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May 26, 2006

Duke Rape Case Stupidity


This is worth reading, just for its leftist stupidity. But there's no reason to put coins in Salon's pockets by clicking on the link; I've excerpted most of the good stuff here.

Innocent.

That's the word written on sweatbands the Duke University women's lacrosse team will wear when they take the field Friday at the start of their sport's premier event.... With the bands, the women are apparently suggesting that the Duke men's lacrosse team, and the three members charged with sexual assault, are innocent.

In court, the specific term lawyers seek from the jury is "not guilty." I don't know enough of the facts to opine on whether that phrase will be read aloud by jury foremen. I do know enough to say it is a stretch to use the term "innocent" to describe the men of Duke lacrosse. Hiring strippers, excessive alcohol use, disorderly public conduct -- those aren't activities one generally describes as innocent.

Ummm, none of those things are illegal, with the possible exception of disorderly public conduct, but I don't think they've been charged with that.

Notice how prudish a leftist gets when he smells the blood of a white Christian oppressor. Suddenly bad behavior is, well, bad. Typically Salon would be the first to defend this kind of behavior, but not it's grounds to say the men aren't innocent at all.

Since the writer fancies himself a student of the law-- pointing out, for the three people in the world who don't know -- that a jury pronounces a man "not guilty," not "innocent," when it absolves him of criminal wrongdoing, I'll note that what this idiot is doing is attempting to prove guilt in a crime by introducing unrelated (and legal) "bad acts," which is forbidden by courts. You're not allowed to "prove" a man guilty by simply noting he's done other not-good things in his life, but that seems to be the writer's belief. Hey-- these guys drank a lot, hired strippers, and got rowdy. Isn't that enough to convict them?

With a daughter at Duke, I've followed this case closely, and have read the allotment of notes and press releases sent out by the university. I know enough to conclude that the university's administration is failing utterly at one of its stated goals: extracting lessons from this incident.

Duke officials repeatedly told observers to withhold judgment of the players and the university. When a third player was indicted on May 15, senior vice president John Burness said, "It is worth repeating again today that these latest charges do not mean the accused are guilty. That is for a jury to decide." That lesson didn't quite take: The women's lacrosse team decided they are the ones who should determine guilt or innocence.

So much for a teachable moment.

A "teachable moment." The left really has to stop using this word.

He makes a point that I am pained to admit makes some sense here:

President Richard Brodhead called for reasonable dialogue. I find it hard to believe these wristbands support that call. Consider what it might look like if another team decided to make its own statement by writing the word "guilty" on their wristbands. It would be every bit as presumptuous -- and every bit as inflammatory -- as those that say "innocent." It is not a step toward reasonable dialogue. It continues the blunt use of divisive rhetoric.

I would note, however, that the men have been charged with perhaps the third worst crime possible -- rape follows only child-rape and murder in loathsomeness -- and the DA has exploited this case to get re-elected in a largely black district, so there's plenty of "divisive rhetoric" out there already. I'm not sure the women's lacrosse display of the word "innocent" adds terribly much fuel to the racial fires.

Furthermore, the women's lacrosse team is almost certainly well-acquainted with the men's team. We generally don't pitch a bitch when the friends and family of an accused defend them publicly. It's hardly compelling evidence of innocence, but it's also hardly something untoward or unexpected.

Shall we also harrangue the accuser's family for claiming publicly that she wouldn't lie-- thereby claiming the lacrosse players are guilty?

Certainly this writer doesn't offer any criticism of them. Only those who dare to suggest the guys are innocent.

He then goes on to pretty much do what he criticizes the women's lacrosse players for doing -- "rendering a verdict" on the case outside of the jury box. He never calls them guilty -- he can't, of course, as he's making such a major issue of the women's lacrosse team calling them innocent -- but he does note that they're behaving just like a mafia crew (he calls it the "Duke Blue Wall of Silence") and is very suspicious of the fact that the various players' lawyers, get this, cooperate with eachother, just like mob lawyers during a mob trial!

Well, given that they're all making the same claim -- that none of this ever happened, it is entirely fabricated, and they are all witnesses for the others' innocence -- I think it is somewhat reasonable to imagine their lawyers would work together, as they're all working with the same facts and the precise same legal theory.

That theory is that they're, get this, wholly "innocent."

But the writer calls this evidence of a "pack mentality," and implies it's underhanded. His assumption seems to be: We know they're guilty. By cooperating with each other, it precludes one of them from stepping forward and ratting out the others. So there joint defense is an attempt to block "the truth" from emerging.

The writer scolds the women's lacrosse team from examining the evidence as private citizens and offering an opinion -- not a legally-binding verdict -- on the charges, and yet he himself has little qualms about offering his own opinions.

As I've said before: without double standards, the left would have no standards at all.

I haven't mentioned this case before because I am only vague aware of the facts -- or "facts;" what we mostly have is assertions from the defense and the prosecution which have not truly been tested by any rigorous process -- but I'll cop to my own not-very-well informed opinion:

Innocent.

That said, I could easily be wrong. I've been wrong before. Like, for example, when I figured that Michael Irvin was guilty of an alleged rape. Hey, he was a drug user, he was generally guilty of bad behavior, and he wore golden suits. Seemed like he was guilty.

Of course, it later turned out the woman completely fabricated the story, and was charged with filing a false police report.

I learned a little something from that particular "teachable moment." It's a shame Salon didn't.

The left seems to cling to the idea that women simply don't lie about rape. As this writer says, it's extremely brave for a woman to come forward with a rape allegation.

Well, it is indeed. If she was, in fact, raped. If she is lying about rape -- to extort from a wealthy pro football player, or from the wealthy parents of college lacrosse players -- it's not particularly courageous, is it? In fact, it's rather... reprehensible.

They assume the fact of rape and then impugn anyone for daring to not follow them in those assumptions.

I generally assume women tell the truth about rape. I'd say that 95% of rape charges are true (or pretty much true). But that leaves 5% of charges which are fraudulent, and that is not an insignificant percentage.

But the left would invert its usual claim -- "it's better than 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted" -- in rape cases, especially, of course, when it's a minority woman accusing wealthy white male oppresors. Then, it becomes "It's better that every one accused of rape be convicted, guilty or innocent, so as not to dissuade other women from coming forward to accuse other men of rape."

The writer concludes his idiotic essay by suggesting that the womens' lacrosse team display the word "Respect" on their wristbands, rather than "Innocent." It could, you see, mean many different things to many different people.

Well, that sort of defeats the purpose of trying to send a message, doesn't it?

Why not just have them wear writstbands that say "Bush lied, people died"?

I grow so tired of the left lecturing us that we must never render an opinion as a citizen on a case of political import, unless that opinion agrees with their own, in which case, have a lynching party. We heard this claim constantly when Bill Clinton was accused of his various crimes -- we must not assume his guilt, we were told -- as they nearly simultaneously proclaimed his complete innocence.

It's one or the other, guys. One or the other.

I would like the sentence "We should not try this case in the media" barred from ever being spoken again. It's an empty platitude; of course we all have opinions on cases as we hear them, and there's nothing in the Constitution that demands we stay silent about those opinions.

Further, as a technical matter, you simply can't be "convicted in the media." You're either convicted in a courtroom or not at all.

Although, as regards Bush, the media sure seems eager to test the limits of this notion.


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posted by Ace at 12:23 PM

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