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  • Trial by Media

       April 18, 2006

    I hate these "she said, he said" rape cases. I'm uncomfortable with the way that people choose sides without any access to the actual evidence. Of course, I do it too. For example, in the Duke lacrosse case, at this point, I believe the stripper in question is a big liar. The lack of physical evidence and photographic evidence that details the evening's timeline makes me think that the only place these Duke players will be found guilty is in the media. And believe me, the media is trying to paint this case a certain way. Check out the AP's description of one of the defendant's home:

    Calls to the Finnerty and Seligmann homes Tuesday morning were not immediately returned. No one answered the door at the Finnerty house, which sits in a cul-de-sac of million-dollar homes on Long Island. A lacrosse net and equipment could be seen in the yard, which abuts a golf course.

    They might as well label the defendants as "Richie Rich white boys". Meanwhile, the accuser is described as "a 27-year-old black woman and mother of two children". In other words, a poor, black mother. This case isn't really about rape, it's about race and class. I figured that this case was going to be Durham's way of sticking it to Richie Rich white boys everywhere, but I didn't think they have willing accomplices in the media.

    Posted by at April 18, 2006 11:40 AM

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    #  April 18th, 2006 1:28 PM      cherlynda
    I dont know what is in it for the woman or why anyone would lie about that. I see that two of the players turned themselves in which means I am sure they did something.Its not like a woman who says she is raped gets paid if they find the people guilty. All she gets is traumatized and a big hassle.  
    #  April 18th, 2006 1:57 PM      BVBigBro
    The players turned themselves in because they were charged with the crime. You can't have it both ways. If they fled would that indicate their innocence? None of us knows anything about what happened.  
    #  April 18th, 2006 9:11 PM      Daddy
    Didn't the players plea "not guilty"?

    What kind of schmuck turns himself in, then says he didn't do it?

    #  April 18th, 2006 10:45 PM      themandownthehall
    The witch lied and Duke Lacrosse died. The president of Duke should be fired, the coach reinstated and the stripper put in jail for a false police report. The players should receive free tuition for compensation. Cherylnda, they answered an arrest warrant. They made it easier on the cops to not have to go get them. It has no bearing on guilt.

    Turn this around. White girl fingers all the black guys but says the lone white guy didn't do anything. The evidence comes in and shows nothing happened. Pictures that help to destroy the accusers credibility show up. What do you think would happen? How fast would the white chick be run out on a rail? This whole case stinks. Not guilty. Game set match.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 3:45 AM      ryanpaige
    It's good to know that people base their opinions on a full understanding of the issues and legalities at hand rather than just miscontruing what is required and making judgements based on that.

    Once the players were indicted, they were required to appear before a judge and be arraigned. This could happen either by the players turning themselves in, or the judge would issue an arrest warrant and the police would come and get them and drag them before the judge. It's common for people accused of crimes to turn themselves in, especially in high profile cases.

    At the arraignment, the charges are read and the accused enter a plea. In this case, the players pled 'not guilty'. The judge set bond and held the case over for eventual trial. The players bonded out and went home until the trial.

    That they participated in a required legal proceeding and did so in a way that was likely the easiest way for them to participate in the required legal proceeding doesn't mean anything in regard to their guilt or innocence. It was required they be arraigned. They did it. End of that part of the story.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 6:17 AM      Daddy
    My fault. For whatever reason, I thought turned themselves in = confessed.

    Brain cramp.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 8:32 AM      KVBigSis
    Has anyone seen the Complaint? It would be interesting to see the basis for the prosecutor's case before jumping to conclusions.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 8:58 AM      kris
    documents from The Smoking Gun  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:11 AM      kris
    the search warrant has even more info.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:15 AM      kris
    According the info in the warrant she claims she was raped by three players in a bathroom and gives their first names (no, they don't match those who were arrested). One of the players admitted to using an alias, but he isn't one of the players who was arrested either.

    This doesn't really add up.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 5:57 PM      themandownthehall
    Today, the local news is reporting that one of the named/arrested accusers has an air tight alibi with ATM receipts and cab receipts showing he was not at the house when the non existant rape occurred.

    I am still waiting for charges of false police report to be filed. I guess I won't hold my breath.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:16 PM      BVBigBro
    I was thinking about this today, and if even one of the people charged has an airtight alibi, then the whole case is shot.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:17 PM      kris
    Both guys have been suspended from Duke. What do you all think of that? Should people be suspended from college because they're accused of something?  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:26 PM      BVBigBro
    I think the suspension is garbage.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:28 PM      kris
    I don't just mean these guys. What do you think of that kind of policy in general?  
    #  April 19th, 2006 9:42 PM      BVBigBro
    Policies in general are bad. Policies are a substitute for judgement. Duke exercised poor judgement, but now they will just say "we were following our policy" as if it were chiseled on a stone tablet with no humans responsible for that policy.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 10:21 PM      themandownthehall
    If there is any justice, Duke will be paying a very heavy price for jumping the gun. I think the players and the coach have a big winner lawsuit on their hands.

    Suspension with no proof of guilt? Policy or no, that will be a big cash payout. I'm sure the lawyers are circling their prey.  
    #  April 19th, 2006 10:58 PM      ryanpaige
    It's a near-certainty that if one of the accused turns out to have a solid and supportable alibi that the case against the other of the accused (or any other potential suspect) completely falls apart.

    With no physical evidence, the accuser's identification is essentially the sole piece of evidence driving the case. If she's demonstrably wrong with one I.D., there's little reason to believe any other I.D. she makes.

    The identifications may be problematic anyway. It appears that she was unable to identify her attackers early on. As of the 11th, the D.A. claimed she could identify one of her attackers. By the time we get to the indictments, there are apparently two identifications.

    Even if she truly was raped, the apparent fact that these identifications have come over time makes them problematic for any prosecutor (if it is indeed the case that she could not identify her alleged attackers immediately), especially given that, if she was raped, her attackers were definitely among the pictures, while most victims looking at a photo line-up don't have that guarantee.

    That these kids were charged with that evidence (and suspended from school based on it, as well) is disheartening.  
    #  April 20th, 2006 7:57 AM      BVBigBro
    Well, none of us knows what other evidence they may have, and if they have physical evidence linking the accused to the victim, then they may yet have a solid case.  
    #  April 20th, 2006 1:26 PM      ryanpaige
    I don't know what solid physical evidence that links these specific players to the alleged crime they could have that also isn't DNA-typable.

    They may well find something incriminating in the post-indictment searches, but it appears, thus far, that the specific I.D. was based largely on the victim's belated I.D. But, admittedly, we may not have all the facts at this point.

    And now that we know more about the timeline, more questions are raised. If Seligmann participated in the entirety of the alleged crime, the latest the alleged crime could've ended was 12:15am.

    The police claim is that the alleged victim arrived at the house around 11:30pm. The neighbor claims he saw the dancers arrive and that 20 minutes later, they left the first time (11:50pm). After a few minutes, at least one of the dancers went back inside (to get her shoe, according to the witness), which would put the time no later than 11:55pm. Within the next 20 minutes, the alleged victim was raped for 30 minutes (assuming all three alleged attackers were present through the entire alleged episode).

    The alleged victim was apparently in front of the house 38 minutes later (12:53am) when the still-unnamed second dancer called police (falsely claiming to be a passerby) to report the partygoers having hurled racial slurs at her.

    This timeline also takes none of the defense time claims into account (other than the end time when one of the accused called a cab from his cellphone, which cellphone records apparently support).

    If the defensive timeline is taken into account, there was roughly 11 minutes that the victim could've been raped for 30 minutes with Seligmann present.

    Either way, for the claims the prosecutor/police have made to stand up to scrutiny (dancer arrives at 11:30am, goes outside at somepoint prior to rape, re-enters house, alleged victim is raped for 30 minutes), there's a maximum of 15 minutes for all the non-rape stuff to have happened, an assertion that is contradicted by the next-door neighbor's claims (his claims add at least 20 minutes to the "non-rape" time).

    Given the timeline claims by the prosecutor/police, there had better be some rock solid physical evidence to support the charge against Seligmann, at least. And if they can't support the charge against Seligmann, convicting the other one (or anybody else) becomes significantly more difficult (unless some rock solid evidence appears pointing the finger at that person).  
    #  April 20th, 2006 2:51 PM      ryanpaige
    NBC is showing some of the time-stamped photos taken at the party. If the time-stamps are accurate, the rape could've happened no earlier than 12:10am, four minutes before Seligmann's cellphone was used to call the cab.

    Another report says Seligmann's cellphone was also used at 12:07am, 12:09am and 12:11am. The length of the calls was not reported.

    If accurate, this would mean that Seligmann had a maximum of three minutes to finish a phone call, participate in the alleged rape, disengage and then make another telephone call.

    Even if someone else used his phone, there's a maximum of nine minutes, if the time stamp on the photos is correct, in which Seligmann could've participated in the alleged rape as the cab driver puts him in the cab at 12:19am.

    The rape may have happened, but it's increasingly likely that Seligmann, at least, has been falsely accused.  



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