Wednesday, April 11, 2007

$3 Million Can Buy Some Justice

Our American court system proved once again that money is the only way to buy justice (or injustice for that matter). $3 million is the estimate of how much money the families of the Lacross players have had to pay their attorneys to keep their sons out of the clutches of Mike Nifong. However if you don't have money you will lose in our courts. If the 3 Lacrosse players had not had rich parents they would have long since been convicted in our corrupt court system dominated by "the rule of judges".

Today at the Raleigh press conference held at 2:30 PM, Roy Cooper, Attorney General for North Carolina, stated what has been obvious for most of the last 13 months to any reasonable observer. The 3 Duke University Lacrosse players are innocent, Nifong abused his power, Duke and the local community cheered him on in error. The exact quote was "We believe these 3 individuals are innocent of the charges." It was a stunning announcement which no lawyer expected because it exposes his client, the state of North Carolina, to legal costs and civil lawsuits.

Almost immediately into the press conference, Cooper confirmed that his department was filing notices of dismissal on all criminal charges. "The result is these cases are over and no more criminal proceedings will occur." However he did not stop there. Some of the quotes from this press conference were simply amazing.

"We believe these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations. There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado."

"Inconsistencies were so significant that we have no credible evidence an attack occured."

"Now in this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham D.A. pushed forward unchecked."

"In the rush to condemn . . a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly. Regardless of the reason this case was pushed forward the result was wrong."

At various points in the press conference Cooper called Nifong an "overeaching prosecutor" and a "rogue prosecutor". Cooper promised a fact summary next week that will give details of all the failures and mistakes they found. Cooper's solution to this miscarriage of justice is letting the Supreme Court for North Carolina be the process by which prosecutorial misconduct is handled in the future. This suggestion and the request for a new law by Cooper will conveniently assure that next time the Attorney General for North Carolina is not the person who is supposed to resolve the mess created when a rogue prosecutor abuses his power.

When asked if Cooper would apologize to the 3 young men he stated "I think a lot of people owe apologies to other people." However he would not apologize.

Cooper also talked about the accuser, Crystal Gail Mangum. After insisting that he had reviewed sealed records of earlier cases involving the accuser which he would not share, he proclaimed "The investigators and attorneys think that she may actually believe the many different stories that she has been telling." The implication was that she was delusional if not mentally ill and that the only way you could avoid saying she was lying was because she "believed" the stories she was telling, even if they were totally contradictory on the facts and inconsistent with other evidence. If it was not 13 months after her false charges destroyed so many lives this waffling avoidance of the issue would not be so annoying.

Part of the problem is that this was made an issue of racism, not justice. One writer has noted about the clear conflicting accounts from the accuser "This didn't stop the Black Panthers from demonstrating on the Duke campus in "support" of Mangum (rough translation of their message: when an accuser is black and the accused is white, it's racist not to believe her)."

So there you have it. Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans are innocent. That also means that the well respected coach and mentor Mike Pressler whose career was destroyed . . . was not guilty of allowing his players to conduct themselves as criminals. This was the charge that got him fired from Duke. He allowed this rape to occur. But there was no rape. Where does Mike Pressler go to get justice and get his job back?

These are the best known individuals whose lives were destroyed by the lies of Crystal Gail Mangum. They were also damaged by the use of her lies for political gain by D.A. Mike Nifong. However they are not the only victims. Hundreds of people's lives were damaged in this tragedy of "justice". The argument is that Mangum should not be charged with anything because after all she does not have any money.

This argument is a blatant indication that other than for purposes of monetary compensation (blackmail and extortion usually) our court system is useless. The reality is that no judge would allow anyone but the 3 men accused of criminal charges to sue her anyway. Our court system does not allow for justice in most cases. It is a system whereby blackmail and extortion is selectively condoned.

Nothing in this press conference addressed a related issue . . the liability of Duke University for their enthusiastic willingness to forget the concept of "innocent until proven guilty". Or how about the liability of the more than 80 liberal Duke professors who took out an aid proclaiming the 3 young men guilty, insisting their guilt was an indication of how racist our society is?

This press conference produced an amazing result. Only in this one instance has some amount of justice prevailed and only because the defendents were rich and the case got so much publicity and the Attorney General decided to stop the usual hiding behind the "we don't have enough evidence to proceed" copout. The legal profession and its concept of justice was shown to be a total farce. Due to embarrassment the truth was allowed to emerge just this once. Truth. Not something our court system has much experience with.

The most important question is, "How many other Mike Nifongs are out there?" Roy Cooper, Attorney General for North Carolina, did not address that extremely important question. I doubt much of the legal community wants that particular issue investigated.

Here are links to other articles about this case.
Prosecutor Drops Charges in Duke Case
Crystal Gail Mangum: Profile of the Duke Rape Accuser
As Lacrosse Case Ends, Case Against Nifong Goes On
Reactions to Duke lacrosse case
Ethics Train Wreck
Wikipedia Case Analysis (This is an excellent listing of the known facts)

Here are links to the duplicitous statements issued by the University that fired their coach and did everything possible to indicate they believed the students guilty, short of actually saying they were. Notice their new tone.
Statement from Duke President Richard H. Brodhead
Letter from Robert K. Steel, Chair of the Duke Trustees


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