Tar Heel Fan

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Duke Lacrosse Case, Part 2

The Defense The defense lawyers in this case have been known for their penchant to put their case and counter evidence on display for the world to see. The most obvious reason why is they are influencing a potential jury and hoping the public opinion will tilt so far in favor of their clients it will force Nifong to drop the case altogether. Underneath all of that is another reason. It has been said that if these guys are innocent then their defense team has no reason to be out there in the media making the case now as though they are afraid to go to trial straight away. While this may be true I also think the defense team is waging a war to protect the players’ right to innocence until they are proven guilty. It is clear the defense team wants to wage a war to protect the reputation of the players. Aside from the jury implications, the defense is out to form public opinion about their clients. The accusations by themselves are damning enough to the point some of these guys have lost job/intern opportunities this summer and Syracuse University has announced that it will not accept a single Duke player into their program. Every member of that team is essentially tainted and the behavior of the university did not help matters in executing judgment on them before all the facts were known. Now, the defense could have easily said that the trial would prove their client’s innocent but let’s not be naïve here. The public is far more skeptical of an accused person who goes to trial and gets off than someone who avoids the mess altogether. The danger for the defense as it pertains to the reputations of these players is the legal mumbo-jumbo of a trial tends to cloud the facts and is followed by fewer people. Add to that the fact the trial is most likely months off when the interest will die down. It would appear the defense team made the decision present the evidence they have now while the iron is hot rather than wait until trial when the story will have died down and fewer people follow the trial because of the nature of legal proceedings. It also should be noted that the defense has been very good in shaping the picture they want to shape. The information they have released so far has been extremely damaging to the DA’s case. The proof is in the pudding since public opinion if very split. As is the case with the DA only the trail can tell us whether the decision to present the defense case in public first actually pays off for these guys. The Accuser She is a 27 year old NC Central student, mother of two, and yes she is a dancer/stripper. Now, I will say up front I find her line of work to be utter exploitation of her body and morally repugnant. I also think that being in that kind of work increases the chances she will encounter a situation such as this one sooner or later. Having said all of that she is entitled to justice if she was raped and under no circumstances did she ever surrender the right to say no when the time came. It is also a real possibility that her line of work muddies the waters of her own credibility. Aside from the information above we know very little except what the defense has willing told us based on pictures they have released and interviews their own private investigators have done. Based on the best available information the accuser was either falling down drunk or somewhat drunk when she arrived. Photo evidence shows that she already had bruises on her body when she arrived and that she fell down the stairs leaving the house. The police officer told the dispatcher that she was passed out drunk and the security guard at the Kroger she was obviously drunk when she was brought there by her friend. This is all through the light of the defense and hearing her on the stand may tell a different story. She also has the issue of her friend doubting the story until this past Friday when she magically found her way on to a TV screen to say she now believed her. Somehow I smell the odor of someone seeking 15 minutes of fame, but that’s just me. The ultimate question is what happened in that house. Was the accuser so drunk they she was assaulted while passed out? Did nothing happen and she was upset over the little dispute that occurred so she cried rape? Is it possible that she was drunk and engaged in activities with them but does not remember it? Is it as she says that she was sober and forced into a bathroom and assaulted? Tar Heel Fan’s Opinion And this is strictly my opinion. Since all of the evidence we have heard has come from the defense that case looks really weak. And as much as the prosecution has been in front of the media they have kept much of their case details closer to the vest than the defense. I think the lineup identification is worrisome and disturbing in the way that it puts the freedom and innocence of certain players at risk merely by association. Aside from the victim and accuser who has suffered in this situation, some of the players who had nothing to do with this crime and situation are also victims because simply by being on the team. They are victims of a media who for the sake of sensationalism and brevity cast this as the “Duke Lacrosse Team” story and not the story of some members of the Duke Lacrosse team being accused of sexual assault. And regardless of what happens the life of this woman has been ruined and if the allegations prove true she is truly scarred. To a lesser extent the players who are clearly innocent have had what is to be the best years of their life ruined by the whole ordeal and for that the media and Duke Administration is to blame. I only hope justice can be served for the accuser. I also hope those who have been needlessly maligned by this ordeal can find justice and perhaps some sort of vindication. Something tells me that if the case falls apart we will see lawsuits galore from both sides of the case.

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