10 April 2007

Gathering Storm of Charges Being Dismissed? UPDATED

A quick post this evening, as I'm sure there will be more to come on this over the next few days if the rumours hold true...

Rumours abound (both in the local and national media) that tomorrow will bring the end of the 're-investigation' of the sexual assault and kidnapping charges still being held in place (as of tonight, anyway) against 3 former Duke University lacrosse team members. The charges, which until last December also included rape, are the result of a year-long controversial (and some would label clear fiasco) investigation of the alleged crime. (A whole lengthy list of articles on this case can be found here, with the most recent articles near the top.) This challenged investigation has included everything from multiple DNA tests, constantly changing witness and victim accounts of events, questionable legal and lab practices, and the recusal in January of the original District Attorney, Mike Nifong, in light of ethics charges related to his alleged withholding evidence in the case. God knows no one here wants any more of a rush to judgment for any of those involved, but frankly, the State investigators called in to 're-cover and re-evaluate' everything cannot work fast enough to many following the case.

This whole ugly affair...no matter if tomorrow sees the charges dropped, modified, or held in place...has put a black eye on local and University community relations, an unfortunate event fueled by a sensation story-seeking national (and even international) media and the sheer reversal of all the evidence and statements first presented for indictment. Race, economics, gender, 'questionable practices' of all involved, politics...it's been brutal to those of us who live here. I can only hope that no matter what is resolved, no matter when, that when the dust all settles we taxpayers and local residents can have a final investigation for which we can have some faith and pride. Perhaps after that is accomplished, we can somehow figure how to mend our many frayed and raw edges. Until then, folks, say a prayer for us and try not to judge us too harshly for this legal nightmare...it is not standard practice. Or at least I sure as hell hope not.

Lord only knows what still awaits us. Stay tuned.

From recent reports:

  • The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC): "Former lacrosse players returning"

  • NBC-17 TV (WNCN, Raleigh, NC): "Development Expected in Duke LAX case" (complete with video)

  • Also an update from The Smoking Gun (Jan 24, 2007): "New Ethics Charges for Nifong"

    UPDATE April 11, 2:36am: The Drudge Report is reporting (via ABC News) that all charges against the 3 male defendants will be dropped.
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