April 21st, 2006

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Cashing in

Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Second dancer contacts media firm

A Manhattan media firm received an unusual email Wednesday from a woman claiming to be the second dancer cited in an alleged "rape scandal" surrounding the Duke University Lacrosse team.

The following email was received by 5W Public Relations. This individual claims to be the 2nd dancer in the Duke Scandal and was sent to Sports911.com courtesy of Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations

5W Public Relations contacted Sports911.com late Thursday night to inform that they had confirmed the authenticity of the below email as one written by the second dancer involved in the Duke Lacrosse alleged rape scandal.

From: Lesley ***[mailto:streetzles@*************]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 2:21 PM
To: Ronn Torossian
Subject: duke lacrosse scandal


My name is Kim and I am involved in the Duke Lacrosse scandal. Although I am no celebrity and just an average citizen, I've found myself in the center of one of the biggest stories in the country. I'm worried about letting this opportunity pass me by without making the best of it and was wondering if you had any advice as to how to spin this to my advantage. I am determined not to let any negative publicity about my life overtake me. I'm so confused as to who to talk to for relevant advice and I hope that you can return my e-mail. If you cannot help, do you know of any names and numbers I can call?

Thanks for your time,
The 2nd Dancer...

15-minutes of fame or something more sinister? Erf. Just when you think this case couldn't get more nasty, now we have this sort of thing going on. The real problem with crap like this is that it makes it problematic to believe witnesses at their word. All of a sudden they have a stake in the outcome of the case and it hardly makes them impartial. It's like finding out the cabbie who provided an alibi was sending out feelers for obtaining a book deal or something. It just taints the entire situation. The 2nd stripper ends up looking much better if the result is a conviction than if it's a fabrication. For one, her lies to the 911 operator seem justified instead of simply being a means to use the police as payback. It also provides for plenty of fodder for cross-examination and impeaching her credibility. Morons on all sides IMO. It muddies the water which is no good for the pursuit of the truth in this case.
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Would I think differently if I were popular?

To no surprise, a lot of people are out there blogging every day about the Duke lacrosse case, much like yours truly. People are digesting the latest news to hit the wires (of which there's something new at least every day) and then interpreting or spinning the results. Of course, most of these individuals already have a position on the case as to whether they believe a crime has occured. Lets face it, blogging is not really something for those restrained and reserved people who want to wait until all the facts are in before making up their minds in a deliberative and thoughtful manner. If you're going to be out there spewing your own conclusions on a contraversial topic that has touched nerves, you have to imagine that you're going to get a lot of heated responses, right?

Errr, apparently not. Lately it seems that there is a lot of whining and bellyaching out there from some people blogging about the case concerning the comments they're receiving. H E R E are just a few examples of it recently. You can add abyss2hope to that list though in her case it seems that anyone even disagreeing with her is too much for her to bear. Is it just me or does this seem a wee bit hypocritical? If you're using your blog to rant and/or express strong opinions, can you really whine that others are doing the same?

Maybe what the difference is, is a matter of degree. God knows that not a whole lot of people actually read this blog, and I'm sure that's true compared to at least some of the ones listed above. I've still had reaming hoards of anonymous commentors at times in the past posting insults and flames and I've never felt a need to delete comments. (Anyone remember that mess with the mohawk people site?) In fact, even if I don't comment to their comment, I unscreen the thing (anons are autoscreened) so that it can be viewed by everyone.

Now, maybe my view on this is based in part on the fact that I don't usually get dozens of vitriolic comments ever day from hoards of readers, but I'd like to believe that I'd feel the same way regardless. Hell, considering some of the vicious attacks and wars I would get into the middle of on other forums, this is practically childs play. So if anyone out there wants to say something particularly heinous, go right ahead. Maybe we should all grow some thicker skins.
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For a while now, some people have pondered about when and how the accuser in the Duke Lacrosse case actually picked up her supposed attackers. That information was finally released today by news media and hell, it's a doozie.

Details Of Controversial Photo Lineup Revealed

DURHAM, N.C. -- A photo identification report released Friday could blow a hole in the prosecution’s case in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation. Defense attorneys question whether the police were biased in their presentation.

When an exotic dancer told police she was raped inside a Durham house last month by three lacrosse players, Police collected DNA samples from 46 teammates and took their pictures. The tests came back with no match between the accuser and the players. Shortly afterward, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligman were arrested in the case.

According to the identification report, the accuser picked the two players from a photo lineup on April 4, three weeks after the incident. WRAL has learned police only used mugshot pictures of the 46 players for the lineup.

Attorney Mark Edwards, who is not involved with the case, said that procedure is like leading the witness.

“I can't believe they didn't put in some other photos,” said Edwards. “She's going to know that this is the group of people from which I'm to choose someone.”

Edwards said it appears police went against standard operating procedures when it comes to photo lineups. Based on state guidelines, investigators should use a picture of the suspect and at least seven pictures of people who look like the suspect.

“That's surely going to be suspect,” said UNC professor Arnold Loewy.

Loewy recently wrote an editorial dubbed “Wrongful Convictions, Unpopularity and the Duke Lacrosse Case.” He said the unusual police procedure with the lineup could weaken the prosecution’s case.

“First, it crosses racial identification, which tends to lead to known improper guilty verdicts in the past,” he said. “Second, it was a case of somebody who apparently couldn't identify the perpetrators initially.”

Defense attorneys for Finnerty and Seligman say they have evidence that will show their clients were not at the party at the time the accuser says the rape happened. The two players are due back in court the week of May 15.

What in the fucking world was the DA thinking? Is he a fucking moron? NO ONE does a lineup in this fashion unless they want to have the evidence thrown out. If you only show someone pictures of individuals that were at the event supposedly, you raise the liklihood of false positives through the roof. This is so incredibly incompetant that I'm almost bracing myself for the first person to say that the DA is acutally a double agent. That he's been payed off or for some reason actually supports the players in this. They'll say that he's a plant and his goal from the beginning was to sabatoge the case. Only idiots will believe it, but they'll have this and other evidence showing that the DA is at the very least completely incompetant.

1) Making the identification _3_ weeks after the fact is just beyond stupid. There's absolutely no excuse for this...none. The only thing I'm curious about now is if they showed her the photo lineup earlier but she claimed she couldn't id anyone at that point, and then after 3 weeks had passed, picked up the two people charged.

2) Including only lacrosse players is also beyond stupid. She likely saw a whole bunch of these people at the party and will fixate on those she recognizes in that context. It's human nature and pattern recognition. There have been whole volumes written on eyewitness identification and the problems raised when individuals in the lineup are those they have seen before in any setting who may not be involved. Add to that the state of intoxication that's been reported by both the defense and 2nd stripper and you've got a major problem.

2a) Caveat. If the police already knew who they suspected (ie. if the DNA had come back positive) including the other players in a lineup would have bolstered their case because they could argue that despite the studies showing people tend to pick people they've seen before even if they don't know exactly from where, she still picked out the 'right man'. Basing the entire case and who to charge ON the id in this case is just stupid beyond belief.

3) Without other people in the lineup, you have no way to judge how accurate her identification is. If she had picked out Officer Murry's picture for instance, you could be fairly sure that there was no way to depend upon a positive ID to find a suspect. In this case where all the evidence fits 46 people equally and then you include only those 46 into a lineup....you're just asking for error.

I've seen a lot of legal experts weigh in before this information was made public about the hypothetical means by which the lineup was conducted and I didn't see a single person who didn't say that it would be a disaster for the DA if it was done in this fashion. None. This didn't matter if they were generally pro-prosecution in this case or pro-defense. They all agreed that this would throw the witness ID into tremendous doubt and sow horrible problems. WTF? So what was the DA thinking?!