Monday, April 17, 2006

The Duke-Lacrosse Rape Claim

I don't get why people - and there seem to be plenty on both sides of this one - feel the need to jump to quick conclusions before there is sufficient evidence to reach a rational decision as to whether or not a crime took place.

Evidence has been leaking out through the press. Statements from the neighbor don't sound good for the boys and the initial DNA results and the police report of intoxication do not sound well for the gal.

Still I would say the evidence publicly available - especially given the fact that the DA is more constrained from getting evidence out than the defense attorneys - is insufficient to make any reasonable determination as to what really happened.


  • Macswain, Of course you are correct that we shouldn't pre-judge the case, but I must confess that it has the smell of a sham. A couple of things we know: There was no DNA, her co-dancer is a liar because she first claimed that she was just walking by, but later recanted. She said the accuser was not drunk at the start of the dancing, but incoherent at the end. The police have said that she had alcohol in her system. You think that defense attorneys will say anything, but that is simply not true in a relatively small community like Durham, where your out of court statements are essentially "opening statements". This is what they had to say today,
    Sources close to the investigation told CNN Tuesday that the defense will present evidence -- including ATM receipts and a cab driver -- that neither Seligmann, 20, nor Finnerty, 19, were at the team party at the time the alleged rape took place. Bearshaft

    When you smell a fish tell us about it. Don't just make your simple minded statements that we just have to wait. Why be a blogger if you are unwilling to take a risk?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 AM  

  • I think it's simple-minded to think that you have to know all the answers. I don't think it's a matter of being willing to take a risk--MacSwain is willing to say stupid things all the time. It's just a matter of thinking that it isn't right to judge without the facts.

    Why make a decision if you don't have the evidence?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

  • "Why make a decision if you don't have all the facts." Partner, we humans do it 95% of the time and if we didn't, old homo sapiens wouldn't be around.

    By Anonymous Bearshaft, at 4:23 PM  

  • Bearshaft,

    There's a difference between those who are parading around as if the guilt or innocence of these boys is already unquestionable and those sifting through all of the available evidence and open mindedly analyzing the case while acknowledging that the prosecution has yet to make its evidence public.

    You've seen the hand that the defense is playing to the media and are gushing over the fact they are portraying a flush. But the prosecution may just be holding a full house.

    By Blogger Macswain, at 10:37 PM  

  • CBS' Andrew Cohen has an excellent piece up about rushing to judgment on this case.

    Bearshaft especially should consider this:

    So, in light of the relative ease of getting an indictment, can the case against the two men be as weak as defense attorneys say that it is?

    "No. Defense attorneys, God love 'em, always get paid to tell the world about how weak the government’s case is against their clients. In this case, defense attorneys for the players already have done a masterful job of shaping public opinion in favor of their clients and against prosecutors. If all you believed were the talking heads at the news conferences over the past few weeks you would think that the inescapable conclusion from the evidence is that no rape occurred at all, or at least that no rape occurred involving anyone remotely connected with Duke.

    "But it would be a mistake to embrace that view, at least completely and at least right now. It is inconceivable that prosecutors would push to bring charges in a case that is as weak as the defense attorneys would have us believe. Whatever else we know about this story, we know that there is more to it than has so far been disclosed; that Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong has more incriminating evidence than he so far as told us about. Whether that is a good eyewitness, strong physical evidence or even a DNA link that no one is talking about, there is more "there" there that the defense attorneys either don’t know about or at least aren’t telling us about. Sometimes you know a prosecutor’s case is bad from the get-go. The get-go hasn’t yet occurred here. Give it some time before you reach your conclusion; take your time before you rush to judgment."

    By Blogger Macswain, at 10:54 PM  

  • MACOver the last few days, sources close to the defense have given ABC News an exclusive look at the evidence behind one player's alleged alibi — evidence that includes electronic records, photographs and witness statements. If that material is authentic, it could prove that it was practically impossible for him to rape, kidnap or assault the alleged victim.

    Seligmann's argument is simple: He is innocent and he has an alibi. He attended the party that night, but documents, photos and witness testimony show that he wasn't there long enough or at the right time to attack the alleged victim.

    Around midnight the night of March 13, Seligmann was already at the party when two women hired from a local escort agency arrived to dance for the boys — $400 each for a two-hour performance. A series of time-stamped photographs viewed by ABC News show the girls dancing at midnight and at 12:02 a.m.

    By 12:24 a.m., a receipt reviewed by ABC indicates that Seligmann's ATM card was used at a nearby Wachovia bank. In a written statement to the defense also reviewed by ABC, a cabdriver confirms picking up Seligmann and a friend a block and a half from the party, and driving them to the bank. By 12:25 a.m., he was making a phone call to a girlfriend out of state.

    What did Seligmann do after leaving the bank? The taxi driver remembers taking him to a drive-thru fast-food restaurant and then dropping him off at his dorm. Duke University records show that Seligmann's card was used to gain entry at 12:46 a.m.

    In addition to bolstering Seligmann's alibi, the taxi driver's written testimony provided a rare glimpse of color in an otherwise darkened night.

    "I remember those two guys starting enjoying their food inside my car, but I'm glad I end up with a nice tip and fare $25," the taxi driver said in his testimony.

    By Anonymous Bearshaft, at 1:02 PM  

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