Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nifong was "Intoxicated by the Media"

I attended a panel today at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools on the Duke Lacrosse Controversy. On the panel was KC Johnson, author of Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case who wrote the popular Durham-in-Wonderland blog that played such an important role in reporting the real facts as they came up in the case. I asked Johnson after the panel how he got interested in the rape case and why he blogged about it. His reponse was that the Duke group of 88, the professors who took out an ad that accused the lacrosse players of being guilty without evidence seemed so unfair and the facts of the case didn't add up and he felt compelled to do something about it. And that he did.

The panel as a whole was impressive as James Coleman from Duke, Angela Davis from American University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Lyrissa Lidsky from the University of Florida were all there to discuss the role of the media, the inappropriate use of power by prosecutor Mike Nifong, and the lessons we can learn from them.

Professor Davis, author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, pointed out that many poor people, particularly minorities are prosecuted unfairly without any justice, while Johnson pointed out that the Duke lacrosse students were prosecuted because they were seen as privileged and white. Lidsky discussed how the MSM pushed the case into a media frenzy and Professor Gerhardt stated that Nifong was "intoxicated by the media" and opined that the trial should not have been made public but would have been better off tried by a jury. Professor Coleman stated that "one of the most extraordinary things that happened in the case was KC's blog. It was accurate and well-sourced." Overall, the panel was terrific and reminded me that there are many fair-minded professionals out there who believe in justice even when it is not popular. Thank goodness.


Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

"Intoxicated by the media"

I'm tired of drunks using being drunk as a justifier.

He was drunk on his own power and the protection of it, if it comes to that.

But mostly his is scruple-less renegade lawman and ought to be put away some place where he can't ever hurt anybody again.

10:58 PM, July 30, 2008  
Blogger Factory said...

Hmmm, I'll guess why not televising it might be a bad idea....

If it wasn't televised, there would likely be several rich white boys in jail right now, and KC Johnson would simply be a mad-at-the-injustice blogger.

THAT is what would have happened without the media attention... although the media attention's role was secondary to Mr Johnson's when it comes to exposing the truth to the public and questioning the "official version".

Ironic, no?

12:00 AM, July 31, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nifong was staring at a chair in the house or the senate. He saw the case as his vehicle to get there.

Like I said, my daughter is out west getting her PhD, instead of Duke - her first choice - until this thing went down and the 88 professors put 176 feet in their mouths. Seriously, I hope Duke goes down the tubes.

7:01 AM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger Archivist said...

Prof. K.C. Johnson is a modern day Atticus Finch. His role in exposing the political correctness run amok in Durham opened many eyes about the culture of victimhood that pervades the radical feminist sexual assault milieu and that puts innocent men at risk of a false rape conviction.

What the Duke case taught is that even those born with so-called white male privilege are at risk to a sort of tyranny of radicals who are out to obtain rape convictions at all costs, innocent men be damned.

Some of the more vile radical feminist Web sites advocate reversing the burden of proof that governs every other criminal case -- for rape cases only (they would put the burden of proof on the accused). At least one such hate site wants men who are convicted of this crime to be castrated -- while acknowledging that, yes, some innocent men will be convicted -- and castrated. They are unfortunate collateral damage in the war on rape. (Do you think these women would advocate that false accusers should have their tongues removed?)

Many in the radical feminist camp regard even the very discussion of false rape claims (which Prof. Johnson's book says account for at least nine and probably closer to fifty percent of all rape claims -- and he backs it up with indisputable evidence) as misogynistic hate speech. The subject of false rape claims is verboten unless it is described as a "myth," a "bugaboo" or the product of some misogynist's imagination.

Many of us who advocate for innocent men on this issue feel we are acting in the grand tradition of the ACLU and Atticus Finch but, of course, are unfairly painted as some angry men's rights advocates who hate women. Nothing we say will convince them otherwise so we don't bother.

We are all indebted to Prof. Johnson, and to you, Dr. Helen, for spreading the word. It was great that you were able to attend the conference.

False Rape Society

9:36 AM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Yes, even those who propose to be advocates for civil rights throw those out the window when it comes to rape charges. A man is guilty unless proven innocent. The thing is, many of the prosecutorial abuses of power are charging men falsely of rape without convincing evidence. Many feminists do not seem to care about these men, but only in protecting those women who falsely charge innocent men with rape.

10:35 AM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

"A man is guilty unless proven innocent."

Is there any evidence that once charged a man is _ever_ proven innocent in any meaningful wau\y?

11:01 AM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger Archivist said...

Yes, Dr. Helen. Those who should be most sensitive to the plight of innocent people being prejudged because of the class they were born into were among those whose knee-jerk reaction was to assume the guilt of the Duke lacrosse men because they were white males. They joined into an unholy alliance with the radical feminists in a rush to judgment, convicting the boys in the court of public opinion before a scrap of evidence had been admitted. The most twisted aspect of the affair is that some of these prejudgers seemed genuinely unhappy when it turned out Ms. Mangum had not been raped. Think about that.

The goal of the radical feminist sexual assault movement is to achieve more convictions. While that's not a wrongheaded goal, their methods are wholly inapproprite. They are incredulous that men "get away with rape" when the fact of the matter is, most rape claims come down to a "he said-she said" contest over consent with no other evidence that a rape has occurred. A claim of rape is unique among all crimes because the very physical act that constitutes the purported crime is precisely the same act that is and has been performed countless times every second of every minute of every day of every year, since the beginning of time, the world over, as an act of love that is welcomed by the woman. Lovemaking, not criminality, is the default mode, so is it any wonder juries, police, the average person are naturally skeptical (i.e., hava a reasonable doubt) absent something more than a woman's say so?

We are all in favor of achieving more convictions, but not at the expense of the innocent. Even if they happen to white, and even if they happen to be male.

11:06 AM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger # 56 said...

Factory, nonsense. The media played a large negative role in the case, nothing more. The NYT in particular changed reporters so that they could pursue their "social justice" agenda. It seems the first reporter was getting caught up in the facts. Televising the trial had nothing to do with the outcome. By the time the case reached trial Nifong's fraud was readily apparent.

3:27 PM, July 31, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Helen: "A man is guilty unless proven innocent."

On the heels of just having read "Save the Males" as well as having spent the past 47 years of my life as a man (which I fully intend to continue), I salute you for stating something that will one day (hopefully) be relegated to the pages of history.

I hope you realize how much of a shining beacon you are to so many of us.

7:38 PM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger George Weiss said...

davis is right. the problem is not just with these players.

true prosecutor's discretion is absolute-they prosecute whoever they want. thats probably good.

but even if probable cause becomes less than probable cause later-the prosecutor can still take the case to trail-and they are civilly immune (nifong only got hit basically becuase of hiss statements to the media out of court)

cops are judged for their bad judgment in the heat of the moment-as long as it was clearly a violation of established constitutional rights.

prosecutors sit in their comfy offices and ruin peoples lives and wallets knowing their innocent-with the safe knowledge they are immune as long as they originally had probable cause.

the supreme court is set to rule on whether we should get rid of prosecutors immunity under the federal civil rights cause of action next term.


8:09 PM, July 31, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi all,

My blog has been flagged as a spam blog by google robots. I can't post anything until I straighten it out--hopefully soon! Has anyone experienced this problem with blogger and if so, how did you fix it?

9:36 AM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger X said...

Mine got flagged as a spam blog and all I had to do was enter the scramble code shown on the posting page.

Seems I did hear about a blog being flagged recently because people who differed politically were hitting that flag blog button at the top.

11:22 AM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Continuing On Topic for the Off Topic spam threadlet......

I suspect if you look up "hypocritical" you will find as an example sentence something about Google enforcing anti-spam policies.

11:35 AM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

More on lockout--You Are Not Alone(tm)

12:05 PM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger Greg Toombs said...

(Late to the game yet again.)

"...Professor Gerhardt ... opined that the trial should not have been made public but would have been better off tried by a jury."

Reading his statement, and taking it at face value, truly alarms me as the facts of the hoax were well established early in the investigative process and now undisputed. If the facts are considered then there never should have been grand-jury indictments, nor should there have ever been a trial.

If Prof. Gerhardt truly believes this case should have gone to trial then he is willfully ignorant of the case and the law.

(Not to miss his preference for a secret trial. It makes me wonder if he's a closet Stalin fan-boy.)

12:35 PM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger Sassenach said...

My crummy little blog for our high school music boosters program got flagged last night.

Google says they're using a software program that uses "fuzzy logic." It's pretty damn fuzzy if my blog can be confused with spam -- even more so that yours was.

I suspect that they're slowing going through and verifying everybody's.

2:12 PM, August 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that Angela Davis the Black Power lady? Does she still have that killer 'fro?

Seriously, I have often wondered about the power American prosecutors seem to have. And about the system of rewards that helps motivate them. Prosecutors get brownie points for getting convictions. It's like "The more people you put in jail, the more money you'll make and the more elections you'll win."

That wouldn't matter if all prosecutors were altruistic public servants. But they're not - as Nifong demonstrates. He wanted to put someone - anyone - in jail to further his political career. Getting the conviction counted more than the actual guilt or innocence of the defendents.

And in fact, when you think about it, the conviction is what counts for any prosecutor. His or her job is not to discover the truth and put the offender to justice. It's to put somebody - anybody - in jail. We are assured that the judicial system, by its very design, ensures that the prosecutor's target will most probably be the actual guilty party. Yet in the Duke case, the innocent could have gone to jail - and it wasn't the design of the legal system that freed them, but the intervention of bloggers and the press.

The whole thing makes me hope I never catch the attention of a prosecuting attorney. I want to keep being a free citizen - not a statistic to pump up someone's resume.

3:17 PM, August 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google is decidedly lefty. I suppose if the dems can kill the lights and cut off the microphones and CSPAN cameras, while repubs and citizens are still in the chambers, google can flag whoever they like - or perhaps don't like. Like the 70's tune said - the revolution will not be televised.
Hopefully, Cuil will get its stuff together, and be a right wing version of google.

I used to think perhaps I was seeing more than is actually there. Maybe I'm not. And maybe I'm not the only one. It can happen here. Yes it can!

8:52 PM, August 01, 2008  
Blogger MarkyMark said...


Rob Case, on his excellent blog, "One Man's Kingdom", has a post about why the feminists fight anyone who talks about false rape charges. He says that it's a power play, pure & simple. Since women & feminists are in power, they will do ANYTHING to retain their power, even if it means trampling the lives of innocent people. He said that those in power will abuse it, and the feminazis are no different. I think that this is an accurate take on the situation.


10:54 AM, August 02, 2008  
Blogger Cappy said...

"Intoxicated by the media"

I prefer Bellvedere Martinis.

2:34 PM, August 02, 2008  
Blogger Micha Elyi said...

Bugs (3:17 PM) asked "Was that Angela Davis the Black Power lady?" No. That is Angela Y. Davis who, last I heard, was on the faculty of University of California, Santa Cruz (sometimes known as Berkeley-on-the-beach).

Dr. Helen was referring to Angela J. Davis of American University.

1:47 AM, August 03, 2008  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

Nifong was staring at a chair in the house or the senate. He saw the case as his vehicle to get there.

Far more mundane and petty than that. Nifong had had prostate cancer and was planning to retire at the earliest opportunity. When the prior DA got made a judge, Gov Easley had appointed Nifong as a "caretaker" DA until the next election could be held. The Gov and Nifong had an understanding that Nifong would not run for office at the next election. But Nifong did the math and realized that if he ran for election and won one term as DA, he'd get extra money during retirement because he would have retired at a higher pay grade. But since he was about to lose that election he jumped on and rode the Duke Lax hoax back into office. He figured anything that happened after than didn't matter because he didn't want the job for more than one term anyway. For the first time ever, a DA got fired and disbarred so his plan seems to have had a flaw.

10:31 AM, August 03, 2008  
Blogger John in Nashville said...

Part of the problem with absolute prosecutorial discretion is that prosecutors generally enjoy absolute immunity from suits for damages under federal civil rights laws. Mike Nifong was not immune from suit for his comments to the media, but he remained immune from suite for damages for his decision to prosecute innocent young men, for his withholding of exculpatory evidence and for other forensic misconduct.

The "any person" language of 42 United States Code § 1983 does not recognize any immunities, but the federal judiciary has fashioned several such immunities from whole cloth. Judges enjoy absolute immunity similar to that afforded prosecutors, which perhaps explains the judiciary's self-interested willingness to recognize immunities which the text of the applicable statutes does not.

Congress could legislatively abolish the pernicious doctrine of absolute prosecutorial immunity (impunity?), but our representatives and senators have shown no inclination to do so.

To be sure, the prospect of frivolous lawsuits against prosecutors is a concern, but there are measures short of closing the courthouse door that can address that. For example, federal courts scrutinize complaints filed by pro se prisoners for frivolousness prior to requiring defendants to answer. Similar screening mechanisms could be employed as to suits against prosecutors.

5:59 PM, August 03, 2008  
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