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 Reade Seligmann, Messages, tributes and information
floria
Posted: Mar 17 2007, 08:45 AM


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Duke lacrosse case is about Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann! Therefore, it is only fitting that each should have their own page on this website. This page is dedicated to Reade Seligmann. Feel free to contribute in any way you choose.

Petition to support Reade Seligmann

Selected articles about Reade Seligmann:
Duke Rape Suspect Wants To Be A Lawyer, CBS Reporter Says June 22, 2006 WRAL
Doubts About Duke June 29, 2006 Newsweek, by Evan Thomas and Susannah Meadows
Duke Lacrosse Players Speak (Video) October 15, 2006 CBS 60 Minutes
In Scandal's Shadow January 15, 2007 Newsweek, by Susannah Meadows
Charged Duke LAX Player Volunteers, Coaches April 3, 2007 abc11tv.com
Seligmann: Nightmare is over (Video) April 11, 2007 CNN
Seligmann brothers, Delbarton proud of howalumnus handled ordeal April 12, 2007 DailyRecord.com
The Seligmanns On The Duke Case (Video) April 12, 2007 CBS News
That Night At Duke April 14, 2007 Newsweek
Cleared Duke student has hope for future April 16, 2007 MSNBC Today Show
Cloak of support April 16, 2007 SI
Delbarton honors grad after Duke charges fall April 26, 20007 DailyRecord
Reade Seligmann Letter April 30, 2007 KC Johnson
A falsely accused lacrosse star has new goals May 20, 2007 The Star-Ledger
Back to school May 21, 2007 SI
Cleared Duke lacrosse player will attend Brown May 29, 2007 Newsobserver
Seligmann to play lacrosse at Brown May 30, 2007 Newsobserver
Reade Seligmann Testimony June 15, 2007
Seligmann testifies against Nifong June 15, 2007 Herald Sun
Reade Seligmann Full Testimony (Video) June 15, 2007 WRAL
Law Expert: Cleared Player's Testimony Devastating for Nifong June 16, 2007 WRAL
Unheralded and exonerated June 18, 2007 Newsday.com
Ex-Duke lacrosse player doesn’t ‘feel’ for Nifong (Video) June 18, 2007 MSNBC
Exonerated Duke suspect awaits fresh start at Brown July 16, 2007 The Brown Daily Herald


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Nell’ora del dolore perchè, perchè, Signore, perchè me ne rimuneri così?
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floria
Posted: Mar 17 2007, 08:47 AM


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Reade Seligmann

   
 


IF
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

 

 

 

 

Reade Seligmann - April 11, 2007

   
 


Nightmare is over
( Video )

I would like to start out by saying that we are all deeply saddened by the absence of Kirk Osborn on this very emotional day. Kirk stood by my side from the very beginning of this travesty and did all that he could to proclaim my innocence. Not only has North Carolina lost one of its finest attorneys, it has lost a man who embodied the words honor and integrity. We will never forget his sacrifices and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Today marks the end of a year long nightmare that has been a destructive force in so many peoples lives. The dark cloud of injustice that hung above our heads has finally cleared and we can now all look forward to continuing the life that has been taken from us. My family appreciates the efforts of Attorney General Roy Cooper and Special Prosecutors Jim Coman and Mary Winstead for their thorough investigation. While this day is long overdue, we recognize their diligence and perseverance to uncovering the truth in order to show the world that we have always been 100% innocent of these charges.

This past year has been the most difficult and painful period of my life and I would like to credit my family and friends for keeping me focused and bolstering my spirit throughout this agonizing journey. My Mom and Dad are the toughest, most loving parents anyone could ask for and it is because of there relentless will to defend my name that we were able to make it through the storm. I have been inspired by the courage and strength of both my parents and three brothers who have provided me with so much love, guidance and unquestionable faith in my innocence. I love you all so much.

I must also thank all of my attorneys. Kirk Osborn, Buddy Connor, Antonio Lewis, and Jim Cooney, along with the other defense teams. All of these men have worked tirelessly to ensure that three innocent men did not spend thirty years in prison for a hoax. I would like to specifically thank Jim Cooney for restoring my faith in the legal system. Through his bold leadership, incredible work ethic and sincere concern for my well being, we were finally able to achieve justice.

To the Evans’s and Finnerty’s, I will never forget your tremendous bravery and unwavering resolve throughout this unbearable ordeal. I wish you all the best in the future as we all move on with our lives and hope that we can repair the damage that was done.

I am forever grateful for all of the care, concern, and encouragement I received from my remarkable girlfriend Brooke and her family, the Delbarton community, the town of Essex Fells, KC Johnson , and everyone else who chose to stand up, use their voice and challenge the actions of a rogue district attorney.

This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed. If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not to have the resources to defend themselves. So rather than relying on disparaging stereotypes, or creating political and racial conflicts, we must all take a step back from this case and learn from it. This tragedy has revealed that our society has lost site of the core principle of our legal system, the presumption of innocence.

For everyone who chose to speak out against us before the facts were known, I sincerely hope that you are never put in a position where you experience the same pain and heartache that you have caused our families. While your hurtful words and outrageous lies will forever be associated with this tragedy, everyone will always remember that we told the truth, and in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “truth is the best vindication against slander‘. If our case can bring to light the some of the flaws in our judicial system as well as discourage people from rushing to judgment, than the hardships we have endured over this past year will not have been in vain.

As the healing process begins for our families, I feel as though it is my responsibility to create something positive out of this experience. During my time away from school I got the chance to learn a lot about myself: Who I am and who I want to be. This case has shown me what the important things in life really are as my entire perspective on the world has changed. I view this situation as a unique opportunity to make a difference and I know that there are many people who can benefit from the lessons I have learned.

I fully intend on continuing my education and look forward to pursuing the goals I have set for myself. I have the deepest appreciation for my educational and athletic opportunities and my dream is to return to both by this fall. My ultimate aspiration moving forward, is to live a life that will make all of those who stood by my side throughout this injustice, proud to know that they defended the truth.
                        
 

 


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Nell’ora del dolore perchè, perchè, Signore, perchè me ne rimuneri così?
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Emily Brontë
Posted: Mar 30 2007, 11:04 AM


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I am adding one more photo here.


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Emily Brontë
Posted: Mar 30 2007, 11:10 AM


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This photo is in remembrance of Mr. Kirk Osborn. May he rest in peace! He will forever remain in our thoughts and prayers...

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GPackwood
Posted: Mar 31 2007, 11:24 PM


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QUOTE (Emily Brontë @ Mar 30 2007, 11:10 AM)
This photo is in remembrance of Mr. Kirk Osborn. May he rest in peace! He will forever remain in our thoughts and in our prayers...

Great and special gesture.

Thanks

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K.P.
Posted: Apr 6 2007, 02:56 PM


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I know this is a little late but, better late than never.

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY!!!


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Reade Seligmann--My reputation is mine to destroy and no one else.
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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 12 2007, 09:59 AM


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Reade Seligmann Statement
Crucial 82 Words


'This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed. If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not to have the resources to defend themselves. So rather than relying on disparaging stereotypes, or creating political and racial conflicts, we must all take a step back from this case and learn from it'.
::
Late last night (April 11, 2007) several groups representing the extreme political left here in Houston attempted to move the story from 'innocent' towards the lack of evidence line of propaganda that we have seen here since this case began to fall apart.

And then, Reade's statement was finally digested by the far left and the story snapped back to INNOCENT.

Those 82 words define what is meant by a 'win-win' whereby the far left and the far right could agree...on something substantial.

The story then appeared in our newspaper this morning on the front page with a tone that I would describe as Learned Innocence.




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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 12 2007, 10:02 PM


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Big Grin

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momofbuddy
Posted: Apr 15 2007, 07:51 AM


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Reade, I'm not even sure if you'll ever see this, but please know that there were those of us who NEVER waivered in our belief in the innocence of you, Dave and Collin. You won't let this follow you the rest of your life. If you do, then you're allowing her some small victory. I don't know you and probably never will, but I have judged you. I judged you to be a fine and wonderful young man, an asset to Duke University (though they don't know it) and the world. Your family is and should be very proud of you. Best wishes and God bless.
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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 18 2007, 02:07 PM


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Innocent

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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 20 2007, 11:04 PM


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Duke, heal thyself

ad astra

By: Brian Kindle
Issue date: 4/20/07 Section: Columns

Why Duke bothers to form committees on how to improve itself-instead of just asking me-I'll never know. If this college is serious about changing for the better, here's three places to start:

1. Stop giving contract employees a rough break.

Duke deserves praise for many of its employment practices. The University offers most employees considerable access to its massive resources, whether through job training, continuing education or the many initiatives targeted at children of employees. Also commendable is the $10/hr base pay rate that the administration instituted two years ago.

Still, something's rotten in the state of Duke employment: contract employees, those workers at separate businesses such as Alpine, McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A, are largely shut out from these benefits. Despite being critical to Duke's continuing operations, contract employees are often paid far less ($7/hr for many) and sometimes receive no insurance plans or health benefits of any kind. In the past, the administration has been largely indifferent to calls to extend the pay rate and health benefits guaranteed to Duke employees into the contract sphere, washing its hands of responsibility by saying they don't control the terms of employment for these workers. That's an irrelevant objection: They control the contract and could easily demand better terms if they cared to. And although maybe one guy ever in the history of humanity has actually been convinced by the "it's the right thing to do" argument, I'll try it: Treating contract employees as full Duke employees is the right thing to do. It would boost Duke's image in Durham, raise employee morale and give the people who brew your coffee and serve your meals a fair break. Moreover, it would honor Duke's aspiration to respect principles beyond its own bottom line. Building a school that purports to "higher learning" on the backs of low-paid, unsupported workers is just plain stupid.

2. Eliminate the minor annoyances that plague student life.

Here I'm thinking of two specific things: parking and the search bar on the Duke home page. Look, I understand that parking is a treasure to be jealously guarded around here, but parking enforcement is and has always been arcane, unfair and often insane. I don't know whether the drive to secure every possible parking spot like it's the Crown Jewels stems from the administration or from Parking and Transportation Services itself, but whoever is responsible needs to understand the enormous amount of ill will they're generating among the student body. Liberalizing parking-whether that be through lower fines, more lenient ticketing, even 20-minute loading and unloading zones behind dorms-would go far in improving student attitudes toward their own administrators.

Finally, the Duke search bar: Jesus Christ on a bicycle, is there any more ignorant and nonfunctional electronic tool in the entire world than this non-searching search bar? This is probably a seriously minor issue for most people, but for some reason I find myself attempting to use this search bar ALL THE TIME, and as far as I can tell, it does not "search" in any traditional sense of that word. It's mind-blowing how ineffective this search bar is. If you need facts and information, use Google. Anything to avoid the blighted, purgatorial stupidity of the Duke search bar.

3. Treat people like people, damn it.

It's shocking how little we've learned from being put through the year-long grinder of the lacrosse case. Before the evidential tide turned, the defendants were vilified as icons of white male privilege, the sinister products of a morally bankrupt ruling class. Now that they're free men again, the pendulum's swung the other way, and there's been a rush to hold them up as angelic, wholly clean-cut gentlemen. Frankly, both tendencies disgust me. They stem from the same horrifying willingness to devour individuals for the sake of politics and ideology. I've never met any of the guys in the lacrosse case; I do know they've handled themselves with grace and restraint throughout this whole ugly affair, and they and their families have come off looking a hell of a lot more dignified than their accusers and critics ever will, and that's all I'm qualified to say about it.

To anyone that ever used or is still using the lives of three men to justify your own tiny agenda, be that liberal, conservative, communist, whatever: shame on you.

To anyone who wondered why students were so ambivalent during the legal proceedings, here's why: We've become so difference-obsessed at this college that we can't see plain injustice anymore, objective injustice. It has to be "white injustice" or "black injustice"-parsed into categories of race, gender or social class in order to be digested. I don't want to belittle that mode of thinking; there's a limited value to it. But when we spend more time on the [your category here] experience than the human experience, we've gone way too far. If all of us-students, faculty, staff and alumni-can't take the minimal time and energy it takes to judge individuals on their own merits, rather than as members of some damn group or category or cogs in our ideological worldview, then we are well and truly lost.

Despite my practiced cynicism, I'm a wild optimist at heart. I can't help but think we'll get better. To crib from Alex Jones, it's my sincere hope that all of us, at Duke and elsewhere, will "get fired up about the real things, the things that matter! Creativity, and the dynamic human spirit that refuses to submit!"

That's it, that's all I have to say. It's been a pleasure.

Brian Kindle is a Trinity senior. His column runs every Friday. This is his final column.

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floria
Posted: Apr 22 2007, 08:59 AM


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I hope we will find out soon where Reade will choose to go to complete his education. The decision not to return Duke was the right one, although we would have all loved to see him there. Duke does not deserve him. Reade can do better than Duke.


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Nell’ora del dolore perchè, perchè, Signore, perchè me ne rimuneri così?
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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 22 2007, 01:29 PM


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QUOTE (floria @ Apr 22 2007, 08:59 AM)
I hope we will find out soon where Reade will choose to go to complete his education. The decision not to return Duke was the right one, although we would have all loved to see him there. Duke does not deserve him. Reade can do better than Duke.

I agree with you

Last week I attended a lecture at Rice University here in Houston and the speaker was a Professor from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

I thought about Reade attending the university there and then attending Law School at the same school.

He is the only student I know who would not be especially intimidated by a missile or two falling out of the sky periodically.


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
http://www.huji.ac.il/huji/eng/index_e.htm

Law School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
http://law.mscc.huji.ac.il/law1/newsite/english.html
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GPackwood
Posted: Apr 30 2007, 10:59 PM


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Sunday, April 29, 2007, Dallas, Texas

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has won approval for funding of a team of special prosecutors to review more than 400 post-conviction cases to determine if DNA evidence could lead to additional exonerations. Since state law changed in 2001, there have been twelve DNA exonerations in Dallas County with a thirteenth expected shortly. Watkins, who became Dallas County's first black District Attorney in January, campaigned on a pledge to defeat “the system that has failed us.”
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GPackwood
Posted: May 1 2007, 02:00 PM


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The Houston Chronicle :: April 29, 2007

Justice delayed: DNA evidence frees another innocent

By CLARENCE PAGE

In a statistic that is both gratifying and horrifying, a Chicago Army veteran has become the 200th person to be exonerated by DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project, a nonprofit, New York-based legal clinic.

That's gratifying, because justice long denied to innocents like Jerry Miller, 48, of Chicago and 199 others who came before him finally has been served. But Miller's good news also raises horrifying questions about flaws in our nation's criminal justice system.

For one thing, only 10 percent of felonies produce any biological evidence that can be tested for DNA, according to lawyer Barry Scheck, who co-founded the Innocence Project in 1992 to help prisoners prove their innocence through DNA evidence.

And a closer look at the 200 exonerations produces an unsettling view of the mistakes that often seal a conviction. Some 77 percent of the convictions resulted from mistaken identity. Almost two-thirds involved faulty scientific evidence. About one-fourth involved false confessions or incriminating statements, and 15 percent involved incorrect information from informants.

The cases most likely to leave DNA evidence are rapes, which are also the cases that tend most to show evidence of racial bias. Of the 200 exonerations, 123 were rape cases.

Only 12 percent of sexual assaults are between a victim of one race and an assailant of another, according to Justice Department statistics, yet 64 percent of the 200 exonerated convicts were black males convicted of raping white females.

"The most endangered person to be in America is a black man accused of raping a white woman," Scheck told me in a telephone interview.

Of course, such stereotypes can cut both ways these days, as revealed in the exoneration of three former Duke University lacrosse players of a rape that apparently never happened, judging by the DNA evidence, among other evidence. Major media and many of the rest of us, including me, found it all too easy to believe the overzealous prosecutor's scenario of privileged white college boys taking criminal advantage of a poor black woman who was working her way through college as a stripper.

"This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed," said Reade Seligmann, one of the three cleared former teammates, in what makes an appropriate epitaph to the whole sorry episode. "If it is possible for law enforcement officials to systematically railroad us with no evidence whatsoever, it is frightening to think what they could do to those who do not have the resources to defend themselves."

Indeed, nothing concentrates the mind around the subject of justice like the prospect of being falsely convicted.

"I am not angry," Jerry Miller, 48, told Chicago Tribune reporter Maurice Possley before a Cook County court set aside Miller's conviction last Monday. "I'm not swept under the rug anymore."

Unfortunately, too many other cases do get swept under the rug, without the advantages of big money or a blue-ribbon team of defense lawyers.

Gary Dotson was one of the first DNA exonerations in this country in 1989, when tests showed he had not committed a rape for which he had been convicted in a Cook County court, even though his accuser had recanted years earlier. Since then, DNA use has led to other reforms, such as a national federal DNA database, the videotaping of interrogations and changes in lineup procedures to avoid mistaken identifications.

Even so, we still show a troubling tendency to jail innocent people. Any single case of jailing the innocent — and letting the guilty run free — is one too many.

Scheck would like to see DNA databases and videotaped interrogations for all felonies, not just murders, which is the case in many states. Too many backlogs also mean evidence sits around too long, allowing the culprit to commit more crimes.

At the same time, the national debate is only beginning as to whether too much DNA evidence can be gathered and stored. We have only begun to learn what information about ourselves and about our ancestors is carried in our DNA. Civil libertarians justifiably fear too much of that information being available to too many hands.

Nevertheless, in this new twist in the old debate over privacy rights vs. public safety, it's hard to argue against the use of information that could stop, say, a serial killer from striking again.

That debate will go on. For now, we should make sure that we don't leave valuable DNA evidence sitting on a shelf — along with justice.

Page is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist specializing in urban issues. He is based in Washington, D.C. (cpage@tribune.com)
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GPackwood
Posted: May 1 2007, 03:30 PM


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National Institute of Justice Annual Conference

July 23-25, 2007 :: Arlington, Virginia

Special Track of Panels this year at the conference.

Forensic DNA: Tools, Technology, and Policy Conference Agenda and Abstracts

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/events/nij_co...dna-program.htm
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GPackwood
Posted: May 8 2007, 03:59 PM


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Duke Law School Panel - Spring 2007

Jim Coleman said...

“One of the bright spots in all of this was the statement of Reade Seligmann when this was all over” noting that he had gained awareness about how society doesn't pay enough attention to prosecutorial misconduct and the need to ensure civil liberties for criminal defendants.
::
To (Michael) Tigar, the most significant aspect of Roy Cooper’s press conference was the AG’s proposal for be mechanism to remove prosecutors who engage in this type of behavior.
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GPackwood
Posted: May 20 2007, 12:10 AM


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Prosecutors Feeling Impact of 'Duke Effect'

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1179...25&rss=newswire
By Tresa Baldas
The National Law Journal
05-18-2007
New Jersey prosecutor Paul DeGroot knew it wouldn't take long for the Duke University lacrosse rape case to wreak havoc on prosecutors.
"It's becoming a tool and a buzz word for defense attorneys to say, 'Look what happened at Duke,'" DeGroot said.
He speaks from experience.
Shortly after the rape charges were dropped against the three lacrosse players -- and the prosecutor, Durham County, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong, was hit with ethics charges for allegedly withholding DNA evidence -- a defense lawyer in a recent drug case tried to use the Duke case against DeGroot.
"He said to the jury, 'We all know a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. Just look at what happened in that case down in Duke,'" recalled DeGroot, senior assistant prosecutor in Passaic County, N.J. "I objected as soon as that came out. And I made sure I added to say, 'In this county, we don't try cases like that.'"
NATIONAL FALLOUT
Prosecutors across the country are seeing fallout from the Duke case, as defense attorneys use it to discredit other criminal cases and paint them as overzealous prosecutors with something to prove.
In Texas, one defense attorney recently cited the case during voir dire, and again in closing argument, in an assault case involving a teacher accused of pinning down a female student while other students beat her. The lawyer reminded jurors about what happened at Duke. The defendant was found not guilty in three minutes.
"Prosecutors should be worried," said defense attorney Edmund "Skip" Davis, the Texas attorney who cited the Duke case in the recent assault trial and plans to cite it in a rape trial next week.
In the teacher assault case, Davis asked jurors during voir dire if they were familiar with the "tragedy" that happened in the Duke case and whether they thought it was a shoddy investigation. At closing, he reminded jurors not to rush to judgement to avoid "that tragedy that nearly fell upon those kids at Duke."
"I told them, 'Just because someone hollers out that a crime has been committed just does not make it so,'" Davis said. "And the Duke case made a perfect example of that."
In Ohio, criminal defense attorney Ian Friedman of Ian N. Friedman & Associates in Cleveland said he plans to ask jurors during voir dire about the Duke case in an upcoming rape trial to see how they feel about false accusations and mishandled investigations.
"Everyone in my firm is well aware that this [Duke] example should be raised -- during voir dire, during closing arguments ... because this may cause a jury not to rush the judgment," Friedman said.
Friedman said that while defense lawyers for years have addressed wrongful convictions with jurors, the Duke case is a more powerful tool because so many people know about it. It put the presumption of innocence back on the radar screen, he said.
Neither Nifong, the Duke prosecutor, nor his attorney, David Freedman of Crumpler Freedman Parker & Witt in Winston-Salem, N.C., returned calls for comment.
Nifong faces ethics charges and possible disbarment for allegedly exploiting racial tensions, withholding exculpatory evidence and trying the students in the media. The case involved three white male students accused of raping a black stripper. All charges have been dropped.
TARNISHED IMAGE?
Prosecutors, meanwhile, believe that the Duke case is tarnishing their image, and could potentially hurt future cases.
"[That case] definitely is going to make it difficult for us, there's no question about it," said Joshua Marquis, district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore.
In 1994, Marquis replaced the former district attorney, Julie Leonhardt, who was removed from office -- and eventually convicted -- for falsely accusing two police officers of stealing drugs from an evidence room and selling it.
Marquis said that case, like the Duke case, sends a strong message to prosecutors: Strictly adhere to the rules of professional conduct and don't publicly talk about your case.
"You don't talk about someone's criminal record. You don't talk about confessions. You don't talk about tests. If you do it, then the chance of a person being denied a fair trial is great," he said.
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GPackwood
Posted: May 23 2007, 08:48 AM


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Dismissal bears marks of Duke lacrosse case

May 23, 2007 Anne Blythe, Staff Writer newsobserver.com

DURHAM - A judge dismissed assault and weapons charges against a teenager Tuesday and in the process admonished the district attorney's chief investigator for intimidating a witness.

The issue before Judge Orlando Hudson was whether Breon Jerrard Beatty, 18, could get a fair trial on charges that stemmed from a shooting in August.

Bob Brown, the defense lawyer representing the teen, complained that Linwood Wilson, a tall, hulking man who has been the district attorney's chief investigator since December 2005, threatened a witness charged in the same incident to the point where irreparable damage had been done to Beatty.

The two-hour hearing not only highlighted the specifics of one case, it provided hints that the climate in Durham County courts has chilled for prosecutors in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse case.

At several points in the hearing, Hudson and Brown each referred in disparaging terms to the lacrosse case and to District Attorney Mike Nifong, whose handling of the case has him facing career-threatening ethics charges before the State Bar.
Some lawyers said they hope Tuesday's ruling was a sign that the legal landscape has changed in Durham.

"The Duke lacrosse case opened a window into the Durham District Attorney's Office and how they operate," said Joseph B. Cheshire V, one of the defense lawyers in that case. "That window allowed not only the public to look in, but it allowed judges to look in. Hopefully that will continue for the transparency of justice" Brown asked Hudson to dismiss several charges against Beatty -- assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharging a weapon into occupied property, injury to real property, possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, and injury to personal property.

The charges stemmed from an incident Aug. 16, 2006, that also led to the arrest of Beatty's cousin, Chasaray Newman.

Newman pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm. Through a plea arrangement made with the District Attorney's Office, Newman was given probation if he agreed to testify truthfully in the trial against his cousin.

In March, however, Newman gave a different account of what happened in August.
At a meeting with Wilson, the district attorney's chief investigator, Newman allegedly said he was the shooter, not his cousin.

Wilson, according to a written statement that was read in court Tuesday, told Newman that the District Attorney's Office could revoke his plea; in fact, only a judge can do so.

Wilson also told Newman that he would schedule another meeting, one in which he could have a lawyer present.

"What the state was attempting to do was threaten this witness to get him to change his story," Brown told the judge.

Wilson denied those allegations, as did David Saacks, the assistant district attorney handling the case.

But in approving the motion to dismiss the charges, Hudson said he agreed with Brown's characterization that Wilson had "threatened" Newman.

In the Duke lacrosse case, Cheshire and other defense lawyers made similar complaints -- that witnesses who could offer testimony that conflicted with the prosecutor's version of events were brought in on old warrants and intimidated by Wilson.

"This happens all the time," Brown said after the hearing. "What's different in this case is the particular threat that was made to the witness -- this time they put it in writing."

(News researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Anne Blythe can be reached at 932-8741 or anne.blythe@newsobserver.com.
News researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.

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GPackwood
Posted: May 27 2007, 07:38 AM


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Leave trial discovery rules alone

The Hendersonville Times-News

Published Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The law that requires prosecutors to share their files with defense attorneys before felony trials may need some tweaking. But North Carolina legislators should reject any attempt to gut the law.

The law, called the "open-file discovery law," was passed in 2004 to ensure that the prosecution and defense have equal access to evidence. It requires prosecutors to turn over all records, reports, correspondence or interview notes, but allows withholding records that contain prosecutor's "opinions, theories, strategies or conclusions" for the trial.

Legislators in the House and Senate have filed bills to revise the law. They say they want to protect the identify of confidential informants and personal information such as Social Security numbers.

But the proposed law would also allow prosecutors to use their judgment in deciding what evident to reveal and what to withhold.

That amounts to a rollback to the way things were before the law was passed in 2004. As the recent outcome of the Duke rape case shows, that is hardly the direction the state needs to move.

"We do not want them to disclose their strategies or legal opinions or theories, but the facts need to be disclosed," said Dick Taylor, CEO of the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers.

The 2004 law was passed in the wake of several well-publicized cases in which defense teams proved that prosecutors had withheld evidence that exonerated defendants.

The best known is the case of Alan Gell, who spent nine years on death row for a murder he didn't commit. His attorneys were eventually able to show prosecutors withheld crucial evidence of his innocence, including the fact that he was in jail on theft charges at the time of the murder.

More recently, Jim Cooney and Joseph Cheshire V, members of the defense team for the Duke lacrosse players accused of rape, used the law to show the weaknesses -- the recklessness, really -- in the case that Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong had built. The state attorney general's office took over the case and concluded the players were innocent. Nifong faces ethics charges before the N.C. Bar Association for, among other things, trying to withhold DNA evidence that helped the defense.

Before the 2004 law, prosecutors were supposed to turn over exculpatory evidence but got to pick and choose what they released. History shows they didn't always choose wisely or truthfully.

"If that bill goes through, we'll be right back at the far end where little is turned over," said Joseph Kennedy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.

The Duke case shows how easily even a well-financed defendant could be wrongfully convicted. After such a powerful demonstration of how well the law works, this is hardly the time to undo a law that ensures the fairness of criminal trials in North Carolina.
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