NC Attorney General To Drop Duke Rape Charges

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Aniej, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Aniej macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    #1
    I don't know if you caught this, but it looks like all charges are going to be dropped.

    (04-11) 10:39 am Raleigh, N.C. (AP) --
    Prosecutors have decided to drop all remaining charges against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a team party, a person close to the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    The North Carolina Attorney General's office, which took over the case in January after the local district attorney was accused of ethics violations, said it would have an announcement on the case at 2:30 p.m. but did not elaborate.

    "I am very comfortable that the charges will be dismissed and these boys will be completely exonerated," said Joseph Cheshire, an attorney for one of the indicted players, all of whom were in Raleigh Wednesday to hear the news.

    The sensational case was troubled almost from the start. DNA samples found no link to any of the Duke lacrosse players, and a critical change to the accuser's story forced the dismissal of rape charges in December. It drew so much attention that the attorney general planned to hold his news conference Wednesday Raleigh's hockey arena.

    The person who talked to the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not been made, did not list state prosecutors specific reasons for dropping the remaining charges.

    Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were indicted last spring on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense after the woman told police she was assaulted at a lacrosse team party where she had been hired to perform as a stripper.

    The allegations at first outraged the city of Durham, a faded tobacco capital with a long history of tension between its large working-class black population and Duke, an elite private school where most of the students are white and many come from privilege. The woman is black and attended nearby North Carolina Central University; all three Duke players are white.

    But that anger largely shifted to Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong as his evidence against the three fell apart and questions surfaced about the accuser.

    Nifong, who was away from his office Wednesday, has been charged by the state bar with ethics violations connected to his handling of the case and could face disbarment.

    "We just hope this traumatic experience for all involved ends with the minimum amount of damage," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose Chicago-based Rainbow/Push Coalition had offered to help the accuser pay for college but wasn't able to contact her.

    The 28-year-old woman initially said she was gang-raped and beaten by three white men at the March 13, 2006, party thrown by Duke's highly ranked lacrosse team.

    The three players who were indicted insisted the accusations were "fantastic lies," and another dancer who had been with the woman also questioned if she had been raped and said the woman seemed drunk when she tried to drive her home that night.

    In the end, it appeared the case was based only on the testimony of the accuser, whom defense attorneys said had told wildly different versions of the alleged assault.

    That shifting story led Nifong to drop the rape charges in December, but the other charges remained.

    Nifong's recusal in January put the players' fate in the hands of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who promised "a fresh and thorough review of the facts."

    The North Carolina State Bar charged Nifong with making misleading and inflammatory comments about the athletes under suspicion. It later added more serious offenses of withholding evidence from defense attorneys and lying to the court and bar investigators. He stands trial on those charges in June.

    Nifong had accused the team of refusing to cooperate, calling them "a bunch of hooligans," and promised DNA evidence would finger the guilty.

    His case started to erode, though, when no DNA evidence tying any player to the accuser. The second dancer at the party called the allegations "a crock." And Seligmann produced ATM receipts, cell phone records and other evidence suggesting he was somewhere else at the time.

    Defense attorneys also attacked a key photo lineup that used only pictures of lacrosse players, and they noted the accuser had claimed a decade earlier that she had been gang-raped but it never led to an arrest. A series of tests Nifong ordered from a private lab found genetic material from several men on the accuser's underwear and body, but none from any member of the Duke lacrosse team, they said.

    Duke temporarily suspended Seligmann, 21, of Essex Fells, N.J., and Finnerty, 20, of Garden City, N.Y., in the wake of their arrest. Both were invited to return to campus but neither accepted.

    Evans, 24, of Bethesda, Md., graduated the day before he was indicted.

    John Danowski, the former coach at Hofstra who took over the Duke program last summer, has also said that both are welcome to continue playing lacrosse with the Blue Devils. On Wednesday, he said he moved the team's afternoon practice back so his players could attend a planned defense news conference with their former teammates.
     
  2. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #2
    The local sentiment still seems to be that they are guilty and got away with it.
     
  3. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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  4. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #4
    Seriously?
     
  5. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5
    I don't get you guys. If they had DNA samples taken from the "victim" and none of them matched the accused, what more do you need? Should these guys' DNA be planted on her so that the "local sentiment" can feel better?
     
  6. johnee macrumors 6502a

    johnee

    #6
    good, there really wasn't any evidence to convict them with anyway. that da is a real jerk
     
  7. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #7
    I never believed that they were guilty until it was proven in a court of law.. unlike the hundreds of people that spent days upon days outside their home, banging pots, and carrying placards, and chanting on megaphones. Not to mention community leaders and national community leaders that spoke out against them as if everyone had witness the alleged crime in progress. As far as all of those people were concerned, the 3 were guilty right from the start.

    My statement earlier was to point out that despite all charges being dropped (IMO there never was evidence enough for this, and I couldn't believe it when Nifong was re-elected. He's now in the process of being disbarred), the sentiment amongst some people here is that they are guilty, despite the complete lack of evidence.
     
  8. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #8
    Who knows? Evidence gets planted all of the time.
     
  9. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #9
    I can assure you, the Durham Police are totally incompetent. But even they couldn't "cover" this one up for a Duke paycheck.
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    Gotcha.

    The awful thing is- these guys are now marked at Duke forever. Their lives won't be back to normal any time soon, if ever.
     
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #11
    Completely true.

    I also must place serious blame on the media for this.

    This was major national headlines for quite a while.. It sullied the name of Duke and thrust into the limelight a bogus story. I suspect there will be no retraction statements. I'll see if it makes national news tonight.

    Beyond that, the media sensationalized a (albeit false, apparently) horrible crime, simply because there was a racial element of "have" and "have-not". Hundreds, if not thousands of women are raped every day and don't get such attention. Where are their community advocates? Where are their nation community leaders demanding justice?

    The whole thing makes me sick.
     
  12. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #12
    I just wonder when the apologies from the many who "demanded justice" will reach these kids. After all the talk and anger that spewed, the activists who demanded expulsion, the rantings against their few public supporters (remember what happened when the Duke lax women supported them)...

    And yet, I expect to see more people discuss how these guys were acting inappropriately than what needs to be done to prevent these false accusations. This woman struck a blow against rape victims everywhere.

    It has inspired me though - when a person files a false police report or a DA moves to prosecute with demonstrated malice, they should be subject to up to the maximum penalty available for the crime committed (i.e. a charge carries 5 to 20 years, so subject the accuser/DA to 0 to 20). That should help avoid any chilling effect and protect the accused.

    This doesn't feel any different than the PE teacher who was accused of sexual assult by the girls in his class because they were mad at him.
     
  13. saunders45 macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    #13
    'bout friggin' time. The case was bogus, no hard evidence from the beginning, and yet the race card kept getting played over and over again, so the case got drug out way too long.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawana_Brawley
     
  14. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #14
    Here's a link to local news about the dropping of the charges:

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1245389/

     
  15. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #15
    I am astounded that nothing is being done regarding the woman - if she really believes the different versions, she needs to get some psychiatric help.

    I don't know if they can expect payment from the university for the legal fees, but the damage to their educational careers may be possible. I could see them going after the state or the accuser (could you imagine the uproar over the rich white boys going after the poor black girl, all the while Al Sharpton forgets that she accused them just like he forgot about the his liabilities in the Brawley case).
     
  16. saunders45 macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    #16
    Nah, Sharpton is too busy getting all over Imus' ass. The hypocritical bigot has already moved on to the next limelight case.
     
  17. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #17
    Sharpton is only out to make himself look good.
     
  18. fotografica macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Going to be interesting to see how the reverends come out on this one..
     
  19. saunders45 macrumors 6502a

    saunders45

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    #19
    When Rosie is taking shots.... damn...... maybe it is getting sensationalized.
     
  20. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    #20
    What an outrageous statement! Do you know anything about the matter at all?

    No one got bribed, the DA completely mismanaged this from day one and completely abused his power and role that is vested with a prosecutor who is largely immune from being sued. In fact, it is just opposite of the question you posed. There was no bribe, rather there was finally an impartial thorough investigation by an outside law enforcement body that shed light on the matter.
     
  21. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #21
    this was a weird case and certainly none of it seems cut and dry to me. the media went way overboard with the alleged details of the case, so i have no idea what is true and what is not. it seemed that at the beginning the (medical?) people who saw the woman just after the assault was reported were certain that she was violated, but then...

    i just hope that the woman in question hasn't ruined her life or had it ruined.
     
  22. Aniej thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aniej

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    #22
    Based on your posts, I assume you live or work in Durham?

    I think this is an overblown statement about the police agency as a whole and is an easy attack to launch against a collective group rather than a few individuals involved in this investigation or another incident that has caused you to form this opinion. Moreover, you are conflating outrageous actions by the District Attorney's office with those of the police department, which were not perfect in any regard, but pale in comparison to those of the DA who has total discretion.

    I agree with you on an emotional level, but charging her with falsifying a police report would only further insight tension in a charged community. I also recognize the value in charging someone so as to say this is not ok and will be responded to accordingly, I just think from a public policy level it is best to leave that one alone.

    Not going to happen for several reasons. The two primary being: that the university simply suspended the students, that's it. The university has a right to comment on its student's activities, especially when a large portion of the story directly impacts and targets the university and its relationship with the community. The second reason is because while you have a constitutional right to a defense, you do not have a right to a defense using the most expensive attorneys which the government then has an duty to pay for. The only situation the government would pay is when the individual is an indigent and is constitutionally afforded counsel because they would not be able to afford any competent counsel without assistance. In the interest of keeping this brief, I will cut it off there, but I hope that clarifies a bit about the recouping of defense funds issue.

    You have it pretty much correct. The Duke ER statements indicated that trauma had occurred and was consistent with the injuries associated with a sexual assault. However, these types of injures depending on how significant can also equally point a previous sexual encounter that was done in an aggressive, albeit non-criminal manner.
     
  23. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #23
    No, the woman didn't the DA did. He thought he had an easy case and wanted to drum up support from black voters.

    This wasn't about rape but about a power hungry DA.
     
  24. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #24
    The forensic and circumstantial evidence indicate otherwise.
     
  25. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #25
    I've only seen cases of that in drug busts, not rape.
     

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