Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mike Nifong is the reason that District Attorney's across America toss their cases to the Grand Jury

Protesting to Prosecution -The Duke Lacrosse Player Still Outrunning His Past - Where in the World is Michael Nifong?



The primary demand of protestors in Ferguson, MO, is the prosecution of the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teen, Michael Brown. Not only protestors on the street, but elected African-American officials and activists like Jesse Jackson are also demanding the immediate arrest, and quick trial, of the officer. These public officials and figures often predict that the policeman will be convicted of one or another variety of homicide.

The history of the prosecution of alleged perpetrators of violence against African-American victims brought about with heavy public and political pressure hasn't been good for the alleged victims and those who conducted the prosecution.

Perhaps the worst outcome for a prosecutor was that experienced by district attorney Mike Nifong following his unsuccessful pursuit of rape charges made by an African-American woman against three Duke lacrosse players in 2006. The case was removed from his direction, the charges were dropped, and Nifong was disbarred for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation," the only North Carolina prosecutor ever disbarred in pursuing the work of his office.

The other recent case that achieved the visibility of the Duke lacrosse case was the shooting death in Sanford, FL of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed African-American teen, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch guard. Initially released by the local police chief, six weeks after the shooting, following widespread protests and intense media coverage, Zimmerman was charged with murder by a special prosecutor appointed by Governor Rick Scott. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder charges after a sensational and widely covered trial.

The fallout was not good for the prosecution. In particular, State Attorney Angela Corey was accused of extreme ineptness, and Alan Dershowitz charged that her actions "bordered on criminal conduct." In the aftermath of Zimmerman's acquittal, there was widespread discussion that the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, might bring federal charges against Zimmerman for a hate crime and violation of Martin's civil rights. But such a case would have involved an even higher level of proof than the disallowed murder charges, and was never seriously considered.

In retrospect, we can see that political pressure led to these unwise, or unwinnable, criminal prosecutions. Community outrage and political pressure are not good indicators of the viability of a criminal case. I won't, and can't, evaluate the strength of the case against the police officer who shot Brown. However, it is easy to see the same dynamic in operation as occurred in the Duke and Trayvon Martin cases. This has led the president to take a highly cautious approach to the case, which may be expected to also characterize the involvement of federal authorities, including Holder, in considering any criminal prosecution. And, in Ferguson, we must remember that the shooter was an on-duty law enforcement officer -- unlike Zimmerman.

But that won't stop people from demanding a prosecution, perhaps with increasing fury.
Stanton Peele has been empowering people around addiction since writing, with Archie Brodsky, Love and Addiction in 1975. He has developed the on-line Life Process Program. His new book (written with Ilse Thompson) is Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict with The PERFECT Program. His website is

The Duke Lacrosse Player Still Outrunning His Past

When three Duke University lacrosse players were falsely accused of rape, in 2006, the media descended on Durham, North Carolina, quickly turning the case into a story of race and privilege. Most of the country all but assumed their guilt, thanks, in part, to an e-mail—violent, profane, and referencing Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho—sent by sophomore defenseman Ryan McFadyen. Never charged, McFadyen speaks to contributing editor and fellow Duke alumnus William D. Cohan, in an excerpt from Cohan’s new book, about putting the past behind him.
By Gerry Broome/AP Photo.
McFadyen at practice in September 2006, the team’s first since their previous season was canceled five months earlier.

As McFadyen remembers it, when the dancers arrived, Flannery announced, “‘Hey, both girls are here, and they’re chocolate.’” “‘Hell yeah, bring them in,’” replied Devon Sherwood, the team’s only black player. (Sherwood says he made no such comment.)

Around midnight, McFadyen and some of his younger teammates went back to their dorm rooms at Edens, on Duke’s West Campus. “Hung out for a bit. I wrote my e-mail. I go to sleep, ” McFadyen remembers. The e-mail he is referring to, he says, was a riff on the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho, which was required reading in some Duke literature courses. The book and the 2000 movie based on it were favorites of McFadyen’s. “To whom it may concern,” his e-mail began, “tomorrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity. I plan on killing the bitches as soon as the[y] walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex . . all in besides arch and tack [two of his teammates] please respond”

Then he went to bed.

The entire Duke-lacrosse criminal case, from the night in question to the dismissal of the criminal charges against three players—Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and David Evans—took 13 months.

In that time, lacrosse coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign; the remainder of the team’s promising 2006 season, for which Duke returned six All Americans, was canceled; and nearly the entire nation, including many of the players’ own professors, presumed their guilt.

Pressler would eventually settle with the university for an unknown amount, and Finnerty, Seligmann, and Evans are thought to have received as much as $20 million each in a confidential settlement with Duke. If that is correct, then between legal fees, settlements, and other public-relations fees, the party on the night of March 13, 2006 may have cost Duke $100 million.

For what was subsequently adjudged to be his many shortcomings in the handling of the Duke lacrosse case, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong was fired from office, was disbarred and was sentenced to one day in jail—the only person who spent any time in jail in connection with the case. Faced with the prospect of $180 million worth of lawsuits filed against him by the Duke players, he also filed for personal bankruptcy.
The cover of William D. Cohan’s The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities, due out April 8 from Scribner.

For Ryan McFadyen, however, there was no multi-million-dollar settlement and no public apology. (A lawsuit he filed, along with two of his teammates, against Duke and others is still pending.) For him what has lasted is that e-mail—sent on a whim, at two in the morning—which encouraged much of the country to believe that the narrative put forth by Crystal Mangum, the “victim/accuser,” as she became known, might actually be true. It is a cautionary tale about one of the still-evolving dangers of our new, all-encompassing digital era: how the dispatching of a single, flippant e-mail to a select group of friends after a night of partying can change your life forever.

Initially, the only reaction to the e-mail McFadyen received came from his teammate Erik Henkelman at practice the next morning. “I distinctly remember Erik Henkelman getting my joke,” McFadyen recalls. “I walked in, and he was like, ‘Dude, that e-mail was so funny.’” Afterward, “We’re walking towards East Campus, and there’s a cop car parked in front of 610,” McFadyen says, and the police were talking to some of his teammates. “Apparently, that stripper [Mangum] called the cops or something.” It would be another day or two before Coach Pressler told players that Mangum was claiming she had been raped.

At first, according to McFadyen, the players did not think it was a big deal to give DNA samples to the Durham police. “We were so convinced that nothing happened,” he recalls. “The cops were like, ‘You give it and nothing matches, it’ll be over.’ O.K., well, nothing is going to match. Take our DNA. Just take what you need.” He said the police took a mouth swab, some of his hair and fingernails.

Since Mangum had told investigators that she had viciously scratched her attacker, the police were also looking for evidence of scratches on the players’ bodies. At the Durham police station, the 46 white lacrosse players on the Duke team stripped down to their boxers. “We all got basically naked and they took pictures of our bodies,” McFadyen says. “I mean, we’re lacrosse players. We’re young, 20-year-old guys. We’re covered in bruises. We’re scratched up. I remember Reade [Seligmann, a sophomore midfielder] had a—because we beat the shit out of him in practice—had a bruise down his arm. ‘Oh my god,’ they said, ‘take a picture of this,’ and they’re documenting his arm.”

On March 27—two weeks after the party—Durham police officers Mark Gottlieb and Benjamin Himan were in a training class when Police Corporal David Addison summoned Gottlieb to step outside to see a “disturbing message”: Ryan McFadyen’s e-mail. The officers agreed it “was written in a manner that indicated the possibility of two or more people may have conspired to kill someone,” according to Gottlieb, the lead police investigator on the lacrosse case. The e-mail—which found its way to investigators through CrimeStoppers, a community-oriented program coordinated by Addison—had been sent by one Ryan McFadyen, just before two A.M. in the early morning hours of March 14, some 90 minutes after the party at 610 North Buchanan had ended.

Crystal Mangum, Duke lacrosse accuser, convicted of murder

Crystal Mangum: In 2006, the Duke lacrosse accuser lied that she was raped by three lacrosse players. Now Crystal Mangum has been convicted of murdering her boyfriend. Mangum claimed self defense.

By , Associated Press

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    A tear runs down Crystal Mangum's face as her verdict of being guilty of second-degree murder is read Friday Nov. 22, 2013 in the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, in 2011. Mangum was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years and two months to a maximum of 18 years in prison.
    View Caption
The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the stabbing death of her boyfriend.
The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching its verdict in the trial of 34-year-old Crystal Mangum, who was sentenced to between 14 years and 18 years in prison.
Killed was 46-year-old Reginald Daye, who was stabbed on April 3, 2011. He died of complications 10 days later.

Mangum claimed the stabbing was a case of self-defense, saying Daye was beating her in a jealous rage when she grabbed a knife and "poked him in the side."

Assistant District Attorney Charlene Franks told the jurors during closing arguments that the evidence did not back up Mangum's story.

In 2006, Mangum falsely claimed Duke lacrosse players gang-raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper. The case caught the nation's attention, as the coach was forced to resign and the university canceled the remainder of the season.

The three players arrested were eventually declared innocent by North Carolina's attorney general after Mangum's story crumbled and her mental stability was questioned. The Durham prosecutor, Mike Nifong, who championed Mangum's case, was later disbarred.

The 2006 case raised larger issues, such as questions about prosecutorial power, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
"If you look at how American politics has developed in the last 20 years, there's a consistent pattern of getting tough on crime, reducing civil liberties, and giving more power to prosecutors," says Robert "KC" Johnson, a Brooklyn College professor who covered the Duke case through a daily blog. "This is really the first high profile event ... where there's been a very strong push by most people, regardless of ideology, in the other direction."
Other legal experts say the Duke case is an isolated incident in which an overzealous and relatively inexperienced prosecutor was thrust into a high-profile case involving a black exotic dancer who accused three white university students of rape at a boozy off-campus party.
"It became a pressure cooker where the top blew off," says Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina District Attorneys' Conference in Raleigh.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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