Skip to comments.D.A. Says Duke Lacrosse Probe to Continue
Posted on 04/11/2006 9:01:01 AM PDT by Arec Barrwin
Apr 11, 11:38 AM EDT
D.A. Says Duke Lacrosse Probe to Continue
By TIM WHITMIRE Associated Press Writer
Duke Prosecutor: 'This Case is Not Over'
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Durham County's chief prosecutor said Tuesday he will not abandon his investigation of allegations that an exotic dancer was raped and beaten at a party thrown by members of Duke University's lacrosse team.
"A lot has been said in the press, particularly by some attorneys yesterday, that this case should go away," District Attorney Mike Nifong said at a community forum. "My presence here means that this case is not going away."
On Monday, attorneys representing members of the lacrosse team said DNA from the 46 players tested did not match evidence collected from the woman who says she was raped.
"No DNA from any young man tested was found anywhere on or about this woman," defense attorney Wade Smith said Monday.
He said he hoped Nifong would drop the investigation.
No charges have been filed in the case, but Nifong has said he believes a crime occurred at the March 13 party, which according to court records was attended only by lacrosse players. The woman said her attackers were white, so DNA testing was done on every white member of the team.
Nifong, who has said he doesn't necessarily need DNA evidence to prosecute, was calmly defiant at Tuesday's forum, attended by about 700 people on the campus of North Carolina Central University, the historically black university a few miles from Duke where the alleged victim is a student.
"The fact is that this case is proceeding the way a case should proceed," Nifong said to applause from the crowd.
Butch Williams, attorney for accused Duke University Lacrosse players, says the evidence is on his side. Buy AP Photo Reprints
The 27-year-old woman told police she and another woman were hired to dance at the party and that three men there dragged her into a bathroom, choked her, raped her and sodomized her. The allegations led to days of protests on and off the Duke campus.
Robert Archer, whose son Breck is a junior on the lacrosse team, said that while it is Nifong's prerogative to pursue the case if he so chooses, it would be a waste of time.
"I know the kids on the team, and I know they're innocent. We knew it from the start," Archer said by phone from his home in East Quogue, N.Y.
Court experts not connected with the Duke case cautioned that the DNA results could make prosecution difficult, but not impossible.
"There's an old saying that the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence," said Peter Neufeld, co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic.
A doctor and forensic sexual assault nurse examined the woman and found evidence consistent with a rape having occurred, police documents show.
Nifong said Tuesday that in 75 to 80 percent of all sexual assault cases, there is no DNA evidence.
"DNA results can often be helpful, but you know, I've been doing this a long time, and for most of the years I've been doing this we didn't have DNA," he said. "We had to deal with sexual assault cases the good old fashioned way. Witnesses got on the stand and told what happened to them."
Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman agreed that DNA evidence is not necessary to win a conviction but said Nifong would have a lot to overcome without it.
"In this day and age, it's the 'CSI' effect," he said, referring to the popular "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" series on TV. "If you don't find the evidence, then maybe it's not the guy. In 'CSI,' they always find the evidence."
Defense attorney Bill Thomas said authorities found none of the alleged victim's DNA in the bathroom where she told police she was attacked.
"Our experts tell us that being gang-raped by three men would leave DNA material to be examined," Thomas said.
Goldman said the failure to find any matching DNA evidence, is "not the end of the case, but it's kind of damning to the prosecution case."
"Isn't the absence of DNA evidence, given the way the victim has described the crime, in and of itself almost enough to raise a reasonable doubt?" Goldman asked. "That's all the defense has to do."
AP National Writer Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.
You can time the DA's career with an egg timer if he presses charges.
I'd like to know where he got that number.
80 to 90 percent of statistics are made up.
Sounds like racial profiling to me. Why not test the blacks, hispanics and asians. The white guys are going to feel targeted, and hurting their feelings is the worse possible crime.
If the DNA collected from the woman doesn't match that of those who might be charged then the DA should have his head examined.
District Attorney Mike Nifong said at a community forum. "My presence here means that this case is not going away."
Your continued employment is a pretty weak foundation on which to justify the continuation of an investigation.
If you have some concrete reasons to continue, perhaps you should cite those.
Lies, darned lies and statistics :) Well, I'm really wondering where that one came from.
That's true. But if the victim describes an event where there would have been DNA evidence, then one should expect it to be present.
It's one thing to try a case in the media once you've filed charges, but to do so while an 'investigation' is still underway strikes me as beyond the prosecutorial pale. I'm guessing that this guy is up for re-election, or is thinking about running for a higher office.
The explanation is that the alleged victim said all of her attackers were White.
"You can time the DA's career with an egg timer if he presses charges."
You are from the area, huh? It's been said that his constituency is largely black and he is continuing with the investigation to pander to black voters to boost re-election bid?
Any truth to that, you think, or is he just killing his career for the hell of it?
Cases huh? I'd be more impressed had he said "convictions".
Is that for the state of NC? Nationally? And is the DA talking just about the DNA found in sperm? Or does his stat include DNA from other sources, say skin found under a victim's fingernails? If no DNA from any source was found anywhere in or on her person, after a violent and brutal attack like the one she's alleging, I just think that would be highly unusual.
OK,that's fine.But in cases where there *is* DNA evidence,one would think that that DNA would match that of at least one of the accused.
Did they find ANY DNA on her that was not her own?
It seemed quite reckless to take a DNA sample of almost all of the players on the team (excluing the black man).
Will their samples be retained in the police database for all future possible crimes?
Isn't this putting the cart before the horse demanding that the team prove their innocence rather than the DA making a case against some particular players?
Who has been identified in a lineup?
This is prosecution gone wild. And while you may not be an athlete at Duke, it sets bad precedence for having to obtain legal defense for a crime you have not even been charged with.
I am from Wake County but I know Durham County very well (it's the county next door). This is pandering to his "base" but even parts of his base will peel off he he does this.
You should see Durham County politics - it is, um, interesting. Want to have some fun? Go to a Durham County Board of Education meeting. Any meeting. Don't forget the popcorn!
The defense is saying that absolutely nothing, not DNA, not lube (from condoms), not fiber, -- nothing was found on her that can be attributed to any player. Unless the DA is witholding something, he has no forensic evidence backing his case. If he isn't, and is still going forward, more than his head should be examined, his motives should be as well.
Last night I was watching MSNBC, and on Rita's show, some woman claimed that the DNA evidence found on the bathroom towels was semen. She had no proof to back up her claim. In her mind, DNA=Semen.
It didn't occur to her that the DNA evidence, which belonged to the two guys who lived at the house, may have come from their hands after they washed and dried them on the towels.