April 25, 2007

Flashback re: Duke Lacrosse Case, April 22, 2006

Came across this lil gem from Dahlia Lithwick in Slate Magazine where in a waterfall of irony, she tries to take others to task for jumping the gun before more was known about the facts of the case. In the very same article, she very nimbly, jumps the gun before more was known about the facts of the case:

This wasn't a date gone wrong. At the margins, this case may be about sex and race and power. But it's not about subtle social messages or identity-based misunderstandings. It's about an assault.

Also, there is evidence here: Mounds and mounds of significant physical evidence. There is a rape kit. There are bruises, and then, apparently, more bruises. There are DNA tests and broken fingernails and witnesses seemingly tumbling out of the woodwork. There are time stamped photographic accounts of much of the evening. This is not a classic "he says/she says." The evidence has something to say to us as well.

Perhaps we should be thankful that this is not a case about ESP as much as it's case about CSI.

Contrast this with AG Cooper's April 12th statement:

The eyewitness identification procedures were faulty and unreliable. No DNA confirms the accuser's story. No other witness confirms her story. Other evidence contradicts her story. She contradicts herself. Next week, we'll be providing a written summary of the important factual findings and some of the specific contradictions that have led us to the conclusion that no attack occurred.

In this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham district attorney pushed forward unchecked. There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado. And in the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly. Regardless of the reasons this case was pushed forward, the result was wrong. Today, we need to learn from this and keep it from happening again to anybody.

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