier, Mr. Evans joined fellow senior classmates in graduation ceremonies at Duke, one of the most important and long awaited days of students and their families. But Evans and his family had been told earlier that Dave would be indicted and trust front and center into the media spectacle known as the Duke Lacrosse Case.

Prior to turning himself in to authorities, Evans stepped directly into the spotlight of this spectacle and faced the glare of the cameras of the press. His parents, Rae and Dave, proudly stood behind him. In a moving show of support and confidence, all the senior members of the Duke Men's Lacrosse Team stood beside him. With poise and self-confidence, and without notes, Evans made an inspiring speech professing his innocence and that of his fellow teammates, Reade Seligman and Collin Finnerty. He said he and his attorney had tried to cooperate fully with police investigators and the district attorney's office. He had provided DNA. He had passed a polygraph test. With all the noise made by the potbangers and others, and with all the ink spilled by professors and the media, nothing communicated the truth more clearly than Dave Evans' adamant declaration:

"I am absolutely innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me today...Reade Seligman and Collin Finnerty are innocent of all the charges brought against them. These are all lies, fabrications, and they will be proven wrong.

The speech was a turning point. None of the blogs, journalists, or message board posters has come close to the power and eloquence of Dave Evans' statement. In what appears to be the calm before the storm as we await the progression of the case before Judge Smith, it is worth going back and listening to Dave Evans words again.

From the shadow of one politician’s perverse ambitions, the real substance of a young man's integrity shines forth. Yes, Dave Evans is a profile in courage.

Joan Collins
Garden City, NY

 
At 4:39 AM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Above: Joan Collins, thank you for a most extraordinary contribution. I and many others agree with you whole heartedly on your conclusion: Dave Evans is a true hero.

For those who missed Dave Evans’s courageous speech, the entire text of the speech is included in the Messages to players section of this site.

Moderator

 
At 7:51 AM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Evans is a champion.

 
At 5:52 PM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous duke09parent said...

I watched the video of Dave's statement on the WRAL archives again a couple of weeks ago. The manner of delivery was as impressive as the content. It was poised and heartfelt, delivered with his head held high, without arrogance or bitterness. His is truly a credit to his family, his coach, his team and his university.

 
At 9:19 PM, August 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re above: If you recall what the link was for that video, please post it for us. We will add it our site so others may view it too. Thanks.

 
At 9:11 PM, August 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try http://www.wral.com/video/9218784/detail.html

I re-watched this news conference again. It was one of the most poignant events of this unjust persecution.

 
At 9:26 PM, August 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Evans proudly showed he is a man of integrity and a real leader. His innocence is palpable in his demeanor, words and appearance. Nifong should be interror of such a man of justice as this is the type of man who will bring this prosecution down where it belongs-into a lot of smoke with no fire. These players will prove their innocence before any jury.

 
At 10:35 PM, August 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

My son is a newly arrived freshman at Duke. He was accepted early decision last December, long before the lacrosse incident. He, like all of the other freshmen I met at orientation, had no intention of going anywhere else but Duke, even after the incident became public.

Judging from their positive energy and excitement at orientation, I think that these young men and women will help the University move forward and become even more prestigious than before.

 
At 8:20 AM, September 04, 2006, Anonymous joan collins said...

To the 9/3 4:32AM poster. I wrote the profiles in courage article about Dave Evans and I stand behind it. I see that you don't have the courage to print your own name.

 
At 8:30 AM, September 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the poster (9/4/06 at 5:07AM) who suggests that no one defends the Finnerty DC conviction. What planet have you been living on? The Fisher article "Wolves in Khakis and Blazers" in the Washington Post was so judgemental. Go read Friends of Duke Responses to Media 7/13 and 7/18. Then tell us nobody defends Collin Finnerty. Should we call the Durham cops in the little incident at Blinco's "Wolves in Blue Uniforms?"

 
At 9:19 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No 26 - Posted September 5, 2006
----------------------------------

The Honorable Michael F. Easley
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

Re: Duke Case, Pardon for Defendants

Dear Governor Easley,

As a graduate of UNC Law School, a former Maryland Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division and lifelong Democrat, I am writing to request that you conduct an independent investigation of State of North Carolina v. Finnerty, Evans and Seligmann (the Duke case) in order to determine if pardons should be granted to the defendants prior to trial. This investigation would be an alternative to the appointment of a special prosecutor since the North Carolina attorney general has opinioned that a special prosecutor can only be appointed upon Mr. Nifong’s request.

The Duke case is a travesty of justice and an egregious example of prosecutorial misconduct. It defies credulity and the laws of physiology to believe that a brutal gang rape including anal, vaginal and oral penetration occurred without any traces of the defendants’ DNA on Ms. Magnum. As is widely publicized, the only DNA found on Ms. Magnum came from consensual encounter with her boyfriend.

The ultimate resolution of the case of State of Maryland v. Bloodsworth is very relevant to the Duke case and suggests that a pardon is an appropriate disposition. In Bloodsworth the presence of DNA from someone other than the defendant was taken as absolute proof that the defendant was innocent of the rape and murder despite two jury convictions. Mr. Bloodsworth was pardoned by the governor of Maryland because the DNA conclusively established his innocence.
In the Duke case, Mr. Nifong originally took a position as to DNA evidence that was consistent with the conclusion in Bloodsworth – DNA would exonerate the innocent. He abruptly reversed his position the day after defense attorney announced that the DNA did not match any of the lacrosse players by dismissing the significance of DNA results and proceeding with the indictments. Mr. Nifong’s position is contrary to all reason, common sense and equity. At least the wrongful convictions in Bloodsworth were understandable in that the DNA testing did not exist at the time of the convictions and there was other evidence as to Bloodsworth’s culpability, but Mr. Nifong has no such excuses.

Bloodsworth and the Duke case are further distinguishable in that in Bloodsworth there was absolute certainty that the rape and murder were committed since there was a dead mutilated body. In the Duke case there is nothing to cooberate the multiple and conflicting accounts of Ms. Magnum. The prosecution of this case in the absence of the corpus delicti is an abomination.

What should be of particular concern to you as the Governor of North Carolina who appointed Mr. Nifong, is that Mr. Nifong has lost his moral compass despite his claim that he is a “committed advocate for the truth” (Statement to the Press – July 28, 2006). One small example of Mr. Nifong’s over identification with the Duke case and his loss of judgment is his recent petulant e-mail sent to members of the animal control panel who had signed a petition in support of the candidacy of Lewis Cheek. (The News & Observer, “Durham DA may quit animal control panel” August 1, 2006). The fact that Mr. Nifong’s obsession with retaining his job has progressed to such a point that he is reviewing the 10,000 signatures on the Cheek petition and contacting the individuals reflects very poorly on his character.

Although there are many disturbing aspects to this case, there are three things that are especially troublesome and merit some further discussion.

First, is that Mr. Nifong’s used the Duke case to inflame racial tension in order to secure his personal political objectives. It is not a coincidence that Mr. Nifong emphasized the racial aspects of the purported crime during a contested election in which he needed support from the black electorate in order to win. As a lifelong Democrat, I find pandering to racial tension an anathema usually associated with the GOP. It is very ugly tactic regardless of which party employs it. Moreover, it is insulting to the black electorate in that it treats them like a cheap, stupid date that can be manipulated and discarded after the election. This case is damaging the Democratic Party on a state and national level.

Second, Judge Titus’ gag order is repugnant to the First Amendment. A sua sponte order imposing a prior restraint on free speech is unconstitutional and it is particularly suspect in that it did not preclude Mr. Nifong from giving approximately 70 interviews before his primary election but was issued only after the defense was hammering the prosecution in the court of public opinion. The order contributes to the perception that the judiciary is biased in favor of the prosecution.

Third, the arrest of Mr. Elmostafa on a stale, baseless charge by the investigators in the Duke case was nothing other than a blatant attempt at witness intimidation. ADA Cannon’s statement to the court that this case had nothing to do with the rape case was an obvious misrepresentation contrary to ethical obligation mandating candor toward a tribunal. The fact that the police notes in the Duke case reflect that Mr. Nifong wanted to be personally informed of the arrest belies Ms. Cannon’s assertion. There is plenty of prosecutorial and police misconduct in this case but this is beyond indefensible.

Your power to conduct an investigation pursuant to the pardon power is not dependent on Mr. Nifong’s assent. Since I understand it would be politically unpalatable (think Gerald Ford) I suggest that prior to starting the investigation, you give Mr. Nifong an ultimatum. Either Mr. Nifong agrees to request a special prosecutor or you, as governor, will exercise your pardon powers to conduct an investigation that might result in pardons for the defendants prior to trial. If Mr. Nifong declines to request a special prosecutor, you should publicize that refusal.

Mr. Nifong has repeatedly demonstrated a profound stubbornness, a sanctimonious attitude, a refusal to examine exculpatory evidence, an inability to tolerate criticism and a personal animus to rich Duke students whose “daddies could buy them expensive lawyers” (USA Today, March 30, 2006). The combination of these traits coupled the utter lack of evidence that a crime even occurred, compels your intervention. Three young men’s lives are at stake. The prosecution of this case is unconscionable. You must intervene in order to ensure that someone actually, objectively advocates for the truth the case before further harm is done to the involved individuals, the body politic and the judicial system.

Sincerely yours,

Patricia E. McDonald, Esquire
UNC JD-MRP 1979

 
At 9:42 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patsy,
Your letter was wonderful. Thank you.
Duke10 Mom

 
At 9:47 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patsy,

Very well done! Please let us hear more from you.

Duke Alum

 
At 10:27 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patsy -- As a lifelong Republican, and parent of a Duke student '10, I applaud your letter.

 
At 10:37 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patsy, thanks for taking time and writing this outstanding letter.

With appreciation, Duke07 Mom

 
At 10:53 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, Patricia McDonald's letter and others like it may just provide the pressure that the impotent governor of North Carolina needs to awaken him from the damage he has done by appointing Nifong, a man whose entire career has been spent shuffling papers as a staffer in the D.A.'s office for almost three decades. Prosecuting cases while using public money and never having to be held financially responsible for mistakes and damage done does not produce the experience needed. Nifong has never been in business for himself where he can be held legally liable for misconduct. He has fed at the public trough throughout his career and knows all too well how to play to the "minority victims" or "victicrats" of society.
As a former Liberal who has witnessed this game over and over again, I must disagree with McDonald that playing to racial tensions is a feature of the GOP. She obviously hasn't spent much time in cities like Durham, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, or Los Angeles. The Democratic Party would have disintegrated long ago without the black vote and Democrat pols play to that reality to the detriment of everyone. The gravy train provided to the black community carte blanc by the Democratic Party feeds the mentality that exists in Durham.....allowing this travesty of justice to continue. Nifong knows that his buddy, Governor Easley, was also elected by pandering to the black community.......which is why it is doubtful that the governor will take this big bag of candy---(three affluent white Duke athletes arrested)---away from the black bigots in our midst who are enjoying their particular brand of "cosmic justice".....no matter how counterfeit the charges.

This cynical scenario, unfortunately, is the reality.

I find it astoundingly ironic that the very group of people in this country who make a cottage industry rioting and protesting for justice......are the very same people who turn a blind eye now that it is happening to three men who possess a lesser dose of melanin.

This case should disturb us all.

Debrah Correll

 
At 10:56 AM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the logic and the presentation of the argument in your letter.

I am cynical enough, however, to beleive that IF a special prosecutor is named, it will come AFTER the November election. In this way, Easley can demonstrate support to an appointee and spin the special prosecutor announcement as evidence of his (Easley's) concern for the race baiting issues raissedin the letter. He is a politicain, afterall, with an eye to higher office.

 
At 1:28 PM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:53am "Anonymous" - the mother of all "victicrats", New Orleans, shows us the pathetic results of pandering. Gov. Easley and Mike Nifong are cut from the same cloth. That the Governor and/or Attorney General have not been moved to action by the thousands of letters on behalf of these three innocent young men, shows their total arrogance toward the people they serve.

 
At 2:54 PM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous 1:28 PM......we can all appreciate your illumination of the fiasco in New Orleans.....or in the words of inept Mayor Nagin---"Chocolate City". LOL! What a nut!

Although New Orleans, like Durham, is comprised of diverse and eclectic elements which make it charming in so many ways.....the squalor in its underbelly existed and was allowed to fester long before Katrina.....while being run by Democrat politicians for decades. No change.....no real benefit for those in poverty.....just Democrat pols placating the government-dependent residents for votes.

Katrina didn't create the underbelly that existed in New Orleans, it just revealed it.......much like the Duke lacrosse travesty has revealed the corruption in Durham.....showing the nation that pandering to complacency and dependency only benefits political vultures.

It's very unfortunate that all the citizens of Durham haven't been moved enough to publicly demand Nifong's removal. After all, Duke University is a shining gem located in its city. You'd think they would rally in protest.

In the beginning, Brodhead did the best that he could. He knew what he was up against in Durham and he felt compelled to rush to show sensitivity toward the black community.....at the expense of the lacrosse team.

Nifong's charade on national television fed all of the wrong action at the wrong time and alarmed the Duke administration.....which is why this man repulses me so.

I'm frankly concerned about the potential jury pool as well. After all, it was a band of Durham residents who back in the 1990's welcomed Johnnie Cochran, fresh from the aquittal of O J Simpson, the world-renowned cocaine-sniffing-wife-beater.....cum wife decapitator.....in an embarrassing circus show where Julius Chambers called Cochran "a great American" and a bumbling city council member---who is still in office---took it upon himself to give Cochran a key to the city of Durham.

This celebratory orgy that took place at N.C.Central University. Supposedly educated people were saying that Simpson was found "innocent"......not recognizing that an aquittal doesn't mean "innocent".....just that a talented lawyer, which Cochran was, got him off.......

.......with a jury hell-bent on nullification or "cosmic justice".

I see potential for the same type of jury pool in Durham in this case; however, most disturbing was that people like Julius Chambers and others were allowed to be a part of a committee early on which tried to slam the lacrosse players as much as they could.....offering up an "analysis" that was nauseating in its political correctness and archaic jargon.

From the start, these men were fed to "Wolves with an Agenda".

Thank heavens for Dan Abrams! How I miss his show.

Debrah Correll

 
At 8:32 PM, September 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patsy,

Thank you for your wonderful, heroic letter.

 
At 9:12 AM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that Patsy's comments on the legal side were spot on, and if people in the North Carolina justice system were interested in things like guilt, innocence, and evidence, her points would be well-taken by those who have the power to indict and convict.

However, it is clear that this case has nothing to do with what we call "justice." Instead, it is something out of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" in which a number of groups are demanding convictions no matter what evidence (or the lack, thereof) exists. As one who has followed the "justice" system in North Carolina for almost two decades, none of this surprises me. After all, this is a system that falsely charged seven people in Edenton with child molestation, despite the fact that the "disclosures" from children were coerced and the evidence of abuse and molestation was nonexistent.

Nonetheless, a number of lives were ruined and people spent time in prison. The state compensated none of those wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

North Carolina is the state that gave us the Alan Gell wrongful conviction, yet the lead prosecutor, David Hoke, who deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence -- thus wrongfully sending a man to death row -- now is the number two person in the administration of "justice" in that state, and also clerks for the state's chief justice. In other words, far from punishing this person, the justice system rewarded him beyond his dreams.

The truly evil thing here is that this farce proceeds in broad daylight. All of the principles know the charges are false, and that we are dealing with illegal fabrications by the authorities. Yet, no one in power will do anything because the state seeks to protect its own. Moreover, the NAACP, which has done heroic work in helping to overturn wrongful convictions of African-Americans, has decided to throw off everything good that it has done in order to push for guilty verdicts against people who are innocent of the charges against them.

I also wish that Patsy had not made the comments regarding racial politics and Democrats and Republicans. (I am a registered Libertarian, so I do not have a dog in that fight.) Time and again, I have seen Democratic politicians use the race card when it benefits them. Who can forget the NAACP's infamous advertisement in the 2000 campaign when it de facto claimed that George W. Bush approved of the horrendous murder of James Byrd because he did not sign a "hate crimes" bill? That was racial politics at its worst, and we are seeing a number of Democratic constituencies today push for the wrongful conviction of the three lacrosse players.

I say this because while she was trying to make a point about racial stereotyping and the use of inflammatory rhetoric about race, Patsy decided to use inflammatory rhetoric about race and racial politics. This was unfortunate, and it marred what was a very good set of legal points.

The Duke Lacrosse case is yet another instance of the lack of justice in North Carolina. Whenever I think that state authorities have "learned their lessons," yet another case comes along in which innocence is obvious, but the authorities continue to protect each other -- and trash justice in the process.

William L. Anderson

 
At 11:48 AM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although Patricia McDonald's letter to the governor was a positive effort, as is any pursuit of justice, her attempt to let Governor Easley know that she is "one of them" or a (Democrat) was almost Nifong-esque in its delivery.

IMO, Governor Easley isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. If I'm not mistaken, I think he got his law degree from NCCU, where apparently, selective justice is the main course.

 
At 12:06 PM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Above: Perhaps this is the only language Governor speaks. Sometimes, it helps to talk to a person in his native language.

Duke alum and NC resident

 
At 9:46 PM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pandering is an art form to Democrats.

 
At 9:49 PM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pandering is an art form for Democrats. Nifonging is the highest form.

 
At 11:00 PM, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nifonging". Excellent.

This should be used whenever one encounters a situation where an injustice has occurred due to corruption and unethical behavior.

Even a rodent like Mike Nifong can then be remembered for something.

 
At 9:25 AM, September 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the previous post -- someone tried to put this definition on Wikipedia, but it was removed. Eventually, we won't need Wikipedia to proclaim the obvious association between Nifong and the notion of corruption. Don't forget the second meaning: to be victimized by someone operating in a delusional world not based in reality and therefore believing they are not accountable to anyone in the real world.

 
At 8:18 AM, September 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter No. 27 - Posted on September 9, 2006
--------------------------

Profile in Courage
Kerstin Kimel


Last time I wrote about Dave Evans’s speech to remind us not to forget that amid the darkness of the Duke Lacrosse Case, there have been some true heroes. Duke’s women’s lacrosse coach, Kerstin Kimel, is such a hero. While other members of Duke’s faculty and administration chose to sacrifice the lacrosse players to advance themselves and say what the media wanted to hear, Coach Kimel stood alone as the only Duke representative to make any public statement supporting the lacrosse players until law Professor James Coleman joined her in May. Heroes rise to the occasion, lead by example, and bring out the best in us. Coach Kimel did all three.

With media staked out all over campus echoing every word of the District Attorney and trumpeting every negative statement about Duke and its lacrosse team, one might have expected more Duke representatives to speak up and defend their students and their institution. Instead, 88 Duke professors signed a divisive letter placed as an advertisement in the student newspaper publicly thanking protestors for making “collective noise” and "for not waiting and for making yourselves heard." Professors reportedly did not hesitate to express their condemnation of the lacrosse players to their students with the lacrosse players present. In face of all of this scrutiny, Kimel not only continued to coach and inspire her team, but she demonstrated the type of leadership coaches are hired to instill in their athletes. When Duke administration officials turned their backs on the Duke lacrosse players, Kimel was a shining voice in the collective silence.

She had the courage to tell Stuart Taylor of the National Journal that her players ‘were shocked, disillusioned, and disappointed that their professors and the university community were so one-sided in their condemnation of the lacrosse players.’ She personally wrote to Duke administration officers asking them to intervene when some lacrosse players were blatantly targeted in class and subjected to unprofessional conduct by Duke professors. Finally, she stood behind her players as they wore wristbands with the accused players’ numbers on them as an expression of support during their national semi-final match with Northwestern.

Interviewed by the press immediately following the game, Kimel broke into tears when describing what her players had been through. Her tears were not tears of weakness, but tears of courage--the pressures of a grueling, emotional season finally ended. In contrast to the words of others from Duke, Kimel's comments to the media were never opportunistic, but honest and genuine:

"I can't express how proud I am of our team for what they've endured. For 31 18 to 22 year-olds to witness real life and real world in very real ways."

"Any attention we got for the wristbands paled in comparison to having the media staked outside of our practice and the girls' dorms, of watching your friends arrested, of watching your fellow students not support fellow students, watching professors not support students."

Those words express the deep commitment that Kimel has for her players and Duke as a coach, educator, role model, mentor and friend. She received vicious criticism for standing up for the truth and honoring her commitment to her players and the university. Stephen Smith cited her team as evidence of racism at Duke in an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Katherine Redmond called the team ‘stupid, spoiled little girls’ in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Coach Kimel never backed down and never backed away from her promise that "You're not joining a team you're joining the Duke family."

Despite the difficult circumstances of this past season, Kimel led the women’s team to a school record of 18 wins and their third Final Four. During that Final Four, the team adopted the men's motto of ‘No Excuses, No Regrets.’ In the shadows of a university's lack of leadership during a time of crisis, perhaps best described as ‘all excuses, no regrets’ Coach Kimel led her team honorably and courageously. She epitomizes leadership by example and courage in action. In a sea of darkness, she has been a beacon of light showing us the way.

Kerstin Kimel is a true hero.

Joan Collins
Garden City, NY

 
At 8:42 AM, September 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Joan Collins for another wonderful letter.

 
At 1:13 PM, September 09, 2006, Anonymous joan foster said...

Joan Collins, Your latest "Profile in Courage" was as moving and beautifully written as the first. I know many of us will be looking forward to more in this positive and uplifting series. Thank you.
Joan

 
At 4:57 PM, September 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great letter. Thanks.

 
At 9:32 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you GC for a wonderful reminder of how Kerstin stood out when so many others cowered.

jmoo

 
At 10:03 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction to the above post, Nifong graduated from the University of NC Law School. And, in my opinion the art of pandering is not limited to democrats.

 
At 10:37 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Bridget said...

Go Mom. You rock!

 
At 10:08 AM, September 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that Andy Roddick looked like he was wearing a Duke lacrosse "innocent" wristband when he was playing the US Open final on Sunday?

 
At 2:31 PM, September 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re 10:08 am -- I thought the same thing -- as I had my handy wristband on my arm, I was able to compare it. Wonder how we could confirm this? Please, to those of you writing in -- purchase the wristbands and make a donation to the fund -- info is on the home page.

 
At 9:41 AM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the previous two posts:

Andy Roddick was not wearing a Duke wristband at the US Open, but rather a wristband for his foundation to help underprivileged kids.

http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=15845&bannerregion=

Roddick Wristbands Lend Charitable Hand

Tennis Week -- 8/22/06

"Lexus will provide U.S. Open visitors with a piece of a former U.S. Open champion — Andy Roddick. Lexus, in support of the Andy Roddick Foundation, will be giving out thousands of special-edition "No Compromise" wristbands free to tennis fans throughout the tournament, each one representing a $3 donation to the charity for a total gift of $30,000.

The Andy Roddick Foundation, started five years ago by Roddick, is dedicated to helping underprivileged children reach their dreams. The idea for the Foundation was inspired by Andre Agassi's answer to a question posed by an 18-year-old Roddick during a trip on Agassi's private plane.

"I had an incredible opportunity to learn from someone who has been in my position," said Roddick. "So I asked him 'What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?' He turned to me and said that he wished he would have started his foundation even sooner than he did, so he could help even more people. That really stuck with me."

When Roddick returned to his home in Boca Raton he shared this conversation with his mother and made a commitment to start a charity for underprivileged children. In December 2004 Andy introduced his blue "No Compromise" bracelets during the fourth annual Andy Roddick charity weekend. The message engraved on each bracelet symbolizes the persistent dedication required by everyone to bring smiles to the faces of at-risk youth.

Since its inception, the Andy Roddick Foundation has raised more than $3.2 million dollars in its quest to help children in need. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Andy Roddick Foundation web site."

I realize that this is off-topic, but I wanted to clear up any confusion about the question of what wristband Roddick was wearing.

 
At 11:09 AM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a foundation to raise money for ads in newspapers, transportation for voters on election day, and daily demonstrations around Durham and Duke University until the November election is over to ensure the political demise of Mike Nifong?

 
At 6:36 AM, May 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Accountability?!




US NC: 2 Of Fired Deputies Won't Be Charged

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v07/n613/a02.html
Newshawk: chip
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 17 May 2007
Source: Herald-Sun, The (Durham, NC)
Copyright: 2007 The Herald-Sun
Contact: letters@heraldsun.com
Website: http://www.herald-sun.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1428
Author: Brianne Dopart
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/coke.htm (Cocaine)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/corrupt.htm (Corruption - United States)


2 OF FIRED DEPUTIES WON'T BE CHARGED

DURHAM -- Two former Durham County sheriff's deputies fired in the aftermath of a drug-related sting at a Durham nightclub last October are not being held criminally responsible, but a third former deputy - -- the then-owner of the club -- has pleaded guilty to drug charges and will be sentenced Aug. 10. Former deputy Michael Paul Owens pleaded guilty last month to maintaining the La Zona nightclub at 2825 North Roxboro Road as an establishment for the sale of drugs and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Hairston said Wednesday. Hairston said Owens could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison.

Owens and six other men were arrested in an Oct. 13 raid at La Zona. Five ounces of cocaine were confiscated during the raid.

Owens is the only person to date to have been charged in connection with the alleged trafficking conspiracy. Hairston declined to say whether charges against more people will be filed.

The two former deputies who lost their jobs -- William "Keith" Dodson and Brad King -- had moonlighted as security guards at La Zona. They were fired after the raid for violating the Sheriff's Office secondary employment policy, Sheriff's Office Captain Paul Martin said Wednesday. Martin said the October raid cut short an undercover probe of alleged criminal activity at the club. That investigation was believed to be much more wide-ranging than the eventual drug case built against Owens and any possible unnamed co-conspirators.

Law enforcement reportedly made its move after evidence surfaced that Owens and perhaps some others were planning an armed robbery. Search warrants linked to the La Zona raid alleged that vehicles and people seen frequenting the club were known to be involved in a wide array of criminal activities, including "drug trafficking, armed robberies, murder ( for hire ), prostitution and human trafficking."

On Oct. 12, 2006, investigators orchestrated what law enforcement referred to as a controlled buy at the nightclub.

Investigators gave a confidential informant cash to buy several ounces of cocaine to be used as evidence that the establishment was the site of drug trafficking, Martin said.

During the exchange, investigators got more than they bargained for when the informant was allegedly asked to return the following night with a gun. The informant, Martin said, was asked to participate in a planned home invasion and robbery. Owens, Martin added, could be heard offering the informant a weapon to use.

Because investigators had learned of possible violence, they cut their probe short and decided to charge Owens solely on the basis of the drug evidence because, Martin said, they did not have enough information to advance the other charges.

Martin said he felt justice has been served in Owens' case. "We took it as far as we could," he said.

He added that the La Zona incident and a current Sheriff's Office investigation into a former employee's alleged embezzlement of county funds should be considered "aberrations."

"We've had two unfortunate incidents in the dozen or so years under Sheriff [Worth] Hill," Martin said. "Whenever you have an organization made up of human beings you're going to have mistakes. We're handling those mistakes and we're doing the best we can."

 
At 11:37 AM, July 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed a pattern of cloning?! It looks like a rerun of "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers!"

All that is being done is to replace one bad egg with another one. Same old Bullsh*t, only the names have changed! Unless there is indeed a Federal Investigation done into the ENTIRE "system" NOTHING will have been accomplished!

I am OUTRAGED at the lack of accountability! The wall of silence MUST be broken, and a HUGE broom brought out to sweep away the corrupt officials who just serve as pods!

I NEVER would have believed an ENTIRE city could be so foul! I live in Cleveland and we have far more murders and crimes, and I am sure corruption exists here too, but Durham has become the nations cesspool of corruption and lawlessness!

The media panders to them, and censor the real TRUTHS! I KNOW this because I have spent 2 long hard years BEGGING for help to solve my brothers murder! He was an incredible man who worked extremely hard, was a law abiding citizen, the pinnacle of our family, yet the deeds of an admitted ***** has cost the city more than money, but also it's reputation!

After the LAX3 are done suing, we plan on following suit! The poo is more than ready to hit the fan, and I am more than willing to put on my hazmat suit, wade through the quagmire, and SCREAM for JUSTICE!

"They" meaning the powers that be, have messed with the wrong family! What was done to the boys is nothing in comparison to the murder of my brother, who we believe was a victim of murder for hire, and that the sheriff's deputies were involved!

If Mr Hardin has an ounce of credibility, he WILL re-open his case, and the nation will see just how deep the city is involved in covering up, and insist upon the outing and ousting of the true infidels, that being the LE and politicians who only use their positions to justify their own agendas!

Buckle up kids, it's going to be a bumpy ride! This is just the beginning of my opening statement!
Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland, Ohio

 
At 12:13 AM, July 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Power Of Blogging! Durham Is YOUR town too!
I ask you all to also request an Investigation into the DPD, and Sheriff’s Department, and why nothing is being done about the unsolved murders?! Not only my brother but also a recent triple homicide, Janet Araboa, Michelle Young, and who knows how many others!

Our cases have been kicked to the curb, and 2 years have come and gone without not even being important, but disgustingly neglected! Nifong is hard from being the sole villain, his league is quite enormous and encompasses many others in positions of authority who have also abused their offices!

There needs to be INVESTIGATIONS, and REFORM! Anything less will accomplish nothing! Nifong is by far the first politician to succumb to abject corruption! Every day is another story of another crooked members of government caught in everything from murder to fraud in office!
The entire scope of the matter is that Durham has become like Carson City in the “Old West!” Lawlessness is the rule rather than the exception!

The Governor needs to be told that “WE” as in “THE PEOPLE” DEMAND accountability, and “WE” will expect NOTHING less than a thorough review by FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS!

Set a PRESIDENT! Durham is not just in North Carolina, but is in each of our United States! Let “OUR” government KNOW that “WE” will not continue to condone anarchy within our own homeland, brought upon us by “ROGUE” officials!
The very word ROGUE does not begin to even touch the surface of what really lies beneath! ROGUE is a compliment compared to what they really are! And that is depraved individuals who care only for their own gain and agendas, are veritably let go with a slap to the hand, and defile the oaths they swore upon to uphold!
All they have UPHELD is their own self interest and those of their cronies, meanwhile OUR rights are abused, neglected, disrespected, ignored, and denied!”

“WE” the people have been vehemently denied our voices and rights to be heard! NO family should be forced into bankruptcy in order for us to have “RIGHTS” to be heard to the courts! This nation was NOT made so that legal affairs would be forever drug on by lawyers in it for their own gain! I am disgusted our country has become so defiled!
MANY of our loved ones have, and are serving in the military so that “WE” may have our freedom and our rights!

“WE” must STAND TOGETHER, massively call, and bother to send by certified mail thousands of letters telling them we will accept NOTHING less! “THEY” work for us! A third of our wages goes into the support of our country! “WE” elect these people! To look the other way is not just giving in, it is cowardice, IMO.

What more fitting detriment to our millions of war dead to know that the flag they bled, and died for is nothing more than a piece of cloth woven in a communist country by enslaved women and children, only because we care about the cheapest cost regardless of it’s price, and leave out “One Nation, (UNDER GOD)?!?!

I am sure they are shaking their heads and saying, THESE are OUR descendants?! Just remember our “ROOTS AND OUR RIGHTS” and there is very much power within UNITY!

If ever there was a reason in time for “US” to gather in order to speak our pleas, it was YESTERDAY! It is simple, just mail the Governor, your state representative, and local councilman! Get the ball rolling! Faxes and certified mail is the best route to go, unregistered seems to have quite a knack for becoming “lost?” Also CALL! If I had not called and kept calling I would NEVER have even hope of ANYTHING EVER being done to convict my brothers murderer!

We all think, “What does MY opinion matter?” Just remember this, THOUSANDS of us joined as a TEAM is the only way there will EVER be CHANGE, and HOPE!
Respectfully,
Rhonda Fleming
Cleveland Ohio

 
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