Posts Tagged ‘Duke lacrosse’

Nancy Grace (& lawprofs) on the Duke case

K.C. Johnson has assembled the details (Feb. 19) on the CNN/Court TV commentator’s scurrilous handling of the lacrosse rape allegations. For more on Grace, see Mar. 1, 2006, as well as Legal Blog Watch, May 4, 2005, and Suz at Large, Mar. 2, 2006 (quoting Prof. Bainbridge’s pungent assessment).

The legal professoriate does not escape unscathed from Johnson’s attention, either. He is a particular critic (e.g., Jan. 21) of the televised pronouncements on the case of New England School of Law professor Wendy Murphy. And recent assertions by South Texas College of Law professor Kathleen A. Bergin on the Feminist Law Professors blog (Jan. 29, declaring the players “far from ‘innocent'” whether or not a rape is proven in court) fail to stand up to critical scrutiny, Johnson says (Feb. 18). (More: Cernovich).

P.S. And here’s the Saturday Night Live parody. Plus: Ambrogi, Bainbridge.

Marcotte’s regrets

I wouldn’t even go so far as to say there’s things I “regret”. There are comments I’ve made that tone-deaf wingnuts don’t understand, sure.

— John Edwards official campaign blogger Amanda Marcotte, or someone posing as her, in the comments at J Train. Marcotte (or the person posing as her) apparently thought better of the Edith Piaf stance, and a minute later returned with a second amending comment. For examples of the “comments I’ve made that tone-deaf wingnuts don’t understand” regarding the Duke lacrosse case, see our post of Friday, further updated on Sunday.

Marcotte has a “tremendous fan” and doughty supporter in Ann Bartow of Feminist Law Professors (Feb. 6), whose precision in classifying adversaries as “conservative” is disputed by South of Heaven (Feb. 7: “People who know me are rolling all over the floor.”) On the other hand, inveterate publicity hound and professional taker-of-offense Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has now gone on the warpath against Marcotte (and another Edwards hire, Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister). Marcotte’s writings on religious topics do seem to present a rather broadly inviting target for offense-takers, to judge from the snippets now making their way into press coverage (Nedra Pickler, “Catholics Slam Bloggers Hired by Edwards”, AP/, Feb. 6; Kathryn Jean Lopez, “Unholy Hire”, National Review, Feb. 6). The New York Times’s coverage, unlike the AP’s, makes reference to the Duke lacrosse rants that originally drew our and many other people’s attention to Marcotte. (John M. Broder, “Edwards’s Bloggers Cross the Line, Critic Says”, New York Times, Feb. 7). The Times adds that “Mr. Edwards’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.”

More commentary: Patterico (“godbag”); Ed Morrissey (“In the case of Marcotte, her anti-Catholic screeds would make Jack Chick blush with embarrassment”); Althouse; John Cole (scroll to “Browns/Cowboys Superbowl”, as well as comment); Kos comments (do Catholics tithe, anyway?); “Expo” on Kos; Matt Stoller at MyDD.

Marcotte encore

John Edwards’ selection as his blogger-in-chief of Pandagon‘s Amanda Marcotte has mushroomed into what National Journal “Beltway Blogroll” terms “the first blog scandal of campaign 2008,” made more piquant by Marcotte’s quick move (documented in our Friday post) to delete her bizarrely abusive rantings about the Duke case once they began to attract attention. I should note that in our very active comments thread, Ted takes a different view than I do of the affair, and I explain in turn (in a comment kindly quoted by K.C. Johnson) why I think the episode does reflect poorly on Edwards’ campaign:

John Edwards’s life in the law and experience with the justice system is his major resume item dating back beyond the past few years, as well as the major reason this site has given his career extensive coverage. Moreover, the Duke case, which looks ever more like the Scottsboro Boys case of our era, has been convulsing his own state of North Carolina for month after month. Edwards’ dodging of the case — his apparently successful stifling of any urge to speak out at the plight of the falsely accused — might on its own stand as merely cowardly. Marcotte’s hiring, on the other hand, throws an even less attractive light on it, rather as if, in Scottsboro Boys days, an on-the-sidelines Southern senator took on as a major spokesperson someone who’d been yelling the Boys’ guilt from the rooftops in the most crudely prejudicial language.

On Marcotte’s quick removal of her Duke comments, Dale Franks at Q and O makes the legitimate point that there’s nothing intrinsically improper in bloggers’ going back to amend or delete past posts that they now realize are mistaken or which no longer reflect their evolving views. And Ted cautions, also quite fairly, against evaluating a blogger’s fitness for a real-world post by pointing to the most inflammatory of his or her thousands of past posts.

Part of what lends the Marcotte episode such a comic aspect, however, is the timing and nature of her post and later revision. Her vitriolic rant asserting the lacrosse players’ guilt was posted a mere two weeks ago, almost certainly at a point after (as the Atlanta airport reference indicates) she had already entered talks with the Edwards campaign and thus had reason to know that she might soon come under the heightened scrutiny accorded to an official spokesperson. These were not the impulsive utterances of a Net Newbie. Moreover, the temperate-sounding new “official stance” with which she replaced the scrubbed post is ludicrously different in both tone and content from the rant it replaced; at a quick reading, one might even take it for a defense of the lacrosse players. A closer examination of its dodgy language, however, reveals that she does not actually take anything back; there is no indication that she has reconsidered her view of Jan. 21 or sees it as being in need of actual correction.

As for whether Marcotte was just having a bad day and slipped into an abusiveness that is unrepresentative of her usual tone, even a cursory glance through her output at Pandagon makes clear that there is much more embarrassment for the Edwards campaign to come: a few examples are collected at LieStoppers (scroll to “Earlier Comments”), Michelle Malkin, and Creative Destruction.

Some further commentary: Common Sense Political Thought, Protein Wisdom, Mark Steyn @ NRO (“There are two Americas: one in which John Edwards gives bland speeches of soporific niceness, the other in which his campaign blogger unleashes foaming rants of stereotypically obsessive derangement.”), Patterico (& welcome Michelle Malkin readers).

Meet John Edwards’s new blogger-in-chief

Well after the revelation of the undisclosed DNA results, the ATM, taxi and dorm alibis, the umpteen times the stripper has changed her story, Amanda Marcotte still is willing to blast the Duke Lacrosse Three as guilty, guilty, guilty; and what do you know, the John-Edwards-for-President campaign has just saluted Marcotte’s acuity by naming her its blogger-in-chief (Pandagon, Jan. 21, foul language galore; Edwards blog, Jan. 30; Blogger News Network, Jan. 30, via Taranto; LieStoppers, Feb. 1). It’s enough to distract attention from all the comic joshing over the Friend of the Downtrodden’s gigantic new residence, or “Suing-’em Palace” as Mark Steyn calls it (NRO “The Corner”, Jan. 30; Dean Barnett, Jan. 30).

Update: Marcotte has now (1 p.m. Friday) yanked down her original post of Jan. 21, and appears also to have deleted several comments, but GoogleCache still has it for the moment. Here is its text, in the spirit of Fair-Use-ery:

Naturally, my flight out of Atlanta has been delayed. Let’s hope it takes off when they say it will so I don’t miss my connecting flight home.

In the meantime, I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good f**king god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and f**ked her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.

111 Responses to “Stuck at the airport again…..”

Further update (1:20 p.m. Friday): Here are two comments that Marcotte appears to have deleted from the original thread. The “In her part of the country” comment had already drawn criticism from readers on the LieStoppers site:

Amanda Marcotte Jan 21st, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Yes, how dare a rape victim act confused and bewildered like she was raped or something.

# Amanda Marcotte Jan 21st, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Natalia, do you know the details of the case? If so, why do you think a women enthusiastically jumped into a sexual situation with men making slavery jokes at her? Furthermore, what is your theory on why she supposedly looooooved having sex with guys holding her facedown on the bathroom floor? There’s no “if” they behaved in a disrespectful manner. We have conclusive evidence that happened.

This is about race and class and gender in every way, and there’s basically no way this woman was going to see justice. In her part of the country, both women and black people are seen as subhuman objects to be used and abused by white men.

Plus: I see that K.C. Johnson (“Durham in Wonderland“) is on the case in typically thorough and powerful fashion. Marcotte also provides this further comment reacting to her critics (“if I see the words ‘Duke’ or ‘lacrosse’ in an email that has the whiff of accusatory tone, I’m deleting it and simply not going to reply to it”).

And again (11:30 p.m. Friday): In a further post, K.C. Johnson cites chapter and verse about how Marcotte’s hiring won much praise for the Edwards folks as a shrewd way of reaching out to progressive netroots forces. More discussion: TalkLeft forums, Betsy Newmark, Jeff Taylor at Reason “Hit and Run” (R-rated), Outside the Beltway, Patrick Ruffini, South of Heaven, Little Miss Attila, Brainster; & welcome Glenn Reynolds, Kevin O’Keefe and Michelle Malkin readers.

Further updates: see Feb. 4, Feb. 7, Feb. 8, Feb. 12 (Marcotte quits Edwards post), Feb. 16.

Duke rape accuser changes story again

Maybe its time to join in putting quote marks around rape in the headline (“Duke Lacrosse ‘Rape’ Accuser Changes Story Again, Says Seligmann Didn’t Touch Her”, AP/, Jan. 11; Joseph Neff, “Accuser changes story in lacrosse case”, Raleigh News & Observer, Jan. 11). Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal is one who isn’t laughing (“The Michael Nifong Scandal”,, Jan. 11).

State Bar Files Charges Against Prosecutor in Duke Rape Case

According to this Associated Press report in the New York Times, the North Carolina state bar has filed ethics charges against Mike Nifong, saying that he has violated several ethics rules — in particular the rule against making misleading and inflammatory statements to the media about those accused of a crime.

The bar committee said that it had opened the investigation just two weeks after the rape charges were first made, though it only filed the ethics charges against Nifong on Thursday. In addition to the public-statement charges, Nifong was also charged with dishonesty for certain statements that he knew were misleading based on reports already in his possession.

No hearing date has been set.

December 14 roundup

  • Ford wins an Explorer rollover lawsuit brought by family of unseatbelted accident victim, but press coverage is skimpy. [Detroit News]
  • Milberg Weiss’s claims for $12 million in fees viewed skeptically, cut in half. [Lattman; WSJ]
  • Dog food prank plaintiff Tennie Pierce is “the O.J. of the Fire Department.” Contrary to what one may think, this is apparently meant as a compliment, suggesting a racial divide that can’t be entirely attributable to whites. [LA Times]
  • SDNY Clinton appointee Judge Scheindlin thinks she’s smarter than Judge Easterbrook, throws pension law into mess again. See POL Nov. 12 and Aug. 8 for background. [Business Insurance; Cooper v. IBM]
  • Nifong gets around to releasing DNA results that appear to exonerate indicted Duke lacrosse players. Earlier: Oct. 12, etc. [AP/ABC News]
  • Judge won’t censor Borat DVD, but frat-boy lawsuit goes forward. [Reuters]
  • Criminal speeds away from DC police, hits innocent motorist, DC taxpayers liable for $1M. [WaPo]
  • Similarly: negligent driver veers across three lanes of highway traffic into oncoming vehicle, killing 18-year old; taxpayers liable for $2M because SUV was able to smash through the median. [AP/King County Journal]
  • Today’s Ninth Circuit Follies edition: lawless reopening of final sentences. [Kerr @ Volokh; Bashman; Carrington v. US; Lat]
  • Robert Ramsey files two more lawsuits claiming simultaneous asbestosis and silicosis in Madison County against several dozen defendants. [Madison County Record]
  • UK: 100-pound fine for misfiling trash. [Market Center Blog via Overcriminalized]
  • Inhofe’s take on global warming. [Senate]
  • Trial lawyer puts money where his mouth is. Check back in ten years to see whether it’s lawyers or insurers who are really at fault for medmal insurance crisis. [Point of Law]
  • I blame the fact I joined Friendster for this. [PrawfsBlawg]

Nifong faces Durham voters

Can prosecutors be made to pay a price at the ballot box for malfeasance? Durham, North Carolina, county district attorney Mike Nifong is up for re-election, and has run well in polls despite his hounding of three Duke lacrosse players — perhaps the year’s banner case of abusive prosecution (see Oct. 11, Oct. 12, Oct. 30, etc.). One challenger, County Commissioner Lewis Cheek, “has said he won’t serve if elected, instead allowing Gov. Mike Easley to appoint a new prosecutor”; a third candidate, Steve Monks, has been waging a write-in campaign. (Ray Gronberg, “Durham DA race is hot”, Durham Herald-Sun, Nov. 6; Ruth Sheehan, “Turning the tide in Durham”, Raleigh News & Observer, Oct. 30). For some recent developments in the case, incidentally, see here, here and here (witnesses say accuser soon after incident performed dances inconsistent with alleged injuries), here (Nifong never interviewed accuser), and here (“Go ahead, put marks on me”). Update: and yet more doubt cast here (Nov. 11).

October 30 roundup

  • My Oct. 28 WSJ op-ed is now on-line for free. [AEI]
  • Your tax dollars at work: $24.2 million for two 17-year-old trespassers burned by high-voltage electrical wires six feet above the top of an Amtrak train that they had climbed. The one who received “only” $6.8 million had injuries minor enough that he’s serving in the Army now. [Lancaster Online via Northridge Buzz Blog]
  • Refuting trial lawyers’ claims of repealing McCarran-Ferguson as a panacea for insurance rates. [Point of Law]
  • “At what point are these accommodations exacerbating learning disabilities, and creating life disabiltities?” [Ivey; Wall Street Journal]
  • $1.5 million verdict: plaintiff blamed her bipolar disorder on a nurse’s error that caused a lung to collapse. [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer; see also Kevin MD commenters]
  • Trial lawyers insult West Virginia businessmen for daring to challenge their hegemony. [Institute for Legal Reform]
  • Bank of America overcredits account, takes money back, gets hit with California state class action verdict that could cost billions. [Point of Law]
  • Latest Duke lacrosse case outrage: prosecutor’s office says it hasn’t even interviewed alleged victim. [Volokh; Outside the Beltway; Corner]
  • In anticipation of Philip Morris v. Williams, hear the great Sheila Birnbaum argue State Farm v. Campbell. [Oyez MP3 via Mass Torts Prof]
  • Kristol: the U.S. Senate still matters because of judicial nominations. [Weekly Standard]
  • Election challenge to Washington state incumbent Supreme Court justice who is supported by trial lawyers. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Bashman]
  • Don’t tell AG Lockyer, or he’ll want to sue the fat for global warming. [NY Times via Kevin MD]