"This case shows the enormous consequences of over-reaching by a prosecutor," Cooper said. "The Durham District Attorney pushed forward unchecked. There were many moments in this case where caution would have served better than bravado."I listened to the entire press conference of the defense attorneys and the three young men and was very impressed with how these three men carried themselves and spoke. Not only did they show their love for their family and their gratitude to their lawyers and supporters, but they all went out of their way to try to take a larger lesson from their ordeal. David Evans spoke of the importance of changing laws in North Carolina to protect the accused in grand jury hearings. Colin Finnerty sounded as if he now wanted to become a defense attorney so that he can protect others who might be wrongly accused. Reade Seligman spoke of the importance of bringing back a full appreciation for the presumption of innocence to our legal system.
Cooper said the special prosecutors have talked to Nifong and were to tell him of the decision today.
"We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations," Cooper said
We often mouth aphorisms about learning from adversity, but these three young men have really demonstrated that they have indeed done so.
Sadly, I expect that we won't see any such demonstration of character from all those in the media and among those in academia, particularly at Duke University itself, for their rush to judgment. A distressingly large number of professors at the university acted as if the players were guilty simply because an accusation had been made and the accuser was a poor black woman and they were white well-to-do athletes. As I wrote a few months ago in The Examiner, too many were happy to use the case as an argument about racism.
Wahneema Lubiano, the Duke professor of African and American Studies who led the group of 88 who published that ad, wrote back in May that, no matter the outcome, the whole story exposed deeper truths about racism on Duke’s campus. Expect that storyline to be repeated if the charges are all dropped. The song of “fake but accurate” will be sung again.Sadly, the anonymous, unknown true losers in this case will be the real victims of rape who will face more doubt and suspicion because of Crystal Gail Mangum's lies.
Sadly, we didn’t learn from the Tawana Brawley hoax that we should pause when a story seems to fit a stereotypical version of racism. The storyline of rich, privileged white boys raping a poor black girl seemed so apt that some people embraced it without waiting to evaluate the evidence.
Lynne Duke, a Washington Post staff writer, wrote in May that “the Duke case is in some ways reminiscent of a black woman’s vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, when sex was used as a tool of racial domination.”
Well, no. Perhaps it’s just a sordid story of a woman making up a story about being raped and a white prosecutor using that story to win an election.
For some, the facts don’t even matter. Newsweek reported in April that one student at North Carolina Central University where the accuser attended school wanted the players to be prosecuted “whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.”
Our justice system deserves better than a “fake, but accurate” approach to prosecution. We don’t prosecute people just because they fit a stereotype. It was attitudes like that which resulted in the injustices that the NCCU student wanted addressed in the first place. In this case, turnabout is not fair play.