Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Terrorism by SUV

As noted in news accounts, several Muslim men, practicing the "Religion of Peace", have plowed their SUVs into coffee shops in California and North Carolina. The news has done an admirable job of keeping these attacks off of the television. Certainly, none have gotten the 24-7 coverage of the Duke La Crosse team's alledged rape of a stripper. My question: Should these men be charged with acts of terrorism? Certainly, the acts are criminal in nature but are the acts driven by the dictates of the likes of Osama bin Laden, to committee jihad whenever and wherever the militant Muslim can when living among the infidels. Should the so-called "sniper duo" that terrorized Northern Virginia a few years back have been tired as criminals or as terrorists? In these cases, I say as terrorists committing acts of agression against our nation and our citizens. Their acts are no less than acts of war. We need to get tough and we need to understand that acts of criminality are not the same as acts of terrorism. Terrorists need to be treated as such. I have had some interesting musings about folks we have available to give us a hand. But for now, we need to treat the SUV murder-maiming drive-by as acts of terrorism, not as mere criminal acts. Certainly not as accidents.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the stripper “eeny meeny miney moed” the boys out of a line up that guaranteed only Duke Lacrosse boys were chosen, to the DNA (or lack of), the boys’ alibis, the 2nd stripper changing her story to profit from this scandal, the cab driver, I didn’t think this case could get any weaker, but then evidence reveals that stripper lied to police about not having sex for a week, then later confessed to having sex with her boyfriend and two other men who drove her to the party, and using a “vibrator” in a performance prior to the Duke party.

And again when you think that this case couldn’t get anymore ridiculous, from Nifong’s own reports we find out that the police omitted important information including that the stripper claimed that the 2nd stripper, Kim Roberts Pittman, helped the boys rape her.

The stripper originally claimed that the second stripper helped with the rape!

Just when you think this case hit rock bottom, there’s about 50 feet of crap, then you find a sub-basement where in the corner Mike Nifong is clutching this case like “Gulum”, from the movie Lord of the Rings, clutches the “ring of power”.

If Mike Nifong doesn't get disbarred after this, then there really is a corrupt system in Durham that protects rich white guys. In Nifong's case - stupid rich white guys with transparent political agendas, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Nifong can turn a pig's ear into a silk purse.

Crystal Gale Mangum is the terrorist... a stupid one with a sex and drug problem, but a terrorist non the less

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blind to evidence

On Monday, May 15, a Durham County grand jury handed up a third indictment in the nothing-short-of-notorious Duke rape case. This latest indictment charges the lacrosse team's captain, David Evans, with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual assault, and first-degree kidnapping.

The charges against Evans are identical to those handed up last month against fellow players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. Still, this final indictment does come as a bit of surprise. As I detailed in a prior column, the cases against Seligmann and Finnerty appear quite weak. As I'll discuss in this column, the case against Evans may be even shakier. It's true that the grand jury did return indictments against Evans, and previously against the other two. It's also true that the District Attorney, Mike Nifong, is forging ahead -- seemingly undeterred.

But Nifong's judgment has been poor all along- and the old adage that a D.A. can get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich" shouldn't be forgotten. Without defense attorneys there to test the prosecutor's evidence via the invaluable process of cross-examination, weak evidence can be made to look pretty convincing. It's not the grand jury's fault; it's just the reality that if you only hear one side, you tend to believe it.

At least a ham sandwich has some weight to it. As I'll explain in this column, the Evans indictment - like the two that preceded it - does not. The very evidence that may have convinced the grand jury - accuser identification and new DNA evidence - is just the kind that will ultimately fall apart when defense attorneys finally do get to cross-examine the witnesses presenting it.

The Mounting Evidence in Favor of Defendants' Innocence

All three defendants in the Duke lacrosse case have unfailingly and repeatedly proclaimed their innocence - Evans doing so most eloquently, on behalf of all three men, in a brief public comment following his being formally charged.

In fact, in a highly unusual move, newly indicted defendant Evans went to so far as to volunteer to take a lie detector test at the direction of law enforcement. When the D.A. refused, Evans enlisted a top polygrapher to administer the test anyway. He passed.

Thus far, the defense camp has come forward with a host of seemingly reliable, exculpatory evidence -evidence that will be admissible in court, and that is likely to sway a jury. I'm not talking about, maybe, kinda, sorta, or could be, exculpatory evidence either. I'm talking about weighty evidence - receipts, photos, phone records, alibi witnesses, an absence of DNA, and now actual DNA - that directly supports the defendants' claims of innocence.

A plethora of proof supporting a defendant's claim of innocence - not just the government's failure to carry its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt -- is a rare pearl in the practice of criminal defense. It should cause the D.A. to reassess his case.

The Problems with the Accuser's "Identification" of Evans

In my prior columns, I discussed the problems with evidence against Seligmann - who has strong evidence supporting an alibi - and, to a lesser extent, against Finnerty. The evidence against Evans is also weak, maybe even more so.

Evans reportedly was not initially indicted, with the other two, because the accuser couldn't identify him with certainty (only with "90 percent certainty," in her words) from a photo lineup. Ten percent doubt sounds like a lot like reasonable doubt to me - and perhaps, at least initially, it sounded that way to D.A. Nifong too. And if the accuser herself has reasonable doubt, how can a prosecution go forward?
The accuser's lack of certainty is even more worrisome in light of the fact that the photo lineup was grossly biased. It included only Duke lacrosse players - meaning that the accuser had no choice but to select a Duke lacrosse player if she were to select anyone at all. And this photo lineup was apparently the sole means of identification for all three defendants.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbingly, the accuser is reported to have said that Evans's photo "looks just like [one of my assailants] without the mustache." According to Evans's defense lawyer, Evans has never worn a mustache. And party photos support this contention.

For all these reasons, the accuser's identification testimony is likely to be destroyed upon cross-examination.

The Problems with the New DNA Evidence

Besides the accuser's testimony, prosecutors also presented to the grand jury the results of a second round of DNA testing.

Readers may recall that the first round of DNA testing was, if anything, exculpatory: There was no DNA match whatsoever linking any of the forty-six lacrosse players whose DNA was taken, to the accuser.
Following those results, D.A. Nifong reportedly hired a private lab to re-test certain samples. In so doing, the new lab found a possible connection between defendant Evans and the accuser's discarded fake fingernail, found in the trash bin inside the bathroom.

To begin, it's awfully odd that the fake fingernail found its way into the trash bin in the first place, if a rape really occurred, and if the fake fingernail broke off during the victim's struggle, as she claims. No victim would clean up after her accusers; she would flee the scene. And if a culprit had the presence of mind to clean up -- realizing that the fake fingernail might be evidence against him -- surely he wouldn't just drop it in the trash can in the very room where the rape occurred, for police to easily find.

Significantly, too, defense attorneys claim the DNA material was found on the front of the nail -- not on the underside, where it would logically have lodged had the accuser scratched and clawed at her attackers as she claims.

But even putting these points aside, the DNA connection to Evans is weak. To begin, this isn't remotely close to the kind of "match" you may be familiar with from CSI - the kind where the odds of a false positive are infinitesimally small. Indeed, "match" here is a misnomer. All that can be said is that the DNA is "consistent" with DNA voluntarily supplied early on by Evans.
Shocking? Hardly. Evans lived in the house, and therefore may have, from time to time, blown his nose, swabbed an ear, or otherwise disposed of DNA-laden waste into that very trashcan.

Moreover, it was reportedly Evans himself who fished the fake nail from the garbage, voluntarily handing it over to police and maybe, just maybe, shedding some skin cells in the process.

As for direct evidence of sex, there is none; none from any of the forty lacrosse players, that is.
While the second round of DNA testing proved that semen was found inside the accusers vaginal cavity, spokespersons close to the defense are confident the source of the semen is the accuser's own boyfriend.
In sum, after cross-examination, there is little, if any, chance that a jury will give weight to this DNA evidence. It clashes with the accuser's own story, and it's as fully consistent with Evans's innocence as it is with his guilt.

The D.A.'s Unusual Hostility to Even Viewing Defense Evidence

Defense lawyers have repeatedly implored District Attorney Nifong to meet with them and to examine the evidence that favors the defendants. But Nifong has said no - with an attitude that boils down to, "Talk to the hand."

That's unusual. More often than not, prosecutors are quite open to exchanging - or at least being entertained by - the defense's evidence. After all, it provides them with a valuable preview of what the defense's case may ultimately look like in court. Prosecutors are legally required to turn over certain evidence to the defense, but no obligation runs the other way. And since the defense goes second, prosecutors may not be able to effectively counter defense "surprises."

For prosecutors, meeting with the defense is thus typically a win-win situation: If they are convinced to drop the case, then that's embarrassing - but far less than as a loss at trial would have been. If they aren't convinced to drop the case, they've gotten a precious new edge at trial. And either way, both the reality and appearance of fairness to the defendants are enhanced.

Giving a defendant a lie detector test, in contrast, isn't a win-win situation: It may hurt prosecutors' case if the results are released to the public. (Lie detector results are rarely - if ever - admissible in court.) But at the same time, a lie detector test - while risky, and far from perfect - is likely to get prosecutors closer to the truth, which is supposed to be what they are after.

As noted above, in this case, Evans claims Nifong refused to give Evans a lie detector test. (He ultimately took one himself, and passed.) In my professional experience, a prosecutor's refusing to administer a lie detector test to a defendant is nearly unheard-of. The defendant's answers - and the lie detector's response to them - may provide the prosecutor with a road map to what his vulnerabilities on the stand may be.

Just as meeting with the defense previews the defense case for prosecutors, administering a lie detector can preview the defendant's testimony, as well as his on-the-stand demeanor, showing prosecutors what kind of a witness he will be. (Confident? Nervous? Shifty? Solid?)

I can't help but believe that, were any of these defendants to assert that they had proof that a crime was indeed committed, this district attorney would be all ears. Suppose, for instance, that Seligmann or Evans were to turn on Finnerty, to try to save themselves - surely Nifong would happily hear them out. So how can the prosecutor justify, then, turning a blind eye to evidence of any of the accused's innocence?

If There's A Card Up the D.A.'s Sleeve, the Law Requires Him to Play It Soon

Some pundits have suggested that the only explanation for the District Attorney's pressing on in the light of strong evidence that the defendants are innocent, is that he has a card up his sleeve. If so, then he needs to show that card, pronto.

The discovery statutes in North Carolina - as in most states - do not allow prosecutors to play "hide the ball." This is a judicial proceeding, not a magic show. So D.A. Nifong will have to reveal this evidence sometime before trial.

He ought to opt to reveal it right now - to give the defense a chance to counter it. When evidence suggesting innocence is as strong as it is in this case, it's wrong to just let the case go to trial and "see what the jury says." These three young men's live will be forever affected, even if they are acquitted. Even an arrest leaves a scar; the scar of trial is far deeper.

D.A. Nifong should listen to the defense, and should drop the case unless he has strong evidence supporting the accuser. Moreover, if he does have such evidence, he should show it to us now. The defendants have been forthcoming - especially Evans, who volunteered to, and then did, take a lie detector test. The prosecution should follow their example.

I am a lawyer in a rural county in a rural state, and although most of my work these days is taken up practicing civil law, for the first 5 - 7 years I did a lot of criminal defense work.
Anyway, as a result of the demographics of my practice area, I have had the opportunity to defend clients charged with rather heinous and violent criminal acts, including rape, murder, etc.
Two observations:

1. whether this woman was raped or not, these young men are going to found not guilty if they go to trial — barring some unforeseen discovery by the police, the facts for the PA flat-out stink and most competent criminal defense attorneys will run him out of the courtroom on these — drunk, verge of being passed-out stripper with criminal record for car theft and tried to run over police officer who is smiling in photos taken as she is leaving the place — if the accusations are true, it’s tragic, but as a lawyer you work for the guy paying the bill, so she will be destroyed when she testifies. I had a similar case once where the alleged victim admitted during cross-examination at the preliminary hearing that prior to the "rape," by a college athlete — football player at a party, that she had stopped to pick up a six-pack to drink on the way to the party, she had drunk six -eight 16 ounce plastic cups half full of wine and had smoked a joint with one other person. She was a recent graduate (graduated two months after the alleged incident and had to fly in from Texas to testify) in Nursing and after leaving the "rape scene" in the early morning hours, instead of driving to the emergency room at the local hospital one mile from her former college dorm room, she drove for 3 hours to a hospital near her parent’s house. There was testimony from other partygoers — acquaintences of hers and who did not know my client — that she "fell asleep" for a little while after she smoked the pot. This poor girl even brought a squeeze ball to use while testifying to relieve stress (her psychologist had receommended it). Unfortunately for this young woman, the facts left me, as the young man’s lawyer, but to dig and berate, and ridicule and demean everything she had done and flat-out state that everything was inconsistent with her allegations — by the time we got to trial, she backed out on the first day and told the PA she would never testify about the rape again. My guy walked. He always told me he was innocent. You never really know, though.

2. I suppose the PA is running with this b/c he is facing an election in 2008, and this is a great time to start appealing to his voter base. The Duke students don’t vote there.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

Wow, Anonymous. If I put a whole blog post as a reply, I'd be afraid to sign my name, too. :o You know it is funny how the media goes hogwild over how bad SUVs are, but when SUVs are used by terrorists, suddenly the evil SUV is nowhere to be found! I guess that gives us a clue about keeping things out of the paper, doesn't it? Not only does the media cover for the bad guys when they can't avoid the issue, but they help them even more by actively refusing to cover issues. And to top it all off, they accuse Bush of being dumb when they can't figure out why they have no credibility? Hello? Y'all are the definition of stupidity!

5:02 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Well, RS, this gotta rise outta someone. I just say send in our bad guys - the patriotic ones and let them clean house for us. But that's me.

Did anonymous answer the question?

Try 'em as terrorists, in military courts, then shoot 'em. Worked for FDR but then he didn't have so many anti-American citizens to deal with. They knew the nation was at war.

5:47 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

  • International Civil Liberties Alliance
  • The Belmont Club
  • Gates of Vienna
  • The Blogmocracy
  • Larwyn's Linx at Director Blue
  • Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx
  • Conservative Blogs - Home Center Right
  • 100 Excellent Conservative blogs you should be reading
  • Antz in Pantz - Kickin' and Screamin'
  • Honor Killing in America - Never Forget
  • Sharia from European Court of the Rights of Man
  • Terrifying Brilliance of Islam
  • Triumph of Islam - How Primitive Tribalism Can Defeat Advanced Civilisation
  • Why is Islam so successful?
  • The Terrifying Brilliance of the Islamic Memeplex"
  • Three Things about Islam: Remember that the Quran is NOT the torah or the Bible
  • Links
  • Secure Freedom - NO Mosque at Ground Zero
  • Gates of Vienna - a MUST Read
  • Islam - The Religion of Peace
  • Muslim Domination of Public Space
  • Trencherbone