Monday, May 15, 2006


Doubling Down at Duke

Durham DA Nifong has brought the promised third indictment against Duke Lacrosse captain, David Forker Evans (that's an unfortunate middle name), who just graduated, and who says he is innocent (but even the guilty say that, like OJ). He sure acted like an innocent man--

Evans said he fully cooperated with police and that he and his roommates helped investigators find evidence in their house for nearly an hour.

He also went to the Durham Police Department and gave officers a statement without any attorneys present, as well as a DNA sample and access to his e-mail, Evans said. He also offered to take a polygraph test, but said that police investigators refused his offer.

There is a huge problem with the identification of Mr. Evans, other than the fact that it was conducted with only Duke Lacrosse players' photographs (and beyond the fact that the accuser says she's only 90% sure (that's an automatic reasonable doubt in my book--beyond a reasonable doubt is 95% sure--no less).) Here are the details.

Evans' attorney, Joe Cheshire, also said Monday that the alleged victim identified Evans in a photo lineup with "90 percent certainty," but that she was not 100 percent sure because he did not have a mustache.

"Mr. Nifong knows David Evans has never had a mustache," Cheshire said. "We have pictures of David Evans the day before, the day after and almost every other day, along with scores and scores of people's testimony that he never had a mustache."

Either these indictments were a politically motivated move by Mr. Nifong or he is an extraordinarily sloppy prosecutor. How do you explain the lack of a mustache on the alleged attacker, which the accuser says was there, when all you have is the accuser's testimony to convict. "Well, she got that detail wrong, but she's right about everything else" are not words any trial deputy DA longs to say.

We here in Colorado watched the prosecution's case in the Kobe Bryant prosecution (which many felt was reasonably strong at first) fall completely apart over the next 18 months, until the prosecutor had to dismiss it. In defense of Colorado District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, I have always believed that the incredible amount of sex the accuser was having before and after going to Mr. Bryant's room came as a surprise to him, while it completely ruined his case.

This case, on the other hand, started out weak and nothing has gone well for the prosecutor--nothing at all.

This is an overblown case which is taking everyone's attention away from the real problems we're facing. If there is any doubt, nobody should be punished.
Antonie, what are the real problems? War? Taxes? What?
I've seen nothing in this case to indicate that any lacrosse player should be convicted of more than bad taste and bad judgement.

But when you say, "... beyond a reasonable doubt is 95% sure....", you're putting too much weight on a statement by the accuser. While presented in terms of probability, for most people, that statement would mean something between "really sure" and "pretty sure". The proportion of the population that can reliably estimate probabilities of any sort, much less estimate the probability of correct perception, is rather less than anyone but a bookie would prefer.

Peoples' perceptions are notoriously unreliable, but their understanding of the reliability of those perceptions is essentially nonexistent. A statement by a witness/victim/whatever that she is "90% sure" is essentially content-free.
Well said, Doug but some people like to put a number on the standards. Preponderence is easy-- 51%> I agree that her saying 90% is pretty weak and then when she says "but he had a mustache" it gets multiplied by zero.
Hear, hear Doug. Well said.

I think the "I never had a mustache defense" is far better than the "evil twin defense."

I called my father last night. He is a big fan of President Brodhead. Like my father, President Brodhead is another Old Blue.

My comment to Dad w/ respect to DA Nifong was that he had hit rock bottom and started digging.

My prediction is that the kid from Garden City may have a problem w/ breaking his probation. Mr. Evans may have a problem w/ serving alcohol to underage players, and that if the indictments are not dismissed, the DA will have his case shoved very far up his fundament.

I think it's hard to go from saying your were sexually assualted by 20 to saying it was only 3, and one couldn't hav ebeen there and as for the 3rd gut it was him w/ a mustache. Of course Mr. Evans may have been wearing a false nose w/ fake bushy eyebrows and glasses. No doubt he was singing "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" in the bathroom.
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I'll never know. (Still one of my favorite Groucho jokes) The case is moving into farce. You can tell from the transcript of the photo line up who is supposed to have done what, but I'm not dignifying her accusations of detail...(on the other hand she was able to cry when she picked out one of them (Finnerty?) That has to have impressed the cops conducting the photo line up.
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