Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Duke Non-Rape: Defiant, Stupid and Fearful 88 or So Strike Again


Fearing for their legal lives (so much different when you're on the receiving end, 'eh?), the "concerned Duke Faculty" write again. Here's a telling snippet (whole text here):

The ad has been read as a comment on the alleged rape, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case. We understand the ad instead as a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus, an attempt to channel the attention generated by the incident to addressing these. We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence.
Oh, really? I bet it will be a challenge to find one witness to challenge that assertion.

KC Johnson, as always, has an excellent post:

The new statement echoes the line of Bob Ashley’s Herald-Sun and the transparently pro-prosecution NAACP: “We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence.”

It’s ironic that a statement signed by more than 70 percent the African-American Studies Department would implicitly rebuke the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, in which activists recognized the need to mobilize the public, “outside the courts,” to protest rigged local procedures in the Deep South.

Forget the 1960s, these same people look at current crime rates and protest the inequality. Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson were both tried and found innocent outside the court of law by African-Americans. The only calls for keeping it "in the courts" involve rich, white, privilaged men, evidently. And women (don't forget hard-core criminals like Martha Stewart).

In another post, KC Johnson ponders what Duke President Brodhead can do in this situation. No doubt, Duke enrollment will drop like a rock or will be filled with less-than-stellar scholars. Meh. Perfect fit. Here is one solution:

DBR: “One thing which Brodhead could do, it seems to us, which everyone should agree with, is to make it clear to the city of Durham that Duke students must be treated the same as any other citizens and that Duke will not tolerate any further mistreatment of its students. Certainly parents of students (present and prospective) would wish this to be so.”

This problem has ranged from the “extraordinary” (the treatment of the lacrosse players) to the more ordinary, where “Durham police have quite frankly discriminated against Duke students as a class, which is a violation of their civil rights.” Moreover, “as Professor James Coleman has made clear, if you can do what Nifong did to rich people, it’s ten times easier to do it to poor ones. Brodhead has an opportunity to let Duke serve Durham, and to build bridges, by having Duke help keep the justice system honest. Perhaps law students could organize themselves and monitor the district attorney’s office for any further abuses, particularly against people who can’t fight back as the lacrosse families have done.”
And the case isn't finished. These families still anguish over their son's fates. The 60 Minutes interview (the husbands and fathers sat quite while the mothers expressed their outrage), showed what stress they're enduring. Liestoppers has a good post, "They Look at the Mother". This reminds me of my own post some time back expressing similar sentiments:
  • I'm imagining being the mother to a boy who was on his way to Wall-Street but some two-bit ho and an insane, power-hungry prosecutor ruined that possibility for him.
  • I'm imagining the gazillions being spent by the families to defend their boys for a crime they almost certainly did not commit.
I'm not a lawyer. Maybe if I was, I'd be more confident about this outcome. KC Johnson seems pretty confident this is done. That encourages me. I won't rest easy until the papers are signed.

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