Friday, October 05, 2007

...And Justice For All

The other shoe has finally dropped in the Duke Rape Hoax. According to The Johnsville News, the three falsely accused Duke lacrosse players, Reasde Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and Dave Evans have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, several officers of the Durham Police Department and the City of Durham.

According to the Raleigh-Durham News & Observer newspaper, the suit wants,
i. appoints an independent monitor (the "Monitor"), to be determined by the Court, who shall oversee certain activities of the Durham Police Department for a period of ten (10) years, and who shall report to the Court on an annual basis regarding Defendants' compliance or non-compliance with the terms of the Permanent Injunction;

ii. authorizes the Monitor to establish, review, and enforce all policies applicable to the management of the Durham Police Department;

iii. provides the Monitor with the authority to hire, fire, and promote all Durham Police officials, including the Chief of Police;

iv. establishes an independent citizen Police Review Committee, composed of three members selected by the Court, which shall review and hear publicly complaints of misconduct by Durham residents against Durham Police personnel and make recommendations to the Monitor as to discipline or innocence;

v. orders that all eyewitness identification arrays, lineups, and similar procedures conducted by the Durham Police Department, whether formal or informal, and/or of suspects or "witnesses," conform to the provisions of General Order No. 4077 and be recorded by videotape;

vi. orders that any reports of DNA or other scientific testing requested by the Durham Police Department or District Attorney's Office include the results of all testing, and all notes, charts, or raw data generated during such testing, and that a copy of each such report be provided to the Monitor to ensure compliance;

vii. orders that the Durham Police Department provide proper training, based on materials and plans approved by the Monitor, to all current and new personnel (the "Remedial Training") on the following matters:

1. the appropriate chain of command in criminal investigations;

2. the issuance of public statements relating to an open investigation;

3. the conduct of eyewitness identification procedures;

4. the service of outstanding warrants on witnesses in a criminal investigation or proceeding;

5. prohibiting threats, inducements, or intimidation of witnesses;

6. the standards for police reports, investigator's notes, and other reports of investigations, including the timely and truthful preparation of such documents;

7. the supervision of private companies engaged to provide scientific testing or other services in connection with a police investigation; and

8. the standards for probable cause;

viii. enjoins the Durham Police Department from issuing any press releases, written statements, posters, flyers, or other materials intended for publication relating to a Durham Police investigation, whether directly or indirectly through an entity in which Durham Police personnel participate (such as Crimestoppers), without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor;

ix. enjoins the Durham Police Department from making any oral public statements relating to a Durham Police investigation, whether directly or indirectly through an entity in which Durham Police personnel participate (such as Crimestoppers), without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor as to the substance of the statement;

x. enjoins the Durham Police Department from serving any arrest warrants on a person known to be a witness in a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor;

xi. enjoins the Durham Police Department from delegating any supervision over a Durham Police investigation to the District Attorney's Office;

xii. orders the Durham Police Department to implement a policy requiring Durham Police personnel to present exculpatory evidence when testifying before a grand jury.

xiii. enjoins the Durham Police Department from targeting students of Duke University for selective enforcement of the criminal laws, and from refusing to protect the legal and constitutional rights of students of Duke University;

xiv. requires the City of Durham to pay all costs relating to the Monitor, Police Review Committee, and Remedial Training for the duration of the Permanent Injunction; and

xv. enjoins DSI and Meehan from providing any reports of DNA or other scientific testing, or providing any expert testimony, in any court proceeding, whether civil or criminal, for a period of ten (10) years;

b. damages in an amount to be established at trial as compensation for constitutional deprivations; past and future economic loss, physical harm, emotional trauma, loss of privacy, and loss of reputation; loss of education; and expenses associated with defending against the criminal proceedings initiated and sustained by Defendants' unlawful conduct;

c. damages in an amount to be established at trial to punish Defendants for outrageous conduct pursued out of actual malice that recklessly and callously disregarded and was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs' constitutional rights, to discourage them from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and to deter others similarly situated from engaging in similar misconduct;

d. an award of attorneys' fees, including attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1988(b);

e. an award for reasonable and customary costs, expenses, and interest incurred in pursuit of this action; and

f. whatever additional relief the Court may deem proper.

It is about time. Although Nifong himself has paid the price for his illegal actions, the equally illegal actions engagted in by a number of members of the Durham Police Department (Mark Gottfried, David Addison, Ben Himan) and the apparent lack of supervision provided by their superiors completely justifies this suit in my opinion. Although Himan appears to have done his best to act honorably and professionally since the case fell apart (he was the only member of the trio to rpovide honest testimony to the State Bar), it is my opionion that ogttlieb and Addison should see their careers come to the crashing halt with extreme prejudice. One simply does not knowlingly make dishonest statements as Addison did, or actively work to push forward a case that quite simply should never have been brought as Gottlieb did, without suffering the consequences. in addtion, in Gottleib's case we know that he has a prejudice againsty Duke students and has shown himself to be at best incompetent in the course of the case.

As for the City of Durham, at no point did any city official step forward to taek steps to ensure that the students;' rightw were being protected. And everyone, from the mayor on down, seems to have looked the other way while Nifong went ahead with his frame-up. Certainly Police Cheif Chalmers should answeer for his lack of leadership in the Police Department, and the City Manager, who helped produce the discredidted report on the case should also be terminated forthwith.

However, my main feeling is one of relief. These boys faced horrendous terrors virtually aloner for the better part of a year. Now it is time for real justice to be served. Durhan cou.d have avoided this by following its own processes. Since it failed so miserably, it is time for the City's spineless leadership to pay the penalty for their actions. Justice may be slow in coming, but I feel that at lazst justice will be served. Hat tip to John in Carolina.

On a different note, today marks Professor KC Johnson's last daily post at his superb Durham-in-Wonderland blog. Professor Johnson has been stalwart in his reporting throughout this case and bears much of the credit for the revealing of the nefarious antics of Nifong, Gottlieb, and others. A hearty thank you to Professor Johnson. His reporting and his insights will be sorely missed as the civil rights case proceeds.

1 comment: said...

Justice for all my patoot!! Justice belongs to those who can afford it. Nifong hasn't paid sufficiently as far as I'm concerned. He and the lieing stripper should have to spend a minimum of the combined sentences that those young men would have gotten. There are a lot of innocent men in prison today because of piss poor police work, public defenders not required to do an actual job, and false accusations by lieing women and children with an ax to grind or just trying to keep out of trouble themselves. I know personally because my son will be spending 20-60 yrs here in MI based on 3 of those reasons. And I really love comments from people like "well somewhere out there a man has done something wrong and somebody's gotta pay." Or the radio talk show host after a man on the air told him that he had spent 15 yrs in prison as an innocent man and had finally come out after his accuser who was a minor at the time came forward with the truth. "Well we're sorry that happened to you but doesn't it make you feel better knowing that if you had a wife or daughter they would be protected?" Bet you even money that guy won't be going near any women or children. So no Nifong won't be paying enough for me. Though congrats to those three young men. I only wish my pockets were as deep. And word to the wise... to keep the influx of federal funding dollars changing into dry pants from wet trunks in your car, or peeing into the bushes while out fishing in MI is now considered a sex crime, 15 years on a list required. Men Stay Out Of MI or risk your life!!!!