Tar Heel Fan

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Durham DA Spins Wheel, Indicts Third Player

At least that is the way it seems. The Durham County DA Mike Nifong got his third indictment in the Duke lacrosse rape case. The grand jury, who mind you, only hears evidence from the DA, indicted Duke senior co-captain David Evans on charges of rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping. Now based on what has been released to the media the crux of the case against Evans is an identification(which I have deplored before as being a gross violation of police procedures and due process) and a partial DNA match from "genetic material" found on a fake fingernal in the trash can. The other two players accused, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, have been charged solely based on the identification. In fact the second round of DNA testing did not find any link between the 46 members of the lacrosse team and semen found inside the woman. Such a link is not necessary to prove rape since condoms or a lack of emission would create the absence of such material, but the question of who the accuser had sex with during the same timeframe is an important question to answer. Another intriguing notion brought forth is the insistence of the accuser that one of the attackers had a moustache. Defense attorneys for Evans insist he has never had a moustache which could create doubt if that comes up in trial. Now the DA has never tip his full hand on the evidence he has so some judgement is being reserved to see if he brings anything to trial which trumps the overwhelming mountain of evidence the defense has been willing to put into the public arena. As I have said before the case is tilting in favor of the defense at this point and even the manner in which this indictment has been handled nor the evidence we have seen counts as a ringing endorsement of guilt. In fact, at this juncture, the only thing that is certain is the DA has strapped himself to this speeding train and he will end up going to wherever it takes him. And I really do not think, given the political pressures of an election year and the racial tensions involved, Nifong ever had a choice in the matter. It was either this or be castigated by the black community for protecting the rich white boys who raped the poor black single mother of two. At the same time his handling of the case and the behavior of the police in coercing witnesses through bogus charges is inexcusable. Reasonable doubt is still the flavor of the day. Side Note: When Evans showed up at the courthouse on Monday to surrender himself he was processed and then presented a $400,000 certified check for his bail and then was free to go. Many people will make this case about the rich vs poor aspect and even hope for a guilty verdict so the rich kids can get the comeuppance. Now I do think that kids who are born into money and wield those riches around without any sense of responsibility or notion of the hard work it takes to make it to that level are snobby brats who need to learn life lessons. On the other hand it is not a crime to be rich nor it is a crime to have the means to defend yourself in court. And on the top of that, if you are innocent of something you are entitled to having the innocence made manifest. Just because these guys are rich does not mean they deserve to be railroaded for a crime they may not have committed.

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